Which ILP Programs Are Reopening?

January 6, 2021

Are volunteers abroad right now? Are you taking applications? When are programs opening back up? We have the answers to the questions you’re asking, all in one place.

So many things have been changing for every one of our ILP countries and we know you’re pretty anxious to hear updates … While there's several things we're waiting on to help us determine when programs will be reopening, we really wanted to find a way to keep you up to speed and let you in on information that we have week to week. So we put it all in one place, mapped everything out, and are giving you a behind-the-scenes look at it all.

We have a main page complete with all of our ILP countries mapped out + some FAQs we’re sure you want the answers to. On the map, you can easily click into each country and read more about how things are looking: everything from opening borders, potential flights, visa policies, schools reopening, and what travel could look like. 

We recently finished up the Fall 2020 semester with a group in Montenegro and Ukraine. After careful consideration, we've decided it's time to reopen a few more programs for the Spring 2021 semester as well — there will be groups in Montenegro, Ukraine, the Dominican Republic, Uganda, and Costa Rica. Right now we're making updates on our COVID-19 information page regarding the upcoming Summer 2021 program, but we’ll be changing and updating the information for the Fall 2021 semester in the coming months, and for future semesters after, if needed. You’ll want to keep an eye on that page, which we’re updating weekly. 

We’ve been working so hard behind-the-scenes to help figure out what life is looking like for our countries around the world and when we can have ILP semesters again  — and we are so excited to share all of this hard work with you. We hope it’ll help answer some major questions and keep you more informed about the countries you already love.

Check it out here.


Romania's Switch To Green!

June 7, 2021 

Have you taken a peek at the latest update for Romania? We've switched things over to green ... and couldn't be happier to be sending volunteers here for the Fall semester.  Like all of our countries, we've been watching things carefully, but in Romania, we have the added layer of restrictions surrounding the Orphanage. Many of the children volunteers are working with are very high risk which made it a bit more difficult than other countries. However, over the past few months, things were looking really good. Romania has one of the top vaccination campaigns in Europe, infection rates are decreasing, and the nation is just now allowing visitors from the United States (which was an obvious hang-up). 

Then there are the updates from the Orphanage, which will be allowing fully vaccinated volunteers to come back for a semester of serving — something that hasn't happened since the spring of 2020. It's an update that has everyone from the orphanage staff to those in the ILP office smiling. 

We are currently accepting applications to Romania for Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Summer 2022, and Fall 2022! Apply here to snag your spot. 

There are a couple of other stipulations about the semester that you'll want to read about on our Covid-19 Updates page, where we have a detailed breakdown of all the components we're watching for each of our countries. 


More Countries Are Opening For Vaccinated Tourists!

May 28, 2021 

We are seeing more and more countries opening up their borders, allowing tourists, and restructuring the restrictions that have been in place for more than a year. And for the most part, many countries are not requiring a negative Covid-19 test or quarantine for travelers who have been vaccinated. Places like Greece, Iceland, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, Belize, Croatia and others are just a smattering of the countries that are now open for vaccinated travelers. 

There are also more updates for those wanting to go to Europe this summer. In May and April, there have been talks about Europe opening up for vaccinated Americans. The official reopening date hasn't yet been announced, but things are looking good for early June, especially since other countries (like Greece and Spain) have started opening up before the rest of the EU. We're thinking that will happen in the next week or so, but we'll be posting about it here when it does! 

The trend definitely seems to be allowing vaccinated travelers to a list of countries that is only getting longer — just one reason why we're recommending volunteers receive their vaccination before their semester abroad.  

Read more here and get a map of what's open now and what's open soon.


Romanians Can Get Their Vaccine At Dracula's Castle

May 18, 2021 

This month, visitors to the famous Dracula's castle in Brasov, Romania have the chance to visit for free, after they get their Covid-19 vaccine. Every weekend in May, the country is hosting a 'vaccine marathon", inviting locals to the picturesque city to get their shot, a vaccination diploma, and a waived entry fee to go explore the 14th-century castle. The campaign pulls from the vampire legend surrounding the castle, with posters that feature vampires with syringes instead of classic fanged teeth. Romania is one of the countries in Europe with a very successful vaccination effort, which is only boosted with this clever campaign. The first weekend, hundreds were vaccinated, which is few steps closer to reaching the nation's goal of vaccinating 5 million residents by June. 

We are very happy to see successful vaccination efforts in this country and are feeling particularly hopeful about volunteers returning to Romania once vaccinated Americans are allowed to travel the EU. 

Read more here. 


It's Departure Time!

May 13, 2021

There are several ILP groups heading out for their Summer 2021 semester, to some of our favorite tropical countries. We can't wait to see what the semester will be like for our groups in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic! It's been so fun to see groups arriving in Mexico, Ukraine, and Thailand the past couple of weeks, and are gearing up for our remaining groups to leave in the next few days. By next week, all of our groups will be out for the 2021 summer semester. It's very exciting to see so many volunteers abroad this semester, after not being able to host programs for the summer semester last year. 

As always, you can see what our volunteers are up to on the ILP takeover account, where groups take turns highlighting their city, giving info about how teaching is going, how vacations work, and more. If you're eyeing a certain country, it's a good way to get an insider's look at what it's really like to volunteer there. 


