Face masks and physical distancing will be required at the work sites, to the extent possible. Volunteers teaching conversational English should bring with them transparent masks, such as ClearMask™ which permit natural, empathetic communication and eliminates barriers of cloth masks. Physical distancing will be enforced during meals and team meetings. When maintaining physical distance is necessary but not possible, face masks will be mandatory.
UPDATED September 9, 2021
In light of new travel guidelines by the CDC, we have resumed some of our service programs on a limited basis. Our office remains open to respond to questions and to accept your registrations for 2021 and 2022 dates.
We’ve taken a “cautious and conscientious” approach in scheduling volunteers to return to our partner communities. Therefore, we are examining each service program resumption on a case-by-case basis. Our primary concern is protecting the health and safety of our generous volunteers and the local children and families we serve. Partner communities have vaccination requirements as noted below. Some countries may allow unvaccinated children under 12 to accompany their vaccinated parents. U.S. citizens considering traveling abroad should review the US State Department Travel Advisory for their destination(s).
- Poland: Regular Schedule Resumes June 27
- USA/Blackfeet Reservation: Regular Montana Schedule Resumes July 3Engage in community projects with children, adults, artists, clergy, natural healers, tribal leaders – a wide swath of Blackfeet society. Mentor children in summer recreational activities, visit elders and help local people with projects to improve their quality of life – such as painting and repairing community buildings. Read details on our Montana Service Program page. All volunteers must be vaccinated.
- USA/Appalachia: Regular West Virginia Schedule Resumes July 24Projects are helping to rehabilitate dilapidated and energy inefficient homes, classrooms and community buildings, helping teens and young adults study for their GED tests, and guiding children in summer enrichment programs. See work project descriptions on our West Virginia Service Program page. All volunteers must be vaccinated.
- Tanzania: Regular Schedule Resumes July 31Projects in our Reaching Children’s Potential Program are offering nutrition and healthcare workshops, providing direct care to moms and babies, and teaching English, science and math in primary and secondary school classrooms. Refer to our Tanzania Service Program page for more information. All volunteers must be vaccinated. Tanzania government COVID-19 entry requirements here.
- Peru: Regular Schedule Resumes July 31Projects are teaching conversational English, math and science in classrooms, assisting doctors and dentists in the medical clinic, caring for infants and toddlers, and helping build and repair campus buildings. Read details on our Peru Service Program page. All volunteers must be vaccinated. Refer to Peruvian government COVID-19 entry requirements here.
- Portugal: Regular Schedule Resumes October 16Projects are teaching English skills to students in primary, secondary and post-secondary schools with Portuguese English teachers and teammates in Beja. Visit our Portugal Service Program page for more information. All volunteers must be vaccinated. Refer to Portugal government COVID-19 entry requirements here.
- Sicily: New program begins on November 6The municipal government of Castelvetrano, Sicily has invited Global Volunteers to provide English language assistance to students of all ages in classrooms and small groups. You can help teens and young adults to gain new skills and improve their career opportunities – learn more on our Italy service program page. All volunteers must be vaccinated. Refer to government COVID-19 entry requirements here.
We expect our full schedule to resume on a rolling basis in 2021-22. Please contact us about these service programs:
Global Volunteers’ Considerations for Resuming Service Programs in the U.S. and Abroad
Over many months, we’ve listened closely to our local community partners and volunteers in surveys, focus groups and personal conversations. We’ve balanced volunteers’ and community partners’ desires to resume programs with health and travel guidance and advisories from trusted authorities including the US State Department, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.
All 2021 and 2022 service programs are contingent on:
- Community partners’ requests for program resumption
- U.S. State Department travel advisory level for each country
- The host country’s entry status and quarantine rules
- Local government health and safety regulations
- The partner community’s ability to adhere to COVID-19 protocols
- Logistical arrangements, such as lodging, meals and transportation. Note: Because all volunteers will be vaccinated for COVID-19, social distancing is not required among volunteers but is encouraged.
- Ability for volunteers to provide a genuine service within COVID-19 restrictions.
“I haven’t really unpacked my suitcase from 2020, because I really, really miss it. And I’m ready to go whenever you all think it’s safe to travel.” Elsa Boykin, 6-time volunteer
“I just want to say that for, for me, the reason I began doing this in the first place was I wanted to give something back. What actually, I got out of it was the human connection. And never more than this year, have I needed or wanted the human connection that I’ve gotten from this program every single time. I’m ready for that again.” Ken Higgins, 4-time volunteer
“I haven’t traveled for vacation recently and I don’t have any plans, but I do hope to take another service trip soon.” Irene Miller, 3-time volunteer
How can I be sure I am not endangering local people by serving in their community?
