COVID-19 + Current Updates

What ILP programs have opened back up? Are volunteers abroad right now? Are you taking applications?

If you’re asking these things, you’re not alone! We have multiple countries that are currently open (and have been for a while), but wanted to have this page to answer some of the most frequently asked questions we are getting about an ILP semester right now. 

Are there currently volunteers abroad? What countries are open? 

Yep! We currently have active programs in the majority of our locations —

There are full-time teachers in both Taiwan and Thailand as well, as part of the Professional Teaching program. It’s similar to our volunteer program because you’re helping children learn English using the ILP method, but you’re employed by the schools and there are certain requirements (like having a degree). 

At this time, our program in Lithuania is still on pause because of factors relating to the pandemic, and our Ukraine program is on pause due to the Russian conflict. We are watching things closely and are hopeful we’ll be able to reopen in the very near future. You’re welcome to include these countries as places that you’re interested in when you apply, and we’ll let you know if things open up by the time your semester starts!

Do I need to be vaccinated for my semester? 

Our policy on vaccines has always been to leave the decision up to you when we can, but some countries do require travelers to receive particular vaccinations.

For the Covid-19 vaccine, it is required in most of our locations that volunteers be fully vaccinated prior to departure. Several of our program locations began requiring the Covid-19 vaccine once it became available, and as of late 2021, it became required for most ILP volunteers, in all ILP countries. Currently, the exception is for volunteers heading to Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica where the vaccine is recommended but not required.

It’s important to remember that each country is handling Covid differently, with their own CDC equivalent (other nations do not follow CDC guidelines, which is a US agency). For some countries, a vaccine card is currently required in order to board your flight to your destination, and other locations have begun requiring that you show your vaccine card before entering public locations such as stores and schools, or before using public transportation. In some teaching locations, it is necessary to be vaccinated to work with children. 

Another thing to consider is the ever-changing policies in other countries. Entry/exit procedures and requirements can vary wildly, with sudden changes that can severely impact or completely restrict your semester if they change and volunteers are not vaccinated. Restrictions are sometimes taken away for a couple months and then put in place again, with little to no warning. 

We are closely watching each country to see when and if we can remove the vaccine requirements, but for the time being, ILP volunteers must be vaccinated prior to their ILP semester for all locations except for Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Costa Rica.

What are the restrictions for each ILP country? 

In general, we are seeing similar restrictions for each location — things like wearing a mask in some public spaces, social distancing, and some limitations like take-out instead of in-person dining (and a curfew) when cases are high, are pretty much seen in every country we are sending volunteers to. 

However, some countries have different regulations, like mandatory testing (even if you’re vaccinated) before teaching, showing proof of vaccination before participating in some activities, or a mandatory quarantine upon arrival, depending on the current number of cases. Some locations have transportation limitations and mandatory virtual learning if there is a spike in cases. Others have specific insurance requirements. 

It is important to remember that these circumstances can change frequently and with little warning. All ILP volunteers will be informed in detail about the current Covid-19 situation in their country just before departure. 

All ILP volunteers should be prepared to follow local regulations and restrictions for their semester. You can learn a bit more about each country’s current Covid situation here.

Can I travel to other countries during my semester?

Probably yes, but it does depend on several factors (like border requirements, visa restrictions, etc). Covid-19 has resulted in increased travel restrictions and we’ve had several semesters following the pandemic where volunteers were only allowed to travel within their country (but don’t worry, there was still more than enough to see and do!). We’ve seen those restrictions lightening up though and many countries are welcoming travelers again. It’s also important to note that the country you’re volunteering in might not require proof of Covid-19 vaccination, but countries you may want to vacation in may.

Border policies are frequently changing and it takes a bit of research to know if it’s possible to travel to certain countries. We’re happy to help during your semester to determine whether a particular location is an option or not, but these resources are a great place to start: Sherpa and IATA. They provide or direct you to information on current requirements for where you’re intending to travel. Things are changing frequently so it’s hard to know for future semesters, but this allows you to see what’s possible now.

It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on our ILP Instagram. There you can see what vacations volunteers are currently taking, which might be possible during your semester as well.

How many cases of Covid does my country have? 

We put together the number of active cases (per 100,000 people) for each of our ILP countries, as well as numbers for the US so that you can get a feel for what those numbers mean in comparison — you’ll notice that the US is reporting the highest numbers.

These numbers are according to the country’s estimate. Yes, we realize this depends on accurate testing and reporting, and the numbers for many countries are not particularly reliable. Reported cases are just one of the factors we’re considering when it comes to opening a country for a semester. Some of these country numbers are more reliable than others, but actions like closing borders right away have proved to be an important factor in keeping numbers as low as possible. We’re also in close communication with our in-country contacts who are able to provide some perspective and insight for us on a local level.

The chart below looks at current, active cases per 100,000 population, as well as the highest infection rate in that location. Note that you can move the slider around to view more countries.

*Country numbers are sourced from March 1 data reports, as available.

*India’s highest infection rate is currently unavailable. Nicaragua’s infection rates have been unreported since April 2022.

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Play around with the map to get a quick overview, or you can click on these links below to go directly to each country’s page to find specifics on that location.

Country Color Key
Green : Everything is looking really good to fall into place for the Summer 2022 semester (All currently have volunteers there for the Spring 2022 semester).
UkraineCosta RicaNicaragua, Thailand, Romania, Mexico, and Dominican Republic

Blue : Things aren’t set yet but we’re getting closer and optimistic that things will be ready before Summer.
Montenegro and Uganda

Yellow : There are still a couple of things holding us up but we’re hopeful they’ll happen by the Summer.
 Lithuania, Russiaand Vanuatu

Updates + Announcements
Did you know we relay news articles about things happening around the world that may affect our programs? Check it out here!