Waterloo International and the Working Group on International Travel Issues

Preparing at home to keep you safe and secure abroad

As part of her political science course, Svetlana Boskovic travelled to Israel in August of 2017. Before departing, the fourth-year student took part in a pre-departure information session offered by Waterloo International.

“The staff from Waterloo International provided me with information and resources to feel confident and secure,” said Boskovic.  “My classmates and I received information about what to expect and bring and who to contact if we ever needed assistance.”

More recently, Associate Dean, Undergraduate Studies for the Faculty of Environment, Professor Brendon Larson, contacted Waterloo International and made use of International SOS Services for his April trip to India. 

“I found the Travel Risk Summary particularly useful,” said Larson.  “It provided me with real-time updates while I was on the ground in India, which informed me of any evolving protests or unrest in the country.”

Boskovic and Larson are just two of the thousands of University members traveling internationally for work and education every year.  While such vibrant mobility is part of the University’s overall strategy for internationalization, the safety and security of University members remain of paramount importance.  As a result, students, staff, and faculty from across campus have come together to work on this set of issues.

The Working Group on International Travel Issues (WGIT) was convened in July 2017 by Associate Vice-President, International, Professor Ian Rowlands with representatives from 17 UW constituencies: the six faculties; CECA; Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs; SSO; Safety Office; Legal and Immigration Services; the Secretariat’s Office; GSA; FEDS; HR; UWSA; and FAUW. The WGIT has met regularly to review current and best practices when it comes to traveling abroad. Within the WGIT, three taskforces have been established to explore key areas of importance, including:

1.  Duty of Care and Risk Mitigation – Tasked with assessing the responsibilities and obligations (legal and/or otherwise) of both the university and the traveler.

2.  Member Experience – Tasked with assessing any potential impacts of, and overall connections with, university policies and determining resources available to UW members when travelling abroad.

3.  Procurement – Tasked with ensuring that all critical elements (products, services, etc.) for a comprehensive travel system are in place.

Beginning May 22nd, three information sessions will provide University members with the opportunity to learn more about travel processes at the University of Waterloo and the WGIT and its taskforces; to ask questions about international travel; and to offer personal insights. Anyone wishing to attend an information session can register by completing this form here. For those not able to attend, a short survey will also be available until June 18th. Please email safetyabroad@uwaterloo.ca to receive it.

To view the Working Group on International Travel Issues slide deck please click here.

For more information on Waterloo International and/or WGIT, email Associate Vice-President, International Professor Ian Rowlands at irowlands@uwaterloo.ca, and/or Advisor to the AVP-I on International Travel Issues, Professor Joan Coutu at joan.coutu@uwaterloo.ca.