Our Path Forward

A message from our Executive Director

Our Path Forward

It has been almost a year since COVID-19 changed everything for virtually everyone on the planet. It really is incredible how the human drive to survive and thrive despite difficult circumstances has been evident in all of us. The human spirit is most definitely an incredible thing to witness. I think one of the most difficult aspects of the pandemic has been our restricted access to face-to-face human contact. At Xperitas, our mission of transforming lives through shared global experience and intercultural learning has for the past 49 years been accomplished by bringing individuals from diverse cultures together, face-to-face, to learn from one another.  

In our heart of hearts, we know – the virtual adaptations that we have all been forced to make over the past few months will not, in the long run, replace the in-person, face-to-face relationships that are so integral to our physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Our teachers, students and parents tell us that this is certainly the case in education, and the Xperitas team has felt it to be the case in our work and personal lives as well. The experience that Xperitas provides to our travelers, a deeply authentic and transformative language and cultural immersion experience, is one that comes to life face-to-face. We are certain that when the day comes that we can travel again safely, Xperitas will be more prepared than ever to provide travelers with an unforgettable, unmatched immersive experience.  

Here is our commitment to you: 

You can trust our unique perspective and unmatched expertise of nearly 50 years in the educational travel industry. 

While the COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented event in our recent history, Xperitas has adapted to many significant world events and their impact on international travel since its founding in 1972. Our organization has survived travel disruptions and come back stronger than ever, thanks to the founders’ well-established and enduring focus on being a self-sustaining, mission-focused non-profit organization.  

You can take advantage of our virtual offerings to continue teaching language and cultural competency in your classroom.  

Even though currently we are waiting to decide on the feasibility of Spring and Summer 2021 travel, we are looking for other ways to support our teachers and their students in finding activities that strengthen their linguistic and cultural competency. With the help of our staff, in-country partners, and Family Stay Coordinators from around the world, we have compiled a series of target-language videos for use in your Spanish, French or German classroom, highlighting the countries we travel to and the languages spoken there. These videos are available free of charge to all interested language teachers. Just send us an e-mail requesting access to info@xperitas.org.  

We have also hosted amazing virtual conversations between students and members of the indigenous communities Xperitas partners with around the globe. We plan to expand these virtual offerings for Community Partnership Programs that are unable to travel this year, so that the long-standing relationships we have with our community partners continue to deepen and grow despite the circumstances that prevent traveling into these communities. For more information, please contact Brooke Marchewka, Director of Community Partnership Programs at brooke@xperitas.org.  

You don’t need to worry when it comes to our transparent payment and cancellation policies.  

Shortly, we will begin the enrollment period for all our 2022 programs, and we have adjusted our 2021 and 2022 payment and cancellation policies so that teachers, students, and parents can enroll with confidence, knowing that we have significantly extended the period during which a full refund can be obtained. In addition, we have gone to great lengths to ensure that our payment and cancellation policies are explicit and clearly explained, so that parents and students are aware of when a non-refundable financial commitment is required and what the coverage details are of the medical cancellation insurance policy included with all of our programs, specifically as relates to COVID-19.  Although we cannot mitigate all financial risk for our customers, we are committed to being transparent and precise with the information that we provide, so that travelers can make the best decision for themselves. 

Your health and safety while traveling is our top priority. 

Even more important than mitigating financial risk is making sure that our teachers and their students remain safe and healthy while traveling. Even when CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and US State Department travel restrictions are lifted, Xperitas will implement policies related to COVID-19 and air travel, in-country touring, and The Family Stay Experience™ that will provide for the safest travel experience possible for our teachers, students and the communities that host them. Since last January, we have been in constant communication with our partners and Family Stay Coordinators abroad so that we are aware of conditions in-country. Together, we are planning for 2021 and 2022 travel under multiple scenarios and developing an effective and nimble approach to health and safety while traveling abroad. 

As Xperitas begins its 50th year in the educational travel industry, we are grateful to our founders for establishing a legacy of sustainability and stability, even in the face of disruptive world events. We look forward to reaching a global solution to the COVID-19 pandemic and are excited about traveling with you, whether that be in 2021 or 2022. In the meantime, we LOVE hearing from you, so please stay in touch. 

Warm regards, 

Leslie 

 

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