Health and Safety
Health and Safety Concerns
At CSB/SJU, we take the safety and security of our students and faculty very seriously. It is our goal that students have a harmonious environment in which to pursue their education. It is impossible to completely prevent sickness and accidents, but there are many things that you can do while on-site to minimize the risk.
As mentioned above, CSB/SJU take the health and welfare of students very seriously. However, it is impossible to remove all personal risk from study abroad. Some of the most risky behaviors or incidents which result in injury or death of students while participating in study abroad involve:
- Use and abuse of drugs or alcohol
- Crime or petty theft
- Travel or traffic accidents
- Sexual harassment and assault
- Mental health issues/stress
- Diseases and illnesses that exist in the host country
It is important to remain aware of your surroundings at all times. When in doubt, do not put yourself in a questionable situation. Use the same safety precautions abroad as you would if traveling in any unknown city in the U.S. Research the countries, cities, and areas to which you plan to travel independently.
Increase your Awareness Upon Arrival: Travelers, especially those having just arrived, are often targets of crime and are at higher risk of harm. There are several reasons for this, including:
- Being unfamiliar with the surroundings
- Lacking fluency in the local language
- Being clearly recognizable as a foreigner
- Having not yet learned the social norms or unwritten rules of conduct
- Being naive to the intentions of people around them
- Carrying all their valuables with them when they first step off the plane, train, or boat
Pick Pocketing: Remain alert when you have been bumped, had your foot stepped on, or have been pushed around in a crowd; these are perfect times for pickpockets to do their work. Remember that pickpockets may be children. Backpacks are another easy target for pick-pockets. Remember to turn your pack around when traveling in crowded areas. As always, passports and other essential items should be kept in a pouch close to the body.
Non-Verbal Communication: Non-verbal communications (body language and hand gestures) which are considered harmless in the U.S., may be offensive to people in other countries. Find out what is appropriate in your destination.
Jewelry and Other Valuables: Be cautious with how you display valuables (does it look like you're flaunting wealth?). Leave your good jewelry at home, and keep money in a safe place like a money belt or hidden pouch under your clothes. As a rule of thumb, never bring anything with you that - if it were to be lost or stolen - would ruin your time abroad.
Become Aware of your Surroundings:
- Pay attention to what people around you are saying.
- Find out which areas of the city are less safe than others. Avoid being alone in those areas.
- Stay and walk only in well-lit, well-trafficked areas.
- Know where and how to get help from authorities or trusted individuals. Do you know what the "911" equivalent is in your host country?
- Do not accept suspicious items like letters or packages from someone you don't know.
Know the Effects of U.S. Foreign Policy: Political dissent in the United States exists around almost every issue. There will be just as many opinions of U.S. foreign policy in your host country. Try not to engage in conversations about contentious political issues and avoid retaliating against hostile remarks about Americans. Whatever your view of American politics, it is best to "test the waters" of your new environment before announcing your beliefs.
Register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program: The Center for Global Education will register all students on for credit programs with the U.S. Department of State and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate to your study abroad site. This process is called the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). This registration with the STEP program alerts the local authorities of your presence in the host country in case of emergency. While our office will register the full group for the program dates, it is very important that you will register your full experience abroad including any pre or post travel along with any independent travel as a step in helping you remain safe abroad. To begin with your registration, visit: www.travel.state.gov.
Every effort is made by CSB/SJU to provide a safe environment for students to study abroad in. However, as institutions we cannot be responsible for accidents. In the event of an accident or medical emergency the following steps should be carried out:
- An ambulance or appropriate medical care will be sought immediately. When the victim is attended to, the Director/Assistant will, if possible, accompany them to the hospital or clinic.
- The director and the CGE will then contact CISI Insurance to have their assistance and input into the situation.
- As soon as the victim's needs are being appropriately attended to, the Program Director will call the parents and the Center for Global Education to notify them. The Program Director will then file an Incident Report with CGE.
- The Center for Global Education will remain in contact with the students' family to provide them with any additional information and assistance.
- If the family makes arrangements to travel overseas, the Program Director will arrange to meet them.
- Upon arrival of the parents, the Program Director will turn over discussions with the attending physicians to the parents.