Health and Safety Abroad
Misfortune can happen anywhere, at home as well as abroad. As careful as you may try to be, you may end up in situations where you are in danger. However, if you prepare before you go, things are less likely to happen, and if something does happen, it will be easier to resolve it. In the case of health and safety, knowledge really is power.
Wayne State University takes the health, safety and security of all WSU students seriously. All WSU students currently studying in the affected locations have been contacted by the Office of Study Abroad and Global Programs regarding this Alert. Students were requested to read the Alert carefully and to follow the advice of local authorities as well as their host institutions. There are no plans to suspend or alter any study abroad program in any country listed with a Travel Alert at this time. The Office of Study Abroad and Global Programs will continue to monitor the situation and be prepared to revise our position if necessary.
Current Travel Alerts have been issued for the following countries:
Saudi Arabia 07/25/2013
Israel, the West Bank and Gaza 06/19/2013
Cote d'Ivoire 05/16/2013
Central African Republic 05/10/2013
Congo, Democratic Republic of the 04/24/2013
Study Abroad and Global Programs Policy Regarding U.S. Department of State Travel Alerts and Travel Warnings
Wayne State University takes the health, safety and security of all WSU students seriously; however, the university acknowledges that there are situations in which safety issues outweigh the benefits of any international experience. International Programs and the Office of Study Abroad and Global Programs continuously monitors the safety and security of all WSU students abroad. We work with students to provide them with relevant information so that they can make wise and informed decisions regarding program selection, participation, health and safety abroad. Safety and security issues abroad are monitored through the U.S. Department of State’s travel alerts and warning and the Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC).
The United States government, through the U.S. Department of State, has designated certain countries to be potentially dangerous for U.S. travelers. In order to understand the potential risk with travel to any country, you must understand the difference between a travel warning and a travel alert. Travel Warnings are issued to detail long-term, prolonged conditions that make a country unstable or dangerous. Travel Warnings can also be issued if the U.S. Government's ability to assist U.S. citizens abroad is compromised due to the closure of an embassy or consulate or because of a reduction of its staff. Travel Alerts are issued to provide information about short-term conditions that could potentially expose U.S. citizens to safety or security issues. Travel alerts include natural disasters, terrorist attacks, coups, anniversaries of terrorist events, election-related demonstrations or violence, and high-profile events such as international conferences or regional sports events.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention also issues different types of notices for international travelers. A Travel Health Precaution is a notification by the CDC that a disease outbreak is occurring in a widespread geographic area. The purpose is to provide updated information to travelers and Americans living abroad about the status of the outbreak, to disseminate specific precautions to reduce risk of infection, and to provide information on what to do if one becomes sick while in the area. A Travel Health Warning is a notification by the CDC that a widespread, serious outbreak of a disease of public health concern is expanding outside the area or populations than were initially affected. In this instance, the CDC recommends against nonessential travel to the area because the risk for the traveler is considered high.
The following policies apply to Wayne State University administered study abroad programs:
Wayne State University follows both the U.S. State Department Travel Warnings and the CDC Travel Health Warnings with respect WSU-sponsored study abroad programs. With the exception of the WSU program in Israel and the West Bank, WSU study abroad programs in locations currently under a Travel Warning or Travel Health Warning will be suspended for the duration of the Warning. If a travel warning is issued after a WSU study abroad program has begun, the program may continue or other decisions may be made as the situation warrants. Understand that the events and circumstances will be carefully monitored by the Office of Study Abroad and Global Programs. Potential decisions may include:
- Providing students with the opportunity to return to the United States;
- allowing the WSU program to continue in the same format,
- relocating the program to a alternative sites so that the program may continue,
- temporarily suspending program operations, or
- the permanent closure of the program and the return of all participants to the U.S.
Travel Alerts and Travel Health Precautions:
Wayne State University will continuously review all Travel Alerts issued by the U.S. Department of State and Travel Health Precautions issued by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention where safety and security issues are a concern. Final decisions in regard to sending or withdrawing students from areas with Travel Alerts or Travel Health Precautions will be made after consulting with officials from the foreign host universities or overseas providers, the U.S. Department of State, the Center for Disease Prevention and Control, appropriate Wayne State University administrators, and other well-informed experts on issues related to the region in question.
Travel Alerts generally indicate that a specific threat has been received or that there might be a threat to U.S. citizens. In most cases these threats are not realized, and most importantly, are not likely to cause difficulties for our students and faculty if they exercise reasonable caution.
Students interested in applying for a WSU-sponsored program in countries where a travel alert or travel health precaution has been issued, need to be aware of the following policy as it pertains to your withdrawal and refund of program fees:
When Wayne State University officially cancels a program or suspends travel prior to the start of a program or activity abroad for safety or security reasons, the student is entitled to a full refund of all monies paid to date related to that program.
Should Wayne State University suspend an international program while it is in progress, every effort will be made by the University to safely evacuate participants in the program. All recoverable funds or refunds received from canceled activities will be returned to the student.
Students who voluntarily withdraw from a program that Wayne State University has NOT officially suspended will be responsible for all costs as outlined in your program specific withdrawal and refund policy found on your Program Acceptance Form.
Wayne State University CANNOT:
- guarantee or assure the safety of participants or eliminate all unavoidable risks associated with international travel;
- control or monitor the daily personal decisions, choices, and activities of participants while they are abroad;
- assume responsibility for the actions of persons not employed or otherwise engaged by Wayne State University for events that are not part of the program or that are beyond the control of Wayne State University or for situations that may arise due to the failure of a participant to disclose necessary information; and
- assure that the same quality of home-country medical facilities will be available while abroad.
Before you travel:
Before you travel, it is wise to register with the American embassy or consulate. If you are participating on a faculty-led program, registration will be done for you. If you are traveling on your own, or deviating from the program itinerary, we recommend that you register by going to https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ui/.
The following information will help you to have a safe and enjoyable journey:
- What To Do If You Get Lost
- What To Do If Your Things Get Lost or Stolen
- What To Do If You Get Sick or Injured
- What To Do In Case of a Disaster or Political Instability
- Nightlife Precautions
- Substance Use
With a little planning and preparation, you can avoid many problems while traveling. And if something does happen, you'll be ready to handle it.
Additional suggestions and information:
- US Department of State Travel Warnings
- How to Have a Safe Trip
- International Travel Safety Information for Students
- Special Warning about Drug Offenses Abroad