Health & Safety
Health & Safety FAQs
At TGP, the health and safety of our participants are our top priorities. Here’s how we ensure it:
- Supervision: Our trained and professional TGP staff, faculty, and guides will supervise participants throughout all planned activities, including classes, discussions, site visits, meals, and capstone project facilitation.
- Preprogram Orientation: Prior to the start of each program, all participants are required to attend a mandatory preprogram orientation. During this session, we review health and safety protocols, emergency procedures, and important guidelines
- Certifications: At a minimum, our guides hold certifications in First Aid/CPR, and we encourage them to be certified in Mental Health First Aid, ensuring they are well-equipped to handle various situations.
- Guidelines and Regulations: We adhere to U.S. State Department and Center for Disease Control guidelines in program destinations, as well as local laws and regulations.
- Emergency Response: In case of emergencies, we have a comprehensive Emergency Crisis & Response Plan in place to ensure the safety and well-being of all participants.
👀 See our Health and Safety Guidelines & Parent Resource Hub
Below you will find the most frequently asked questions regarding the health and safety of our programs.
Site Visits & Outdoor Activities
We take every precaution to ensure the safety of our participant’s during site visits and outdoor activities.
Our commitment to safety includes the following measures:
- Trained Staff: Your child will be accompanied by our highly trained and experienced staff members and guides during all activities and site visits. These individuals are well-versed in the specific program itinerary and destination, and they are skilled in managing various situations that may arise.
- Strict Adherence to Safety Protocols: Safety protocols and guidelines are not merely suggestions but strict requirements that are enforced consistently throughout the program. These protocols cover areas such as transportation, group dynamics, behavior expectations, and emergency procedures.
- Risk Assessment: Before each activity or site visit, our staff conducts a thorough risk assessment to identify potential hazards and take appropriate preventive measures. This includes evaluating the suitability of equipment and ensuring participants are adequately prepared.
- Emergency Response Planning: We maintain a well-defined Emergency Crisis & Response Plan, which includes procedures for immediate medical attention, evacuation, and communication with emergency contacts in the event of an emergency. Our staff is trained to implement this plan swiftly and effectively.
- Supervision: Participants are under constant supervision during all activities. Staff-to-participant ratios are carefully maintained to ensure that everyone receives the attention and guidance they need.
- Local Knowledge: Our staff and guides possess local knowledge and are familiar with the destinations. This ensures that they can navigate the area safely and provide valuable insights to enhance the learning experience.
- Safety Briefings: Before each activity or site visit, participants receive safety briefings to inform them of potential risks and safety measures to follow. This empowers them to be active participants in their own safety.
- Continuous Monitoring: Our staff continuously monitors the participants’ well-being and behavior, intervening when necessary to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all.
We are dedicated to providing participants with a secure and enriching environment during their TGP experience with our commitment to safety.
Each of our program destinations is visited and vetted extensively before any program. To keep up to date on the safety of each country, our office is enrolled in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. STEP is offered through the United States Department of State which allows US citizens traveling abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest US Embassy or Consulate. We receive important information from the embassy about safety conditions in the program destinations. The US Embassy contacts us about emergencies such as natural disasters, civil unrest, or other situations that concern travelers. Participants can also enroll in this program by going to this website: https://step.state.gov/step/
The US Department of State also has resources about travel and safety for students studying abroad from the USA: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/before-you-go/travelers-with-special-considerations/students.html
- Road/Transportation Safety: TGP hires professional, third-party bus drivers, and rents the vehicles from insured transportation companies. Weather is monitored consistently and participants will not travel by road transport in the event of a storm where a road has been closed by the local authorities for safety reasons.
- Outdoor Activities (i.e. hiking): Our professional guides will always check the weather conditions, prepare the participants to wear appropriate gear, and inform others of the team of our hiking location and plans. The group will always stick to marked trails, practice “Leave No Trace” principles, be mindful of potential hazards such as loose rocks or sudden changes in weather, and carry a map, communication, and GPS device.
- Geothermal Hot Springs & Hiking (Iceland): Hiking near geothermal hotsprings can be a unique and breathtaking experience, but it is important to prioritize safety to ensure a successful and enjoyable trip. The following protocol should be followed to ensure a safe and secure hike:
- Pre-visit preparation: All visitors must complete a health and safety questionnaire and provide identification prior to their visit. Any medical conditions or disabilities should be disclosed.
