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COVID-19: Update from the TravelBud team

The information below was last updated on August 10th 2022. 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, Costa Rica, Cambodia, Indonesia and Poland.

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 we are starting to see things open up to pre-covid levels.

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.

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 no longer requires any quarantine on arrival for fully vaccinated travelers, nor is it required to test for covid-19 before or after arriving in Thailand.

Most things have gone back to normal! The mask mandate has been dropped and people are no longer required to wear masks outside or in public spaces, though the majority of Thai people do still wear masks.

We are actively planning for the September 26 intake and look forward to welcoming our new teachers.

VIETNAM

Vietnam is doing well in terms of attracting tourism after the pandemic.

Currently, most tourists can apply for a 30-day tourist visa. Most notably though, South Africans are unable to apply for a tourist visa, so any South African must arrive on a Business visa only, meaning they can only be part of the Placement Program.

There is also no quarantine on arrival, nor are there any covid-19 tests upon arrival or covid-19 tests prior to departure.

SOUTH KOREA

The government has eased social distancing rules. Quarantine for new arrivals, regardless of vaccination status, has been stopped entirely, all which point towards a return to “normal”.

Cases are on the rise again with 100,000+ cases per day, but hospitalizations remain relatively low and the government has said that it will not reintroduce the social distancing measures that we have seen over the past 2 years.

We have fully resumed our in-country orientation program for our Online and Placement teachers as well.

We have already done 4 weekends, and we have another 4 planned before the end of the year. We are also halfway through our first in-class TESOL course and we have another 2 scheduled before the end of the year, both of which are at full capacity!

MYANMAR

Due to the political unrest currently playing out, this program has been suspended until further notice.

JAPAN

Japan started gradually reopening its borders to workers on March 1, 2022, and to tour-group travel packages from June.

Quarantine is not necessary for the majority of fully vaccinated travelers, and even some unvaccinated travelers.

This is exciting and much-anticipated news but it will take some time for the placement situation in Japan to normalize.

Having been closed for the greater part of two years, a lot of people are trying to travel in one go so there is increased competition for jobs. Teaching placements may take longer than in pre-pandemic times. We have had plenty of public school teachers arrive over in July and more scheduled in August, and we also have international school and Ekeiwa arrivals happening over the same period.

The public schools are staggering arrivals so some participants may be asked to come a bit later than planned, but they are fully gearing up for a large intake in Spring 2023, and we have plenty of ALT public school positions available.

We have also been able to expand our placement network significantly over the past few weeks, so there are more positions available as we plan for a great expansion of the Japan program following the pandemic shutdown.

COSTA RICA

Our in-class TESOL courses are full steam ahead in Costa Rica.

All activities are continuing as planned.

We have a range of placements that include in-person, hybrid, or online.

International Schools are fully in-person.

There is no quarantine and the borders are fully open.

Most local academies are still operating online or moving to a hybrid format. We expect to see more schools going back to in-person over the coming months.

We have lots of online positions and are assisting teachers that prefer remote working with obtaining those positions.

INDONESIA

Bali is Open!

There is no quarantine and the borders are fully open.

CAMBODIA

Cambodia is Open!

Cambodia has completely done away with their mandatory quarantine period.

POLAND

Poland is Open!

There is no quarantine and the borders are fully open.

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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