Health and Safety

BCA Study Abroad knows that you may be concerned about your students’ safety while abroad.  Please rest assured that BCA carefully considers the safety of the locations where we send students.  We take precautions to ensure the security and well-being of students while studying abroad and also stay informed about events in each of the countries where we have study centers. BCA draws from extensive experience to continually improve its programs and make them safe for studying and exploring.

The following are some of the ways that BCA Study Abroad works to maximize the safety of all study abroad program participants.

Site Orientation

Upon arrival students have an on-site orientation during which they are provided with an introduction to daily life at their specific site, which includes information on dining, public transportation, academic expectations, independent traveling and surrounding attractions. The orientation sessions also emphasize what precautions to take on site and the importance of good decision-making when it comes to personal safety.

Health, Safety, and Emergency Management Plans

BCA stays informed about the Department of States’ recommendations for U.S. citizen safety abroad, particularly in the regions where BCA operates study centers.  Should a situation deteriorate, BCA staff will work with the host university on any necessary actions to ensure student safety.

Travel and Medical Assistance

We provide all students with membership in On Call International, the premier choice in international medical assistance and security services to ensure our students have access to immediate high quality support in the event of a medical or security emergency.

The services available to you through On Call International range from telephone advice when you just need information or are not sure what to do, referrals to vetted providers to full-scale medical and security evacuations. On Call operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year from its Global Response Center in Salem, New Hampshire.  On Call is a core partner in a network of 36 assistance providers based worldwide but you will only need to communicate with the US-based Global Response Center – all the coordination with internationally based Response Centers is done for you behind the scenes so you don’t have to worry about unfamiliar cultures and customs.

You can make a collect call to On Call from anywhere in the world to reach a multilingual case manager who is ready to help you with your crisis, no matter how big or small. If you need to replace your contacts in Dunedin, lost your passport in Quito, need to see a doctor in Barcelona, or encounter a medical or security crisis anywhere in the world, we strongly encourage you to take advantage of services available through On Call.

In an emergency, On Call International can ensure you get immediate help whether it requires evacuating you to an adequate facility for your medical condition or closely monitoring your condition with local physicians or extracting you from a dangerous security situation.  On Call will also assist with details such as making travel arrangements for a family member to visit if you are hospitalized and getting you home after an evacuation.

It is important to note that On Call International is not health insurance. This assistance program is provided to you by BCA to assist with a variety of difficulties that could arise while you are abroad and to supplement your international health insurance.  BCA continues to require all students attending our programs maintain health insurance coverage and to make certain that their policies cover them while abroad.  On Call, on a best effort basis, will attempt to coordinate medical expense coverage and guarantees with your medical insurance carrier(s).  We are happy to provide names of companies that offer reasonably priced coverage for study abroad students.

Network of Contacts

BCA operates more than a dozen student programs worldwide.  Students can download an On Call International card, a 24-hour emergency contact service that will assist students wherever they are, from their BCA online account after they have been accepted into a program.

Awareness of Surroundings

BCA stays in contact with host university officials, local police and civil authorities in their respective countries.  BCA staff abroad and our host university contacts are sensitive to student concerns and will meet with students who may be concerned about a situation.

Integration in the Local Culture

Since BCA believes in integrating students into the local culture, we keep a low profile and give students advice on ways to blend in before becoming fully acclimated to their new settings. We encourage students to develop an understanding of the culture so that they gradually become accustomed to daily life at their location. All BCA study centers are located on local university campuses.  Most BCA students live with local residents, in homestays or in dormitories and apartments with local students.

Other Concerns:

War and Terrorism

While the possibility of war or terrorist attacks is certainly a realistic concern, the prospect of terrorism affecting you and your student is miniscule.  BCA cannot guarantee the safety of anyone, but we believe that students are not in danger at any BCA site.  In the unlikely event that the U.S. government recommends evacuation of civilians from any of the BCA countries, our first concern will be ensuring that arrangements are made for the students to travel to a secure location. After that we will see to the completion of the academic program in cooperation with the student’s home institution.

Returning Early From a Study Abroad Site

Whenever a student decides to return home prior to the end of a semester, the U.S. home campus will have to determine how much credit to accept, if any.  The same would hold true if a student has to return home because a program is canceled.  BCA is prepared to work with the home campus in assisting the student in completing coursework for as much credit as possible.

We encourage you to contact us at the BCA main office if you have any questions or concerns. The BCA toll free telephone number is 1-866-222-6188 and you may also get in touch with Stephen Burwood, Director of Academic Affairs, who will assist you with all BCA health and safety issues. He can be emailed at or called at 717-361-6601.

In addition, please inform us of any updates to you or your student’s contact information, along with your student’s name, BCA study center and home institution at  This will enable us to contact you quickly in the event of an emergency and to provide you with the latest information on BCA programs.

We hope that we have provided you with information to satisfy all your concerns as a parent and look forward to helping you and your student in the application process and beyond. Thank you.