- Preparation: Before embarking on your hike, TGP’s guides research the trail and its conditions, including any potential hazards and recommended gear. The weather forecast is checked and participants are prepped to pack appropriate clothing and supplies, including items such as plenty of water, extra layers, and waterproof hiking boots.
- Guides: Professional and knowledgeable guides, must accompany the group at all times while providing information about the trail to help participants navigate the area safely.
- Personal Protective Equipment: Wear appropriate clothing and gear for the trail conditions, including sturdy, non-slip footwear, and consider wearing gloves for protection.
- Awareness of the environment: Be aware of your surroundings, including any geothermal features such as steam vents, mud pots, and hot springs. Observe all posted warning signs and do not approach or touch any hot or boiling water.
- Trail Etiquette: Follow the established trail and avoid cutting switchbacks or creating new trails. Leave no trace by packing out all trash and respecting the natural environment.
- Emergency procedures: In the event of an emergency, several guides are on-site with the group and carry a phone. Other local team members are informed of the planned hiking route and expected return time. Guides know basic first-aid and are prepared to administer it in an emergency.
- Hiking in Peru: Hiking in Peru can be an amazing experience, but it is important to take certain safety precautions to ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable trip. Here is a safety protocol for hiking in Peru
- Plan your route ahead of time: Guides will research the trail you plan to hike, including its length, difficulty level, and any potential hazards. Participants should consult with local guides for up-to-date information about the trail conditions.
- Pack appropriately: Bring proper hiking gear, including sturdy hiking shoes, a hat, sunscreen, and plenty of water. Pack a first aid kit, extra food, and warm layers in case of unexpected changes in weather.
- Hiring a local guide: Professional local guidse who are familiar with the trail and the local terrain are supervising the group at all times. A guide can provide valuable information about the trail conditions and can help you navigate any potential hazards.
- Stay on the trail: Stay on marked trails to avoid getting lost or injured. Avoid shortcuts, which can be dangerous and damaging to the environment.
- Be aware of altitude sickness: If you are hiking at high altitudes, be aware of the symptoms of altitude sickness, such as headache, dizziness, and shortness of breath. If you experience any symptoms, rehydrate, and descend to a lower altitude.
- Avoid hiking alone: TGP does not permit participants to hike alone. It is safer to hike with a partner or a group. If you do hike alone, make sure someone knows your route and expected return time.
- Respect local customs and laws: Be respectful of the local customs and laws. Do not leave trash on the trail or disturb the natural environment.
- Check weather conditions: Guides will check weather conditions before starting your hike and be prepared for sudden changes in weather. Groups will avoid hiking during heavy rains or storms.
- Carry a communication device: Guides will carry a communication device, such as a cell phone or a satellite phone, in case of an emergency.
- Be prepared for emergencies: Guides are trained on how to use a first aid kit and are prepared to administer basic first aid. In case of an emergency, call local emergency services or your embassy for assistance.
By following these safety protocols, you can help ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable hiking experience in Peru.
- Glacier Hike (Iceland): The following protocol is followed for a safe glacier hike excursion:
- Preparation: Before embarking on the hike, guides research the trail and its conditions, including any potential hazards and recommended gear. Check the weather forecast and pack appropriate clothing and supplies, including plenty of water, food, a first-aid kit, and a map.
- Guides: Professional and certified glacier guides, must accompany the group at all times while providing information about the trail to help participants navigate the area safely.
- Personal Protective Equipment: Wear appropriate clothing and gear for the trail conditions, including sturdy, non-slip footwear and crampons, and consider wearing gloves for protection. Glacier guides carry safety equipment such as
- Harness with a locking carabiner
- Glacier crampons
- Ice axe
- Glacier rope
- Crevasse rescue equipment
- Awareness of the environment: Be aware of the unique hazards of glacier hiking, including crevasses, melting ice, and slippery surfaces. Observe all posted warning signs and follow established trails.
- Emergency procedures: In the event of an emergency, glacier guides carry a phone and have informed other team members of their planned route and expected return time. Guides know basic first-aid and are prepared to administer it in an emergency.
