Health & Safety
A Letter from ResearchWild!
ResearchWild! is thankful for the opportunity to provide you with a study abroad experience that will not only be an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience, but will also complement your academic goals while contributing to your personal growth and development of a more global perspective. At ResearchWild!, we strive to make every student's study abroad experience as successful as possible. Our focus on student health and safety is evident in the programs we develop, in the program sites we select, and in the planning and implementation of academic and cultural experiences. Our staff are there to support you and resolve your questions or concerns about your health and safety while you are studying abroad, and to provide information that will keep you updated in the case of an emergency. Please don’t ever hesitate to contact ResearchWild! staff, either in the U.S. or in your host city. Have a great Cultural Experience Abroad!
Michael Birt, Co-Founder
Student Health Abroad
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
We encourage you (and your family) to talk to your family physician about how conditions in the host city—such as altitude, pollution, proximity to medical facilities, required immunizations, availability of specific prescription medications—might affect your wellbeing. Additional information on health and travel may be found online through the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization.
ResearchWild! AND SITE SPECIALISTS' ROLE
ResearchWild! provides online Student Tips and Parent Tips to help prepare you for a safe, healthy, and valuable study abroad experience. Once you’ve applied and are approved to participate in any of our ResearchWild! programs, you will receive a pre-departure checklist which must be completed and signed before you travel. This pre-departure checklist outlines pre-departure requirements and recommendations to promote your health and safety abroad, including:
Links to U.S. Consulate, Department of State, and Centers for Disease Control to obtain the latest travel information and requirements
Discussions to have with your primary health provider during your pre-departure appointment
Packing considerations for prescription medications and passport
ResearchWild! Site Specialists in Stephenville, Texas and New Orleans, Louisiana, are available to review your application and provide support to you and your family if you have questions about special accommodations and/or medical or psychological services that you may need during your program abroad.
If you have allergies or experience reactions to medications, foods, or insect bites, consider wearing a medical alert bracelet and/or including that information in a letter from your physician explaining the necessary treatment should you become ill.
Recent research conducted by the Forum on Education Abroad found that flu and cold symptoms were the most common problems faced by students studying abroad. We strongly recommended that you receive flu vaccines before you leave the U.S., and that you practice healthy habits such as frequent handwashing and covering your coughs to prevent the spread of germs. Please visit the Centers for Disease Control for more information on flu prevention.
CISI TRAVEL HEALTH INSURANCE
All students participating in an abroad experience must be enrolled in international coverage through Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI). For more information about international health insurance coverage visit CISI's webpage at www.culturalinsurance.com
The ability for ResearchWild! to work closely with CISI to handle your medical concerns
Access to important information in the event of an accident or illness
24-hour emergency medical assistance and evacuation services
The CISI medical insurance plan covers a maximum of $250,000 for any sickness or accident that occurs during the dates of your study program, in conjunction with any other medical insurance that may be available to you, such as a university-sponsored or family plan. This includes coverage for any unexpected re-emergence of a previously well-controlled pre-existing condition.
During orientation, ResearchWild! staff will provide you with contact information for medical facilities and health providers in your host city. ResearchWild! staff ensure that you have access to quality medical care in your host city, for both physical and emotional needs. ResearchWild! staff will help you make arrangements with English-speaking providers when possible and, when unavailable, will make sure someone accompanies you to appointments who can translate.
CISI coverage is in effect from your program start date to your program end date. If you plan to travel independently before or after your program, we encourage you to look into international health insurance options.
Please contact ResearchWild! at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about health insurance.
STUDENTS WITH PHYSICAL CHALLENGES
Often, countries do not have the legislation and infrastructure to accommodate students with mobility or visual impairments in the way they are aided in the U.S. Investigate the conditions of your prospective host country before applying for a program; visit Mobility International USA for more information.
ResearchWild! staff will try to make reasonable accommodations when possible; however, additional housing charges may apply. Consequently, it is essential that you describe in your Health & Wellness Profile the type of physical or visual impairment you have and the type of accommodation you need to participate fully in the educational and cultural experiences of a study abroad program.
Safety is Our First Priority
While, in this changing world, ResearchWild! cannot guarantee the absolute safety of any program participant, ResearchWild! will educate you about potential risks abroad during pre-departure, upon arrival in Orientation, and at intervals during your study program, so you can make informed choices about your personal safety. ResearchWild! specifically requests all students collaborate in keeping themselves safe by:
Avoiding risky behaviors
Maintaining a working cell phone where ResearchWild! may reach you in case of any domestic or international emergency
Sharing your independent travel plans so ResearchWild! may know your whereabouts in relation to a specific emergency situation
We advise you to routinely check your e-mail for information that we may distribute in case of events in your host city such as civil demonstrations, transit strikes, or an emergency.
As part of your study abroad experience, you may expect:
An on-site arrival orientation that includes health information, theft prevention, and general safety precautions given by your prospective host.
The location of and contact information for local police stations and instructions on how to report incidents
Assistance with student registration with the local U.S. embassy or consulate
Information on the stages of cultural adaptation and what to expect as you transition to life abroad, including available support resources
Assistance with making healthcare appointments
Support from dedicated and qualified international personnel, who are well-trained in emergency procedures and understand the challenges students face while studying abroad
24/7 access to on-site host staff who can provide assistance should an emergency arise in your host city or while you’re traveling in the region, including medical evacuation if needed through your insurance
ResearchWild! communication with your listed Emergency Contact (we encourage parents to talk to you about designating them as your Emergency Contact)
During your mandatory on-site arrival orientation, we’ll advise you as to our Student Emergency Protocol, to be followed in case of an emergency situation such as a violent protest, terrorist attack, or natural disaster:
Shelter in place or find a safe place to stay.
Contact your Emergency Contact and family members.
Contact ResearchWild! and respond to ResearchWild! communications.
Follow the directions of local authorities.
You’ll have access to a site-specific, 24/7 emergency phone answered by on-site host staff, who can assist you with emergency concerns in your host city. If you’re traveling independently away from your host city, you may access resources through Generali Global Assistance/Europ Assistance USA, an international travel assistance provider that helps you find health care, translation services, accommodations, and stay informed about local conditions.
The comprehensive ResearchWild! General Emergency Protocol addresses both singular student incidents and mass incidents, and is complemented by site-specific evacuation plans for students and staff. On-site Emergency Protocols include all contact information for ResearchWild! staff, local authorities, partner institutions, student contact numbers, security precautions, and specific guidelines for host staff on liaison with ResearchWild! personnel regarding potential emergency situations.
The ResearchWild! Emergency Communications Plan clarifies the lines of communications between our international sites, U.S.-based partner institutions, and ResearchWild! personnel in Stephenville, Texas and New Orleans, Louisiana, in case an emergency should occur.
In the event of a travel warning issued by the U.S. Department of State, ResearchWild! will:
send e-mail messages to you
send e-mail messages to your emergency contact
send e-mail messages to your home institution within 48 hours
post a message on the ResearchWild! homepage
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE & STEP PROGRAM
The U.S. Department of State is a valuable resource to you and your family. After arrival in their host city, we strongly encourage you to register with your local U.S. embassy or consulate as a visiting U.S. citizen. However, if you’re age 18 and older, you must sign a Privacy Act waiver before the government will release information about you to third parties. Without the waiver, the State Department can only confirm whether or not they have been in contact with you.
If your passport is lost or stolen while overseas, contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as possible.
We encourage you, your friends, and your family members to register with the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). The STEP program sends information updates on conditions in countries where you may be traveling, which is helpful in the changing world dynamic.