Greenheart Travel's #1 priority is our travelers' safety, both before and during programs.
Whether it’s travel insurance, emergency contact information, or health safety, we want our participants and their loved ones to know that Greenheart has a strong network ensuring the safety of our participants and making sure that their time abroad is successful.
All outbound Greenheart Travel participants have medical insurance coverage while abroad included in their program cost. Most of the time, the coverage will be through one of our Greenheart Travel brokers. On occasion, our partner organizations in-country offer health insurance as well, and participants will be registered with those companies. Once you are enrolled in the insurance, you will receive your card and other helpful information for using the insurance.
Please note that the insurance does NOT cover pre-existing conditions and related care. If you have a health concern while abroad, you should find the nearest health provider for care. You must pay the cost upfront and then request reimbursement from the insurance company afterwards. If you have a claim to file, it needs to be processed through the health insurance company, not Greenheart.
We encourage, and in some cases require, that our participants enroll in the U.S. Department of State STEP. The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By enrolling in STEP, you will:
Any American citizen can enroll in this program at any time, for any trip abroad. You can enroll here: https://step.state.gov/step/
For all participants who are travelling to or from the U.S. through Greenheart, there is a 24/7 emergency phone line. This line is to be used ONLY for major emergencies related to severe health matters, deaths, arrests, threats to safety, etc. When you call this number, an operator will take the relevant information and then pass you to a Greenheart staff member. The emergency line number is shared with accepted participants shortly before their start dates.
Greenheart’s staff members are primarily in the Chicagoland area working remotely. We do not have Greenheart staff located in every country we send participants to. Rather, we have developed partnerships with other cultural exchange organizations in all of our destinations. These organizations share the responsibility for the safety and welfare of our participants.
Depending on the program type and organization, this support looks different. For minors, organizations have school or local coordinator staff who check in with students and are local for any pressing concerns. Teens also have an emergency contact for their destination in addition to Greenheart’s 24/7 emergency line. For adult participants, we have a partner organization in every destination country. They will provide their own emergency contact information in addition to Greenheart’s 24/7 emergency line.
The coronavirus pandemic is still affecting lives across the globe. There are changes and new or loosening restrictions being announced around the world every day. We are carefully monitoring U.S. Government advisements, and the news, as well as information from our participants and partners as we make decisions for program feasibility.
At this time, Greenheart Travel strongly recommends that travelers be vaccinated against COVID-19. Each country and the corresponding Greenheart Travel program(s) hosted in that country may have different entry requirements and program regulations regarding the COVID vaccine. Please reach out to your Program Manager to discuss your options based on your COVID-19 vaccine status.
Particularly for those who are planning to travel to Europe, we are closely monitoring all U.S. Embassy recommendations. Currently, no alerts or messages have been issued regarding travelling to any of our destination countries due to the war. If this changes at any point before departure or during participants’ programs, we will notify all affected participants, students, and parents ASAP. You will receive similar updates by utilizing the free STEP enrollment.
On August 4, 2022 the US government declared monkeypox a public health emergency. The World Health Organization has issued a global emergency because more than 70 countries have reported monkeypox cases.
While the emergency designation does not necessarily mean a disease is exceptionally transmissible or lethal, Greenheart recommends following all CDC guidelines to prevent getting monkeypox:
At this time, Greenheart programs are not impacted. Please refer back to this page for updates.
In mid August 2022, there was a multiple bomb blast event in Southern Thailand. It occured in the deep south in provinces that are a no-go area for tourists and which have been the site of ongoing separatist conflict for many decades. The affected provinces are Pattani, Narathiwat and Yala. We and our partners do not place any teachers in or near these provinces. These events are unfortunately common in the deep south and are far away from any tourist spots and locations where we place teachers. There are no dangers from these events for teachers or expatriates.
While there are no issues regarding the safety of foreign teachers in Myanmar, and life is normal in Yangon and other major cities like Naypyidaw and Mandalay, Greenheart and our partner in Asia wanted to share information as of mid-February 2024.
The military regime in Myanmar is facing significant setbacks in its conflict with hill tribes in the remote provinces of Myanmar’s north and east. The regime is losing ground and experiencing a shortage of recruits, posing a serious challenge to their control. In response to this dire situation, the military regime has enacted a new law as of February 10 regarding forced conscription of young adults in Myanmar.
The conscription law mandates the enlistment of adults into the military, regardless of their wishes or circumstances. The regime is resorting to desperate measures to bolster its ranks as it struggles to recruit volunteers due to its extreme unpopularity among the populace.
Furthermore, this policy has caused a significant amount of panic among the Myanmar people and uncertainty about whether it will be enforced and to what degree. Many young people are considering leaving the country, which could potentially lead to future restrictions on Myanmar citizens leaving the country.
Greenheart and our partners are closely monitoring the situation and will update our program information as needed.