International Programming Outlook
Although responsible international travel is not yet possible, we remain cautiously optimistic that collective efforts around the globe will bring greater understanding of COVID-19 and ways to better mitigate the associated risks in time for scheduled 2021 international programming to proceed. Here are some reasons why we remain hopeful and a few likely travel scenarios to consider for the coming year.
Our Programs are Dynamic
With small groups and robust community networks across the globe, we are able to think creatively and adapt to new realities. We have done this successfully throughout our 28 years of operations and can continue to do so in this unprecedented time. Small groups, knowledgeable instructors, and strong local support allows us to stay ahead of risks as they emerge and design dynamic programs that fit within the new local and global COVID-19 norms.
We Work in Over 15 Countries
With expertise in a variety of regions and locations, if programming is untenable in any one country, we can more easily re-route to a different area should the need arise. Each country where we operate has a distinct recovery trajectory that needs to be uniquely considered. Many countries have responded quite aggressively to the pandemic and have effectively minimized the outbreak early on, meaning that on-the-ground conditions can vary greatly.
The World Needs to Re-Connect
While it is hard to currently imagine, it’s not a question of if this global health crisis will pass, but rather when. And once it does, the need for an immersive and empathetic global education will be greater than ever. We hope that the current trend towards isolationism can be transformed into a reality of fostering increased connection and compassion as we collectively recover from this pandemic.
Scenarios for 2021 International Programs
1. Run international programs with limited modifications
Our preferred plan is to run international programs with very limited modifications. For this to happen, important criteria for re-opening programs will need to be met. These include the re-opening of international travel to the country and the granting of visas to our travelers. In addition, global and country-specific travel health advisories would need to be lowered. This would likely result from significant decreases in COVID-19 transmission both in the US and other regions where students are traveling. Events that could facilitate this possibility would be an increased understanding of the disease, adherence to restrictions and social distancing guidelines, changes in acceptable risks, widespread testing & contact tracing, and the development of a vaccine. We anticipate that these changes will emerge differently on a country-by-country basis. In all cases, Dragons would make decisions that prioritize community, instructor, and participant safety above all other considerations.
2. Run international programs with significant modifications
Our secondary option is to run planned programs with more significant modifications to account for COVID-19 risks, local ordinances, and new cultural or social expectations. The most likely modifications under this option would be a 2-week quarantine upon arrival and elimination of high interpersonal contact activities on course. If in-country travel is not recommended, or simply not allowed, we may modify a program to be based primarily in one location, as opposed to traveling between regions. This option may involve an adjustment to the start and end dates of a program, as well as the group size. In addition, we may need to cancel some programs while running others depending on country specific conditions. If we are required to consolidate courses, we would work to accommodate students from cancelled programs on other courses.
3. Cancel international programming
Should international travel still not be feasible in 2021, we would need to cancel some or all of our international courses. In this unfortunate scenario, all students would have the options to:
- Transfer their enrollment to a future program.
- Receive a refund in-line with our Updated Refund Policy