Health & Safety

Staff and support network

Our staff take on many roles as program coordinators. They act as a mother, father, older sibling, best friend, nurse, therapist, court jester and teacher. But their most important role is that of a safety net for our participants. 

Our programs allow our participants to experience world travel through fresh eyes with the security and know-how of a seasoned traveler at their side. Here are just a few of the steps we take to ensure this safety net is in place throughout the program:   

  • It is required for all our Program Coordinators to have spent at least 3 months living in and traveling through the region in which their program is running. In addition to this they must have spent at least 1 year living abroad, and visited at least 10 countries for a minimum of 2 weeks in each.

  • Our staff all have First Aid training and go through customized crisis management training for each of the locations in which they will be on-program.

  • Our staff always live within a 30-minute walk from our participant’s accommodation, and usually live in the same accommodation/building. They’re available 24 hours a day for our participants should they need them, throughout the entire length of the program.

  • In addition to our own knowledge of the regions in which our programs run, we have an extensive support network of local suppliers, agents, and advisors in each location, accumulated from both previous time on programs in that region and the personal travel experiences of all Edumadic staff.

Location selection

Each location that we include as part of our programs is subject to a rigorous selection process that includes evaluation of:

  • Safety, specifically with regards to disease, crime, weather, and nature. 

  • Availability of appropriate accommodation

  • Accessibility and local transportation options

  • Number and quality of enriching experiences in the area

  • Warmth of the local populace to tourists

  • Speed and reliability of the internet, and availability of appropriate study spaces

  • Weather and seasonality

Conclusions about each aspect are a summation of our research into recommendations from national government departments (e.g. U.S. Department of State), independent online resources (e.g. Nomadlist.com), our support networks (e.g. local suppliers and agents), and our own personal travel in the region.

All of the host countries of our currently available programs are ranked safer than the United States by the Global Peace index.

  • Portugal (3rd safest)

  • Hungary (21st)

  • Spain (32nd)

  • Costa Rica (33rd)

  • Indonesia (41st)

  • Thailand (116th) 

  • United States (128th)

Accommodation

As with our location selection, our accommodations go through a thorough vetting process. We consider:

  • The safety of the neighborhood, e.g. level of crime, amount of night time activity, and socio-economic status of neighboring residents

  • Proximity to the group’s necessities such as study spaces, daily activities, restaurants, and transportation. 

  • Accommodation facilities. Some facilities are prioritized over others, depending upon availability. Including but not limited to:

    • Air conditioning

    • Communal areas

    • Desk space

    • High-speed Internet

    • Kitchen facilities

    • Ensuite facilities

In some cases, participants may be split between different accommodations (which may vary in facilities and standard), although they will never be staying alone. At a minimum, all participants will have their own private bedroom and have access to a bathroom shared with no more than 4 other participants. They will also be within 30 minutes walking of all other participants and Edumadic staff.

We always ensure we have stayed in the accommodation we have chosen for a location before the program to ensure it is up to our standards.

Crisis Management

All of our staff are subject to comprehensive crisis management training which is customized for each of our locations. This training ensures they know how to react in the event of a general crisis (such as an injury to a participant) as well as those specific to the location in which they are on-program (such as an earthquake in Indonesia). 

Our staff are equipped with local hospital and other emergency services information, have general travel insurance claims experience, and will always accompany participants to medical facilities for treatment if requested.

What to do in an Emergency:

Participants

  • Notify one of your on-program staff immediately of the emergency stating clearly:

    • What the emergency is

    • Where it happened

    • Where you are currently located

    • Who is involved

    • Action you have taken in response to the emergency

    • What assistance you need from the on-program staff

Family

  • If you are concerned for a participant of our programs, please call or email your contact at Edumadic with:

    • The name of the participant you are concerned for, and the program they are attending

    • The reason for your concern

  • In the event that you cannot reach your Edumadic contact or your child, send an email to emergency@edumadic.com where senior staff members of the Edumadic team will receive alerts across multiple time zones and can act quickly. This service is for true emergencies ONLY.

Insurance

We require all of our participants to carry the appropriate travel insurance in order to be covered for the style of travel they will experience on our programs. In most cases, your primary insurance provider in your home country will not provide adequate or appropriate coverage. 

Participants will not be allowed to join our programs without providing confirmation that sufficient travel insurance is in place. 

