Study Abroad in Japan: Safety Abroad

In the aftermath of several recent incidents in which students on study-abroad programs have been involved in accidents or exposed to the risk of terrorist incidents, NAFSA:Association of International Educators is developing guidelines and information for universities, students, and parents. The following is a draft of a set of guidelines that NAFSA is developing.

  1. What Study Abroad Providers Can and Should Do
    1. Conduct a periodic assessment of safety conditions at the site.
    2. Provide safety information to prospective applicants so that they can make informed decisions concerning participation and concerning their behavior while on site.
    3. Provide an orientation to participants in order to help them improve their avoidance of high-risk situations and their skills in dealing with problematic events.
    4. Monitor the local environment and provide safety updates to participants.
    5. Take appropriate action in the event of a serious deterioration of the local safety environment.
    6. Assist participants should a serious safety issue come to the attention of the local personnel.
    7. Evaluate the safety issues surrounding any program events, excursions, or other services, whether arranged by the provider or by a third party.
    8. Secure or provide referrals for appropriate medical, legal, psychological or other professional assistance for participants experiencing difficulties.
  2. What Study Abroad Providers Cannot Do and No Participant, Institution or Parent Should Expect
    1. Guarantee the safety of participants.
    2. Assure that risk will not be greater than at home.
    3. Monitor the daily personal decisions, choices, and activities of individual participants.
    4. Stand in loco parentis.
    5. Prevent participants from engaging in illegal, dangerous, or unwise activities.
    6. Represent the interests of participants accused of illegal activities.
    7. Assume responsibility for the actions of persons not employed by or otherwise engaged by the Provider.
    8. Assume responsibility for events that are beyond the control of the provider and its subcontractees.
    9. Assure that participants will only be accepted to sites that are appropriate to their personal limitations.
    10. Assume responsibility for situations which arise due to the failure of a participant to make full disclosure of pertinent information prior to departure.
    11. Assure the adherence to US norms of what is appropriate and acceptable behavior in matters of due process, individual rights, political correctness and sensitivity, relationships between the sexes and among diverse racial, cultural, and ethnic groups.
  3. Responsibilities of Participants
    1. Make available to the provider thorough health and psychological information and other information that will be useful in planning for the participant's study abroad experience.
    2. Read and carefully evaluate all materials issued by the provider that relate to safety, health, legal, environmental, political, cultural, and religious conditions at the site.
    3. Make personal decisions and conduct his/her private life in an intelligent prudent fashion, paying particular attention to local conditions as outlined by the Provider and as observed by the participant.
    4. Assume responsibility for the consequences of his/her own decisions and actions.
    5. Purchase and maintain appropriate insurance policies and abide by the conditions, if any, imposed by the carriers of such policies.
    6. Abide by the Student Code of Conduct distributed by the Provider.
  4. Responsibilities of Parents and Guardians
    1. Obtain and evaluate safety information concerning the study abroad location.
    2. Be involved in the decision of the student to participate in a particular program.
    3. Engage the participant in a thorough discussion of safety and behavior issues related to the program overseas.