Study Abroad administrators are always concerned about students’ health & safety. The experience of a lifetime can be ruined by situations like a medical condition that is not treated enough, a sexual assault, alcohol abuse, robberies or any other circumstance which students can not successfully cope with.
When this happens, providing a fast and secure support to students is essential. They are all provided with an insurance that often covers any kind of assistance, both physical and mental. But apart from that, prior to enrolling in a program, students should go through a deep examination of their general state of health and make sure they keep an open mind and a positive attitude towards the experience abroad. All students are welcome abroad, and local administrators do their best to accommodate all students’ needs, but we need to keep in mind that joining a program overseas is often a very stressful situation, mainly during the first days, and some students find it very hard to go through it without external counseling or medical help. It is our responsibility to make sure these students receive the best attention and care possible.
In regards to students’ safety, we, educators, try hard to give students all the necessary information and tools to learn how to prevent these situations and enjoy a wonderful time in our country. Unfortunately, sometimes it is not enough. Some scholars feel too confident and think they will know how to react if such a situation arises, or sometimes is alcohol which makes them loose control and fall victim of theft, harassment or even rape. When this happens, there needs to be a constant and immediate collaboration between host and home institutions in order to create a secure environment for the student.
Throughout the years, we have also found out that in some occasions, students have not received specific information on the differences in law, regulations and policies between the USA and Spain, for instance. And this is something that should be made mandatory in all pre-departure workshops or training sessions. Students should be able to spend a safe time abroad, and know how to behave in all situations. Failing to do this can bring major problems to them, the program, the home school and their families at home.