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Health & Safety Information for Parents

Preparing your student to go abroad can be an exciting time as you all plan for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. As the time for studying abroad nears, it’s normal to feel anxious and worried, especially given recent world events – a global pandemic, protests, economic uncertainty.

While we cannot guarantee that your student’s experience will be problem-free, USAC values student health and safety above everything else and we will provide your student with the knowledge and support to help them have a meaningful experience abroad. The following are some of the ways we support students.

Pre-departure Support

  • One-on-one advising with students who have identified health conditions.
  • Medical assistance provider available for guidance on medications and health referrals.
  • USAC Toolkit for students and parents.
  • Assistance in obtaining classroom accommodations for students with learning and/or physical disabilities.
  • Health and Safety Team available to answer questions and provide guidance.

Experienced On-Site Staff

  • Resident Directors at Specialty Program sites have been with USAC for an average of 15 years.
  • On-site staff have established relationships in the community, including with healthcare providers and local authorities.
  • USAC has relationships with host university international office staff at partnership program sites and works with staff to address any serious concerns that arise.
  • Staff works closely with housing providers to ensure all student accommodations are safe and conducive to a supportive academic and cultural experience.
  • Students participate in mandatory orientation upon arrival at all program sites.
  • Staff are experienced in dealing with a variety of student concerns, including adjustment, connecting socially, mental health issues, illness, academic issues, safety concerns, and misconduct.

Staff Abroad

Comprehensive Insurance

  • Comprehensive international health insurance is included in the USAC program fee.
  • USAC students can contact CISI’s assistance company, AXA, for advice and medical referrals before or during their study abroad experience. AXA can be reached at or 855-951-2326.
  • Students who need to file a claim can submit a completed claim form to CISI.
  • The USAC Insurance policy coverage begins upon departure from the U.S. but not more than two days prior to the program start date. The option to purchase travel insurance for additional time is available for students who wish to travel before or after the program dates. Please contact or call 203-399-5509 for more information.
  • We understand that you may be concerned about the financial investment involved in studying abroad and travel. Optional trip protection plans, including Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) insurance, are available to you through CISI’s partner, Travel Insured International. Please note that CFAR coverage must be purchased within 21 days of the student’s initial trip payment/deposit. The USAC confirmation deposit is considered the initial payment. You will find complete information and be able to enroll directly through CISI Optional CFAR insurance. Travel Insured International can be reached directly via phone at 855-611-0918 or email

Policies and Procedures to Encourage Health and Safety

  • Student housing will be professionally cleaned prior to move-in.
  • Students will sign a Program Agreement and view a health and safety webinar before departure.
  • Students will have access to advising and information regarding health/safety before departure from their Program Advisor and the Health and Safety Team.
  • Students will be encouraged to explore local area rather than travel away from the host country.
  • Failure to follow laws, rules, and set procedures will result in disciplinary action, which may include removal from the program.

Communication Plan - Illness or Health & Safety Incident

  • USAC has an established communication plan in place at all program sites.
  • In the event of an event that impacts the entire program, we will notify students, home schools, and emergency contacts via email.
  • On-site staff will also contact students directly.
  • For individual student incidents, the Resident Director is the main point of contact for students on-site.
  • USAC Health and Safety team is also available to assist.

Experienced Central Office Staff

  • The Health and Safety Team has worked with student health and safety issues for many years. We collaborate with our program advisors, on-site directors and staff, and others to make our programs as safe as possible.
  • We are available to parents, home schools and students to provide information and advice before and during the study abroad experience.

How You Can Help Your Student

  • Make sure health forms are completed accurately and fully.
  • Check to see that your email addresses and phone numbers are correct in your student’s Gateway account so that we can contact you without delay if necessary.
  • If your student experiences any problems while abroad, encourage them to contact the Resident Director or host university international office staff.
  • We offer plenty of support for students while abroad, but they need to let us know they need help.

Contact Us

  • The USAC Health and Safety Team is available to help!
  • Contact us at for pre-departure health-related questions.
  • Contact us at for health and/or safety-related questions.
  • Contact USAC Central Office at (775) 784-6569 in the event of an after-hours emergency that cannot wait until business hours and you will be directed to the emergency line where someone is available 24/7.
Elizabeth Rice

Elizabeth Rice

Senior Health and Safety Manager

Dr. Christine Sieben

Christine Sieben, Ph.D.

Health and Safety Manager & Support Officer

Victoria West

Victoria West

Health and Safety Assistant