About Us:

Safety & Support

Our commitment to your
international experience

Our programs are the product of 55+ years of excellence in cultural exchange, educational travel, and language learning. We are fortunate to have the experience, the global presence, and the partnerships to navigate these uncertain times—so whether it’s a delayed flight, a lost passport, or a worldwide pandemic, EF has the resources to handle it all. Here are some of the measures we take to provide peace of mind for our travelers and their families.

When you need us most,
we're always close

With the largest worldwide network of in-country experts and support teams trained to assist you in times of need, EF’s global presence is truly unmatched—and we don’t just work in those countries, we call them home! That’s right, EF staff live and work in every one of our destinations, meaning that we have the local knowledge to keep our groups safe and you’ll have friendly faces nearby to offer a helping hand.

Our Safety & Incident Response team is available 24/7, plus we have a network of industry experts, healthcare professionals, and government personnel who liaise with local embassies, government authorities, and health providers; additionally, your Tour Director, Gap Year Advisor, and EF’s Global Emergency Support Team are trained to support you throughout every step of your journey.

Your global
support network
Gap Year Consultants

Our incredible Gap Year Consultants work with students and their families plan their dream EF Gap experience, whether that’s a Short-Term, Semester, or Year program.

Consultants will help students determine whether a gap is the right fit, discuss their dream destinations, and understand their unique gap goals before beginning to plan a life-changing, custom gap program.

Additional responsibilities include collecting information like allergies or diet restrictions, collaborating on funding plans and discussing fundraising, communicating housing choices, and making a plan (if needed) for college deferral.

At the end of the enrollment period, our Consultants with connect with their students’ assigned Gap Year Advisor to ensure a smooth transition from the planning process to the program stage.

Gap Year Advisors

Each EF Gap Year student is be paired with a dedicated Program Gap Year Advisor, who will serve as a mentor and main point person within EF going forward. Our Gap Year Advisors also work with their students to set goals prior to departure, chart their progress while on-program, and measure their learning outcomes at Wrap-Up.

Our Advisors are in regular contact with travelers (and their families!), providing one-to-one support to ensure an excellent experience.

Local Guides & Field Directors

Our Local Guides & Field Directors provide students on-program with authentic, immersive experiences in iconic international destinations. These individuals are all part of EF’s global network, and their role is to look after all on-program logistics, schedules, and the general welfare of the group while conducting walking tours and visits to cultural sights, providing a local perspective, and making appropriate suggestions for free time activities that enhance the program’s educational content.

Program Operations

Unlike other gap organizations, we insist on overseeing all aspects of our programs ourselves: our Program Operations Team works behind-the-scenes to create our life-changing programs, collaborating with partners around the world to ensure that our students’ EF Gap Year experiences meet our strict standards.

Their role encompasses researching and selecting destinations that offer meaningful cultural exchange and beneficial learning opportunities for both participants and their hosts. It also includes developing hands-on learning opportunities for each program module based on our G2PA method that produce concrete outcomes and, at the same time, offer unforgettable experiences that are engaging and fun.

We have dedicated Program Operations staff in our Zurich and Boston offices, with additional support from EF staff on-the-ground in 115 countries.

EF Safety & Incident Response Team

This team is available to our travelers 24/7 and trained to support students in times of crisis. You can count on these experts, who work with a network of healthcare professionals and government personnel, to oversee proactive operational welfare measures and provide aid to students all over the world—whatever the circumstance, whatever the hour, EF will be there to answer to call.

Our people are your people

We collaborate with like-minded partners and organizations that support our commitment to experiential education and safety; in doing so, we are able to facilitate meaningful interactions and provide support to the local communities our students visit. We also partner with a global network of local, expert Tour Directors to best represent the cities, countries, and cultures our students visit.

Meet your dream team

Travel with

From booking and planning to pre-departure, time on-program and post, EF Gap Year is here to help! We look forward to partnering with students and their families throughout their EF Gap experience. From the accommodations and unique itineraries we offer to our commitment to ensuring their health and wellness of our students and our expansive, international network of staff, this is EF and that’s the EF difference.

