COVID-19: Update from the TravelBud team

The information below was last updated on November 24th 2021. We will update this page as frequently as possible.

Quick links to sections on this page:

“There is no education like adversity.” – Benjamin Disraeli 

TravelBud has been monitoring developments around COVID-19 closely. We are in regular contact with our in-country teams on the ground in Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, South Korea, Japan and Costa Rica.

We would like to share some important information about what we are doing to support the global effort to contain the spread of COVID-19 while also doing our best to minimize disruption to the programs we offer.

Before we do so we would like to extend our sincerest thanks to those who have sent messages of support during this difficult time. As a small company we truly value your understanding and continued support. Together we will overcome the challenges that we face today.

Program Updates and Intake statuses

It is difficult to predict how long containment measures will be in place globally, or what further restrictions may be imposed.

In what follows we do our best to answer what we believe are likely to be the most common questions.

We also have FAQs further down the page.

If you don’t see an answer to your question you can contact us at info@travelbud.com or via the contact details in the sidebar and we will respond to your inquiry as quickly as possible.

What is the current status of programs?

Across nearly all of our program countries, second/third waves of COVID-19 outbreaks are coming under greater control, and as vaccination rates increase,we are starting to see things open up.

Vaccination Requirements for Employment

Our in-country destinations have all begun and are increasing vaccine rollouts with the goal of vaccinating the majority of their populations before year-end.

The vast majority of our in-country populations are open and willing to be vaccinated and we are encouraged that most of our teachers are vaccinated or have expressed willingness to be vaccinated.

Partner schools may refuse employment to the unvaccinated and there is a strong possibility they will require all teachers to be vaccinated when they return to in-person teaching.

Providing proof of vaccination for COVID-19 prior to arrival in-country, or, if you are unable to obtain vaccination before arriving in-country, that you’re willing to receive vaccination in-country, may be a condition of employment.

We’ve updated the conditions and short-term outlook for each of our main program countries:

THAILAND

Thailand is back in business! 1 Day Quarantine in place.

In general, cases in Thailand have been down considerably over the past month and vaccination rates continue to rise. The government has been slowly shifting from a “controlling COVID” policy to a “living with COVID” policy that does not focus heavily on counting cases, but more so on monitoring hospitalizations. There is significant momentum towards a general reopening of the country.

Thailand has been removed from the UK Red List and As of November 1st, Thailand is reducing quarantine to 1 day for fully vaccinated travelers from certain countries!

Beginning November 1st, those from 46 specific countries (including the US, UK, Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and many European countries), who are fully vaccinated, will be allowed to fly to Thailand and quarantine only 1 day at a quarantine hotel.

Participants will need to pre-book the hotel as normal, and the price of the room will include their stay, meals provided, and an RT-PCR covid-19 test they must take upon arrival at the hotel.

Once the results come back negative, participants will be able to exit their quarantine and travel through Thailand freely.

INTAKES

The December 27 intake is going ahead as a full in-class TESOL, now that we are able to bring teachers into the country on a tourist visa to begin at the same time and neighbouring countries are open to allow teachers to do a visa trip and switch to their work permits. The next available intake is March 28th, 2022. This is undoubtedly one of the best times of the year to start in Thailand for the full in-class course, as the end of your TESOL will coincide with the start of the new semester (end of April/beginning of May for teaching placement). 

VIETNAM

A sSlow reopening underway

The Vietnam government has responded to the current wave of COVID in the country with a very strict shutdown. 

Schools have struggled to keep students enrolled and the entry requirements for foreign teachers have been expensive and burdensome. For this reason, all of our school partners have decided to largely pause bringing over teachers until such time as the situation on the ground allows in-class teaching again.

The government has however, started a small step towards reopening by offering guided tourism endeavours from January, which is a positive sign.

INTAKES

All 2022 intakes are currently open for applications including:

  • 2 May 2022
  • 30 May 2022

SOUTH KOREA

Strong Demand and Placement

South Korea continues to be open as a placement destination and the country has managed COVID quite well since the pandemic started. Korea’s COVID cases are stable and face-to-face teaching in Korean schools has persisted uninterrupted for many months. Demand for English teachers is healthy but there is also a lot of supply of teachers at the moment.