At a minimum, a travel insurance policy must cover participants for:

  • Overseas medical expenses for sudden illness or serious injury: up to $100,000

  • Emergency medical transport & repatriation: up to $200,000

  • Low-risk adventure sports and activities; non-manual and manual work, study, and volunteer experiences.

We strongly recommend acquiring travel insurance through our partners, World Nomads, who we use for our entire staff and have been recommending since our inception. 

We have researched many travel insurers on the market and trust that World Nomads is one of the best in terms of comprehensive cover and value. 

There are many other insurers available who meet our criteria. No matter what insurance provider you choose, it is your responsibility to ensure you have read the fine print of their policy to be clear on what you are and are not covered for. 

You should expect every insurance company to follow their policy to the exact word and will take any opportunity to deny a claim. It is therefore paramount that you are thoroughly informed. 

Arrival and Orientation

Participants are met at the airport arrivals lounge by a member of the Edumadic team, who will also escort them to our accommodation. We will be in contact in advance of each participant’s departure from their home country to re-confirm their flight schedule and ensure that they know which member of staff will be meeting them. Staff will have a sign with the Edumadic logo, and the name of who they are picking up for easy identification.

Once the whole group has checked in at our accommodation, there will be a brief in which Edumadic staff will share location specific information regarding:

  • Safety:

    • Location-specific concerns and procedures

    • Emergency numbers (police and ambulance)

  • Amenities

    • Groceries, gyms, restaurants, laundry, ATMs. These are all listed on our own customized maps which we install on all participant’s phones.

  • Accommodation

    • Facilities, supplier contact, specific terms of use, Edumadic staff location

  • SIM cards

    • We provide (for free) local SIM cards to all participants with adequate data packages to last them for the duration of our time in that location, meaning they are online and contactable 24/7

Transportation

Our multi-location programs require transport between locations. In most cases, this transportation is simply private transfers from our accommodation to the nearest airport, a flight, and transfers from the destination airport to our accommodation. Transport between locations is always 100% included in the program fees and organized by Edumadic.

In some rare cases, transport between locations can be more complex, requiring overnight stays in locations other than those listed for the program and/or taking alternative transport (trains, buses, coaches). Any location we stay overnight in is subject to the same vetting process as our program locations. 

Alternative transport is selected with safety as the premiere consideration. Our on-program staff will always be traveling with our participants when these rare cases do occur, using the same transport, and staying in the same accommodation.

For worried parents

We understand that for many parents, seeing their children traveling and living in unfamiliar countries can be very concerning, especially if they themselves do not have much international experience and their children haven’t traveled abroad before. 

Hopefully the below will help ease your anxiety:

  • No news is good news

    • Consider time zone differences. On many of our programs, most of the day when you are awake our participants will be asleep, and vice versa.

    • There will be times when your child does not have cell service, has run out of battery, or is having the time of their lives and may forget to check their phone for 24 hours.

    • We will be in contact with you immediately if something happens that you need to be made aware of.

  • This is going to be one of the most formative experiences of your child’s life. There is no better way for your child to grow than outside of their comfort zone. No matter your child’s starting point, through this experience they are likely to become more:

    • Open-minded

    • Empathetic

    • Capable of navigating the world

    • Self-aware

    • Confident

  • Millions of young adults backpack and travel the world every year and return unscathed. 

    • Our participants get to enjoy the amazing experience that traveling is, but with the guidance and support of seasoned travelers at their disposal. The chances of them falling victim to the typical mistakes that new travelers make is reduced significantly because of this.

  • Research other traveler’s experiences in these countries and specific locations. A simple Google search of “is it safe to travel to x” will help quell your fears. And consider that the likelihood of a negative experience being documented is far greater than a positive and/or uneventful one.

  • Register your child’s trip with the government of your home country (for example STEP for US citizens). By providing dates and countries of travel, you will be alerted to any major breaking news that could potentially affect the trip and therefore, your child. It provides an extra layer of security that may help ease your mind.

Health

Please ask yourself the following questions and make sure the Edumadic team is aware of any personal challenges or concerns that we can address before the start of your program.

Do you have any pre-existing medical conditions?

  • We suggest you inform Edumadic of any and all pre-existing medical conditions so we can make an evaluation of whether these will significantly impact your participation on our programs. 

Are you taking medication or have you recently stopped taking medication for a long term illness?

