Here’s how language learning abroad looks during COVID-19
This year hasn’t quite been what anyone imagined. With the unprecedented challenges arising from COVID-19, we’ve all had to adjust to a “new normal”. Even if you’ve had to rethink your plans this year, with borders reopening and protective health measures in place, it’s possible to start exploring again.
Your journey may look a little different than usual, but with a few adjustments, you can still embark on an unforgettable adventure. Here’s what you need to know about learning a language abroad during COVID-19.
1. Be flexible
As with any trip, planning is imperative. However, with current ever-changing landscapes, it’s just as important to stay flexible. Once you’ve settled on a destination, keep up-to-date with local health regulations there, as well as in your home country.
We’ve been thinking on our feet for 55 years. This summer, our staff around the world, helped ensure that our students’ dreams kept coming true. From successful courses and camps run throughout the summer, to online-classes and socially distanced graduations – our flexibility and focus on safety helped us ensure that learning never stopped.
2. Prepare before and during travel
Before you head out on your trip, there are a few things to take into consideration and prepare for. This will ensure that your journey goes as smoothly as possible, so you can relax and enjoy the ride.
Most importantly, keep an eye on your own health. Do you have any unusual symptoms or have you been in contact with anyone who has been infected with COVID-19? If so, stay home and, if you’ve booked with us, reach out as soon as possible so we can help you amend your plans. Make sure to take a COVID-19 test while you’re still at home, so you can present these results to us before you depart.
Arriving at the airport a little earlier than usual will give you some valuable wiggle-room. Social distancing measures mean that queues and regular checks can take longer than before. Many airports and airlines will also be performing temperature checks on all passengers and security may be slower than usual with new procedures in place.
Sanitize, sanitize, sanitize
Make sure to wash your hands regularly and always keep hand sanitizer close by throughout your time at the airport and while you’re on the plane to your destination. Most airports are well-equipped with sanitizing stations, but keeping disinfecting wipes with you in your hand luggage is also helpful for wiping down tray-tables and arm-rests.
Always use a face mask
You should use a protective face mask during your time at the airport, as well as onboard the plane, which is currently required by most airlines. This ensures the safety of all passengers, as it’s not always possible to maintain the required physical distance when flying.
Make sure you bring enough face masks (disposable or reusable) with you for at least the first week of your stay.
Plan post-airport travel
Don’t leave any leg of the journey up to chance. Ensure that you know the route you need to take from the airport to your final destination. Planning ahead also means you can avoid peak-times or crowded routes on public transit.
If you book a transfer with EF, you can rest assured that our partners are sanitizing their vehicles daily and that the driver will be wearing a face mask.
3. When you arrive
It’s vital to follow the official advice given by the World Health Organization. No matter where you’re traveling to, it’s important that you take certain details into consideration. At any EF destination, your school and accommodation will be in compliance with local health regulations and WHO guidelines.
This includes requiring students to present a negative COVID-19 test, masks on campus, sanitizing stations, increased frequency of cleaning and social distancing. You can find out more about the measures we’re taking in schools and read about our Safe Learning Guarantee here.
4. Start at home
Keen to get things started from home before you travel? There are plenty of things you can do to kick-start your language learning. Why not start studying from the comfort of your couch? Supplement with some educational free English podcasts or YouTube channels and spice things up with some Netflix classics and you’ll be well on your way.
You can even get excited for your travels by experiencing a few global hotspots virtually before you depart. Not sure which destination strikes your fancy? Take a virtual trip around the world via Instagram. The possibilities are endless!
5. Look ahead
Despite how it may feel at the moment, this won’t last forever. While it’s of the utmost importance that you take your own health and that of others seriously, it’s also essential to look forward to the experiences that lie ahead – and there truly is so much to look forward to.
Remember that a language course is about more than learning the language – it’s also about living it. Studying a language abroad allows you to truly experience a brand new culture and to meet fellow international students to make memories with.
There’s a whole world out there to discover and it’ll still be waiting whenever you’re ready to step out and start exploring again.
If you’d like to go on a language trip abroad and have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
_“I decided to go abroad with EF because I simply needed a change. At the same time, the Corona pandemic came, so longer trips and backpacking options were not relevant. I came up with the idea that I could go to Germany and finally bring my school German to life. Studying abroad during the Corona pandemic was not an obvious choice, but I got a lot of help from EF who continuously updated according to the situation. The road here may not have been the most typical, but today I am so glad I am here!”
_Camilla from Sweden, EF Munich