Program Safety

July 2013

To All 2013-14 Outgoing Students, Their Parents, and Families:

Recent international events remind us all of the volatility of today’s world. We want to assure you that the Office of International Programs (OIP) and its staff members abroad are working hard to address the safety and security of all students who participate on our programs. To this end, we thought it might be helpful to provide you with an overview of our safety precautions.

The OIP staff consults regularly with colleagues around the country who are involved in the administration of overseas study, resident program directors and responsible officials of foreign host universities, contacts in the US Department of State and other governmental and non-governmental agencies, and other experts, including our faculty, who keep well-informed on issues and events in those locations where we have sponsored and approved programs. Additionally, in recent years, we have taken a number of steps to update our preparedness to deal with emergencies on Brown programs abroad. These include the following:

  1. All OIP staff members, in Providence and abroad, possess numerous means for contacting each other, including 24 hour phone numbers and multiple email addresses.
  2. Students abroad are provided with 24 hour contact phone numbers for both resident staff of Brown Programs and Brown University staff. Resident staff members have procedures in place to enable contact with students when necessary, and these procedures have been shared with students. Students, regardless of their destination, are advised to be especially vigilant in light of the current international climate.
  3. OIP and resident staff members of Brown programs monitor announcements from the US Department of State and other sources daily. These include the State Department’s daily global security briefing and instant notification of all Travel Warnings and Advisories. Additionally, we receive daily global health, safety and security advisories from International SOS, the largest medical and security-assistance company in the world.
  4. All students abroad are automatically covered by a Brown Travel Assistance Plan* administered by International SOS, whose services range from telephone advice and referrals to full-scale evacuation by private air ambulance. International SOS has more than 3,500 professionals in 24-hour alarm centers, international clinics and remote-site medical facilities across five continents. You can access up-to-date reports on more than 170 countries worldwide on health issues, medical care and vaccination requirements via the International SOS website—your home page for travel health and safety information. To use their services or should you have any questions about the coverage, visit the International SOS website. For reference purposes, Brown’s group membership number is 11BSGC000031.
  5. Resident staff members at each Brown program site are in regular touch with the US Embassy, local US consulates, and local authorities. US government officials abroad and local authorities are provided with information about our programs. Students are registered with the appropriate American authorities.
  6. All resident staff members at each Brown Program site have on file an Emergency Action Protocol that covers emergency communication and assembly of students and situations up to and including cancellation of the program. Each Brown program has instructed students in emergency contact procedures and provides students with updates to these procedures as well as timely information relating to given situations when they arise.
  7. Students are required, when traveling away from the host city, to provide resident staff with travel information at all times and to be in communication with their program. Furthermore, they are encouraged to check the State Department Travel Advisory website.

Over the years, literally thousands of students have combed the world through Brown’s programs, returning safely and in good health from their experiences abroad. While no level of preparation can prevent all problems or completely guarantee the safety of students who study and/or travel abroad, we believe that taking proper precautions not only helps avert any number of crises, but also allows for an appropriate response when emergencies arise. As we consider the current international climate, we ask that students abroad be especially vigilant of their local surroundings and share any questions or concernces with the resident OIP staff.

The OIP welcomes questions relating to program safety and we ask that you do not hesitate to contact our office.

Sincerely,

Kendall Brostuen, Director

Office of International Programs
Associate Dean of the College

*Please note that the Brown Travel Assistance Plan is not health insurance. Requests for reimbursement for medical care received while abroad should be submitted to a student’s health insurance provider.