Preparing for Education Abroad Opportunities
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The University offers many education abroad opportunities to enrich the educational experience of students. However, these opportunities require careful planning to minimize health and safety risks. For programs that are offered through one of the learning/study abroad offices on each campus, all planning arrangements are handled centrally through these offices.
Faculty/staff who offer education abroad opportunities outside a learning/study abroad office must follow the steps outlined below under "College/Faculty/Staff Responsibilities." Each unit is responsible for keeping a record of the education abroad activities lead by or supported by their faculty/staff. As a reminder, this includes, but is not limited to, study abroad programs, internships, field studies, service learning, research, volunteer or work programs, or professional development activates (including conference attendance) lead, sponsored or endorsed by the Unit's faculty/staff.
Students must meet the requirements outlined under the section "Student Responsibilities" prior to participating in any education abroad experience as a University of Minnesota student.
I. College/Faculty/Staff Responsibilities
- Stay informed about State Department and governmental health organization travel warnings, and other indicators of health/safety risks in the country/region or area where an education abroad opportunity is planned. Receive approval from the International Travel Risk Assessment and Advisory Committee (ITRAAC), before offering or supporting an opportunity in a location subject to a travel warning. Further information, application process and requirements for the International Travel Risk Assessment and Advisory Committee (ITRAAC) can be found in the Administrative Procedure: Suspending Education Abroad Opportunities.
- Designate on-campus 24-7 emergency contact persons within the main department or college who are available to coordinate response if emergency circumstances arise involving students abroad. Prior to departure, the college and the faculty member must develop an evacuation plan to remove a student or group of students from a country if a travel warning or other extenuating circumstances arise. The emergency plan along with students' emergency contact must be on file in the department or the campus learning/study abroad office. The faculty/staff leaders traveling with students should carry this information at all times.
- Ensure that participating students, as well as any staff/faculty program leaders:
- Obtain the required international travel, health and security insurance. If a program or course is offered for a group of students, make arrangements with the learning/study abroad office on campus to obtain travel, health and security insurance coverage for all participants and include the cost of the insurance in the program or course fee. If students are traveling independently to a conference, to fulfill independent study, directed studies or internship requirements, refer the student to GPS Alliance to obtain the coverage;
- Complete the required signed release and waiver as part of the insurance application process;
- Have a copy of the emergency plan as well as the 24-7 emergency contact information both abroad and on campus. These numbers are also required for the insurance application.
II. Student Responsibilities
- Stay informed about State Department and governmental health organization travel warnings, and other indicators of health/safety risks in the country/region or area where the education abroad opportunity is planned.
- Read and sign the University of Minnesota Release and Waiver for students participating in education abroad opportunities.
- If the opportunity is offered through your campus learning/study abroad office, complete application and confirmation requirements for your program including the Release and Waiver. Keep a copy of the signed paperwork.
- If the opportunity is offered through an individual college, department, or faculty member(s), this is completed along with the insurance application described below.
- Obtain manditory international travel, health and security insurance. (This coverage is in addition to regular U.S. health insurance coverage, which must be maintained to cover items such as pre-existing conditions prior to international travel and medical treatment for illness or injury occurring during international travel and requiring continuing attention upon return to the United States.) There are two ways to obtain international travel, health and security insurance:
- For students participating in a program sponsored by the learning/study abroad office on campus, international travel, health and security insurance already is provided and included in the program fee.
- If the required international travel, health and security insurance is not included as part of an education abroad opportunity through an individual faculty or unit, students must purchase the insurance.