BCA takes student health and safety very serious. We closely monitor world events and all potential threats to student safety.
We are in regular communication with our Resident Directors, host universities and the US State Department to monitor local and global events. BCA has a strong set of policies and procedures to ensure they not only reflect best practices but also our core values.
Among other measures for the safety of our students BCA does the following:
- All students on BCA programs are registered with the State Department and the US embassy in the country they study in. They receive immediate warnings and advice if incidents occur.
- All BCA students are enrolled with Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) which can arrange emergency evacuation if needed and which also advises on developing threatening situations. It also assists in cases of medical emergency, natural disasters etc.
- All BCA students are required to participate in pre-departure orientations that includes location-specific health and safety information.
- All BCA students receive on-site orientations that further reinforce health and safety guidelines.
- All students are required to inform the resident director of any independent travel, their itinerary and where they will be on a given day.
- BCA Study Abroad continuously monitors events that may impact student health and safety, both in BCA program locations as well as broader regions of travel. We are in regular communication with our resident directors, host universities and the US State Department to monitor local and global events. In some cases, specific locations may be deemed too risky for student travel and students will be prohibited from independent travel to these locations.
- All BCA students are served by experienced and capable resident directors who are the first call if there is any issue needing to be dealt with and who contact each student if an incident occurs.
- If an incident occurs resident directors are in constant contact with BCA’s central office team to develop and implement response actions according to well-developed protocols and years of experience.
About BCA’s Health and Safety Policies
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 works to maximize the safety of all study abroad program participants.
The best way for students to stay healthy abroad is to think proactively about any health concerns before they depart. As part of the pre-departure process, all students must meet with a healthcare provider and complete our health questionnaire. Students are asked to outline any physical or mental health concerns, allergies or dietary restrictions, or special needs due to physical or learning differences. It’s important to note that this information is not used in making acceptance decisions. We also encourage students with on-going health needs to work pro-actively with CISI, our international health insurance provider, to identify resources in the program location (this could include scheduling regular appointments with local doctors or counselors, for example). Please note that BCA Study Abroad cannot guarantee exact disability accomcodations overseas but will work with host universities and Resident Directors to obtain reasonable accommodations.
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.
Health Insurance and Travel Risk Management Program
BCA provides international health insurance and emergency evacuation services for all summer, semester and year students through Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI), which has a wide network of assistance providers who can offer unmatched global expertise and highly skilled multilingual staff to ensure our students have access to immediate high quality support in the event of a medical or security emergency. CISI is staffed with doctors and translators to provide toll-free, 24/7 worldwide access to benefits, providers, and emergency assistance for everything from a lost passport to an emergency evacuation.
For details regarding the coverage provided to BCA students, please review the BCA policy brochure.
Additionally, once enrolled, students can log in to CISI’s online participant portal to gain access to helpful links and resources tailored to their program:
- Links to U.S. Embassies
- Consular information sheets
- Country profiles
- CDC health and vaccination information
- English-speaking doctors by country
- U.S. State Department travel warnings
- Safety and travel tips
Network of Contacts and Local Experience
BCA has over 50 years of experience in providing safe and impactful study abroad programs. BCA is in regular communication with Resident Directors, 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
BCA believes in integrating students into the local culture. 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 or language centers. Most BCA students live with local residents, in homestays or in dormitories and apartments with local students.
If a student is experiencing an emergency while abroad, the student should contact local emergency services or the on-site Resident Director immediately.
To speak with a BCA Central Office staff member, please call the main BCA number anytime (717-361-6600 or toll free at 1-866-222-6188); if you are calling after regular business hours, you will be prompted to connect with a member of our Emergency Response Team.
Returning Early From a Study Abroad Site
In the case that a student returns home prior to the end of a semester, BCA will work with the student, the host university and his or her U.S. home campus to determine how many credits the student can receive. If a student has to return home because a program is canceled, BCA is prepared to assist students and their home institutions in completing coursework for credit, whenever possible.