Gotoco Camp China

Coronavirus Update, 24th February 2021

We are feeling optimistic—early indications show that the tide is turning against COVID:

  • The UK Prime Minister sensationally announced yesterday that Britain is now “travelling on a one-way road to freedom”
  • The new administration in the US is starting to get to grips with the pandemic there
  • Around the world, vaccines are clearly beginning to make a real difference

We are confident that, for many reasons, summer 2021 will be a fun one. But what does this mean for Gotoco?

Will the Gotoco programme go ahead in 2021?

Our partner programmes in China would love to welcome Gotoco’ers back in July-August 2021, and we are constantly working hard to make this possible.

While we remain optimistic, there are two major factors that could prevent this:

  1. Visas: China’s consulates/embassies are not issuing visas in countries that haven’t got COVID very firmly under control. As countries recover, it is expected that China will relax this policy. If your country has a lid on COVID, it is expected that you would be able to get a visa to join our programmes, and we will be there to support you through this process.
  2. Quarantines: even in areas that have COVID well under control, China is enforcing an extensive 14-21 day period of hotel quarantine on arrival. We wouldn’t expect to run our programmes at scale if extensive quarantines are in place in the summer. But, as China vaccinates its population, COVID passports come into use, and the world recovers, we expect changes to the quarantine periods. Policies are changing quickly and we are optimistic that Gotoco’ers will be able to visit China in the summer.

If these two roadblocks are resolved, and conditions are safe, our projects will go ahead. For this reason, we are currently accepting applications and plan to run our programmes at pre-COVID scale. If you want to get away and travel this summer, while developing your CV, then apply now!

We will keep working hard to make the programmes happen —we know how much everyone wants to get back to exploring the world.

What happens if Gotoco’ers cannot visit China in 2021?

We still expect our programmes to go ahead and will take a final decision at the end of May 2021 (although we aim to make an announcement earlier if possible!).

If you have applied and our projects cannot go ahead in the summer, then, as in 2020, we would offer you a choice:

  • Stay in our programme: those that remain with us would be able to roll their offer over to 2022 and gain access to our TEFL training this year for free. We are also excited to be offering a new personal and professional development course to support all Gotoco’ers into finding and preparing for the right career for them. This course and related opportunities (watch this space!) will also be made available to those that stay in our programme.
  • Withdraw from our programme: if the programmes cannot go ahead or you cannot visit China due to COVID, then you will be able to refund your commitment deposit (minus a small PayPal fee if it’s over 6 months since you paid your deposit—more info here). You would still be welcome to apply again in 2022, but would be at the back of a long queue of deferrees from 2020 and 2021.

Right now, you do not need to decide to cancel, nor should you be 100% sure that you can come. When it becomes clear if the programmes can go ahead or not, we will send you all the information you need—our final decision will come at the end of May 2021 (at the latest).

Hang in there!

We can’t wait to welcome Gotoco’ers to China again and for everyone to be able to travel, meet new people from all over the world, and get involved in exciting projects (offline!).

If the world is safe enough, we will do everything we can to offer a fantastic, fun, and well-supported adventure in China.

So please apply if you are interested. We hope to see you in China, soon…

Danny Parrott, Richard Lloyd, Lisha Tang

The Gotoco Team


Coronavirus Update, 2nd October 2020


Summary


  • Applications for summer 2021 now open
  • COVID-19 is under control in China and we expect international travellers to be welcomed safely into the country in 2021
  • Summer 2020 offers deferred to 2021 (deadline for confirming deferral is 15 March 2021)
  • We will keep you updated on COVID-19’s impact on summer 2021 programming throughout the year
  • Refundable deposits for summer 2021 give you immediate access to our online TEFL training
  • Refundable deposits are fully protected and you will be able to request a refund if COVID-19 disrupts your plans (as long as you have not completed your online TEFL certification, more info below)

All of us here at Gotoco would like to thank you again for your continued support and understanding over the summer during turbulent times as the world has tried to get to grips with the COVID-19 pandemic. As a new academic year begins, we want to provide you with clarity on our programmes for summer 2021 to allow you to plan for the year ahead.


Applications for summer 2021 are now open!


COVID-19 is under control in China and we were very pleased to see our partner camps and schools running programmes around the country in July and August to give children a much-needed break from online learning and to allow them to do fun activities in the summer months. Our partners very much missed welcoming Gotoco’ers though and can’t wait to see you all again in 2021!


While China’s borders are still closed to most international visitors, they have now opened for foreign nationals holding valid residence permits. We expect the borders to open for Gotoco’ers before summer 2021 and will keep working with our partners in China to make our programmes safe for you. We will keep you up-to-date on government announcements throughout the coming months and will ensure you have all the information you need every step of the way.


