What You Need to Know
Syracuse University aspires to provide facilities and conditions for its overseas programs that are safe and healthy. Realistically, however, this cannot always be achieved. Laws, economic and political conditions, language, cultural and religious practices, health care providers and facilities, and many other factors are often very different from what exists in the United States.
Consequently, SU Abroad participants, as well as their parents, families, and guardians, must understand and accept that the facilities and conditions for the University's overseas programs will inevitably be very different from what they are accustomed to in the United States. These differences can expose participants to risks of injury and loss that can be difficult to deal with, especially when combined with the fact that the programs are far from home. As a result, Syracuse University Abroad students are required to sign an agreement acknowledging their understanding and acceptance of these differences and the resulting risk of injury and loss.
Recognizing these differences, Syracuse University aspires to follow, wherever possible, the guidelines set below. We urge all participants and parents/families/guardians to follow the guidelines applicable to them. In reality, however, even full performance of the guidelines will not assure that a participant will not be exposed to injury and loss, as it is impossible to foresee every contingency that might arise.
Guidelines for Syracuse University
The guidelines, which Syracuse University aspires to perform with respect to its SU Abroad programs, are:
- To provide health and safety information for prospective participants to help them and their parents/guardians/families make informed decisions concerning preparation, participation and behavior while on their program.
- To maintain emergency preparedness processes and a crisis response plan.
- To provide orientation information to participants prior to their program and on site, which includes information on safety, health, legal, environmental, political, cultural, and religious conditions in the host country, dealing with health and safety issues, potential health and safety risks, and appropriate emergency response measures.
- To consider health and safety issues in evaluating our ability to provide reasonable accommodation to the extent required by law.
- To provide limited supplementary health insurance through the International Student Identity Card, as well as information about how to obtain additional coverage (see Insurance Options for Students Studying Abroad [PDF]). To make international SOS available to all of our students require participants to show evidence of appropriate health insurance coverage.
- To conduct appropriate inquiry regarding the potential health and safety risks of the local environment of our programs.
- To conduct appropriate inquiry regarding available medical and professional services, provide information for participants and their parents/guardians/families, and help participants obtain the services they may need.
- To communicate applicable codes of conduct and the consequences of noncompliance to participants and take appropriate action when aware that participants are in violation.
- To obtain reliable information concerning heath and safety risks, and provide resource information to program administrators and participants.
- To maintain good communication among all program administrators and participants and others who need to know in cases of serious health problems, injury, or other significant health and safety circumstances.
- To consider information that may be available in the participant screening process, such as disciplinary history, that may impact on the safety of the individual or the group.
Factors Beyond our Control
- Guarantee or assure the safety of participants or eliminate all risks from the study abroad environments.
- Monitor or control all of the daily personal decisions, choices, and activities of individual participants.
- Prevent participants from engaging in illegal, dangerous or unwise activities.
- Assure that U.S. standards of due process apply in overseas legal proceedings or provide or pay for legal representation for participants.
- Assume responsibility for the actions of persons not employed or otherwise engaged by the program, for events that are not part of the program, or that are beyond the control of the Syracuse University and its subcontractors, or for situations that may arise due to the failure of a participant to disclose pertinent information.
- Assure that home-country cultural values and norms will apply in the host country.
Please be aware that there is a point at which the responsibility of Syracuse University ends. Many aspects of your overseas experiences are beyond our control.
Guidelines for Participants
In study abroad, as in other settings, you can have a major impact on your own health and safety through the decisions you make before and during the program, and by your day-to-day choices and behaviors.
- Read and carefully consider all materials issued or recommended by Syracuse University that relate to safety, health, legal, environmental, political, cultural, and religious conditions in host countries.
- Consider your health and other personal circumstances, including reasonable accommodations to the extent required by law, when applying for or accepting a place in a program.
- Make available to us, subject to all applicable legal limitations and restrictions, accurate and complete physical and mental health information and any other personal data that you feel is necessary for us to plan a safe and healthy study abroad experience.
- Assume responsibility for all the elements necessary for your personal preparation for the program and participate fully in orientations.
- Obtain and maintain appropriate insurance coverage and abide by any conditions imposed by the carriers.
- Inform parents/guardians/families, and any others who may need to know, about your participation in the study abroad program, provide them with emergency contact information, and keep them informed on an ongoing basis.
- Understand and comply with the terms of participation, codes of conduct, and emergency procedures of the program, and obey host-country laws.
- Be aware of local conditions and customs that may present health or safety risks when making daily choices and decisions. Promptly express any health or safety concerns to the program staff or other appropriate individuals.
- Behave in a manner that is respectful of the rights and well being of others, and encourage others to behave in a similar manner.
- Accept responsibility for your own decisions and actions.
- Become familiar with the procedures for obtaining emergency health and law enforcement services in the host country.
- Follow the program policies for keeping program staff informed of your whereabouts and well being.
Guidelines for Parents and Guardians
In study abroad as in other settings, parents, guardians, and families can play an important role in the health and safety of participants by helping them make decisions and by influencing their behavior overseas.
When appropriate, parents/guardians/families should:
- Obtain and carefully evaluate health and safety information related to the program, as provided by Syracuse University, the Centers for Disease Control, the U.S. Department of State, and other sources.
- Be involved in the decision of the participant to enroll in a particular program.
- Engage the participant in a thorough discussion of safety and behavior issues, insurance needs, and emergency procedures related to living abroad.
- Be responsive to requests from Syracuse University for appropriate information regarding the participant.
- Keep in touch with the participant.
- Be aware that privacy laws and other constraints may place restrictions on our ability to provide information to you.