Covid-19

Updated August 30th, 2021

Our programs

Whether you’re a past or future participant, we want to thank you for sticking with us through this time of uncertainty. The past 18 months have 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!

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 head 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.

With third and fourth waves of COVID-19 now impacting some nations worldwide, and with travel restrictions very much still in place, Insight is only accepting applications at this time for 2022 and 2023 programs. Please contact us if you have any questions, comments or concerns. We appreciate the complexities that current circumstances present, and we greatly appreciate your patience during this challenging time.

Please read our COVID-19 FAQs or book a call with our Student Advisor to learn more.

Countries of Focus

Uganda

Border restrictions are no longer in place, however, proof of COVID-19 negative PCR testing must be obtained prior to arrival.

Fiji

Border restrictions remain in place to all non-citizens or residents of Fiji. Fall 2021 programming has been suspended.

Thailand

Border restrictions remain in place to all non-citizens or residents of Thailand. Fall 2021 programming has been suspended.

Contact us to discuss your plans for 2022 and 2023

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 2022 and 2023 university programs. 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 September 1st, 2021, we are tentatively moving ahead with Spring 2022 Fiji, Uganda and Thailand programs. We continue to evaluate the specific conditions in each of our host countries. Should this status change, all applicants and currently enrolled students will be notified as soon as possible.

We advise all students to consider existing restrictions in place, to evaluate their own levels of comfort, and to strongly weigh the options of deferring into future programs, which is always an option through Insight. Safety, health and well-being remain our top priority.

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 closer (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.

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 August 1st, 2021 to non-citizens. We are anticipating a relaxing of this in the lead up to January 2022 programming.

Thailand – Borders have reopened to international students as of June 1st, 2021. Insight is coordinating with our academic partners to ensure a smooth transition to programming beginning in January 2022.

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 has also made 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. 

Participating students will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19, in line with government regulations of each of our host countries, and will be required to provide proof of vaccination prior to departure. We anticipate that as the pandemic continues, more and more governments will require proof of vaccination status.

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 university’s 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 onsite 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). Students will also be required to purchase low-cost insurance coverages that protect them from unexpected expenses directly related to COVID-19. While relatively new policies, many insurers are now offering policies that cover quarantine related costs, medical costs, and repatriation costs, all in the event of a positive covid-19 test result.

Speak to our team to discuss more about our measures taken to protect you while abroad.

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 participating students. 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 and/or the US State Department 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, location changes and more.

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.

Beginning in January 2022, participating students will be required to purchase COVID-19 specific insurance, which provides direct coverage in the event of a positive COVID test. This insurance policy, now offered at a very low cost through many insurers, adds a further layer of financial protections and peace of mind should you test positive while abroad.

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