This information was last updated on March 25th. Due to the rapidly changing situation, please note we are updating this as much and as quickly as possible.
- This information is for Greenheart Travel programs OUTSIDE of the USA. If you are on a program in the USA or were planning to come to the USA, please refer to information from our inbound department, Greenheart Exchange.
- Most of this information refers to Americans, US government regulations, and US-specific information because most of our participants are American. However, almost all of it can also be applied to your home country if you are from Canada, UK, etc. If you need specific information, please refer to the resources at the bottom of this page.
Why is Greenheart Travel suspending programs and requiring participants to come home?
This situation is unprecedented and very serious. We need to be proactive as we anticipate increasing travel restrictions, global border closings and mandatory quarantines for anyone traveling between any country in the very near future. Waiting much longer may mean that those abroad may be unable to return home when they want to. It is possible that schools, restaurants, and hotels will be closed indefinitely if they are not already. Airlines may shut down or continue to greatly reduce the number of flights available.
The US Department of State has also issued a Level 4 Do Not Travel Warning across the world that declares that ALL Americans are to return home immediately.
At the end of the day, our programs and participants are the reason, mission, and biggest motivator behind all the decisions we make and everything we do. We would not have made the decision to cancel all programs, bring participants home, as well as threaten our ability to survive as a small business unless we thought it was 100% necessary for the safety of everyone. That remains our number one priority.
What if I think it’s safer to shelter in place?
We do not know what the future holds and things are likely to become even less stable. There may be no work available, and the ability to move around freely could be severely limited. We do not want any of our participants to be in a situation where they cannot find or afford housing, plane tickets, etc. and STRONGLY feel it is important for everyone to come home immediately. Greenheart is unable to justify keeping participants abroad when the future could become even more dire. The US government has stated that they will not be able to help US Citizens who decide to stay abroad (see below).
Please refer to the US Department of State’s travel warning: “In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.
If you decide to travel abroad or are already outside the United States:
- Consider returning to your country of residence immediately using whatever commercial means are available.
- Have a travel plan that does not rely on the U.S. Government for assistance.”
This means that if you decide to stay abroad following the US DOS’s Level 4 warning, you cannot depend on the US government for any evacuation or repatriation flights down the line. This is another reason we feel it’s very important to come home now.
My host family says I can stay, why do I have to leave?
We do not want to put host families in a hard situation. We do not know how long some of these travel restrictions may last, and their ability to host you could become endangered in the future due to lay-offs and instability. We want to avoid a situation where your host family is unable to continue hosting you, but you cannot get home due to a lack of flights, travel restrictions, closed borders, etc. Even if your host family currently believes they can continue hosting you, we still ask that you come home immediately.
What if I am supposed to be traveling with Greenheart Travel later this year?
As of right now, we have canceled all programs with start dates up to May 31st. We are watching the situation and may extend this into Summer 2020 if the situation is not better. If you were scheduled to travel before May 31st you have already received a direct email from us. You will be able to defer your start date to any date later this year or next year with no fees.
Can I defer my start date?
Yes, if you want to defer your start date please pick a start date from our website later this year and we will defer your program, no problem.
Can I switch to a different program?
We will take requests like this on a case by case basis, but it should not be a problem if you want to switch to a different program or destination country.
If I have to come home early, can I go back once this is all over?
We hope so! We will do everything we can to help facilitate those who have had to come home to be able to go back if they want to. This will depend on the type and length of the program, and what our partners are able to offer and coordinate. Right now we are focused on getting everyone home, but once the dust hopefully settles, we will reach out to everyone whose programs were cut short with any information we have regarding this.
Will I have to self-isolate when I come home?
This is different for each situation and the best advice will come from the US government and Customs & Immigration when you return to the USA. Please listen to the recommendations given to you during re-entry and by the CDC. It is currently recommended to self-isolate for 14 days upon returning.
What advice do you have for figuring out what happens with my coursework/credit since I left halfway through the semester?
Please contact your home school in the U.S. to see if they recommend that you re-enroll or continue taking online courses from your host school abroad, if applicable. As a reminder, all credit transfer depends on the policy of your U.S. school, so please contact your home school to see their best advice for transferring credits for courses you took while abroad.
Will you be able to get transcripts from my host school?
Currently, almost all of the host schools abroad are closed due to COVID-19. As soon as schools re-open the local in-country partner staff can help assist you to get documentation such as transcripts, courses taken, etc., upon request. We will do our best to help you as much as we can, but we do not know yet when it will be possible to obtain these documents.
If you have further questions please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org