Accommodations, activities, & destinations
Accommodations & learning environments

While specific measures vary across program modules and locations, all accommodations and learning environments will have enhanced protocols. When you are touring, your hotels will practice enhanced cleaning measures, such as frequent cleaning of common areas and guest rooms between customers. If you are in a homestay, your hosts will follow mandatory local hygiene guidelines.

EF student residences will follow enhanced hygiene, cleaning, and social distancing protocols. Apartment accommodations will be thoroughly cleaned between guests.

Activities during the program

Activities on the program or specific excursions may be adjusted based on local conditions and developments. We continuously work with our local partners such as tourist sites, hotels, restaurants, schools, NGOs, conservation habitats, and internship host companies to prioritize our travelers’ safety.

Examples of program adjustments may include itinerary changes, smaller group sizes, avoiding crowded locations at peak times, alternate excursions or activities, special precautions when working with children at our service locations, and modified internship responsibilities in order to follow local guidance and recommendations.

How does EF decide where to travel?

Before students begin their journey, we tap into our EF Global Safety Network to consider guidelines released by the U.S. CDC, the World Health Organization, and the U.S. Department of State; meanwhile, our 24/7 Emergency Service team and Safety & Incident Response Team closely monitors each destination across our itineraries to identify potential risks, infection rates, healthcare accessibility, and local regulations. We then review each country to assess any border restrictions, local policies, and standards to ensure that students can make the most of their experience abroad.

Our Gap Advisors stay in close contact with students before their program; if we do need to change an itinerary before departure, students will have a two-week window to decide whether to continue with the altered program or receive a full refund. Similarly, if a program needs to change while a student is already on the road, they can decide to continue or return home with a prorated discount based on the remainder of the program.

Health & wellness

In March of 2020, we were able to bring our EF Gap Year students home from all across the globe. We’re proud of the efforts of our tireless team, who worked throughout the night to secure our travelers last-minute flights home.

Today, our students’ health and well-being continue to be our top priority. In addition to following guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and both local and federal authorities around the world, we are actively innovating new worldwide standards for cleanliness and safety. In fact, EF has earned the World Travel & Tourism Council’s Safe Travels stamp—the world’s first-ever global safety and hygiene stamp for Travel & Tourism, designed specifically to address COVID-19 and similar outbreaks.

We require all travelers follow guidelines around masking and other precautions on tour when required by local law, other relevant authorities, or at the direction of their Tour Director or EF staff.

EF COVID Care Promise

If a traveler is diagnosed with COVID-19 or required to quarantine on account of COVID-19 while on program, EF will provide or arrange for the following, at no additional expense to the traveler, throughout the duration of any on-tour quarantine period:

đź’™&nbspLodging and meals
đź’™&nbspSupport and coordination with local authorities on the student’s behalf
đź’™&nbspConnection with local health care providers
đź’™&nbspTranslation services
đź’™&nbspCommunication between the traveler and their family back home
đź’™&nbspFlights home, if needed, for the traveler (once cleared to return)

Predeparture preparations

It’s important that our travelers are healthy before they begin their program and take the best possible precautions to stay healthy during their program. Travelers are expected to sign our Safe Traveler agreement 14 days prior to departure and comply with both those guidelines, as well as all local guidelines and regulations, throughout the program. See the current version of the agreement here.

We recommend travelers bring their own personal hand sanitizer and multiple reusable face masks for use throughout their gap program; currently, travelers who have been vaccinated and/or recently recovered from COVID are not exempt from wearing masks.

All EF Gap participants should closely self-monitor their health throughout their program. Should you feel ill on the program, your Tour Director, Gap Advisor, and EF Global Emergency Support team are trained to support you.

We could talk about safety all day

Want to take us up on that?
Connect with a Gap Year Consultant today.

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