- Glacier Hiking Skills: Participants are trained on how to use the equipment and glacier safety before the glacier hike to ensure that they have the necessary skills and experience for glacier hiking, including proper crampon technique. Glacier crampons and harnesses are provided for each participant, and mandatory to participate on the glacier hike.
- River Rafting and Zip-lining in Peru: White water rafting and zip-lining in Peru can be a thrilling adventure, but it is important to take certain safety precautions to ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable trip. Here is a safety protocol for white water rafting and ziplining in Peru:
- Choosing a reputable operator: TGP works with reputable operators with experienced guides who are trained in safety and first aid.
- Wear appropriate gear: Wear appropriate gear, including a life jacket (for rafting), harness (for ziplining), helmet, and appropriate footwear. Make sure that the gear fits properly and is in good condition. The operator will provide all safety gear.
- Attend a safety briefing: Attend a safety briefing before embarking on your excursion. The briefing will cover safety procedures, potential hazards, and how to respond in case of an emergency.
- Listen to your guide: Listen to your guide and follow their instructions at all times. They are trained to keep you safe and will provide guidance on how to navigate the river and zip-line course.
- Stay in the raft (Rafting): Stay in the raft at all times and hold on tightly to the raft’s handles. If you do fall out of the raft, try to float on your back with your feet pointed downstream and try to swim to the nearest shore.
- Avoid dangerous areas: Avoid dangerous areas, such as rocks, overhanging branches, and other hazards. If you get stuck in a dangerous area, try to free yourself or signal for help.
- Be prepared for emergencies: Guides know how to administer basic first aid and be prepared to respond in case of an emergency. Guides will carry a first aid kit at all times.
By following these safety protocols, you can help ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable white water rafting experience in Peru.
- Geothermal Hot Springs & Hiking (Iceland): Hiking near geothermal hotsprings can be a unique and breathtaking experience, but it is important to prioritize safety to ensure a successful and enjoyable trip. The following protocol should be followed to ensure a safe and secure hike:
- Visiting a Facility or Renewable Energy Power Plant: The following protocol is followed to ensure a safe and secure visit:
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Visitors must wear the appropriate PPE, which includes safety glasses, hard hats, high visibility jackets, and non-slip footwear. Visitors must also wear the PPE provided at all times while on site. Some facilities have a multi-media exhibit which is open to the public and does not require PPE to enter.
- Induction: Visitors will receive a safety induction before the start of the tour, covering emergency procedures, site-specific hazards, and prohibited areas.
- Guided tours: All visitors must be accompanied by an authorized site guide at all times. The guide will lead the visitors through the site, highlighting important safety information and answering any questions.
- Prohibited areas: Visitors are not allowed to enter any restricted or hazardous areas without permission.
- Emergency procedures: Visitors must follow the emergency procedures outlined during the safety induction. In the event of an emergency, visitors must remain calm and follow the instructions of the site guide.
By adhering to this safety protocol, visitors to a renewable energy power plant can ensure a safe and enjoyable experience while learning about the exciting world of renewable energy.
All breakfasts, lunches, and dinners are included on the program (there may be exceptions on arrival or departure days). Most of our meals are locally and sustainably sourced and many are served family-style. We accommodate vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, and gluten-free diets and cater our meals to participants’ dietary or health needs. Participants will have opportunities to shop locally for snacks in nearby markets. All meals are prepared with nutrition standards in mind to maintain energy and stamina throughout the program.
We recommend that participants see a doctor before the program to ensure they are in good health to participate. When participants register, we request medical documentation to alert us of any conditions (medical, mental, or physical) they have to inform our local team to ensure that they can provide adequate support during their adventure.
Students should feel comfortable walking and hiking up several miles. We encourage students to maintain an open mind about the various outdoor adventures and cultural experiences on the program. If participants are concerned that a condition would impact their experience, please reach out to our team during the registration process to address your concern and our team will provide suggestions and assistance.
Medical Facilities & Services Available to Participants (Iceland)
As a study abroad organization, we understand the importance of providing comprehensive medical support to our program participants. When it comes to Iceland, the country boasts excellent healthcare facilities and services, ensuring that our students receive top-notch medical care during their time abroad.
- Hospitals: Iceland has well-equipped hospitals located in major cities like Reykjavik, Akureyri, and Egilsstadir. These hospitals offer a wide range of medical services and specialties, including emergency care, surgery, maternity services, and more.