We’ve increased our team for South Korea to meet the growing demand of Korea as a placement destination. We’re expanding our South Korea program for 2022 to create many more community building opportunities, and meet ups for our teachers. We’re also launching a major update and improvement to our Online South Korea Cultural Foundation Course.

We also hope this progress will enable us to start back with in-country TESOL courses from the beginning of 2022.

INTAKES

The next available in-class intake is the April 25th 2022 intake.

MYANMAR

Major Setback for the Country and Mid-Year as Soonest Expectation for Opening Borders

Myanmar’s borders are completely closed due to COVID and the coup government has tightened its grip on the country. Ousted elected party leader Aung San Suu Kyi is to be prosecuted for corruption by the military regime.

Despite these sad developments, our teachers and staff in Myanmar are completely safe and things have calmed down from the daily mass protests and deadly government crackdowns of a few months ago.

People are going back to work and school, and COVID seems to be under control.

Once the country opens up again, we will start bringing teachers back to Myanmar as long as the environment is safe and travel advisories are not in place.

We will monitor both the security situation and the prospects for a return of English teachers closely.

INTAKES

There are currently no intakes available.

JAPAN

Still Closed for now but roll outs starting for teachers from April 2022

Japan continues to be largely closed to foreigners with just a trickle being allowed into the country and the visa document process taking much longer than normal.

It’s unclear at this time when the country is going to open up fully to teachers and tourists, but our partner schools have reported that teachers will be beginning the visa process as soon as it is open and teachers that are already enrolled will be heading over around March 2022. New enrolments can expect placement offers for around April/May 2022. 

We will continue to assess things as we see what happens in regards to borders and schools working through the backlog of applicants they have waiting to come.

INTAKES

Due to the uncertainty surrounding borders reopening and long visa processing times, it would be best for new signups to prepare to move over in early 2022- likely April/May.

Participants also have the option to complete their TEFL/TESOL certification online with TravelBud and will have their job placements confirmed from the comfort of their home, allowing them the flexibility to head over to start their teaching adventure as soon as it’s possible and safe to do so.

We will aim to continue to support current participants in moving forward with their initial timeframes as far as the situation will allow.

All 2022 intakes are currently open for applications.

COSTA RICA

Wide Open for Travelers but with Low Teacher Demand and Schools Still Closed

With COVID case numbers in Costa Rica hovering around 2,000 per day, the country has embarked on a major campaign to vaccinate its entire population.

The border, meanwhile, is completely open with no quarantine and no vaccination requirement.

Schools are closed for in-person classes and have gone entirely online and plan to do so until the 4th quarter.

Despite these challenges, we’ve run three successful courses thus far since the end of 2020 and have had our biggest course ever up at the end of June 2021.

INTAKES

All 2022 intakes are currently open for applications.

Next available intake dates open for applications:

The commencement dates for the programs which have spots available and which are, unless otherwise advised, proceeding as normal are set out below:

Please note: Our support team will keep all 2020/2021 accepted applicants updated with relevant information, options and updates.

PROGRAM

INTAKE DATES

Teach English in Thailand

2021

Summer Flexible Intake (8-10 weeks from enrollment)
27 December 2021 - TESOL Extra

2022

28 March 2022
2 May 2022
30 May 2022
27 June 2022
26 September 2022
31 October 2022

Thailand Summer Teach

2022

6 June 2022
27 June 2022

Teach English in Vietnam

2022

21 February 2022
2 May 2022
30 May 2022
25 July 2022
22 August 2022
28 November 2022

Teach English in South Korea

2022

25 April 2022
25 July 2022
26 September 2022

Teach English in Myanmar

2022

17 January 2022
25 April 2022
27 June 2022
26 September 2022

Teach English in Japan

2021

All in-country TEFL/TESOL courses have been cancelled.
Online TEFL/TESOL courses start on the First Monday of every month.

