Students abroad continue travel during U.S. warnings
With vast international travel warnings in effect, students planning to study abroad take extra precautions to remain safe. At Grand Valley State University, the Padnos International Center is working to help students study abroad safely.
“The health and safety of our students is always a top priority,” said Rebecca Hambleton, director of study abroad and international partnerships. “U.S. State Department travel warnings and alerts are updated throughout the year based on conditions in other countries. We direct all students to carefully read these advisories and warnings and ask that they heed the advice on safety precautions to take while abroad.”
Hambleton said that most students aren’t traveling to places that have a travel warning, but all students are notified of the travel warnings so they can take any necessary safety steps.
“When a new worldwide travel alert is put out, we do send out a notice to all students abroad and ask them to carefully review the information and take extra safety precautions,” Hambleton said.
In the rare case that a student does want to travel somewhere that has a current safety warning, they go through a rigorous appeal process to explain why they want to study abroad in that country.
“This is not common and is reviewed very carefully,” Hambleton said. “The vast majority of students are choosing study abroad locations that are not on the U.S. Travel Warning list.”
Whether traveling to a country that has a current warning or not, the PIC gives students the advice to make safety a top priority, she said. To prepare students, the PIC has brochures available in the office, invites the FBI to campus to present on safety issues and goes over safety procedures with students in their pre-departure orientation.
“Our advice to students is to read the information carefully, stay informed of risks and the alerts (or) warnings and take extra precautions with regards to their personal safety,” Hambleton said.