Volume 7, Number 2, 1998

Student safety abroad

When their children are accepted into foreign study programs, parents often worry: Will my child be homesick? Healthy? And, most importantly, safe?

Parents and students should be aware and informed on the issues of safety and security while abroad.

UD's study-abroad programs take every precaution to ensure student safety while abroad. Built into all study-abroad programs is a strong, competent infrastructure of student support. In programs involving homestay, host families are carefully screened by an on-site director or by an agency that works directly with the families. On-site directors also have contacts with local health-care providers in case of student illness or injury. When students abroad run into problems, on-site program directors (and-from a distance-the International Programs staff) are there to help.

William W. McNabb, director of overseas studies at UD, emphasizes that the issue of safety is addressed before students ever leave the campus. As a precautionary measure, the University avoids running programs in sites on the State Department's travel advisory list. At mandatory meetings, students are advised about such topics as dressing wisely; carrying money; safety on the street, in hotels, in cars and on public transportation; how to get information about a country's laws and legal system; how to get help while abroad; and other topics of concern to travelers. These sessions give students the chance to ask questions of someone who is familiar with traveling in the destination country. Students also are provided with printed materials to remind them about important precautions to take while they are abroad.