First, all communities have asked that we send only fully vaccinated volunteers. Consequently, only those individuals who have been fully vaccinated may volunteer during this time.
Second, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) offers very specific guidelines for vaccinated individuals interacting with unvaccinated people. As the science about living alongside the virus evolves, the guidelines continue to change. Global Volunteers will follow the guidelines in place at the time of your service program.
What will Global volunteers do to protect my safety?
Global Volunteers’ mantra is “safety trumps everything.” This means we do everything reasonable to create a safe environment for you and all volunteers. However, as is the case during all Global Volunteers service programs, each volunteer is responsible for their own safety and must likewise help protect the safety of their teammates and the local people. Global Volunteers will require all volunteers to comply with the CDC’s COVID-19 guidelines and to honor and respect the local communities’ COVID-19 requirements. We ask you to bring your own hand sanitizer, masks, and other personal safety resources. Your team leader will have supplemental resources on site.
What if I’m required to get a COVID-19 test before I depart for home?
If a government (U.S. or host country) requires a COVID-19 test before departure, most international airlines are accommodating their passengers with these tests. Where airlines do not provide this service, Global Volunteers will assist volunteers in getting a test at a local facility. Each volunteer is responsible for their own expenses related to COVID-19 testing.
What happens if conditions occur during the service program that impact my ability to return home to the U.S.?
First, in all circumstances where a host country’s sudden actions would delay your returning home, Global Volunteers’ policy is to assist you in finding appropriate accommodations and help you rearrange your travel when possible. Any expenses you incur because of a quarantine or other conditions that impact your ability to return home are your responsibility.
Second, the U.S. government has never denied American travelers’ re-entry into the U.S., and there is no reason to believe that this policy may change now. However, if this is a serious concern for you, we recommend you postpone your service until a later date.
What happens if a volunteer shows COVID symptoms?
The CDC reports that it is extremely unlikely for a vaccinated person to contract or transmit COVID-19. However, if you or any volunteer shows COVID-19 symptoms, you will be referred and transported to a local medical facility. Because you are responsible for any medical costs incurred, we recommend you confirm with your health insurance company before leaving home that your medical expenses would be covered. We also recommend your purchase a supplemental travel medical insurance policy.
Cancellation policy – what happens if conditions change and I must cancel from the program?
Volunteers who previously registered for a service program which was canceled due to COVID-19 and then transferred to a service program scheduled for 2021 or 2022, may apply their contributions to another service program beginning before December 31, 2023.
For all new registrations for service programs scheduled through June 2022, no fee will be charged to transfer to another service program beginning prior to December 31, 2023. The nonrefundable deposit and additional contributions (final payments) can be applied toward a service program beginning before December 31, 2023. All other terms and conditions included in the Service Program Registration and Agreement continue to pertain.
Does Global Volunteers require additional medical or travel insurance to join a service program?
No. We don’t require additional medical or travel insurance; however, we always strongly recommend that each volunteer purchase such an insurance policy. Please read the fine print on these insurance policies because some policies include exceptions/exemptions for COVID-19.
We strive to wage peace and promote justice by connecting volunteers in meaningful and impactful service to children and their communities. Our work has continued during the pandemic through frequent online consultations with our U.S. and international staff – who now are in place to scale up our field operations as appropriate. Volunteers’ continued support has helped families and children endure the hardship of diminished resources during this extended period of stress. Your presence in their communities is needed now more than ever.
On-Site Safety and Security Precautions During the Pandemic
In addition to our standard health and safety practices at all lodging and work sites, our local staff, partners and team leaders are taking these additional precautions to prepare for volunteers’ return:
Soap and clean water for handwashing, and antibacterial spray and wipes will be available at the lodging, dining and work sites.
Where possible, volunteers can purchase a single supplement (with options for rooming with members of your household).
The team leader will routinely monitor the health status of team members. Any COVID-19 symptomatic volunteer will be isolated from the team and local people until they are evaluated by a healthcare professional.
On all service programs, team leaders and volunteers are advised of the distance to, contact information of, and procedure for accessing nearby healthcare facilities. Additional instruction will be conducted during orientation and provided in volunteer preparation materials.
Volunteers will be provided instructions for individual registration with the U.S. Embassy prior to departure from the US.