2022

Online TEFL/TESOL courses start on the First Monday of every month.
28 February 2022 (In-country TEFL course) - POSTPONED
30 May 2022 (In-country TEFL course)
25 July 2022 (In-country TEFL course)
24 October 2022 (In-country TEFL course)

Teach English in Costa Rica

2022

14 February 2022
9 May 2022
27 June 2022
21 November 2022

Online TEFL Course

2021

First Monday of every month.

2022

First Monday of every month.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to be vaccinated in order to travel?

You currently do not need to be vaccinated in order to travel, however, vaccination may become a condition of employment. You may need to present negative PCR tests within 48 hours of travel and/or complete a mandatory quarantine period upon your arrival.

Our in-country destinations have all begun and are increasing vaccine rollouts with the goal of vaccinating the majority of their populations before year-end.

The vast majority of our in-country populations are open and willing to be vaccinated and we are encouraged that most of our teachers are vaccinated or have expressed willingness to be vaccinated.

Partner schools may refuse employment to the unvaccinated and there is a strong possibility they will require all teachers to be vaccinated when they return to in-person teaching.

Providing proof of vaccination for COVID-19 prior to arrival in-country, or, if you are unable to obtain vaccination before arriving in-country, that you’re willing to receive vaccination in-country, may be a condition of employment.

What is TravelBud’s advice for participants wanting to teach and travel abroad within the next 3 months?

Please review the country updates above regarding the status of our programs. Our coordinators will advise you on all the entry requirements and latest COVID updates for each country so that you may make an informed decision.

We have published these intake dates above and on each program page on our website.

There is no additional fee to switch between intake dates.

What happens if I am unable to travel to my selected program country for my intake due to COVID-19?

If you are unable to head over for your intended start date due to COVID-19 you will have options such as choosing a later intake start date at no additional cost.

Can I switch to a different program to that which I originally signed up for?

Yes, provided that you meet the requirements for the program to which you want to switch, we can assist you to do so.

There may be a slight difference in the cost which we will communicate to you in advance.

Will I need to arrive two weeks prior to my intake start date if there is a mandatory 14-day self-isolation regulation in place?

No. You will still need to arrive during the three days leading up to your intake start date. Chat to your enrollments coordinator for the latest up to date information.

What happens in the event that I need to self-isolate upon arrival?

First of all, don’t panic. Our Support team and our team on the ground will guide you through the whole process, assist you with arrangements and ensure your safety and wellbeing throughout your program.

Please read these blog articles on our participants’ quarantine experience:

How will a 14-day self-isolation period work? How will I be fed etc.?

The team on the ground will be there to ensure that you are taken care of in terms of grocery shopping, WiFi and check-ins during your 14-days of isolation. They will communicate everything with you clearly before and during your self-isolation and will be available to assist you should you require it.

Will I need to purchase a specific or special COVID-19 travel insurance policy?

You will need to purchase a travel insurance policy covering treatment and medical expenses with a minimum coverage of 100,000 USD. Our Support Managers will talk you through all of your options.

What are TravelBud’s in-country team doing on the ground to assist with containment?

In response to the spread of COVID-19, our in-country teams have put in place a comprehensive plan to support teachers on the ground, keep participants on our programs safe, and advise in-bound participants on how to travel safely.

They are collecting information from a wide variety of sources, collating it and sending it out to our teacher communities in each country regularly.

They obtain relevant information from speaking to schools, embassies, and teachers in the field, monitoring local language and international news sources, and speaking to local partners, all in an effort to better understand the situation each day and keep our teachers informed and safe.

They have also set up hotlines and designated staff members in all of our countries for participants to contact directly at any time if they have any questions or concerns, or need advice.

Our in-country teams have also put in place procedures at our offices and programs to ensure participant and staff safety. This includes closely monitoring the health of each participant from the moment they arrive on our programs.

Finally, we’re reaching out to participants who are in the preparation phase of traveling to our programs and informing them on how to maintain hygiene and safety during travel.

This plan is evolving daily to meet changing circumstances and is informed by the travel regulations, restrictions, and advice of those countries who are sending and receiving our participants.

What is TravelBud’s refund policy?

TravelBud’s enrollment and final fees are non-refundable. However, we are now offering all those participants whose programs are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic the flexibility of a free date change to a later program date within 12-months from the original program date.

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