Security Issues, CGEE Emergency Response Team, Measures taken at each site.
The safety of our program participants is of the highest priority, and we carefully and continuously monitor the situation at our program sites carefully. Basic tips on personal safety and health are given prior to the program, and more detailed information is provided to students during on-site orientation. The Center or Global Education has permanent staff, consultants, and numerous resource persons in the regions we do programming with whom we keep in close contact. We monitor security issues through regular contact with our on-staff who are, in turn, in contact with the U.S. Embassies in each country. Through professional organizations we regularly receive and share comparative security information with others in the field of international education. Additionally, our medical and emergency services provider, Educational and Institutional Insurance Administrators, Inc., sends us weekly and sometimes daily reports on world “hot spots” in real time as they arise. Finally, we stay in touch with the U.S. State Department to remain abreast of the most current travel warnings and public announcements throughout the world.
Over the past 36 years CGEE has coordinated more than 1,300 semester and short term around the world for over 20,000 participants, and has therefore gained a great deal of experience traveling in these regions. We would not hesitate to cancel or to re-route any portion of the program should something occur that made it appear unsafe to travel there.
General security precautions: guards at property entrances in Mexico and Namibia, pre-programmed cell phones issued to students with numbers for staff, recommended taxi companies, extensive orientation to site, lists of recommended and prohibited restaurants, night clubs and exercise facilities/gyms, English-speaking doctors and clinics, on-call rotation so students have access to staff at all times, etc.
Our insurer, EIIA, provides regular reports on “hot spots” around the globe, pre-trip resources for students and families, as well as emergency evacuation and/or travel for a family member in the case of serious illness or injury. EIIA will also coordinate evacuation should there be a national disaster or political unrest (although this has never happened in our history).
Our resident staff carefully monitor local conditions and are well situated to adapt the program in the interests of student safety. For example, in Spring 2014 a series of earthquakes and threat of volcanic eruption occurred in Managua. Our staff located a safer location away from the city and transported students there for classes and revised program activities until the threat had passed. Our staff in Mexico issues students cell phones so in the event of an earthquake were able to quickly ascertain that all students were safe.
Health Issues: general, site specific, health insurance
As far as health is concerned, many students will have to endure a bout or two of travelers’ diarrhea sometime during their stay, but reasonable precautions in eating and food preparation can minimize the occurrence of this “discomfort.” Our staff will be instructing the students about preventive measures, as well as what to do during the family stay.
In the case of a more serious illness, there are good doctors and hospitals in all countries where we do programming should the situation calls for professional health care. Medical/emergency insurance is provided through the program for no additional charge.