Health & Safety

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We Set the Standards for Student Safety

The safety of IES Abroad students is our highest priority. Our staff is well-trained and knowledgeable about our safety procedures and protocols. Unlike most study abroad providers, IES Abroad has a full-time Chicago-based Dean of Students Office that establishes and oversees our health and safety guidelines, and consults with the IES Abroad Centers to maintain high standards of safety. We’ve been doing this for 65+ years, and we’re proud to be one of the best at it.

Our Health, Safety, & Crisis Management

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.

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 for studying 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.

IES Abroad Set the Industry Standard

Our research established the study abroad industry guidelines for addressing student safety and risk management in the administration of study abroad abroad programs.

center staff with a globe
Our On-site Center Support

Our Centers are the hub for our programs and are staffed with our experienced, trained, and dedicated team of local professionals who are on-site to assist your student at all times, no matter what their need be. Your students are in good hands with us, from start to finish. 

Useful Sites for General Safety

These websites provide additional content for traveling outside of the country.

U.S. State Department Website - Travel Warnings and U.S. Consulate information

U.S. Embassies - U.S. Embassy Information Abroad

Tips for Traveling Abroad - Department of State

Safety Abroad Handbook - USC Center of Global Education's resources and preparation tips for students