When you pay your refundable deposit for summer 2021, you will gain immediate access to our online TEFL training and can complete it and gain certification ahead of your trip to China. You can then use this certificate for teaching online to earn funds during the school year. When in China, you will then complete the offline teaching practicum to upgrade your TEFL to our full 120-hour certificate that you can use for jobs around the world.


Your refundable deposit is fully protected and if you are unable to join us in China in summer 2021 after paying your deposit and you have not completed the online TEFL certification, then you will be able to defer to summer 2022 or request a refund.


Please check out the FAQs below for more information.


All of us here at Gotoco hope you, your family, and friends are all keeping safe and well during the global pandemic. 


Best wishes,


Richard, Lisha, Danny, and all the Gotoco Team


FAQs


Load More




Coronavirus Update, 29th May 2020


All of us here at Gotoco hope you, your family, and friends are all keeping safe and well during this unusual and difficult period of global pandemic.  This is a challenging time for everyone and we appreciate your continued patience and positivity while we have been working to make our summer camps possible this year.


Summary


  • All 2020 summer offers automatically extended to summer 2021
  • Instant access to our TEFL training and certification for summer 2020 offer holders
  • Many summer programmes in China are going ahead following containment efforts there, but foreign nationals cannot enter China yet due to the on-going global pandemic 
  • Therefore, summer 2020 start dates are postponed until further notice (more detail on this and deposit return requests below)


All 2020 Summer Offers Extended to Summer 2021 + Instant Access to our TEFL Training and Certification!

At present, China has successfully contained the spread of COVID within its borders, while many countries around the world, including in Europe and North America, are sadly still struggling. As a result, China’s borders are currently closed to foreign travellers, meaning that it is very unlikely that Gotoco’ers will be able to join summer programmes before August at the earliest, despite our partners across China making plans for the safe running of their camps (see FAQ below for more information). To ameliorate this situation, we are now extending all Gotoco China Summer 2020 offers to 2021.

Moreover, so that everyone who has paid a deposit can receive the training they applied to us for, we have decided to offer Gotoco’ers access to our online TEFL training and certification course from today. This allows Gotoco’ers to gain an online TEFL certificate now, which you can use for online tutoring and for showing your skills on your CV. It also means all Gotoco’ers can rest assured that you have a guaranteed offer to join us in China in Winter 2020-21 (December-January) or Summer 2021 (June-September), if COVID-19 means you are unable or unwilling to travel to China this year. Please go to this form to access the TEFL documents.

As your offer is now guaranteed for summer 2021, you may wish to make other plans for this year and join us in 2021 instead, and we completely understand that. Your deposit remains valid for Gotoco summer programmes until October 2021, and you do not need to do anything at this point to confirm your deferral—your offer is automatically extended. However, as mentioned, you will need to first go to this form to access the TEFL documents.


We will notify you immediately if any programmes are able to go ahead in summer 2020, and you will be able to choose at that point if you would like to join the programmes this year or continue to wait until 2021. 


If you know you won’t be able to join us in 2020 or 2021 and want to withdraw fully from the programme now, you can do so on this link.


For more detail on all of this, please read the FAQs below.


Thank you all for your positivity and support


We have been very grateful for all your positivity and support during this very challenging time for everyone. Despite the difficulties that our social enterprise, our partners, and all Gotoco’ers are facing, as well as the global obstacles for in-person cultural exchange, our team is hopeful that positive developments will eventually come from this period of global struggle. You can read more on our hopes for social progress in our April Coronavirus update below.


We are also working to create more resources for all Gotoco’ers to help everyone in our community prepare for fun and fulfilling future careers and to take part in meaningful cultural exchange. We will let you know more about these resources over the coming months, and look forward to sharing them all with you!


Our team is also here to answer any questions you have by email, so please do contact us if you have any queries.


We look forward to helping you visit China as soon as it is possible and safe to do so.


Thanks!


The Gotoco Team



FAQs


Load More




Coronavirus Update, 2nd April 2020


Everyone here at Gotoco hopes that you are keeping safe and well, wherever you are during this global struggle. Rays of hope come from China, where it appears the virus has been more-or-less contained for now, while countries that were perhaps slightly slow to respond (including in Europe and the US) are responding strongly now and beginning the mass mobilisations they need to swiftly peak their outbreaks.

2020 isn’t all bad news, major global traumas like this force massive shifts in how we live. The wake of World War II brought global and drastic social progress including moves towards:

  • Decolonisation
  • Democratisation
  • Women’s empowerment and liberation
  • And wonderful initiatives like the NHS in the UK.

So too will COVID reshape our societies. Concepts that were ideals last year are now credible and being shaped into policy around the world:

  • Exciting experiments have begun with the universal basic wage, such as this one in Spain.
  • Remote working is now widespread—how much better could our lives be if we can reduce commutes and unnecessary office hours through this to allow more time to cherish our families, friends, and hobbies?
  • The environment has been given breathing space, dolphins have been spotted in parts of Southern Italy in clearer seas, skies above polluted cities are clearer, some consumerism has been reduced and eating habits changed. We hope that consumer preferences may be radically altered once normality returns.
  • Forays into provision of free basic healthcare may change certain countries forever, and some people are now taking the health effects of smoking more seriously.
  • Education is moving online too; a milestone this week came when Eton, one of the UK’s oldest and most successful schools opted to offer free public access to their online learning:
  • There are fantastic developments in industry too, including Gotoco co-founder Danny Parrott’s own brother who is leading a revolution to make incredibly expensive intensive care equipment available to all (http://globalvent.org/). They have already begun to release free, open-source designs and to produce ventilators that can be made out of simple, locally available components by small factories all over the world. Once this pandemic ends, they will turn their attention to dialysis and other expensive ICU kit to make quality healthcare more accessible around the globe.

Though 2020 blind-sided the world with catastrophe, we are beginning to look beyond it. We hope that the light at the end of this tunnel may be that of a more equitable, co-operative, genuinely 21st century, modernised world.


So, what’s happening at Gotoco?

Like all of you, we are taking each day as it comes and staying abreast of updates as they come in. We were made aware of the gravity of this situation very early, back in January, when we had to turn our Beijing office into a remote team and evacuate winter camps teams! We have done our best to be very sensitive to the effects of the current pandemic and want to do everything we can to support our community.

As I’m sure you’re aware, the pandemic is having a limiting effect on global travel, and we want to make sure you’re up-to-date on how this affects your planned summer in China. Now is the beginning of April, there is still plenty of time left before summer, and we still aim to run as planned in summer 2020. Developments are coming so fast now that each day feels like a week; it took China 2 months to get through and re-open and we hope that the rest of the world can have a similar or even better trajectory. We hope the peak will soon pass in your countries so together we can plan for a summer of fun.


Coronavirus and your Summer in China

We currently still aim for our summer programmes to go ahead, especially given the effectiveness of containment of the virus in China. There are various restrictions in place limiting global travel at present, but we expect these to be resolved in time for the summer. On current projections, China looks like it will be the first country to completely contain COVID, so for anyone hoping to leave home this summer we think China is still a great plan!

The safety, health and enjoyment of all Gotoco’ers is of the utmost importance to us so we’ll keep monitoring the situation and will provide an update on if programmes can go ahead in May 2020 (or earlier if the situation allows). If there is a risk to health, then we won’t go ahead with summer programmes as we put our participants’ health and wellbeing first, and in that instance we would offer:

  1. an option to defer your place to another year with TEFL certification this year;
  2. alternative placements in other countries;
  3. the option to withdraw fully. However, we do not expect it to come to this and I encourage you to continue with the application as normal.

Your deposit is held with consumer protections in a secure system, it will be returned if the virus is still a problem in May 2020, please check this link for more info


Support your Community

Wherever you are in the world, we urge you to follow local government and health advice, including washing your hands regularly and practising social distancing, to slow the spread of the virus and reduce the pressure on healthcare providers. 

If you are able to, we also encourage you to volunteer to help those in need. If you’re in the UK, you can sign up to volunteer to help the NHS on this link: https://www.goodsamapp.org/NHS






Prior Updates from January-March 2020


Summary


We currently aim for all of our China summer programmes to go ahead as planned, and so you should continue with your application as normal. We will take a final decision in May 2020 (or earlier if the situation allows), and will keep all Gotoco’ers updated accordingly. 


Our Expectations


Due to the extensive government and public health response in China, we hope that the situation will improve sufficiently so that the following three conditions are met. Once these are met, we can give summer 2020 programmes the go-ahead:

1. The Foreign Office travel advisory against all but essential travel must have been lifted.

2. Our team of experts on the ground in China need to sign off that they believe it is safe to run programmes in China.

3. Our 100 or so partners around China need to give their assurance that projects will be safe and plans are in place to ensure the welfare of our teams. Moreover, even if the FCO, our experts and the partners all give the all-clear, partners must agree to emergency plans and evacuation budgets in case of unexpected future escalations/recurrence.

Support your Community

Wherever you are in the world, we urge you to follow local government and health advice, including washing your hands regularly and practising social distancing, to slow the spread of the virus and reduce the pressure on healthcare providers. 

If you are able to, we also encourage you to volunteer to help those in need. If you’re in the UK, you can sign up to volunteer to help the NHS on this link: https://www.goodsamapp.org/NHS

Please email us with any other queries.

Email: [email protected]

Best wishes,

The Gotoco Directors!

Richard Lloyd, Lisha Tang, Danny Parrott

***********