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Health and Safety


Study Abroad Principles of Risk Management
While studying abroad and away, students must be pro-active in protecting their health and safety by being aware of their surroundings at all times. This includes understanding both the risks and resources in the host country/city, as well as understanding the personal responsibility to make safe and legal decisions. Unfortunately, just like at home, accidents and incidents can happen while abroad. Therefore, the guiding principle of Guilford’s risk management strategy is to prepare students prior to departure with knowledge and resources, as well as providing continued support while abroad. The Guilford College protocol to incidents abroad is to:
  1. Give first priority to stabilizing a situation with rapid communication, done in a specific sequence (see "Communication Protocol for Events" below)
  2. Collaborate with onsite leadership to ensure that appropriate support services and resources are involved and utilized
  3. Follow up to ensure that steps are being made toward progress and resolution of the situation
Regardless of the situation (see categories of events below), the Office of Global and Off-Campus Initiatives is committed to supporting the needs of students and their families through all international situations. Additionally, the US Department of State is committed to supporting overseas Americans through their Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) - which is why we encourage all students going abroad to enroll; you can find more information about the STEP program by CLICKING HERE.

Categories of Events:
GOCI divides risk management into four types of events, each of which suggests a different kind of response:
Incident—an event that affects either an individual student or the group at the level of extreme inconvenience or discomfort, but without a threat to safety, such as the loss or theft of a passport.
Emergency—an event that affects an individual student or the group and includes a short-term threat to safety and/or well being, such as an assault or serious injury.
Crisis—an event that affects either an individual student or the group with a lasting threat to the safety and/or well being of that individual or the group, bringing into question the ability to persist to the program's conclusion.
Disaster—events that affect the health and well being of the entire group and bring the program to an early conclusion.
Communication Protocol for Events:
For each of the above, students and onsite faculty and staff should rely on the following communication protocol:
1.  Student victim contacts the onsite program leadership. In the event of a disaster, students will meet the program leadership at an agreed upon gathering place.

2.  Onsite program leadership contacts local authorities and medical experts (as relevant to the situation).

3.  Leadership contacts the GOCI emergency hotline and files a report, facilitating communication between the student victim(s) and persons of authority. Note: in the absence of phone service, send a text message, which often still functions.

4.  The Director of GOCI contacts families, providing information on the event, response, and wellness of the student(s).

5.  Onsite program leadership follows-up with individuals to ensure physical and psychological well-being, documenting and notifying the Director of GOCI in writing of all actions taken and progress made.

6.  For responses to either crises or emergencies, the onsite leadership will base all decisions and communication of information in the public sphere on close consultation and coordination with the Director of GOCI and the home institution.

On-Campus Communications for Crises and Disasters:
1.  GOCI contacts the President of Guilford College, the Dean of Students, the Director of Public Safety, and the Associate Vice President of Communications and Marketing. The President, Dean of Students, and Director of GOCI decide what to tell the parents and what to publicly announce.

2.  GOCI will communicate with students abroad/away, if possible, before any announcements are made to the on-campus community.

3.  The Office of Communications and Marketing will release a voicemail and/or written announcement to the Guilford College community. Possibly, that announcement will also be shared with the local press. All requests for additional information from the press and general public will be handled by Communications and Marketing.

4.  Guilford College sends either the Director of GOCI, or the Assistant Director to the country as soon as possible. In situations where GOCI staff are not available, the next best representative will travel in their stead. 

5.  In cases related to death, Guilford College is prepared to cover the cost of the round-trip airfare for immediate parents, guardians, or approved partners.
Lost or Stolen Passport

Because a lost or stolen passport is not altogether uncommon, we offer the specific procedures of dealing with the incident here.

Students should first contact the local police and obtain a police report and emergency travel document that can be submitted to a U.S. consulate of choice to begin the process of securing a renewed passport.

As the student goes through this process, it will be important that they follow the instructions and suggestions made by both the local police and U.S. consulate. Therefore, if the local police and U.S. consulate inform the student that they can continue their travels using only temporary documents, then the student should do so. For more information, visit the US Department of State's LOST OR STOLEN PASSPORTS ABROAD page.
Violence and Sexual Assault Abroad

From the US Department of State website: If you are the victim of a crime overseas, you may suffer from physical, emotional or financial harm.

  • Resources and contacts vary by country and type of crime. Review our country information page for your destination. It has information and resources. Contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Or, the U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. Call us at (888) 407-4747 (from the U.S. or Canada) or (202) 501-4444(from overseas). Consular officers are available for emergency help. They're available 24 hours/day, 7 days/week.

How Consular Sections Can Help:

  • Replace a lost or stolen passport.
  • Contact family, friends, or employers if the victim gives us permission. This is required by the Privacy Act of 1974.
  • Give information to help access to the right medical care.
  • Address emergency needs that arise as a result of the crime.
  • Explain financial aid options. For example, aid to return to the United States.
  • Provide information about experts in local laws.
  • If it applies, share the status of your case in the local criminal justice process.
  • Connect you to resources for victims of crime.
  • Provide a list of local lawyers who speak English.

Consular Sections cannot, however:

  • Investigate crimes,
  • Provide legal advice or represent you in court,
  • Serve as official interpreters or translators, or
  • Pay legal, medical, or other expenses for you.

International Student Identification Card (ISIC)
All Guilford College students are provided an International Student Identification Card as part of their study abroad program.
The ISIC card provides supplemental insurance for both travel and medical emergencies.
This policy is not a primary policy, and is only intended to be used as a supplement to a personal medical insurance when abroad. Students should still maintain their personal medical insurance policy during their time abroad.
  1. For more details about the card and its benefits: ISIC
  2. For assistance regarding claims and support, use the following contact information:

Insurance Coverage While Abroad
Students will need to contact their specific insurance provider to determine international coverage.
Students wanting assistance with international health care coverage need to make an appointment with GOCI. Having an understanding of your health care coverage while abroad is critical!