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The Center for Global Education promotes international education to foster cross-cultural awareness, cooperation and understanding. Living and working effectively in a global society requires learning with an international perspective.

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SAFETI Clearinghouse: Safety Abroad First Education Travel Information
Resources for Program Administrators

About Analyzing Risk and Capabilities

Policy Information:

Analyzing risks includes those types of emergencies that are possible in all experiences abroad along with the hazards that are specific to each program. It may help to start with the most serious and most likely crises that may affect each study abroad program. This could mean consulting with other study abroad administrators who have sent students on similar programs as well as personally reviewing the country’s recent history. Program evaluations, both verbal and written, that solicit student feedback about incidents where their health and safety were threatened or violated are an important guide to developing effective policies and support systems.

The following list of health and safety issues provides a place to start when thinking about what potential issues might be faced abroad that could impact program continuation, as well as the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff:

  • Alcohol and Drug Use and Abuse
  • Conflict Between Students or Between Students and Program Faculty/Staff
  • Crime and Violence
  • Crisis Management
  • Emergency Communication
  • Environmental Challenges/Disaster Response
  • Faculty and Staff Leaders with Limited Knowledge and Skills to Support Effective Decision–Making for Health and Safety Support
  • Fire Safety
  • Kidnapping and Terrorism
  • Legal Issues Abroad
  • Medical/Physical Health Response
  • Mental Health Support
  • Political Instability Challenges/Response
  • Responding to Discrimination Abroad
  • Responding to Guidance of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Abroad
  • Responding to Guidance by U.S. Department of State Abroad
  • Science Laboratory Hazards
  • Sexual Harassment and Assault
  • Supporting Students with Special Needs and Disabilities
  • Transportation Safety
  • Tropical Diseases/Special Health Issues in the Developing World
  • Water Safety
  • Other Health and Safety Challenges

    Once potential risks have been analyzed, institutions could bring together a Crisis Management Team to assess the capabilities of the administration to deal with those risks including contingencies in the assessment. Temporary facilities may need to be designated or back-up communication systems established. United Educators Insurance Risk Retention Group, Inc. Managing Liability series (p.17) It is likely that the resources necessary to being prepared will vary widely from program to program. Some general subject areas to consider include:

    • Equipment (radios, fire protection, power supply, medical, etc.)
    • Transportation (vehicles, drivers, fuel, trucks)
    • Facilities (meeting places, safe havens, shelters, storage areas for food and water)
    • Contacts with local and U.S. groups (Police and Fire Departments, embassies and consulates, Hospitals and clinics, airport authorities, etc.)

    Source: Crisis Management Handbook of the Peace Corps Volunteer Safety Council (p.7)

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