Safety is a major concern among students and parents when taking the step to study abroad. Duquesne has chosen a number of study abroad programs with well regarded reputations and excellent track records for safety. All of our programs pay special attention to the safety needs of our students and keep Duquesne and students’ families informed as events unfold.
Many of us equate the faraway and foreign as the unsafe. However, the reality can often be quite different. For instance, statistics on personal crime are much lower in many countries around the world than they are in the United States. Many safety issues center on personal crime and not the larger world events that are often featured prominently in the U.S. media. Safety abroad is much like safety at home: sensible, responsible behaviors go a long way to being safe in any environment. Good judgments, particularly those concerning alcohol consumption, are essential. By far the most frequent cause of student injury while study abroad is drinking alcohol, just as it is in the United States.
All students studying abroad will be provided with culture-specific safety tips in their Pre-Departure Orientation at Duquesne and their orientations on-site.
There are a number of resources available to families when considering safety and study abroad.
The Center for Global Education provides an extensive and detailed website on study abroad safety issues. Take a closer look for more recommendations and considerations.
How does Duquesne evaluate student safety when situation arise?
There are several resources to which Duquesne can refer when evaluating a situation and making decisions about a study abroad program. First and foremost, we rely on our program providers for input, information and guidance on the particular situation. In addition, Duquesne refers to many sources that help paint an accurate and reliable picture of the situation. These resources include:
American embassies overseas will assist Americans traveling overseas in times of national crisis or threatening circumstances.
NAFSA is the professional organizational umbrella for study abroad directors and professionals. NAFSA is an important source of information about study abroad locations throughout the world. This organization provides its member institutions a valuable network of experienced professionals who can advise each other on standard practice for American students studying abroad: from safety, to health, to political unrest.
The United States State Department issues updates and announcements regularly to inform U.S. citizens traveling or studying abroad about any developments pertinent to general safety and security. There is also a “studentinfo” site to provide some general helpful tips for students.
CityBrief – A Risk Assessment Service
The University’s insurance provider offers its subscribers a detailed look at almost any international country/city. Furthermore, this service rates each location on a scale of 1-7 in terms of relative safety. Access to these detailed reports is limited to subscribers, but Rome remains at a City Risk Rating of 3, with 1 being the safest. The rating of 3 is a better rating than most US cities!
Site Directors and the Office of International Programs
Site Directors located at each of the program sites, including Rome, Italy are the most direct source of up-to-date safety information. Each of the site directors live in-country and are familiar with looking out for the safety and well-being of students living abroad. The Office of International Programs keeps in regular contact with each of our program providers and relies on site directors for valuable information regarding student safety.
Our Resident Director in Rome, Italy, Michael Wright keeps abreast of safety issues and maintains a close network of colleagues through the Association of American Colleges and Universities with Programs in Italy (AACUPI-www.accupi.org) for support. This association of 84 American colleges and universities acts on behalf of all its members to stay informed of local conditions. This information is shared with the students.
American Citizens Services and Crisis Management (ACS)
American Citizens Services and Crisis Management corresponds organizationally to American Citizens Services offices set up at U.S. embassies and consulates throughout the world.ACS has five geographical divisions with case officers who assist in all matters involving protective services for Americans abroad, including arrests, death cases, financial or medical emergencies, and welfare and whereabouts inquiries. The office also issues Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts and Country Specific Information and provides guidance on nationality and citizenship determination, document issuance, judicial and notarial services, estates and property claims, third-country representation, and disaster assistance.