Student Safety Abroad

The safety of our students is of the utmost importance. We endorse NAFSA’s Inter-Organizational Task Force on Safety and Responsibility guidelines and the Forum on Education Abroad Standard 8 guideline focused on health, safety, security, and risk management. We've created and maintain a far-reaching health and safety plan to help ensure a sound and productive learning environment for students and faculty.

From comprehensive student orientations, to 24/7 emergency support, to retention of the services of a professional emergency preparedness organization, and much more, we are fully prepared to manage any type of emergency or serious issues.

The sections below provide details on our safety plan.

Extensive Staff Training  

Our staff undergo regular trainings on a range of topics covering best practices in the field of higher education and study abroad, this includes student wellness support. While our 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 counselors. Instead, our staff is trained to provide students with appropriate referrals and guidance for gaining professional help while abroad.

Emergency Preparedness & Response  

We maintain a comprehensive plan that includes specific guidelines for dealing with emergencies such as assault, suicide, serious accident, or arrest, as well as large scale crises like 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. Our strong 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.


We have retained the services of docleaf for professional support. docleaf has over 15 years of experience providing strategic crisis management, communication support, and psychological intervention. They have worked with our team to create a full crisis response plan specific to our organization and are on call around the clock to provide staff with support for dealing with any student emergency or large scale crisis.

Insurance  

All students on our programs are covered under CAPA’s international world student health insurance policy which covers up to $100,000 in medical expenses*, up to $500 for lost baggage, up to $3,000 for medically related trip interruption, and coverage for accidental death or dismemberment, and repatriation. Enrolled students are given comprehensive policy details and instructions on filinga claim.

For questions on coverage, contact the CAPA Student Services Line at 1-800-793-0334.

*CAPA’s international student insurance reimburses for medical care up to $100,000. Students must pay out-of-pocket up front for medical costs and are responsible for filing a claim directly with the insurance provider within 30 days of the end of the program. In order to process a claim and receive reimbursement, we advise students to hold onto ALL receipts showing proof of the money spent on medical care so they can be submitted with the claim.

Note: CAPA reserves the right to change insurance providers or specific coverage at any time. However, coverage will not alter from the time an enrolled student receives the included policy information until the conclusion of their CAPA program. 

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Student Orientation  

During the first full day of the program, all students participate in a comprehensive orientation that covers a range of topics, including health, wellness, and program safety. Additionally, students receive safety guidance in their pre-departure arrival packets and the Landing Gear packet which is available in their accommodations upon arrival in-country. Providing safety advice in these various ways ensures that students are aware of the support services available throughout their program as well as the ways in which they can play a role in maintaining their well being while abroad. 

Students are also advised to contact their parents, guardians, or emergency contacts as soon as possible should there be any incident within the country they are studying, whether or not they or the city they are in is affected. They are reminded that U.S. news can amplify situations abroad and contact with home is that much more important.

24/7 Emergency Support  

Each of our program centers and the Pre-Departure Services team in our Boston headquarters are equipped with a local phone to be accessed in the event of a student emergency. All students are given individual cards with the emergency numbers upon arrival in-country and can access the US-based emergency number through their pre-departure advising site. In the case of serious emergencies, students are advised to dial local country-based emergency numbers and to connect with local staff through the CAPA emergency phone for additional support.

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 we are able to locate and advise students in the case of a major event affecting the location in which they are studying.

Registration Abroad  
CAPA is registered with the U.S. Embassy and is on the State Department’s advisory list to receive regular updates on security issues abroad. Updates pertaining to our program sites or possible areas of travel are always communicated to students.
Risk Assessment  

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 U.S. 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.

Communication with the Home Campus  

CAPA keeps home campuses informed of the welfare of their students and faculty, and informs them of issues arising abroad. In the event of a large scale local emergency, the CAPA locator plan will be activated and the home campus will receive regular updates on the security of all participants.

Advice for Participants and Their Families  

CAPA has the following recommendations for students and their emergency contacts:

  • Participants and their emergency contacts should keep in touch with each other throughout the participants’ time out of the United States.
  • Participants should make sure their parents and / or emergency contacts have their accurate and up-to-date local contact information at all times.
  • Participants should immediately notify their emergency contacts in the event of any emergency, accident, serious health problem, or other serious mishap.
  • Participants 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 participants’ sending institutions is considered “internal communication” in regards to the Family Rights and Privacy Act, and CAPA has the right and the duty to communicate all relevant information concerning participants’ health and safety, academic progress, behavior, etc. to appropriate officers at the sending school on a need-to-know basis.

It is important to note that the US 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 US State Department website has information specifically for students abroad which includes a section on emergencies and the State Department’s contact details.
Safety at Our Housing Locations  

Safety is a priority for CAPA in all aspects of the program. We select student accommodations through vetted and trusted housing providers, and students are placed in locations that are reflective of the global city in which they are studying. Accommodations are secure, with minimal risk to student safety. As in any major city, students are advised of best practices for safety and awareness in their accommodations and around the city.

Guardian Safety App  

Guardian is CAPA's official study abroad safety app (available for download on Android and iOS devices) which is loaded with many useful features and resources to help ensure that all CAPA students have a safe and healthy time abroad.

Some of the CAPA Guardian app's features include:

CAPA Check-In
In an emergency, CAPA staff can send notification to students. When students check-in, CAPA staff is informed of their safety, along with a location and time stamp.


Emergency & Support Resources
Students can contact local or CAPA emergency services for immediate assistance, email or call CAPA staff for non-emergency support, or email recommended doctors and mental health counselors.

Travel Log
Students log in their travel details when traveling outside their program city. This information is used by CAPA staff in the event of an emergency.

And much more!