What are the benefits of traveling as a group?
By forming a group, AmeriSpan is able to customize excursions and activities to meet the specific requirements of your group's participants. We will happily arrange airfare and other services that are unavailable to individual participants.
Why should I choose AmeriSpan to organize my group?
AmeriSpan provides comprehensive leader support, acting as your partner throughout the planning process. From day one, we are involved in every step of the way. AmeriSpan's group programs allow for great flexibility, giving you the opportunity to customize the program any way you wish. Each group will receive a detailed schedule of classes and activities. AmeriSpan will work with leaders to choose the most convenient payment plan for their group. That's the AmeriSpan Advantage.
How do I build a group?
The key is to start early. Decide where you want to go, what you want to do and when. AmeriSpan will calculate the cost and give you a group itinerary. Then it is up to you to get the word out at school, church, family reunions, soccer games or anywhere where you think people will be interested. Upon request, AmeriSpan will list your group on our website so people around the country can join your group as well.
How many people make up a group?
AmeriSpan considers any 5 or more people who register and travel together in any existing program a group. AmeriSpan requests at least 8 students for ready made and customizable programs. In the case of our SALUD Programs, 3 students who register for an existing SALUD program are eligible for the group discount.
How do I choose my location?
There are lots of things to consider when planning for a group. Most importantly take into account who the participants are and what will make them feel comfortable. If your participants feel at ease and enjoy their surroundings, your life as a group leader will be much easier. Consider interests, goals and concerns, weather and time of year, available activities, safety, and travel costs.
How and when do I register my group?
First, make sure all prospective participants have an application form prior to the due date you have selected. If you need to download an application, you can do so here: Group Program Application (pdf).
Please send all group application forms to AmeriSpan together. Registration consists of submitting a completed application form for each participant and the non-refundable registration fee. The registration fee for group programs without airfare is $100 per person and for group programs with airfare is $200 per person. You may send group applications via postal mail, fax, or email.
To insure a space at an AmeriSpan Group Program, it is important to register as far in advance from your desired start date as possible, especially for summer programs. Four months prior to departure is the recommended minimum.
What do parents need to know?
It is important that you share as much information as you have with parents. It helps them feel at ease with sending their child to a foreign country. Provide parents with their child's program confirmation, host family details, country fact sheets, permission forms, and any other sheets provided my AmeriSpan. The more parents know upfront, the less time you will spend answering questions.
When are the fees and payments due?
When registering your group, each participant must pay the $100 non-refundable registration fee ($200 with airfare.) The final payment is due to AmeriSpan no later than 6 weeks before your program start date. If AmeriSpan is arranging you airfare, that portion of the fee may need to be paid 8-10 weeks in advance due to airline regulations.
How are final payments made?
Group leaders can choose to make payments by which ever method that is most convenient. Students may send payments directly to AmeriSpan; leaders may collect individually payments and send them to AmeriSpan; or a group may send one payment for all participants. Payments may be made with personal check, money order, VISA, MasterCard and Discover.
When are classes scheduled?
Each school has its own schedule for class times. Most offer sessions in the morning and the afternoon, especially in the summer months. In open groups, class schedules are given on site, based on the results of the students' placement tests. For a small fee, some schools will guarantee your group a specific time preference.
How are host families chosen?
Each host family is selected by the school after completing a rigorous application process. This is similar to a job interview. The family must meet the school's high standard before they can accept students into their homes and they must agree to all of the school's rules and guidelines. Each family is required to provide students with basic necessities including a bed with the appropriate lines, pillows, a desk with a lamp, clean drinking water, all meals provided with the program, and of course plenty of interaction. Keep in mind, most host families provide students with more than the minimum required. Periodic visits are made to the home to ensure things are kept at a suitable level.
How will my students' classes be determined?
Unless a student is a total beginner, a written test is given the first day at school. The test lasts approximately 20 minutes. This allows us to evaluate our participants' language skills and helps place them in the correct classes. Some schools also conduct an oral exam for a more thorough assessment.
As a leader, do I need to send in an application form?
Yes, all members of the group need to send in an application. Even if you are not taking classes, AmeriSpan will need you to provide the required information on the application form.
Can I have different lodging than my students?
Yes, leaders can choose any lodging option that is available in his/her program location. In additional to homestays, many locations also offer apartment or residence options. If you prefer a hotel, AmeriSpan can check availability upon request.
What about language classes for me?
As a leader, you may feel you do not want or need language classes and that is ok with AmeriSpan. We can easily include you in accommodation and activities without classes. Many schools can handle advanced levels in group classes or if you prefer, we can arrange private lessons or special topic classes where available.
What do I do if there is an emergency while we are traveling?
AmeriSpan offers a 24 hour Emergency Message Service. If you cannot reach home and it is an emergency, call us from anywhere and we will relay the message to your family and/or your participants' families. Conversely, if a family can't contact someone during an emergency back home, they may call us 24 hours a day, dictate the message and we will relay the message to the participant.
What do I do if my school administration has questions?
AmeriSpan wants every party involved to feel comfortable with your experience abroad. We are happy to provide any material (syllabus, photos, etc) the administration requests and we are willing to speak directly with them if necessary.
What documents are needed for travel?
All participants will need a valid passport and some will need a visa for entry. In addition, some countries require a notarized letter from parents granting permission for the child to travel outside the country. Requirements change often so it is best to contact the country's embassy or consulate and find out exactly what is needed. Sample forms are available from AmeriSpan.
What is the best way to let parents know the group has arrived safely?
For group programs, AmeriSpan recommends that leaders set up a phone chain using the students at home contacts for the quickest and easiest way to keep everyone informed. You can download a copy of the phone chain here: