Program Terms and Conditions
“we”, “us” or “our” means Next Step Connections. These Terms and Conditions apply to all participants in the Program. By paying the Program Fee or the Deposit, you are entering into the Agreement
We have tried to make this Agreement easier to read and understand by adding headings to the various sections. These headings have been inserted for convenience only and do not affect the legal construction or interpretation of this Agreement.
Definitions Within this Agreement
“you” or “your” means the participant.
Agreement means the contractually binding agreement made between us and you that is made up of the application form and the terms and conditions set out in this document.
Commencement Date means the date, agreed upon with you in advance, that the Program begins.
Deposit means the part of the Program Fee that must be paid by you in order to secure your place on the Program prior to payment of the balance of the Program Fee, such balance being payable in accordance with clause 3 below.
Participant means a participant on the Program and Participants means all and any Participant.
Placement Deadline: Eight weeks prior to the commencement date for Hong Kong.
21 days prior to the Commencement Date for all other locations. NSC reserves the right to grant candidates admissions after the eight week commencement placement deadline on a case by case basis
Program means any experiential learning and/or internship offered by Next Step Connections.
Placement Field means your first and second choice of career field, as established in the Phone/Skype interview in our admissions process.
Program Fee means the sum of the Deposit and the remaining balance, payable by you to us in accordance with Section 3 below.
Next Step Connections means Next Step Connections (HK) Private Limited as well as Next Step Connections (Shanghai) Co Ltd and Next Step (Thailand) Co.,Ltd,
1- Our Undertakings
In return for receipt of the Program fee, we will undertake the following:
(a) to provide you with an experiential learning experience/internship for all programs
(b) For our comprehensive program, NSC will provide furnished accommodations either a studio or shared flat that meets the following minimum standards for participants in:
1 a private bedroom;
2 with a bed in your bedroom;
3 with a wardrobe in your bedroom;
4 with a refrigerator
5 with adequate bathroom, toilet and shower facilities;
6 with bed sheets;
7 with water, electricity and/ or gas, for which we will cover the payment of bills;
8 for the duration of your internship program. If you wish to stay in the accommodation for a longer period, before or after your internship program, we can attempt to arrange this for you. However, we cannot guarantee any accommodation outside of the period of your internship program, and the cost of any such accommodation is entirely your responsibility.
(c) For our comprehensive and standard program, to provide you with a transfer, at a time agreed between us, from the closest international airport to your accommodation on your arrival, prior to your commencement on the Program as well as ;
(d) to provide an induction and welcome talk upon your arrival for participants in all our programs.
(e) to provide visa assistance when necessary
(f) to provide contact details of local staff in case of any difficulties or problems experienced and to facilitate emergency support if necessary;
(g) to provide you with information and tools to enhance your employability
(h) to organize 1 event per month, for you and the other participants, at your destination for participants
For the avoidance of doubt, we will only be responsible for and are only bound to provide the services and matters set out in Section 1 above for participants in our programs.
2- Suitability of Participants
We retain all rights to reject the application of any person we deem unsuitable for our Program, at our own discretion.
3- Deposit and Program Fee
(a) Your Initial Deposit (“Initial Deposit”) is 300 United States Dollar (abbreviated as USD or $) regardless of destination. Your deposit can be converted to the local currency of the program and credited to your account at the current foreign exchange rate. The local currency of the program is Australian Dollars (AUD) in Australia; Renminbi (RMB) in Shanghai; Hong Kong Dollars (HKD) in Hong Kong; United States Dollars (USD) in The United States of America and Euros (EUR or €) in Spain
Location Specific deposits
(b) Upon payment of your Initial Deposit, you agree to fully co-operate with Next Step Connections in its attempts to find you a placement and agree to do so until the passing of the Placement Deadline. Examples of non-cooperation include, but are not limited to:
1 Not actively working with your assigned representatives from Next Step Connections;
2 Skipping or missing scheduled internship interviews;
3 Not engaging in internship discussions with your Internship Coordinator;
4 Not responding to Next Step Connections communications in a timely manner;
5 Allowing the placement process to be delayed due to missing agreed payment due dates
6 Unreasonably refusing internships offered to you.
7 Dishonesty. This includes fabricating, altering, or misrepresenting academic transcripts, test scores, academic standing, statements made on visa applications, or any other written or oral statement you may make in the process of applying for the Program, for a visa, or for any internship role.
8 Participants who are deemed uncooperative will be notified by Next Step Connections, and may be dropped from the program with no refund given. Such Participants may have the option, at the discretion of Next Step Connections, to rejoin the Program, provided that they cooperate and participate in good faith.
(c) If Next Step Connections is unable to place you in an internship role in your Preference Area before the Placement Deadline, you will be given the option (1) to withdraw from the Program and receive a USD 150 refund of your Initial Deposit, or (2) to request that Next Step Connections continue the search process until you are placed; and if Next Step Connections is still unable to place you within the extended time, you will receive a USD 150 refund.
(d) For all locations, if your Initial Deposit is received by NSC less than eight weeks before the Commencement Date, your Placement Deadline will be one week prior to the Commencement Date.
For Hong Kong, If your Initial Deposit is received by us less than eight weeks before the Commencement Date, your Placement Deadline will be six weeks prior to the Commencement Date.
(e) You are responsible for covering all and any charges imposed by financial institutions, including PayPal fees, foreign transaction fees, and wire transfer fees. This applies to your Deposit, Program Fee and any other transfer to us. If you underpay your Deposit due to such charges, you will make up the balance when you pay the Program Fee.
If you underpay, NSC reserves the right to collect it from you at the program destination before or after you have arrived.
(f) Some participants may be eligible for a discounted program fee – for example, students enrolled in a university with whom Next Step Connections has a formal relationship. If a participant is eligible for more than one discount, then Next Step Connections has the sole power and discretion to decide how or whether the discounts may be combined, or if only one discount may be applied.
4- Request to Cancel, Vary Participation on the Program and Refunds
(a) If you wish to withdraw from the program at any time, then this must be done via a written request. For the avoidance of doubt, such a written request can be made by email.
(b) The Deposit, and all subsequent Program Fees paid, are not refundable if you withdraw from the Program for any reason other than Next Step Connections’s failure to place you by the Placement Deadline in your Preference Area. This includes withdrawal for medical, personal, family, academic, financial, and all other reasons. The Deposit, and all subsequent Program Fees paid, are refundable ONLY if Next Step Connections fails to place you in an internship role, in your Preference Area, by the Placement Deadline, as defined in this document.
(c) The Deposit, and all subsequent Program Fees paid, are not refundable if Next Step Connections determines, in its sole discretion, that you did not fully co-operate in the placement process at any time before the Placement Deadline, as further detailed under section 3(b) above.
(d) If you withdraw from the Program for any reason after being placed in an internship role, Next Step Connections will be entitled to 100% of your total payment.
(e) If you want to change the start or end date of your participation in the Program after being placed with a partner organization, a change fee of US$500 may be charged. If such a request is made within 21 days of the Commencement Date or after an invitation letter has been issued, we reserve the right to refuse the change request or to apply an additional charge which shall be determined at our sole discretion.
(f) In the event that, for any reason at all, you decide to discontinue your place on the Program after it has started but before it is due to end, no refund will be given.
(g) If, for whatever reason, we have to cancel your participation in the Program, prior to your commencement date, a full refund of the Program Fee (for the avoidance of doubt this includes the Deposit) will be given to you. A full refund will be issued only if the cancellation is for reasons which are in no way whatsoever attributable to you. No compensation can be given for any other costs incurred in relation to the Program.
(h) In the event that you are refused an appropriate visa or suitable alternative by the Local Authorities, a 50% refund of the Program Fee and the Deposit will be paid if; (1) you filled out all and any visa forms correctly, and (2) completed all steps in the required visa process correctly and on time. No compensation can be given for cancellation of flights or any other costs whatsoever incurred by you. No refund of Deposit and/or Program Fee will be offered if your tardiness in completing the necessary visa requirements leads to start dates being delayed and your internship being cancelled.