Thailand volunteers have arrived!

May 5, 2021 

We're very happy to share that our group of volunteer teachers has arrived in Thailand for their Summer 2021 semester! Thailand is just one of the countries that are getting a group of volunteers this summer — we are also sending groups to Ukraine, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua. Volunteers for these programs have either already arrived, or are getting ready to depart in the next week or so. So exciting! 

Currently, ILP has a few programs in Thailand, found in the northern portion of this country. While we were able to have our paid program teachers remain in-country since the pandemic broke out last spring, the visa situation and length of our volunteer program meant hosting volunteers here wasn't an option for a few semesters — until now. As a very popular country for our volunteer program, hosting volunteers in this particular location is a happy update that we've been carefully watching and waiting for. 

Want to see what our Thailand volunteers are up to? You can keep an eye out on our Takeover Instagram account, where volunteers who are currently abroad over the summer will be posting about their experiences. You can get a glimpse at what teaching is like, how volunteers are spending their time, how vacations are working, and more, all from their point of view. For more information, you can also visit our Covid-19 Updates page, which carefully details several subjects and specific components of what we are watching in each of our countries. 


Where Are Our Summer 2021 Volunteers Going?

April 29, 2021

After a successful Spring 2021 semester in Central America, Europe, and the Caribbean, we are happy to announce we will continue sending volunteers to these locations, with the addition of a couple more countries for Summer 2021 — Mexico and Thailand! Departures are already getting started with our Ukraine group who recently arrived in-country, and countries like Thailand heading out at the end of the week (with more countries departing in early May). We're excited to see our volunteers dive in and start teaching, exploring, and crossing off adventures on their to-do list. We are hopeful the countries available for our Summer volunteers will be options for Fall 2021 as well, and are crossing our fingers a few other countries we've had to wait on will open up soon.

As always, we have monitored many factors closely to arrive at this decision. You can refer to our COVID-19 website for a detail-oriented breakdown of some of the factors we consider before sending volunteers to a location for their ILP adventure. 

Learn about the status of each countrhere.


Europe Is Opening Up For Vaccinated Americans

April 26, 2021 

Americans who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 may be allowed to visit their favorite European countries this summer! After restricting US tourists for months, it's a happy update we've been looking forward to. Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, announced that vaccination by an approved dose "will enable free movement and the travel to the European Union" for tourists. The European Union has approved each of the three vaccinations available in the US: Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. 

There are still some details that aren't yet decided, like when it will be an option or what travel will look like — some countries may have different regulations and rules required for travelers, but the decision to open the European Union is a sign things are moving in the right direction. 

Just earlier this month, Greece has reopened to tourists after a 14-month closure. As it stands now, those who have been vaccinated at least 14 days ago can arrive without a quarantine, while those who haven't must provide a negative PRC test taken within 72 hours of arrival. It's also worth noting that similar to the United States, there will be restrictions to follow while traveling Europe if current parameters are still in place. Things like wearing a mask while in public, modified hours for shops and parks, and take-out options for some restaurants are all things you'll probably run into when traveling Europe, at least for the first few months. 

After months of restricted borders, we're so excited to see countries opening up for travelers in a safe way. 

Read more here and here.


Have Your Vaccine? Come Get A Free Krispy Kreme Donut Every Day Of The Year

April 22, 2021 

Every day until the end of the year, you can take your vaccine card to any Krispy Kreme store and get a free donut — sounds like a pretty sweet incentive! Your vaccine card just needs to show one or two shots of any Covid-19 vaccine to qualify and needs to be shown in any US location of the popular donut chain. "We all want to get COVID-19 behind us as fast as possible and we want to support everyone doing their part to make the country safe by getting vaccinated as soon as the vaccine is available to them," said Dave Skena, Krispy Kreme chief marketing officer. Those who have not yet been vaccinated (or are making the personal choice to avoid vaccinations) can receive a free glazed donut and a free coffee on Mondays, beginning March 29th to May 24th. 

Read more here.


Where Can Vaccinated Travelers Visit?

April 9, 2021 

After borders closed down last year, countries began reopening with different requirements on how to safely allow visitors back. For those that are allowing visitors, most require a quarantine and/or proof of a negative Covid-19 test. However, now that vaccines are available, a few countries are allowing visitors to skip the test and the quarantine if they show they have been vaccinated. Countries like Belize, Iceland, Romania, the Seychelles, Slovenia, and others are allowing vaccinated travelers to bypass current restrictions like proof of a negative test or a quarantine, all by showing their vaccination card. 

Before approval, some countries have a time limit as to when you were vaccinated or the type of vaccine you received, but this trend is seemingly gathering speed with more and more countries considering a "vaccine passport" for entry. It's anticipated that this policy will be accepted by ILP countries and favorite vacation destinations, which certainly opens up travel opportunities for future semesters. With more and more US states now allowing those over the age of 18 (or 16) to be eligible for the vaccine, we are recommending anyone applying for Summer 2021 or future semesters to get the Covid-19 vaccination as soon as it is available. 

Get a full list of countries open for vaccinated travelers, here.

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