Health and Safety
Health and Safety
CAPA International Education understands that the decision to go abroad is not one made lightly, and that the health and safety of your student is paramount in this incredible opportunity. Similarly, we do not take this incredible responsibility to your student lightly. In this section, you will learn about the myriad ways in which CAPA International Education endorses, abides to, and leads in this capacity. This includes not only preparedness, professional support, risk assessment, and training but also practical concerns such as insurance abroad, orientation and 24 hour emergency support. Our support ensures that your concerns become our considerations.
A member of your family has made the decision to study abroad. It may be for a semester, it may be for a year, it may be for three weeks. No matter the length of the program, the decision to study abroad is no small matter. Whether he or she has traveled internationally previously or not, it is a significant undertaking, and you might be filled with questions and concerns. Where will they live? What will they eat? How will they get to class? And then there are bigger questions: What happens if they have to go to the hospital? What happens if they are robbed? What happens if they lose his or her passport? The question underneath all of this is who will take care of my family member while he or she is abroad.
We understand your concerns, and the inherent involvement of the entire family in someone's decision to study abroad. We don’t take this responsibility lightly. It is quite likely that part of the decision to study on a CAPA program is the support provided by the CAPA staff, both in the US during the pre-departure stage and at each CAPA program location – the knowledge that there is not just one, but several members of the CAPA team who are working collaboratively throughout the entire process of the program to ensure a safe, healthy and successful experience abroad.
At the same time, we encourage all family members to recognize that there is an incredible opportunity for students to hone their independence and develop new skills and competencies whilst abroad. At CAPA we are committed to implementing tools and strategies to support them in this development in a way that is organic, rather than abrupt and jarring.
The CAPA team works hard to ensure that each individual has access to the tools that they need to navigate the experience abroad in an increasingly independent way. Whether it is providing them with trusted resources for the process of obtaining a visa, or an orientation session designed to prepare them to travel on the London Tube system, CAPA views these experiences as true educational opportunities, and thus takes a teacher’s approach to developing each student's confidence in their ability to manage the new and seemingly challenging and in guiding them to recognize that by doing so, they are gaining new skills that will benefit them throughout their time abroad, after they return home, and even in their future careers. Throughout their time abroad, students are encouraged to analyze the differences between their home and host environment and to reflect what they are learning each time they experience something new or overcome an obstacle. They are further guided to develop ways to articulate this learning to their friends and family and also to prospective graduate schools and at job interviews, giving them an edge in an increasingly competitive market.
We also understand that some events – crises and emergencies -- demand a more intimate level of care, and that in these instances, the trust that both you and your family member have in CAPA is of the utmost importance. That is why CAPA as an organization prioritizes health and safety and ensures our staff are well prepared to provide the response and care required during times of crisis.
“CAPA Care” is ultimately about supported learning. CAPA ensures each student is given the resources they need to develop the skills and confidence to independently navigate their time abroad and to return home having with new skills, confidence and a sense of achievement.
Preparedness and Professional Support
The health and safety of students studying abroad on CAPA programs is of the utmost importance and a top priority across all locations where our students study. CAPA maintains a comprehensive health and safety plan in order to ensure a safe and productive learning environment for students. This plan includes specific guidelines for dealing with emergencies such as student assault, suicide, serious accident or emotional issues as well as large scale crises such as natural disasters or acts of terrorism.
In the event of a large scale crisis, teams are in place to lead the plan, to locate all students to confirm their whereabouts and safety and provide them information, instructions and advice, and to keep home campus informed at all times. CAPA’s relationships with tour operators, housing providers and other third party providers in each program site ensure it will be possible to relocate students should such a need occur.
CAPA has retained the services of docleaf for professional support. docleaf has 15 years of experience providing strategic crisis management, communication support and psychological intervention. They have worked with CAPA to create a full crisis response plan specific to our organization and are on call 24/7 to provide staff with support for dealing with any student emergency or large scale crisis.
Please see www.docleaf.com for further information.
CAPA refers to data from a variety of sources in order to make decisions regarding program operations. This includes the consular information sheets and advisory messages posted by the US Department of State as well OSAC, CDC, and WHO briefings, international and local news alerts, and advice from local law enforcement. This data will be used to assess whether a local condition requires our students to exercise additional caution for which they will be briefed and advised, or whether there is a need to relocate all or part of the program or to suspend or terminate the program and evacuate participants. In the event of a relocation or termination of the program, CAPA will work closely with pre-identified local vendors and consular officials/US Department of State to ensure that students are informed and fully supported through this process. docleaf will serve as an additional resource for oversight.
In making individual decisions concerning participation, we suggest that participants and their parents carefully review the State Department Travel Advisories.
24–Hour Emergency Contact
Each CAPA program has a dedicated emergency mobile phone, which is manned by a trained CAPA staff member 24/7. Students are given instructions to call the emergency mobile any time they feel that they are in distress and require urgent CAPA assistance. A US-based emergency mobile phone is also covered 24/7 by a trained member of the Boston staff which gives parents and universities an easy way to reach CAPA in urgent situations, particularly on weekends or outside of normal business hours.
All CAPA students are required to have a cell phone with a local number and to keep it turned on and charged at all times. This ensures that CAPA is able to locate and advise students in the case of a major event affecting the location in which they are studying.
CAPA is registered with the US Embassy and is on the State Department’s advisory list to receive regular updates on security issues abroad. Updates pertaining to our program locations or potential travel areas are always communicated to students. CAPA also keeps home campuses up-to-date on the welfare of their students and keeps the campuses informed of any serious issues that arise while students are abroad.
Within the first few days of arrival in-country, all CAPA students are provided with a full program orientation which includes a section on health and safety specific to their program location. Students are informed how to contact CAPA in the case of an emergency, given an emergency card and asked to put the CAPA 24-hour emergency number into their mobile phones.