(i) All refunds are paid via bank transfer
(j) We do not withhold any processing fee or service charge from refunds. However, the refund amount you receive may be less than you expected, due to fees or charges imposed by your bank or by other intermediary financial institutions. We have no control over this and cannot cover or reimburse these fees.
(k) Any refund must be initiated within 6 months after the internship program start date selected by the participant. After this date, refunds are made solely at our discretion.
5- Website and Promotional Material
(a) The content and information displayed on our website and other promotional material is believed to be valid and correct but we will not be held liable and do not take responsibility for any misinformation or ambiguities in the content. Prices are subject to change without notice and you will be liable for additional amounts owed due to price changes unless your deposit has already been submitted.
(b) We reserve the right to take your photograph, or video footage of you, for use in our promotional material. We do not make any payments to individuals in respect of such use. We may (but are not obliged to) reproduce the photographs (or part of them) in our promotional material including, without limitation, posters, advertisements, printed publications, on our website and social media website pages. Copyright in the photographs will belong to Next Step Connections. Photographic data is personal data for the purposes of the Data Protection Act 1998 and therefore we will not use the images taken without your consent and we will not use your image, or any other information you provide, for any other purpose. By agreeing to these terms and conditions, you consent for your photographic data to be used for our promotional purposes.
6- The Format of the Program
We reserve the right to change our suppliers and the format of our Program as and when necessary, however we will endeavor to provide as similar a program as possible at all times.
7- Liability for Losses and Program Changes
(a) We cannot accept any responsibility or liability for loss of or damage to your passport or any other personal property at any part of the visa process, during transit or during registration with the Local authorities.
(b) We cannot accept any responsibility or liability for Program changes or Program cancellations under any of the following circumstances; war or threat of war; terrorism or threat of terrorism; fire; sickness; environmental or climate concerns; acts of government or local authority; or, any other event or circumstance which amounts to a “force majeure” and in such cases no refund or compensation for any loss will be given to you unless otherwise decided at our sole discretion.
8- Your Responsibility
(a) It is your responsibility to be aware of any national holidays or other events that may change the nature of the Program. While most companies operate a 9-5 working policy, some may have different requirements and we cannot be held responsible for this.
(b) International flights are not included in the cost of any of our Programs. It is your sole responsibility to arrange flights and insurance and to select providers based on your own decisions and experiences. We cannot be held responsible for any action, negligence or event relating to the purchase or operation of flight tickets or flights. We will also not be responsible for any costs or refunds due to changes or delays in flights.
9- Experiencing Problems
(a) Next Step Connections wants you to enjoy a worry-free program. Should you experience any problems while participating in our Program, you must immediately inform us in writing (by email or post), with a clear explanation of the problem. In such an event, we will discuss the problem with you and will discuss ways in which the problem can be solved. We are not responsible for any conversations or anything that is said unless it is recorded in the written form either by email or by letter.
(b) You agree to discuss any problems in your placement with our staff prior to discussion with your internship provider. If the assigned internship provider wishes to terminate your placement prior to the end of the stated time for any reason (for example as a result of your inadequate or unhelpful participation or prolonged or repeated absence from work), you understand that no refund of fees will be given in this situation and we are under no obligation to provide another placement. In such a case, you will be required to leave the provided accommodation within two days of being informed by us.
(c) If you wish to terminate your placement prior to the end of the time stated in the contract for any reason you must provide us with written notice, clearly stating the reasons for such a decision. You agree that no refund of the Program Fee or any other fees will be made in this situation, that no other placement will be offered and that you will be required to leave the provided accommodation within two days of being informed by us.
(d) If you should deem the accommodation which has been provided to you to be unsuitable, Next Step Connections must be notified within 48 hours of the start of your first day in that accommodation in order for remedies to be made or, if necessary, alternative accommodation arranged. Any complaints about the unsuitability of accommodation arising 48 hours after the start of your first day in that accommodation will be dealt with at the discretion of Next Step Connections.
(e) Next Step Connections cannot be held responsible for any complaints arising from issues outside of the specifications made in Section (1)(b), this includes, without limitation, relations with other inhabitants of the apartment/home-stay, relations with your neighbors, and relations with other colleagues or managers in your place of internship.
(a) We, our affiliate agencies, suppliers and members of staff cannot be held responsible for any case of injury, accident, claim, theft, damage, sickness, cancellation or loss, in relation to our/their services.
(b) You are responsible for your own safety during the trip and neither we, nor the assigned internship provider, take responsibility nor can be held liable for any accident, sickness, loss, damage, expense or hazard encountered throughout the Program.
(c) You will be held responsible and liable for any damages to the assigned internship provider during your placement. It is your sole responsibility to ensure you purchase personal liability insurance prior to the Commencement Date.
11- Complying with Rules, Local Laws and Acting Responsibly
(a) If you do not comply with the rules of the internship provider, the rules of our Program, or the laws of the destination to which you go, then we may release you from the Program. In these cases, no refund will be given and you will be required to leave the provided accommodation within two days of being informed by us. This includes cases in which the internship provider asks you to leave your role due to underperformance or misconduct.
(b) You will take full responsibility for your conduct at all times during the Program. You will not act irresponsibly nor will you break the law of the country to which you go. You will not put yourself or others in dangerous situations. If you do any of the above you will be responsible for the consequences.
(c) We reserve the right to expel, at our sole discretion, any Participant from the Program for reasons including but not limited to: breaking the law; bullying or harassment of other Participants; anti-social or unreasonable behavior or unfit conduct towards other group members, our representatives, our suppliers’/affiliate agencies’ representatives or the assigned internship provider or excessive absence from work. Whether a Participant has acted in any of the ways set out above will be determined by us in our sole discretion. In such instances, we retain the right to immediately remove the Participant from his or her accommodation and cancel their participation in the Program, with no refund issued.
12- Third Party Behavior or Actions
(a) We take no responsibility and are not liable for any third party behavior or actions including but not limited to that of the host internship provider and accommodation provider. We take no responsibility and are not liable for any accidents that take place at any third party locations including but not limited to the premises of the host internship provider and the designated accommodation. It is your responsibility to ensure you purchase personal liability insurance prior to the Commencement Date.
(b) We reserve the right to make charges for any missing or damaged items or for any additional cleaning or repair charges to accommodation that may be incurred during the Program. You agree to pay these charges in full to us within 14 days of finishing the Program.
13- Guests Prohibited
(a) You are not allowed to have guests to stay in homestay accommodation. In the event that guests stay in homestay accommodation without consent from the homeowner, you may be required to leave the provided accommodation within 48 hours of being informed by us.
(a) As part of our standard and comprehensive programs, you will be automatically enrolled covered the CareMed International Travel insurance policy issued to CareMed GmbH, Bonn Germany underwritten by ACE European Group Ltd.
(b) You understand the terms and conditions of the insurance plan are provided in the CareMed International Travel Insurance booklet.
(c) If you are not eligible to enroll under CareMed International Travel insurance policy issued to CareMed GmbH, Bonn Germany underwritten by ACE European Group Ltd,
accident insurance. You are responsible for ensuring that you have purchased full, comprehensive insurance prior to departure, which will cover you for the duration of your participation in the Program, and which includes but is not limited to travel, health, medical and accident insurance.
(d) Even if you have insurance coverage through another party, such as your university or your visa sponsor, you are responsible for ensuring that the coverage is sufficient. If you have any doubts or questions about your insurance, please contact us.
(e) You must bring all relevant insurance documents with you to the country in which you are placed.
15- Housing Security Deposits
(a) If enrolled under the comprehensive program, please note that all locations will require a security deposit will often be required by our housing provider. They will request this on arrival and will fully reimburse you at the end of the program assuming there are no damages to your room.
16- Non-Disclosure Agreements
(a) In instances where the assigned internship provider demands it, you agree to sign a Non Disclosure Agreement with the assigned internship provider. Regardless of whether or not the assigned internship provider requires a written Non Disclosure Agreement, you agree to respect and keep confidential the intellectual property of the assigned internship provider.