- Health Clinics: Throughout the country, you will find numerous health clinics that provide primary healthcare services, such as general check-ups, vaccinations, minor treatments, and consultations with general practitioners.
- General Practitioners: Students have access to general practitioners who provide primary healthcare services, routine check-ups, and consultations for various health concerns.
- Emergency Care: In case of a medical emergency, Iceland has emergency rooms (called “slysadeild”) available 24/7 in major hospitals. They are equipped to handle urgent situations and provide immediate medical attention.
- Specialized Care: Iceland offers specialized medical care in areas such as cardiology, orthopedics, gynecology, pediatrics, and more. Referrals can be made to specialists based on individual needs.
- Mental Health Services: Mental well-being is important, and Iceland has mental health services available, including psychiatrists, psychologists, and counseling centers, to support students’ emotional and psychological needs.
- Pharmacy Services: Pharmacies, known as “apótek” in Icelandic, are easily accessible in most towns and cities. They provide prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, and basic health supplies.
Insurance and Coverage: We require that all program participants have comprehensive health insurance coverage. It must cover medical expenses, emergency medical evacuation, and repatriation. This ensures that particiapnts can access medical services without financial concerns.
Additionally, it is important to note that Iceland is part of the European Economic Area (EEA) and has a reciprocal healthcare agreement with other EEA countries. Students from EEA countries can use their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or equivalent to access necessary healthcare services. Non-EEA students should check if their home country has a healthcare agreement with Iceland or arrange appropriate travel health insurance.
Overall, Iceland provides high-quality medical facilities, services, and a well-established healthcare system to cater to the needs of study abroad participants. We encourage all our students to prioritize their health and well-being and seek medical assistance whenever required.
Medical Facilities & Services Available to Participants (Peru)
As a study abroad organization, the health and well-being of our program participants is a top priority. When it comes to Peru, the country offers a range of medical facilities and services to ensure that students have access to quality healthcare during their time abroad.
- Hospitals: Peru has modern hospitals in major cities like Lima, Cusco, Arequipa, and Trujillo. These hospitals are equipped with advanced medical technology and offer a wide range of specialties and services, including emergency care, surgery, obstetrics, pediatrics, and more.
- Clinics and Medical Centers: Throughout Peru, there are clinics and medical centers that provide primary healthcare services, routine check-ups, vaccinations, and consultations with general practitioners.
- General Practitioners: Students can consult with general practitioners for non-emergency healthcare needs, general check-ups, and minor illnesses or injuries.
- Emergency Care: In case of a medical emergency, Peru has emergency rooms (known as “urgencias”) available 24/7 in major hospitals. These facilities are equipped to handle urgent medical situations and provide immediate care.
- Specialized Care: Peru has specialized medical services in various fields such as cardiology, orthopedics, gynecology, dermatology, psychiatry, and more. Referrals can be made to specialists based on individual needs.
- Mental Health Services: Mental health support is available in Peru, including psychiatrists, psychologists, and counseling services to address students’ emotional well-being.
- Pharmacy Services: Pharmacies (“farmacias”) are easily accessible throughout Peru, and they provide prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, and basic health supplies.
Insurance and Coverage: We require that all program participants have comprehensive health insurance coverage while studying abroad in Peru. This insurance must cover medical expenses, emergency medical evacuation, and repatriation. It is essential to verify coverage for healthcare services in Peru to ensure students can access medical care without financial concerns.
Additionally, it is advisable for non-Peruvian students to familiarize themselves with the healthcare system and any specific requirements. They should check if their home country has a reciprocal healthcare agreement with Peru or arrange appropriate travel health insurance.
Overall, Peru has a well-established healthcare system with modern medical facilities and services available to program participants. We emphasize the importance of maintaining good health while abroad and encourage students to prioritize their well-being and seek medical assistance whenever needed.
In the event of an emergency while on the program, a member of our team will assist participants in seeking medical attention as needed. Participants should always let their program leaders know of any serious medical conditions at the beginning of the program. Clinics and hospitals are accessible to participants if they request medical attention. Several of our guides are trained in first-aid and mental health first-aid. TGP also has an Emergency Action Plan in place in the event of an emergency.
