Health & Safety
Cal Poly’s main concern is for the safety and well-being of its students, staff, faculty, and community members.
Over the 25+ years during which Cal Poly has administered study abroad programs, safety and security has been and continues to be the highest priority. The Cal Poly International Center, Strategic Business Support Services / Risk Management, and the Chancellor’s Office closely monitor terrorist attacks, political uprisings, natural disasters, and other global events that can impact our students’ safety and security.
Students are urged to follow the principles of personal risk preparedness while studying abroad: awareness, communication, cultural common sense, and personal responsibility. Additionally, participants in all programs abroad are registered with the U.S. State Department Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
It has been a difficult time for all of us as world citizens to witness the violence in many corners of the globe and at home. While you are abroad, we urge you to stay abreast of the latest news in your area, and to take appropriate precautions and follow communication protocol. We wish you a safe, healthy, and educational experience while abroad.
Cal Poly cannot guarantee safety or eliminate all risks associated with traveling abroad. Safety is everyone’s responsibility. Students, parents, faculty, and staff all have a role to play in minimizing potential dangers and mitigating risk. Behavior is often a major factor in reducing risk; students are urged to conduct themselves in a prudent manner, exercise awareness and good judgment, pay particular attention to local conditions, follow communication and safety protocols, and assume responsibility for the consequences of personal decisions and actions.
All students should research conditions at their study abroad destination that could impact their health and safety (including required or recommended immunizations, availability of OTC and prescription medications, local crime rates, and specific health and safety risks).
HEALTH & SAFETY RESOURCES FOR STUDY ABROAD
- Cal Poly Counseling Services – Free, confidential services and self-help resources
- Cal Poly Campus Health & Wellbeing Mental Health Screening – Brief screenings are the quickest way to determine if you or someone you care about should connect with a mental health professional.
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Travel Health – Advice and information for travel to international destinations
- CSU Travel Insurance – ACE American Insurance Company Travel Assistance Program, including policy coverage and contact information
- Get Help in an Emergency – U.S. Department of state emergency resources, including embassy/consulate locator
- International LGBTI Association – Worldwide federation campaigning for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex rights
- International Religious Freedom – Annual report to Congress on the status of religious freedom in every country
- Mental Health Screening – Anonymous online screening provided by Cal Poly Counseling Services for eating disorders, alcohol issues, anxiety disorders, depression, and psychological issues
- Mobility International USA – Resources for advancing disability rights and leadership globally
- Psychological Emergency Services – Emergency counseling services and suicide prevention hotline
- Red Cross Mobile Apps – Online tools for first aid and emergencies
- SAFER – Cal Poly’s confidential advocacy, education and support resource for addressing sexual assault, sexual misconduct, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking
- Suicide Prevention – 24/7 emergency hotline and lifeline
- Title IX – Gender equity in educational programs
- Travel Alerts & Warnings – U.S. Department of State alerts, warnings, and information for all countries
- Traveling with Devices and Connecting to the Internet - Understand how to protect yourself, your devices, and your personal or university data while traveling
- Traveler's Guide to Cybersecurity - Tips for safeguarding yourself and practicing good cybersecurity habits while traveling
- U.S. Department of State International Travel Information – Country specific information for every country in the world
- World Health Organization – Information on outbreaks and global health issues
CSURMA Foreign Travel Insurance Program
All Cal Poly students participating in International Exchanges are required to be enrolled in the Foreign Travel Insurance designated by the CSU Chancellor's Office. The California State University Risk Management Authority (CSURMA) Foreign Travel Insurance Program (FTIP) benefits include but are not limited to the following:
- General Liability and Excess Auto Liability
- Primary Medical Expense, Emergency Medical Benefits and Evacuation
- Repatriation of Remains
- Political Evacuations and Repatriation Benefit War Risk Coverage
- Accidental Death and Dismemberment Benefit
Please reference the CSU Foreign Travel Insurance Program for specifics on coverage and rates. You will be provided instructions during your application process on how to enroll in the insurance for your outgoing exchange program.
Students participating in Cal Poly approved study abroad programs should print a copy of the ACE Travel Insurance Card and CSURMA Summary of Coverage to take with them abroad. Please also keep the file downloaded on your phone or device.
Overlay Insurance for Study Abroad with Affiliate Partner Programs
Overlay Insurance is applicable only for Study Abroad programs provided by a vendor that has a valid written agreement with CSU and travel accident insurance is required to be purchased from that vendor. CSU assumes no responsibility for travel anywhere that has not been approved by CSU. This coverage is intended to supplement, not replace, the insurance required by the Study Abroad vendor who, under a written agreement with CSU, provides educational opportunities for CSU students to study abroad. This extension to the vendor’s insurance provides General Liability insurance, but does not include Travel Assistance, Accident & Health or any of its associated benefits including but not limited to: Medical Expense, Emergency Medical, Emergency Medical Evacuation, Repatriation of Remains, Emergency Reunion, Home Country Extension, Security Evacuation, Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Accidental Death & Dismemberment, Coma, Felonious Assault, Hijacking and Air Piracy, etc.
There is an additional premium for travel to certain high hazard countries.
You will be provided instructions during your application process on how to purchase the insurance for your affiliate partner program.
INFORMATION FOR PARENTS & SUPPORTERS
Dear Parents, Family, and Significant Others,
We congratulate your student for making the decision to study abroad and to embark on what will likely be a life-changing, transformative experience! This may be one of the most significant decisions your student has had to make in the course of their life so far and it has likely meant encouragement from you. For that, we thank you.
You play a key role in providing ongoing emotional, moral and likely financial support for your student as he or she negotiates the processes of applying and preparing for a study abroad experience. We appreciate your role as a “cheerleader” as your student works through the paperwork and meets all deadlines. We ask that you empower your student to make arrangements for their abroad experience on their own. This includes ownership of processes like getting a passport, securing a visa, pre-departure health examination, ticket purchasing, thorough research on the program and host-country, etc.
The staff in the Cal Poly International Center are available to assist your student in navigating through the myriad of options available. Students who plan ahead and meet with study abroad and academic advisors to find the best program fit are well suited to continue to make timely academic progress toward their degrees. Please refer to the 'Guide for Students and Supporters (find links to English and Spanish versions below).
We know that finances are important. The International Center maintains budget information for each of the programs sponsored by Cal Poly. We encourage you and your student to review the budget and to strategize on negotiating the program costs. Please urge your student to take advantage of any study abroad scholarships for which they may be eligible. Note that scholarship deadlines can be well in advance of program application deadlines, so it pays to be organized! Study abroad is an investment in the future of your student, who will come away with a more enhanced “toolkit” to meet the demands of our global society. Study abroad returnees inform us of the many professional and personal benefits and say that the abroad experience was well worth the funds invested.
While your student is abroad, we hope that you will continue to provide support through email or “skyping,” or even the lost art of snail-mail. Students often experience unanticipated difficulties and the cheerleader role will be important throughout. (Should serious issues occur, onsite staff and/or our office are available to assist.) Likewise, upon return, students have amazing stories to tell and hopefully will find a willing audience in you!
As a parent myself, I recognize that sending your student to study abroad may come with mixed emotions. I applaud you for encouraging your loved one to embark on this rewarding and transformative experience.
Dr. Caroline I. Vanderkar
Director, Cal Poly International Center
Additional Resources for Parents & Supporters
- Cari Vanderkar's Director Letter in Spanish
- Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
- What Parents Need To Know by NAFSA Education Abroad
- What's up with culture?
- Health & Safety information
- Guide for Students and Supporters - English
- Guide for Students and Supporters - Spanish