ProWorld is appreciative that you have entrusted your son or daughter’s safety, health, and personal growth with us. It is important that you feel comfortable sending your child abroad and we strive to make the process as smooth as possible. We are happy to answer any questions you have and invite you to explore our website with your child and involve yourself in the process of selecting the right program for them.
Health and Safety
ProWorld places the highest priority on ensuring a safe and stable environment for all participants. If one imagines concentric circles of support and safety, the first that surrounds our participants is the host community. ProWorld’s long relationships and good standing within our host communities offer a high degree of community support to participants. Within that circle, participants are bolstered by the next circle of safety: ProWorld orientation tools and standard operating procedures in place to protect participants.
Thorough health and safety preparations precede each program, beginning with extensive pre-departure materials, a carefully designed on-site orientation, and followed by regular staff and participant check-ins. We recommend that participants visit with their personal physician prior to joining our programs. We also recommend that they bring copies of all necessary prescriptions (medicines, eye glasses, etc.) with them as an additional health precautions.
At the center of these circles of safety lies the core to participant safety: the participant. By using the tools, systems, and advice of the ProWorld teams and by connecting positively and respectfully to their host community, the participants themselves take the most important steps to ensure a safe and successful program.
Nevertheless, risks are inherent to the very nature of travel and cross-cultural learning. Participants must understand the nature of our programs and accept all risks involved. ProWorld takes great precaution to minimize and eliminate risk during each program.
Throughout each program, ProWorld relies on many resources to assess and respond to the specific health and safety needs of each participant including:
- On-site Program Directors, in-country staff, and cooperating institutions
- Local health care professionals and facilities
- Health background and needs of individual volunteers
- US, UK, Peruvian, Belizean, and Mexican government advisories
- Centers for Disease Control
All ProWorld participants receive health and travel insurance, providing additional protection and security.
An emergency phone line is available 24 hours a day for participants. The participant receives this phone number during onsite orientation. All Program Directors carry cell phones and communicate regularly with onsite participants, staff members, and the ProWorld headquarters. Email and phone communication are available for staff at all country headquarters. An emergency contact person is available 24 hours a day at every site.
Additionally, our administration office in the US monitors all incoming calls to 1.406.245.7348 close to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is able to reach our onsite staff on your behalf in cases of emergency.
Accreditation and Instruction
The Semester in Peru is accredited by Jacksonville University out of Jacksonville, Florida. Courses are instructed by Centro Bartolome de las Casas professors approved by Jacksonville. Students will receive 16 credits for the program with a total of 224 class hours. The Semester in Belize is accredited by the University of Belize and instructed by their professors. Students will receive 15 credits for the program with a total of 210 class hours. The Semester in Mexico is accredited by Western Washington University out of Bellingham, Washington. Courses are instructed by professors approved by Western Washington University in conjunction with the Southwest Center for International Studies. Students will receive 16 credits for the program with a total of 256 class hours. ProWorld will work to make sure credits transfer appropriately to your son or daughter’s college or university.
ProWorld participants either live with homestay families or in group housing. Host families are selected based on past experiences, safety, cleanliness, friendliness and the quality of experience they can provide our participants. We have a wonderful community of host families at each of our sites. Being a ProWorld host family is a highly sought after position as it invites families into a network of quality people and provides an extra source of income. Participants meet their host families within the first few days of their arrival. Depending on how many volunteers are on the program at any given time they may have zero to two housemates. They will always have their own room. Decisions for home stays are made for each participant 2 - 4 weeks before their program starts. Details about their host family will be made available at the personal My ProWorld website. Participants can call their host family or write a letter if they desire.
Most group program lodging is in shared rooms at local guest house accommodations and full room and board is part of the program fee. Meals are prepared by local cooks and served family style allowing for a generous amount of reflection on the day’s challenges and successes. Housing is selected based on past experiences, safety, cleanliness, and friendliness. All housing options provide volunteers with beds, indoor plumbing, and showers.
Participants can expect lots of substantial and traditionally prepared meals. Peru is known for its excellent soups, protein rich grains only found in the Andes, fire-roasted chicken, corn, and potatoes. Belize has a large quantity of fresh tropical fruits and nuts and excellent seafood. Oaxaca is known for having some of the best food in Mexico, including: tamales, tlayudas, chiles, seven mole sauces, cheese, grasshoppers and mezcal. Our families provide both quality food and exposure to traditional meals. The water is generally not safe to drink at our sites, but ProWorld home bases have bottled water available and families provide bottled or boiled water for participants. As part of homestay placements, ProWorld takes into consideration the dietary needs of each participant.
Participant support is central to what ProWorld does. We have an eight to one participant to staff ratio, but our support goes beyond mere numbers. Fifty percent of our staff is local and that means a better understanding of the community and the culture, better communication, and added acceptance within our host communities. Our international staff is highly experienced in both development work and participant supervision. Frequent check-ins with participants, 24 hour access to our homebases and staff, and constant interaction provide an added level of safety and comfort.
If you have any other questions about your child’s experience, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1.877.42WORLD in the US and Canada and 0.870.750.7202 in the UK and Europe.