Updated January 3rd, 2021
Whether you’re a past or future participant, we want to thank you for sticking with us through this time of uncertainty. This year has been difficult for our university and NGO partners, the communities we work in and the students eagerly anticipating going abroad. We appreciate your patience during this challenging time; we can’t wait to be exploring again soon!
Contact us to discuss your Intern-Study-Travel plans for Summer 2021 and beyond.
At Insight, the health and safety of our program participants is always our primary concern. Prior to each program, our in-country team undergoes a thorough risk assessment with support from our Vancouver office to ensure that our programs comply with our safety standards. The global response to COVID-19 has added an additional level of consideration that we are taking very seriously as we look to resume programming abroad.
NEW: With the second wave of COVID-19 now impacting nations worldwide, and with travel restrictions very much still in place, Insight is only accepting applications for Summer 2021 programs and beyond. Please contact us if you have any questions, comments or concerns. We appreciate the complexities current circumstances present, and we greatly appreciate your patience during this challenging time.
Please read our COVID-19 Guidelines or book a call with our Student Advisor to learn more.
Frequently Asked Questions
Current restrictions are in place for many countries around the world. The Canadian and US governments are currently advising against non-essential travel. We encourage you to review whether your study abroad plans are indeed essential prior to making any purchases or bookings that are non-refundable or non-flexible.
Given current restrictions, Insight is only accepting applicants for Summer 2021 and beyond. At Insight, we allow participants to defer into any future program should they wish to change their desired semester. Additionally, we now (as of Summer 2020) include cancellation insurance, as well as provide refunds (to new registrants prior to insurance kicking in), ensuring students' investments in their semester abroad programs with us are fully protected.
As of October 1st, 2020 Uganda, one of our primary host locations for the Semester in Development, began accepting international visitors. While we are hopeful to return to international programming as soon as we can, we also recognize that we are in the midst of the second wave of COVID-19 throughout North America.
We currently recommend that if you can put off your study abroad programming to Summer 2021 or later, than we advise you do so. With the current climate as it is, countries, including Uganda, may abruptly change travel restrictions. It is plausible that at any moment the Government of Uganda will once again impose entry restrictions.
As the world waits for further opening up (be it through the introduction of a vaccine, treatments, or otherwise), we advise students remain patient.
Please note that we are only accepting applicants for Summer 2021 and beyond.
Please contact our office prior to booking any flights.
You may be able to book flights for your upcoming semester abroad, however many airlines are in a state of flux and change flight schedules frequently. We suggest students wait to book flights until close (30 days or less) to their departure date to avoid any unnecessary changes. Additionally, we always recommend students purchase flight insurance or fares that permit significant flexibility or refunds. Insight can connect you with travel agents we continue to work with that provide industry leading advice and input. There are generally ways you can protect your investment in your flight, specifically by adding cancellation protection. Connect with us and we'll ensure a licensed agent can provide all the necessary details.
This would be dependent on local government policy and Insight’s assessment of best practices at the time of your arrival. If you are required to self-isolate upon your arrival, Insight will take care of the logistics of arranging accommodation and ensuring you are equipped with all necessities. Your in-country Program Director will arrange for frequent, no-contact delivery of groceries and prepared meals throughout the isolation period.
You will also have the option to extend your time in-country by 14 days at the end of the program at no additional cost, visa circumstances permitting.
Uganda - No quarantine or isolation is currently required. A negative PCR/COVID-19 test must be presented to airlines prior to boarding, and should be taken within 72 hours of departure.
Fiji - Borders remain closed as of January 1st, 2021 to non-citizens. We are anticipating a relaxing of this in lead up to Summer 2021 programming.
Thailand - Borders remain closed as of January 1st, 2021 to non-citizens. We are anticipating a relaxing of this in lead up to Summer 2021 programming.
Note: For more specific information regarding the logistics of self-isolation/quarantine, please read our COVID-19 Guidelines or contact our Student Advisor.
In order to protect our program participants, we are implementing some new protocols in line with recommendations from the World Health Organization.
First, we will be increasing the student house cleaning schedule from weekly cleaning to daily cleaning (except Sundays). This will ensure that common spaces and high contact surfaces are sanitized routinely. Laundry will also be made available to students more frequently and students are encouraged to change into fresh clothing when returning to student accommodations from activity in the community (Note: Our house cleaners are trusted partners of Insight that we have worked with for several semesters. All cleaners are vetted by additional references.)
