Guidelines for Safety in Student Abroad Programs

Safety in Student Abroad Programs

UW Guideline

* Student Abroad Programs includes all exchanges, study abroad, work placements, research, and internships sanctioned by the University of Waterloo in all international locations including the United States.

This guideline is intended to identify and mitigate potential risks/dangers associated with student programs in international locations.

University administrators, advisors, coordinators and students are collectively responsible for identifying potential risks related to programs abroad and for taking reasonable steps to put in place plans to mitigate these risks.

a) Department Chairs and Deans

  • Ensure that faculty advisors and coordinators are informed of Student Abroad protocols, programs and services offered by the University

b) International Programs Office

  • In association with the International Exchange Committee, ensure that written agreements are in place with foreign institutions to administer Student Abroad Programs and monitor such agreements accordingly
  • In association with Co-operative Education and Career Services, offer mandatory pre-departure briefings for students participating in Student Abroad Programs as approved by Dean's Council in 1999. Briefings will cover generic aspects of work, health, safety, travel, citizenship, legal, political, religious, cross-cultural awareness, culture shock and risk management considerations
  • Maintain and disseminate safety abroad and risk management resources
  • Maintain current data on Emergency Contact information and Acknowledgment of Risk and Responsibility forms for students going abroad
  • Monitor DFAIT Travel Advisory Reports and inform advisors, coordinators and administrators of dangerous situations and locations abroad

c) Advisor/Coordinator

  • Ensure that information on the host organization and related programs is factual and up to date
  • Ensure that administrative/academic procedures and approvals are in place for credit transfers, work placements, research assignments and other program related activities
  • Offer mandatory pre-departure briefings for students participating in Student Abroad Programs. Briefings will cover at a minimum critical country or program specific aspects of academic, work, health, safety, travel, citizenship, legal, political, religious, cross-cultural awareness, culture shock and risk management considerations
  • Maintain ongoing communication links with host advisors and students abroad
  • Coordinate de-briefings with returning students
  • Complete ongoing program assessment and modifications to program design, delivery and de-briefing with a particular emphasis on safety considerations at host locations

d) Student

  • Abide by the policies, procedures and practices of the University; and, to abide by instructions, given orally or in writing, by any authorized official of the University (University Jurisdiction)
  • Monitor and abide by directives issued by Government of Canada and the University concerning travel advisories for your particular region/country
  • Complete mandatory pre-departure briefings and related documentation requirements provided by the University, advisor or coordinator and assume responsibility for all elements necessary for personal preparation
  • Inform advisor/coordinator/University official of potential health or safety concerns prior to departure
  • Be aware of the administrative and academic requirements and approvals required by the host organizations prior to departure
  • Maintain appropriate insurance coverage and abide by conditions of carrier
  • Register at the appropriate Canadian government office abroad
  • Be aware of and respect local customs and laws of the host country, particularly those that may present health or safety risks
  • Ensure that University officials (police, advisors, coordinators, International Programs Office) are notified of any emergency situation abroad. See Reporting.
  • Ensure that advisors and coordinators have valid contact information and overseas email and phone numbers

Emergency situations refer to any event requiring University assistance such as serious illness or injury, fatal accidents, sudden death, assaults, civil unrest and natural disasters.

a) Procedures

  • The primary emergency contact on campus is the UW Police (519- 888-4911)
    o UW Police will immediately implement the required response which may include invoking Policy 60 (University of Waterloo Emergency Response, November 10,1999)
  • If other individuals or Units on campus are contacted directly by a student or host contact, the UW Police should be immediately informed of the situation to initiate the appropriate emergency response protocol.

All emergency situations should be documented and reported to the UW Police and appropriate University supervisor with a copy to the International Programs Office. Each Faculty Exchange Coordinator will collate and report on emergency situations specific to their Faculty/College at Faculty Council and the International Exchange Committee meetings on a yearly basis. The Associate Vice President Academic will report all emergencies to Senate on an annual basis.

Drafted in consultation with the International Exchange Committee 2002/2003
Approved by Dean's Council January 7, 2004