To Our Community and Partners

Jun 5, 2017 8:55:41 PM

Dear CISabroad Community and Partners,

The senseless violence in London this weekend reminded us all that it takes grit (passion and perseverance) to do the work we do.

We remain fiercely committed to our vision of a world that is free of senseless violence, and instead connected and compassionate. We are a nimble organization that adapts and responds to events as they happen. No matter who you are or how you are connected to CISabroad, here are some key points to remember:

Risk Management & Mitigation Practices

  • Our Emergency Response and Risk Management plan includes a full 24/7 response team at headquarters. Joe Debiec leads this team and is a member of the OSAC Academic Working Group, the organization that works with the U.S. Department of State on security issues.
  • We collaborate with trained onsite staff and responsive overseas partner institutions to creatively alter travel plans and activities if called for.
  • Thanks to our global network, we can delay or re-route programs at a moment's notice.
  • We confirm the safety of all program participants through a solid communications plan including participants, onsite staff, onsite partners, participants' emergency contacts and home universities.
  • All participants receive an in-depth on-site orientation upon arrival. This orientation provides tips for staying out of harm's way; a detailed emergency plan, including important emergency phone numbers, meeting points; and other resources that aid participants in keeping themselves safe.

We encourage on-site staff to:

  • Remind students to keep their phones on them, and to keep them charged.
  • Create Whats App groups (or similar) for students so it’s possible to message the entire group when necessary.
  • Encourage students to explore parts of their city that are off the beaten path. Students may want to travel to the most exciting places that draw the biggest crowds, but exploring off the beaten path can often be more rewarding.
  • Make sure that students are talking with their parents regularly so that people back home know that they are fine. (Frequent communication with parents may also help to steer students away from more risky behavior).

We here at headquarters:

  • Encourage students to always travel with a phone. If possible have a data plan with the phone to make communication as easy as possible.
    Make sure that students and parents know how important it is to have the independent travel form filled out, so that safety can be verified as soon as possible.
  • Highly encourage students to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) offered by the U.S Department of State (it's FREE).
    Run frequent parent webinars so that we have an opportunity to hear concerns and questions and to talk about the REAL risks of study abroad.

Some statistics to put the real risk of going abroad at the forefront of our planning this summer:

  • 90% of CISabroad’s serious incidents involve alcohol consumption. Promoting healthy alcohol consumption and the buddy system is the #1 thing we can do to keep our students safe.
  • The highest cause of U.S. student deaths abroad is car accidents. Encourage our students to buckle up in taxis, Ubers, and in vans. Thankfully, our FLP team ONLY uses registered transportation services.
  • We are 35,079 times more likely to die of a heart attack than a terrorist attack. So, keep your stress low, eat healthy, and keep up the good work.

All best, and in solidarity,
Kris, Joe, Scott, Candace, Jess, Brian and Eva
Your Risk Management Team