  • Ensure that you have an adequate supply of any prescription medication you are taking for the duration of the program as it is likely that you will not be able to access it while abroad.

  • If you’ve recently come off medication for an illness, consider whether you might need to begin taking that medication again while abroad, should your illness return. Speak to your doctor about the possibility of getting a prescription to cover you in this eventuality.

Do you have any mental health considerations?

  • Consider that finding yourself in a new environment, geographically, culturally, and socially, may put pressure on your mental health and/or exacerbate existing conditions.

  • Our staff is understanding of and sensitive to these individual pressures, but it is important to note they are not mental health professionals and will call on healthcare professionals to intervene if required.

Do you have specific dietary restrictions?

  • Please notify Edumadic of any dietary restrictions for advice on whether this will be manageable in the locations you are visiting.

Am I physically fit enough to make the most of the program?

  • Many activities on our programs will require a baseline level of physical fitness to enjoy to the fullest.

  • Day-to-day living in our locations may also require you to be comfortable walking around our neighborhoods. If you are unable to walk 30 minutes without stopping or inducing significant physical pain (from a pre-existing injury for example), please notify Edumadic so we can advise whether this will be manageable in the locations you are visiting.

What unique health considerations should you take for the locations you are visiting?

  • Edumadic will inform you of any unique considerations you should take in our locations. Unique is defined as those you wouldn’t otherwise take in normal life in North America or Western Europe.

  • Consult with your doctor for any required or recommended vaccinations based on the program location(s) and your personal health needs.

Are there any local laws that may affect the management of my mental and physical health?

  • Laws of note include:

    • The possession and consumption of marijuana

    • Availability of contraception and other family planning methods

Edumadic Code of Conduct

The Code of Conduct addresses the commitment of Edumadic to the honesty, integrity and ethical behavior of all participants and staff members affiliated with Edumadic. 

Edumadic programs are uniquely designed to bring diverse groups of participants together to live, study, and explore with one another. The Code of Conduct is an agreement to treat each person with respect and tolerance in order to create a safe, and welcoming environment.

We expect all participants and staff to act with the values of respect and tolerance in mind when interacting with each other and the world at large. As you travel with us and/or work with us, you are representing yourself, your home country, and the Edumadic community. 

Anti-discrimination, harassment, and violence

Acting with respect and tolerance means that your actions must be free from discrimination, libel, slander, harassment, or violence. We prohibit the discrimination of any kind against people on the basis of their age, race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, disability, or any other statuses protected by applicable laws.

You are responsible for your own actions. You are expected to alert the Edumadic staff whenever an illegal or unethical act is witnessed or suspected. If you believe you are being harassed or discriminated against for any reason, please contact your on-program Edumadic program leader.

Additionally, any potentially dangerous situation must be reported immediately to the Edumadic staff. Law enforcement, security, and/or emergency services should be contacted if you believe there is an imminent threat.

Alcohol and drug use

Edumadic is committed to providing you with safe experiences within a safe environment. Experienced staff are in place to reduce risks, but everyone on an Edumadic program (participants and staff alike) is an adult and expected to make responsible decisions and avoid behavior that is likely to cause danger to yourself or to others.

We will not monitor nor tell you what your drink limit should be, but we ask that you make smart decisions about your personal alcohol use.

The use of illegal drugs violates the law. Every participant is subject to the local laws in each country we visit, which are often of greater consequence than the laws throughout North America and Western Europe. 

*The term “drug” as used in this Code of Conduct includes the improper use of prescription drugs, marijuana, illegal inhalants, illegal drugs and/or other controlled substances.

For both participants and Edumadic staff, if your actions cause a threat to you or others, or if you participate in behaviors that violate the Code of Conduct, you may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including removal from the Edumadic program or dismissal (staff).

Assumption of liability

Edumadic assumes no liability for any behavior that breaches this Code of Conduct, including, but not limited to, violence, harassment, sexual assault, and/or the use or abuse of alcohol and/or drugs. 

If you participate in or instigate behaviors in breach of the Code of Conduct, Edumadic reserves the right to contact local authorities, contact your emergency contact, and/or take any other steps deemed necessary to maximize your safety and the safety of those around you. 

Edumadic participants who violate the Code of Conduct will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including removal from the Edumadic program or dismissal (relating to staff violations).

The Code of Conduct and its contents may be modified and changed by Edumadic at any time. 

Issue Date: July 2019