Update on our Exchange Programs - Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) – FAQs’
SEANZ has remained steadfastly optimistic throughout this ordeal believing that our exchange programs will go ahead as originally planned. Please understand that the reason we remain optimistic and the reason why we continue to plan our programs is because our global partners are still very excited to receive students from both Australia & New Zealand.
We are a dedicated and passionate team of staff who work towards a positive future where people can continue to experience different cultures, obtain international connections, and become understanding, empathetic global citizens.
We also know how exciting it is to look forward to departing on an exchange program, especially once our applicants have been formally accepted. Going on exchange is a once in a lifetime opportunity and we are doing everything we can to ensure our applicants can still fulfil their dream of departing on an exchange program in the future.
At this point in time, we feel the wisest thing to do is to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Clearly, the worst-case-scenario is that our programs will have to be deferred, and the best-case-scenario is that all travel goes ahead as originally planned.
I would like to assure you that our applicants will be able to travel but we may have to delay their departure once the borders open and the program can be provided in its entirety safely in their selected destination country.
Below we have put together some FAQs that will hopefully answer any questions you may have. You can of course contact our staff should you like to discuss anything further.
We sincerely hope that the government offers a clear plan of action that will allow us to make more concrete plans for our exchange programs. As we all know, one of the toughest aspects of this global pandemic is that the worldwide environment is continually changing. We will continue to monitor those changes and keep in touch with our applicants throughout.
ALTERNATIVES TO CONSIDER SHOULD YOUR PROGRAM BE DELAYED*:
- Option 1: If you are due to leave in July or August possibly consider delaying your departure to late September 2020.
- Option 2: Delay departure to January 2021
- Option 3: Delay departure to August 2021
- Option 4: If you are unable to delay your departure to a date in 2021, then you may want to change to a shorter 2 or 3-month program departing in October or November 2020
- Option 5: If you are unable to commit to a semester or year program departing in 2021, then you may want to change to the next short term program available for your destination country of choice.
- Option 6: Receive a voucher which can be redeemed within 18 months or can be transferred to a sibling or friend.
*Please note that in all cases, please check with your Program Manager for the next available departure dates for your destination country of choice.
- If I choose to go on a shorter program, will my fees be reduced accordingly?
A: Yes, your fees will be adjusted to reflect the difference in pricing structure between programs and you will not be charged a change fee.
- If I choose to delay my departure will my program be shortened?
A: No, we will work with our partners around the world to make sure that your program duration is not shortened.
- I would like to go on a shorter program, but this is not currently offered by the host country – what are my options?
A: Speak to your program manager as many partners are willing to offer shorter programs during the year to suit your needs. You may also consider an alternative host country or an alternative program.
- Can I receive a Voucher for monies paid to be used at a later date?
A: Yes, if you do not wish to select an option then you will receive a Voucher which can be redeemed within 18 months of the program deferral date. If your Voucher is not redeemed within 18 months then you can apply to receive a cash refund as outlined in our refund policy. The amount received will be determined based on the date you received your Voucher.
- Can I transfer my voucher to a sibling or friend?
A: Yes, if your child no longer wishes to go on exchange the voucher can be transferred to a sibling or friend.
- If the program will not go ahead as scheduled and I am unable to select an alternative program, will I receive a refund?
A: Yes, you will receive a Voucher which can be redeemed within 18 months or which can be transferred to a sibling or friend. SEANZ is following the travel law principles issued by the ACCC. Consumer Rights information can be found at: https://www.accc.gov.au/consumers/consumer-rights-guarantees/covid-19-coronavirus-information-for-consumers#travel-cancellations-and-changes
- Can SEANZ defer my program?
A: As stated in section 16 of the signed terms and conditions, SEANZ reserves the right to make such alterations or modifications to the program as may be deemed desirable by SEANZ for the proper execution of the program.
- When will I receive the Voucher?
A: You will receive the Voucher within 10 working days of informing SEANZ.
- Will I have to gain permission from my Australian school to change my program?
A: SEANZ advises that you contact your school to discuss the proposed change in program.
- What if the school does not support the change?
A: The Student Exchange Program is an independent program. SEANZ advises that you liaise with your school to address any concerns they may have. Our program managers maybe able to assist you in this regard by contacting the school directly.
- What if my new flight is cancelled?
A: Flight cancellations are the nature of international travel. If your flight is cancelled, normal airline procedures will take place and you will be booked on the next alternative flight.
- What if all 2020 International travel is cancelled?
A: If current travel restrictions do not permit international travel for the remainder of 2020 the next program departures will take place once the restriction is lifted.
- Can I pause my payments until the program departure is confirmed?
A: Payments should be made in line with the Term and Conditions. Changes to the payment plan may compromise the program processing timeline. Please contact your program manager to discuss variation to your payment plan if your circumstances require.
- I am no longer comfortable to go to the country I originally chose - can I change programs and destinations?
A. You may have the opportunity to change your host country depending on the stage of your current application. Please contact your program manager to discuss what options are available to you.
- If my program is deferred to 2021 could the program price increase?
A: No, the program price will stay the same unless flight prices increase considerably in the future, which could mean a flight surcharge will be applied.
- What happens if SEANZ cancels the program?
A: In the unlikely event that SEANZ cancels your program. If the cancellation is due to ‘Force Majeure’ or due to government restrictions, we will provide you with a voucher as stated above. For further information on your consumer rights contact: https://www.accc.gov.au/consumers/consumer-rights-guarantees/covid-19-coronavirus-information-for-consumers
- What will my insurance cover?
A: Students are provided with personal accident and medical coverage, as well as travel, baggage, cancellation and public liability insurance while participating in the program. Natural parents/guardians should review the policy to ensure the cover is adequate for the student. Some exclusion for special or pre-existing conditions apply. A copy of the policy is available on our website https://studentexchange.org.au/downloads/
- Will my insurance cover COVID 19 related claims?
A: Your AIG insurance will cover you for medical costs relating to COVID-19. In regards to travel cancellation insurance, if you were accepted onto your program and paid your 1st instalment prior to 2nd March 2020 then each claim will be considered on its merits taking into account the individual circumstances of COVID 19, please contact the insurer AIG: 1800 017 682, firstname.lastname@example.org
If you were accepted onto your program and paid your 1st instalment on or after 2nd March 2020 you will not be covered for any travel insurance claim in connection with COVID-19.