The GREEN Program requires every participant to have travel health insurance. We require that, at a minimum, participants are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation throughout their travels. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment, loss of luggage, and personal effects. When traveling on a program, participants will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of medical insurance and the insurance company’s 24-hour emergency contact number has been seen by our team. If participants have credit card insurance, TGP will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank’s name and credit card details. Please contact the bank for these details prior to arriving in-country. Participants have had positive experiences using World Nomads for comprehensive travel health insurance. If participants book their flight through StudentUniverse, they also have the option to purchase insurance.
Participants are responsible for obtaining any necessary vaccinations prior to travel on our program as recommended by the CDC. We also recommend that participants schedule an appointment with a doctor to make sure they are in good health for travel. Learn more here: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list.
COVID-19: In order to protect the health and safety of our students, team, and local communities we serve, TGP is following travel recommendations and guidelines set forth by the Center of Disease Control (CDC) which recommends that all travelers are fully vaccinated before travel. Accordingly, all TGP participants who are traveling to a program destination will be required to provide proof of vaccination a minimum of 14 days prior to the program start date in order to participate.
The GREEN Program staff will have access to all participants’ flight information and will provide transport to and from the airport to the program accommodations as long as participants arrive within the prescribed arrival windows. Participants will receive the contact information of TGP staff before their program begins, and they are welcome to share the information with their guardians and parents. Participants will receive directions on where to meet their GREEN Program guides at the airport a few days before the start of the program. In the event that program participants are on the same flight or arriving early, they will be connected through email one week before the program begins.
In response to the ongoing COVID-19 or coronavirus outbreak and the possibility of further travel restrictions, our team will be offering continuous support and modified program schedules to help students who are attending our programs. Please read below for our company-wide updates and policies regarding any specific program changes due to the coronavirus for our programs.
If a program is affected by COVID-19, students have the option to
- Switch to another TGP program at no additional cost, or
- Receive a full program credit for a future program
Continue to stay updated with the situation with advice from the CDC.
In order to protect the health and safety of our students, team, and local communities we serve, TGP is following travel recommendations and guidelines set forth by the Center of Disease Control (CDC) which recommends that all travelers are fully vaccinated before travel.
TGP is closely monitoring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and in communication with our global partners. All of TGP’s updates regarding the coronavirus will continue to be shared with our university partners and students as well.
Students can access the latest COVID-19 entry requirement information on the CDC’s or Department of State’s website. As your program approaches, entry requirements will be updated in your student portal, and our team will be in regular contact with students to provide support prior to departure.
Our goal is to deliver an exceptional experience and want to ensure safety to the best of our ability for our students, team, and local communities. TGP’s Health & Safety Guidelines: Standard Operating Procedures for Travel (COVID-19) can be seen HERE.
For questions, contact our team at [email protected] or call us at +1 (215) 821-0935 (Monday – Friday, 9:30 AM – 5 PM ET).
While participants are abroad with us, they will have access to wifi at the university and the accommodations of their program. Most participants use WhatsApp, email, or social media to keep in touch during their time away from home. Participants are welcome to look into international phone plans and/or chips if they are interested. If program activities will be in a non-wifi area (i.e. camping), the guides will inform participants before the activity. We recommend that participants notify guardians or family to avoid any worries. Guides will have access to emergency communication in the event of a situation.
Participants will receive the contact information of the program guides about a week before the program begins through email. In the event that you cannot reach participants or program guides, you can contact the TGP HQ team at +1 (215) 821-0935 or by email at [email protected].
GREEN Programs are run by our specialized teams who are local residents and professionals in the host destination. Our professional guides have years of training and experience, share similar interests with our participants, and are passionate about sharing knowledge of their home country. GREEN guides all strive to provide transformative experiences through the power of education and travel. The diversity of personalities and skill sets on our teams guarantee a unique level of immersion. The ratio of faculty/staff to participants on TGP programs varies between 1:5 and 1:10, with specialty guides brought on for unique excursions (i.e. glacier hikes). Guides are trained in first-aid and mental health first-aid, and they are local residents of the host country.
Each of our program destinations, facilities, accommodations, activities, universities, guides, and partners are visited and vetted extensively before any pilot program or itinerary change. Most accommodations are shared with other TGP participants and consist of a mix of guest houses, hotels, and dormitories. Our team is selective with the housing selection process to ensure that participants are in a safe environment with a touch of local culture and natural landscape to be their home away from home.