Language & Friendship is committed to providing a safe, educational experience for each participant. Extensive preparation materials are provided to help ensure safety, inspire self-confidence, and facilitate communication.
What safety precautions does L&F have in place?
- L&F provides teacher/leaders extensive materials to prepare students to be wise, observant travelers. This includes planning and practicing routines (How do we move as a group?), discussing What-If situations (What if I get separated from the group?), and learning how to ask for assistance in the target language.
- L&F’s Program Expectations focus on the safety of all participants.
- L&F groups use consistent bus drivers, hotels, and guides from group to group, which means there is a network of support throughout the program.
- L&F family-stay coordinators abroad know the community and the families who host. They are long-time professional colleagues and friends of L&F.
- Leaders are given emergency numbers and checklists/procedures to follow for emergency situations.
- L&F staff coordinators are on call 24/7 while groups are traveling abroad.
- L&F enrolls all teacher/leaders and students in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) through the U.S. Department of State. Teacher/leaders will receive notifications of any safety and security information.
- The Core™ Travel Medical Insurance provided for all L&F participants includes Zurich Travel Assist, a 24/7 emergency service for Medical and Security Assistance.
Sharing the belief that it is essential to proceed thoughtfully as we organize our programs, we regularly monitor the website of the U.S. Department of State, which issues information regarding travel abroad, as well as the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization. We are in frequent communication with our extensive network of teachers and other contacts overseas who inform us of each region’s political and general climate firsthand.
U.S. Travel Advisory System
Following are the types of notices issued by the U.S. Department of State:
- Level 1 – Exercise Normal Precautions: This is the lowest advisory level for safety and security risk. There is some risk in any international travel.
- Level 2 – Exercise Increased Caution: Be aware of heightened risks to safety and security.
- Level 3 – Reconsider Travel: Avoid travel due to serious risks to safety and security. Levels of advisory may vary for specific locations or areas within a country.
- Level 4 – Do Not Travel: This is the highest advisory level due to greater likelihood of life-threatening risks. During an emergency, the U.S. government may have very limited ability to provide assistance. The Department of State advises that U.S. citizens not travel to the country or to leave as soon as it is safe to do so.
Additional information can be found online: https://travel.state.gov
Limited Travel Advisory Protection
Language & Friendship provides the following limited protection for all L&F travelers:
If an official U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory Level 3 for a specific location or area within the destination country is issued or in effect within 90 days of departure, L&F will work with local teachers and partners abroad to determine the potential effects on the group. If conditions are deemed unsafe for student travel, L&F reserves the right to cancel any affected programs. If L&F cancels a program due to a Level 3 Advisory, refunds will be processed as indicated for Level 4 below; otherwise, our regular cancellation policy will apply.
If an official U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory Level 4 for the specific destination country is issued or in effect within 90 days of departure, L&F will need to cancel programs for that destination. Refunds to travelers will be determined by amounts refunded to L&F by airlines, hotels, and other suppliers, less administrative costs. While it is not possible to predetermine an exact refund amount, L&F pledges to make every reasonable effort to maximize the refund to pass along to participants.