(a) We are not responsible for the workload provided by the internship provider whether it is of a high intensity or low intensity. In such situations, you should discuss the problem with us and we will endeavor to resolve the issue accordingly.
18- Notifications You Must Make
(a) You must inform us if you have an infectious disease, mental illness, or a criminal record, as any of these may complicate your visa application or immigration status in your destination country.
(b) You must inform us of any travel abroad or any other unavailability of passport for visa processing during the 4 weeks prior to the Commencement Date. You must inform us of any unavailability of passport in this period at least 2 months before the Commencement Date. We cannot be held responsible for additional costs for express processing, postage, submission in person by our staff, or delay or cancellation of program due to failure to inform us of such details.
(c) The Participant is responsible for informing Next Step Connections of any medical conditions (physical or psychological) or religious restrictions which may influence the Participant’s ability to complete the Program (work in their internship or attend any events or activities), prior to paying a Deposit. For medical conditions and religious restrictions which have been disclosed, it is Next Step Connections’s responsibility to inform the Participant whether they can continue with the Program prior to commencement – if this is not possible then a full refund of the Deposit will be given. If the assigned internship provider wishes to terminate your placement prior to the end of the stated time for reasons related to your medical conditions or religious restrictions, you understand that no refund of fees will be given in this situation and we are under no obligation to provide another placement. In such a case, you will be required to leave the provided accommodation within two days of being informed by us.
19- Maximum Liability
Our maximum liability is limited to the Program Fee.
20- Additions to your Participation in a Program
(a) Any additions to programs by you when you are already in the country in which you are placed will incur the full fee difference between the original program and the desired program, plus an administration fee of $100. Any such program changes or extensions are made at the sole discretion of Next Step Connections and cannot be guaranteed.
21- Refer-a-friend Program
(a) If you refer a friend to Next Step Connections Program, you will receive a discount or rebate of 300 USD on your program fee, subject to the further terms given below.
(b) If your Program is priced in a currency other than USD, we may convert this amount to your Program’s currency at the then-current exchange rate. (The program currencies are listed in section 3(a) above.)
(c) You may refer your friend to any Program offered by Next Step Connections at any destination or date. Your friend’s Program does not need to be in the same city, or at the same time, as your own.
(d) Your discount or rebate will be granted only when your friend confirms a place in their Program by paying at least 50% of their program fee.
(e) The discount applies only to your total program fee. The discount does not reduce the amount required for the initial Deposit (300USD) or of any required minimum payments.
(f) You can refer a friend anytime, even after you have finished your Program. If you have already paid your entire program fee when you become eligible for this discount, then we will pay the amount to you as a rebate, via bank transfer (subject to the terms in part 4, sections (i) and (j) above.)
(g) NSC has the sole discretion to the number of discounts or rebates you may earn. For every referral which satisfies the above terms, you will receive 300 USD or equivalent.
22- Other Terms
(a) A person who is not a party to the Agreement shall not have any rights under or in connection with it by virtue of the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 (the “Act”) but this does not affect any right or remedy of a third party which exists, or is available, apart from the Act.
(b) The rights of the parties to terminate, rescind or agree any variation, waiver or settlement under the Agreement is not subject to the consent of any person that is not a party to this agreement.
(c) If any provision of the Agreement (or part of any provision) is found by any court or other authority of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, illegal or unenforceable, that provision or part-provision shall, to the extent required, be deemed not to form part of the Agreement, and the validity and enforceability of the other provisions of the Agreement shall not be affected.
(d) If a provision of the Agreement (or any part of any provision) is found illegal, invalid or unenforceable, the provision shall apply with the minimum modification necessary to make it legal, valid and enforceable or the parties shall negotiate in good faith to amend such provision such that, as amended, it is legal, valid and enforceable, and, to the greatest extent possible, achieves the parties’ original commercial intention.
(e) The Agreement and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with it or its subject matter or formation (including no contractual disputes or claims) shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the law of England and Wales.
(f) Each party irrevocably agrees that the court of Hong Kong shall have exclusive jurisdiction to settle any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with the Agreement or its subject matter or formation (including non-contractual disputes or claims).
(g) We reserve the right to amend this document from time to time.