Information on Our Health, Safety, & Crisis Management

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Ashley Houston
November 20, 2015

It has been a week now since the tragic events in Paris, and for our Centers in France and Europe, the handling of that situation is ongoing. The safety of our students is our highest priority—and in light of the recent events, we wanted to share information about our program for student health, safety, and crisis management abroad.

Since 1950, IES Abroad has been committed to the health and safety of our students. Our outstanding staff are well trained, and our Crisis Management Team is regularly drilled and experienced in responding to crises as well as individual student health and safety emergencies occurring abroad. IES Abroad’s standards in this important area have helped set standards for the entire study abroad field.

Our student health and safety program includes:

  • A highly trained Crisis Management Team, based in our Chicago headquarters, which includes local and international staff.
  • Members of the Crisis Management Team that receive and monitor safety and security alerts and updates on a daily basis for all of our 35 locations worldwide, consulting both private and governmental global security sources and experts.
  • A comprehensive global crisis management plan, as well as local contingency plans for every IES Abroad Center location. Our on-site staff abroad maintain close relations with local police and authorities.
  • Regular, strong communications with U.S. embassies and consulates
  • Thorough training of Chicago and on-site staff to proactively plan for, and respond to, emergencies and crises abroad.
  • Dedicated staff who are on-call and available on-site at every IES Abroad Center worldwide, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for emergencies and crises.
  • Physical security measures in place at each IES Abroad Center.

In addition, we help students prepare for their experience abroad before departure and then on-site through:

  • Pre-departure information posted in every student’s MyIESabroad account, including information about health and safety issues.
  • On-site health and safety orientation sessions at every IES Abroad Center every term, which are specially tailored to local, regional, national, and global issues.
  • Requiring that students have cell phones that work in their location, and that they keep their cell phones with them, fully charged, and turned on at all times, so they can respond immediately to any calls or messages from IES Abroad staff.
  • Enrolling every IES Abroad student who is a U.S. citizens, pre-departure, in the U.S. State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
  • Requiring students to enter all independent travel in a web-based online Travel Tracker® system before they depart for each trip, so IES Abroad staff can locate students swiftly in an urgent situation.
  • Providing our on-site staff with relevant local alerts, resources and reports from governmental authorities, police, the local U.S. Embassy or consulate, if applicable, so they are up-to-date on what is going on in their city.
  • Conducting regular safety drills at every Center once students are on-site.

If you would like to know more about our student safety protocols, you can also reference our Safety FAQs and the IES Abroad MAP for Student Health, Safety & Crisis Management on the IES Abroad website.

We have great confidence in our well-trained staff abroad, as well as in our seasoned Crisis Management Team, who have carefully and thoughtfully created our global and local crisis management plans and protocols. The team has decades of experience swiftly and successfully implementing these plans in response to real world events.

Student safety comes first and we strive to provide a safe and healthy learning environment in which to study abroad.

Our advising staff are always happy to speak with you about any concerns you might have—feel free to call our Chicago headquarters at 800.995.2300.

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Ashley Houston

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