Insight will also be making some adjustments to the student Code of Conduct. Students will be required to wear fabric or medical masks when they are outside the house in shared indoor spaces or in a place that they are not able to maintain 2-meters of physical distance from others at all times (ex: a shopping mall or a market). While our in-country staff are not able to monitor students at all times to enforce this rule, it has been put in place for student safety, similar to the rule of wearing a helmet when riding on the back of a motorcycle taxi. If a student is found to be putting themselves and their other cohorts members at risk by not following this rule, they may be asked to leave the cohort.
Our Code of Conduct has always stated that students are not allowed to bring external guests into student accommodations. If a student is found to have invited a guest into the student accommodation, they may be asked to leave the cohort.
Note: For more specific information regarding the logistics of self-isolation/quarantine, please read out COVID-19 Guidelines or contact our Student Advisor to book a call.
Insight has strong relationships with the communities that we operate in and a developed network of internship partners. At this point in time, we are working with host organizations to ensure that they are able to provide a safe work environment for all interns (ex: physical distancing procedures and/or mandatory masks in the office).
We will only be placing students with organizations that have robust work safe plans with guidelines that are similar or better than the safety protocols followed in our own Head Office in Vancouver, BC.
At this point in time, all academic courses are scheduled to continue in-person when our in-country programming resumes. If in-person studies are not possible due to unforeseen circumstances, the program director and head office have created unique backup plans to ensure students will receive the academic portion of programming in each location.
Note: To view the plan for each destination, please read our COVID-19 Guidelines or contact our Student Advisors to book a call.
One of the key components to Insight's Semester Abroad programs is the academic component. Since 2013, students participating in our programming from across Canada and the US have earned transferable credits while completing the study abroad component of our global programming.
In light of COVID-19, many institutions have suspended international programming until Summer 2021 or beyond and may not approve credit transfer requests. We encourage you to contact your academic advisor to discuss your universities policy. Should your credit transfer request be denied by your institution, we will defer your enrollment into a future semester. Alternatively, should you wish to withdraw your participation in the program, please contact us and we will initiate your withdrawal.
In the unfortunate circumstance that a member of the cohort falls ill, the in-country Program Director will make alternate arrangements for this member to be housed separately in order to protect both the sick individual and the remaining students. The Program Director is prepared to support students with obtaining medical attention at clinics and hospitals as needed during their stay.
All students are required to purchase Travel Medical Insurance before departing for their semester (this is the same policy we've had since the beginning of our international programming). Insight is including cancellation and interruption insurance now for all registering students. If you would like to purchase Travel Medical through Insight, we can arrange this on your behalf (please note that travel/medical for the duration of a full term through our provider costs approximately $350). *Note: Current insurers (such as Allianz and Manulife) are now providing additional COVID-19 coverage. While this policy may be costly, it will provide significant further coverages in the event you contract COVID-19 while abroad. Contact us to learn more.
In the unfortunate event that a country where the program is taking place is not permitting visitors, our programming will be postponed. Insight will notify participants of the decision to postpone programming a minimum of 30 days before the scheduled start date of the program.
Please note that given the fluidity of the situation, countries may impose border restrictions at any time. Should a new border closure/change impact your scheduled programming, we will email you to provide an update on the situation. Should a border restriction prevent the commencement of the program, we will defer your participation into a future program, or initiate our cancellation process, based on what you would prefer to do.
In the unfortunate event that cases begin to rise while you are abroad, our Program Director will arrange a cohort meeting to discuss the situation with all members of the cohort. If it is safe in the country/region where the students are located, students will be given the option to finish the program on location or return home ahead of schedule. The program director will support all students with making arrangements based on their individual decisions with their parents/guardians.
If students do decide to return home ahead of schedule, our program director will consult with our office in Vancouver and Global Affairs Canada to determine the best course of action.
If students do decide to remain in-country, our student accommodations will remain available and will be additionally available at no cost for one month beyond the scheduled program end date. If students are required to stay in the country beyond that point, the program director will support them with finding alternative accommodations, or we will provide significantly reduced rental rates within our student housing.
Beginning in June 2020, Insight now includes cancellation insurance for new registrations as a part of the program fees at no additional cost to travelers. Cancellation insurance may protect your investment should you decide to withdraw your participation ahead of the program departure date. Our insurance includes a Cancel For Any Reason policy which can cover up to 75% of your program fees. We also offer significant flexibility in program changes, including deferrals or location changes.
Please note that you must cancel prior to 10 days ahead of your program start date. You may cancel your participation at any time prior to 10 days before departure without any penalties. Please contact us to learn more.
As always, Insight is happy to change your term of enrollment to a future term should you wish to wait before you travel abroad.
Additionally, Insight now allows students to change locations at no cost, so if you were originally scheduled to travel to Thailand but are now considering a different destination, we will happily transfer your registration at no cost.