Safety, security, and health are important to consider as you develop and implement programs abroad.
We want you to feel as prepared as possible to manage unexpected issues that may arise. While you are the IU representative on the ground you have the support of the Office of International Affairs and IUPUI/IU as a whole to develop a response plan and work through the crisis with you.
Contact Information for Emergencies Abroad
Please contact us in the following order:
- Study Abroad Emergency Cell Number: 317-409-2925
- Stephanie Leslie, Director of Study Abroad: 317-278-0716, firstname.lastname@example.org
- IUPUI Study Abroad Office 317-274-2081, email@example.com, (Fax) 317-278-2213
- Office of International Affairs 317-274-7000, firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are unable to reach someone outside of normal business hours:
Please call the IUPUI Police Department at 317-274-7911.
They have after hours contact information for staff.
If you are unable to reach IUPUI Staff:
Please call the IU Office of Overseas Study: 812-855-9304, IU Office of Overseas Study.
In case of any emergency on an IUPUI program abroad:
Inform the IUPUI OIA staff as quickly as possible. No cancellations or changes in programs, evacuations, or treatment other than that of an urgent nature should be undertaken without first contacting the IUPUI Study Abroad office. IUPUI's office will coordinate appropriate action in consultation with you, your school, the Office of International Affairs leadership and the Indiana University Office of Overseas Study.
Death or serious accident requiring medical evacuation of a U.S. citizen:
- Contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance.
Contagious illness, injury, incarceration, or death:
- Uninvolved program participants should be asked not to contact their homes or families until IUPUI have given instructions to the on-site representative for action.
Absence or incapacity of the Faculty Director:
- Inform the IUPUI Study Abroad Office before making decisions on emergency matters
- Keep written records of emergency situations.
Safety and Security Workshop
IUPUI requires all program leaders to attend a Safety and Security Workshop each year they are leading a program abroad. For information on upcoming workshops please visit the events section of our home page.
Planning ahead is essential when running a study abroad program. The IUPUI Study Abroad Office has developed an emergency plan at a campus level but it is important that you develop a plan with your school and for your specific program.
Items to Consider With Your School
- Who within your school needs to be notified of issues on programs?
- Are faculty/staff on campus prepared to deal with students who may be upset upon learning of a crisis abroad?
- Are faculty/staff prepared to respond to media inquiries about a crisis abroad?
- How will the school coordinate with IU Communications in a crisis?
- Who has authority to make decisions (including financial) on behalf of the school?
- Are there specific expectations that the school has for its study abroad program directors?
- Are there any discipline specific issues that must be resolved for your programs through your school? (such as insurance for supplies being carried abroad, instrument sterilization, access to antiretroviral medications, etc.)
Items to Consider for Your Specific Program
- What specific health, safety and security issues exist in your program site and with your program activities for which you need to prepare your students?
- How will you reach your students if there is a crisis in your city when you aren’t together as a group? Do you students know they should check in with you? Do your students have a cell phone number at which they can always reach you?
- If something happened to you or you are managing a crisis, how would the rest of the program continue? Do you have a plan for redundancy in program leadership?
- Do you have the language proficiency to manage a crisis in the country? If not, do you have constant access to translation services?
- Do you know how and when to access the following services:
- Law enforcement, including when it is or is not appropriate in the local cultural context to reach out to them.
- Routine, urgent, and emergency medical care
- Mental health resources
- Host institution/program provider/personal or professional contacts
- Travel agency?
Staying abreast of what is happening in the areas in which you are traveling can help you eliminate challenges with your program. The following suggestions can help you stay informed:
- Register your travel with the US Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program – and you will receive updates on issues in the country to which you are traveling.
- Check the US Department of State’s Country Specific Information sheets
- Check the CDC’s Traveler’s Health Information
- Follow local news
- Ask your local contacts to let you know if there are local issues that might affect your group
Preparing your Students
The planning you do for a safe program abroad is only part of ensuring your group travels abroad without incident. It is important that students understand their role in maintaining their safety. As you develop your student orientations please carefully consider how you will empower students to take responsibility for their safety, health and security; how you will prepare them for site specific issues; and how you will prepare them for safety concerns related to your program activities.
Managing Emotional Crises Abroad
As a program director, you should be prepared to help students who experience emotional issues during the program. This can include homesickness, culture shock, health issues, physical or sexual assault, accidents, theft, identity issues, group dynamics, and other unexpected incidents.
We Are Here to Help
We hope that your program runs without incident but if it does our office is here to assist you. Contact us at any time. We will bring in all relevant IUPUI and IU offices to assist in managing the crisis.