Students are also advised to contact their parents, guardians, or emergency contacts as soon as possible should there be any serious incident within the country they are studying. This is the case even if the student or their host city is not directly affected. Students are reminded that US news can amplify situations abroad and frequent contact with home is that much more important during those times.
Mental Health Issues
While CAPA staff are trained to respond to a variety of health and safety situations, it is important to note that they are not qualified psychologists, psychiatrists or counsellors. Instead, staff are trained to provide students with appropriate referrals and guidance for gaining professional help while abroad. Students with existing mental health issues should carefully consider whether studying in a different and unfamiliar country is right for them. This should include investigating in advance what resources they will be able to access while abroad and assessing whether these resources will provide an appropriate support structure. Additionally CAPA recommends that students ensure they take with them enough medication (if applicable) to cover the entirety of their program and to remain in contact with their mental health professionals back home throughout their time abroad. Students deemed to be a risk to themselves or to others will likely need to withdraw the program and return home in the interest of safety.
CAPA provides insurance for each student, including health, travel and accident coverage; emergency medical evacuation and repatriation; basic accident; sickness; trip cancellation; trip delay; trip interruption; and baggage loss.
Advice for Participants and their Families
CAPA has the following recommendations for students and their emergency contacts:
- Students should keep in touch with their families and emergency contacts throughout their time abroad.
- Students should ensure that their parents and/or emergency contacts have their accurate and up-to-date local contact information at all times.
- Students should immediately notify their emergency contacts in the event of any emergency, accident, serious health problem, or other serious mishap.
- Students are required to notify the Resident Director in the event of any health condition that lasts longer than a day or two.
- Family members should ensure they have the necessary details to contact their student through a variety of methods including text, skype, email, social media.
- Students and family members should be aware of CAPA’s limitations in regards to managing mental health issues and make the necessary preparations prior to the start of the program to ensure a successful semester abroad.
Communication between CAPA and our student’s home institutions is considered “internal communication” in regards to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). CAPA has the right and the duty to communicate all relevant information concerning a student’s health and safety, academic progress, behavior, etc. to appropriate officers at the student’s home institution on a need-to-know basis.
It is important to note that the U.S. Department of State Office of American Citizens Services and Crisis Management will generally not release information about specific individuals to CAPA or to other third parties.
The U.S. State Department website has information specifically for students abroad which includes a section on emergencies and the State Department’s contact details. CAPA recommends that family members bookmark this page and enter the phone numbers into their contacts.
CAPA provides travel insurance for all students and visiting faculty who are traveling abroad.
All students on CAPA programs are covered under CAPA’s international world student health insurance policy which will cover up to $100,000 in medical expenses, up to $500 for lost baggage, up to $3,000 for trip interruption, and coverage for accidental death or dismemberment and emergency evacuation. All enrolled students will be provided with detailed policy details and instructions on how to file a claim. Please contact the CAPA Student Services Line at 1-800-793-0334 for any questions concerning student insurance coverage while abroad.
You will receive an electronic insurance brochure outlining your coverage in your Program specific pre-departure website that includes International Student Insurance (under which you are covered). The medical claim form is within the insurance brochure, should you need it.
Healthcare abroad and health insurance coverage during your time abroad can be one of the most confusing aspects of preparing for your travels. Healthcare and insurance do function differently while you’re overseas. We’ve tried to answer some of the questions you might have so that you can manage your own health appropriately abroad!
CAPA’s International Student Insurance Policy insures you. Be sure to bring a copy of the policy and claim form with you. If you plan to travel independently prior to or after official program dates, you should obtain additional insurance coverage for that period as International Student Insurance will only cover you for the program dates.
When reading through the coverage provided under this policy, be sure to note whether or not it covers your own independent needs – specifically regarding pre-existing medical conditions that may require more frequent care. Pre-existing conditions can be nominally covered under this insurance, and students with pre-existing conditions who anticipate needing care whilst overseas will want to consider exploring alternative options for additiona coverage. You may require additional insurance coverage in this instance. Your total coverage is up to $100,000 per medical claim during the length of the program.
How does my health insurance work while I am abroad?
CAPA International Student Insurance will reimburse you for medical care up to $100,000 in cost, for care that included under the plan, but it is important to note that you will have to pay out of pocket up front for these costs. Be sure to hold onto ANY receipts in order to more easily reclaim the money spent once you have returned to the United States. Keep ALL receipts! You are responsible for filing your own claim directly with the insurance provider within 30 days of the end of your program. If you have another insurance policy that is covering you this time, you will need to present a letter that the policy will not cover medical costs in order for our insurance policy to reimburse you for this. The International Student Insurance is considered secondary insurance in an event in which the student has another policy.
If I am sick, can I go to the doctor or is there an easier and quicker place to get treatment?
You can go to the Hospital to receive care and treatment! Also, keep in mind that for mild illnesses, particularly in Europe, pharmacists are as equipped at diagnosing and prescribing medications as doctors in the United States. This method is quicker and less expensive and generally recommended for non-serious illnesses.
Why don't I have a health insurance card?
Your health insurance works to reimburse you for your costs, it does not cover them up front. Therefore, hospitals abroad do not need a record of your health insurance as they will be billing you directly.
How can I plan to make sure I can pay out of pocket in the case of an emergency?
Try to keep some money aside for an emergency and also you can keep a credit card with a higher balance that you can use for an emergency as well. Although basic costs for treatment range far lower than in the US, it’s better to prepare for the unexpected.
Is there anything for which I am not covered?
It is important that you read the International Student Insurance brochure for the exact coverage and exclusions before departing. It is also advised to print the policy our and bring it with you overseas or keep an electronic copy in your email for reference. The insurance does not cover you while in a motor vehicle).