Dear DU Study Abroad Students and Families,
We are pleased that you or your student are studying abroad with DU. Our students' health, safety, and security is our highest priority, and we take numerous steps to help ensure student safety abroad. Our philosophy is that by proactively providing students with information and resources regarding potential risks, we can educate and prepare students to make good decisions regarding their own well-being while abroad. Because we cannot mitigate all associated risks with international travel though, we have extensive protocols in place to respond to student emergencies or crises. Our office encourages and manages safety by:
- Consulting with DU's full-time International Travel Risk Analyst, who monitors world events along with OIE staff and reaches out to students, when appropriate, to either share information or check-in with students.
- Evaluating on-site support and vet program options available to students.
- Partnering with International SOS, a medical and travel assistance provider, who facilitates pre-departure travel consultations, sends email alerts regarding in-country issues, delivers 24/7 emergency response assistance, and provides evacuation and repatriation coverage for all students.
- Requiring preparatory measures including a Study Abroad 101 session, appointments with OIE advisors, and several orientation sessions while providing online information and resources in DU Passport and information on our website including general and country-specific handbooks.
- Registering students in DU Passport, which allows DU staff to track students' travels.
- Creating crisis management protocols in conjugation with the International Travel Risk Analyst and the International Travel Committee, a committee designed to assist with international travel guidelines, procedures, and crisis response efforts.
- Asking students to visit a physician and/or travel nurse prior to departure to discuss health and mental health concerns; DU's Health & Counseling Center can provide these services. Prior to departure, students are required to speak to a travel nurse and/or security advisor for a free consultation through International SOS.
- Encouraging students to enroll in the U.S. Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to receive important information from the local embassy about safety conditions in the host country.
- Collecting emergency contact information should we need to communicate information about an affected student to family and friends.
These are some of the ways in which we strive to promote and preserve the health and safety of our students. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or the relevant OIE advisor with any questions.
Student Health & Safety Resources
Here are ways to take charge of your own health, safety, and security.
- Read your DU Study Abroad Handbook.
- Buy a guidebook for more regional travel advice.
- Visit a doctor for a travel health consultation. DU's Health & Counseling Center provides this service. Students can also consult regarding immunizations necessary for the location(s) they will be living and visiting.
- Call International SOS for your free consultation. The OIE requires this step so that students can discuss their particular medical, prescription, or security concerns with a qualified professional.
- Review general and country-specific travel information provided by:
- Register with the U.S. Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
- Ensure that you have adequate health and travel insurance coverage. While DU provides evacuation and repatriation coverage through International SOS, students are required to have their own health insurance that covers them abroad. Students may choose to purchase optional travel insurance as well.
Conduct, Safety & Health Abroad
Part of staying safe and having a positive experience is also being aware of your personal limits. Here are some important tips to stay safe.
- Avoid high risk activities and behaviors. The most frequent reason students are injured or otherwise hurt while abroad usually involves alcohol consumption.
- The DU Code of Conduct still applies abroad. Inappropriate or dangerous behavior can result in program expulsion and/or consequences at DU. Likewise, students with DU conduct infractions may not be authorized to participate on a study abroad program until their outcomes have been completed. See DU Study Abroad Policies for more information.
- Know the laws and culture norms for your destination.
- Ask for help when you need it. The dramatic changes from entering a new environment can result in physical health and/or mental health crises, so please see a local doctor or seek other help if you don't feel well for an extended period of time. International SOS can help with finding a local counselor that speaks English. Also, know that the DU Health and Counseling Center has a counselor on call to handle moments of high emotional stress. Call +1.303.871.3000 to reach the on-call counselor. Talk with local staff at your study abroad location, as they can direct you to resources, too.