WKU and the Office of Study Abroad & Global Learning (SAGL) understand that students and families are concerned about international experiences during this time of increased political tension and insecurity at home and abroad. The health, safety, and security of WKU students is of the utmost importance to all of us at WKU, and SAGL makes every effort to mitigate, to the greatest extent possible, the risks our students may face during their time abroad.
SAGL is staffed by a team of international education professionals with experience studying, living and working in countries around the world. SAGL advisers work with students throughout every step of the education abroad experience: we provide our students with expert advice about study abroad opportunities, prepare them for the overseas experience with a mandatory pre-departure orientation, maintain contact with them when questions and concerns arise while they are abroad, and, in case of emergencies, are available 24/7 to advise and communicate with the student and those who can assist the student.
Because the safety environment around the world is constantly changing, SAGL monitors the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website as well as relevant U.S. Department of State (DoS) websites. We receive daily updates on health, safety and threat assessments from the DoS’s Overseas Security Advisory Council. SAGL staff also assist each student to register with the U.S. DoS’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) so that they receive local updates by text message while in their host country. With the student’s contact information, the Embassy or Consulate can more easily assist students in need.
For semester-long programs, we work with overseas partners that have on-site staff members fluent in the local language and expert on the health and safety resources available in their communities. Upon arrival in their host countries, students are typically required to participate in an additional, country-specific orientation. The orientation will include review of rules and regulations for the students, where and how to access police or medical help, areas in the city or location to avoid, etc. Onsite staff are available 24/7 to assist students.
Additional information is available by contacting Caryn Lindsay, SAGL Director.
Study abroad medical insurance through Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) is mandatory for all WKU students studying abroad on a WKU faculty-led program, exchange program, Harlaxton College (semester), or any other program that does not include comprehensive insurance coverage. CISI study abroad insurance will be in effect ONLY while you are outside the U.S. during your approved program dates. If you plan to travel before or after the approved dates, you will need to inform SAGL through the Program Travel Dates form in your study abroad application. SAGL will determine the premium cost based upon the duration of your international travel. If the cost of insurance is not included in your program cost, a charge will be posted to your TopNet account.
Below are some tips on health matters for studying abroad:
WKU is committed to the safety of students, faculty and staff who are participating in study abroad programs. Should an emergency occur, we have procedures in place to make sure our response is immediate and appropriate. All participants should attend a study abroad orientation prior to departure to learn about our emergency procedures and health and safety recommendations and should carefully review all information provided through the online study abroad application and by program provider/program leaders.
Below are some tips for a safe study abroad experience:
Preparing strategies to reduce risk is the responsibility of everyone involved, but you will be responsible for making daily decisions to keep you safe and your study abroad a positive experience. This link provides information on recognizing and reducing risks.
U.S. Department of State (DoS) Country Information | DoS Smart Travel Enrollment Program (STEP) | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) | The CDC on Study Abroad | SAFETI (Safety Abroad First Educational Travel Information) |DoS Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC)