Safety and Study Abroad

For those families that have students studying abroad now (or going in the fall), news of the horrific attack in London this week can be especially upsetting.  I wanted to let you know about the outstanding support our Global Programs and Services (aka study abroad office) has for our students.

When an incident like this occurs, our Wake staff members make immediate outreach to students to check in so we know they are safe.  For places like Europe, our staff will look both at students in the country where the incident happened, but also check to see who might be visiting there (even if they are based out of another country).  We also urge students to check in with YOU so you know they are safe.

GPS also sends information on safety issues – this one went out to those studying abroad in the UK:

“Following the horrific attacks that occurred today in the Westminster area of London, all travelers are reminded to take note of the following safety recommendations:

  • Avoid the Westminster area of London as there will likely be continued heavy deployment of police forces and closed roads;
  • Allow for disruptions to travel, and reconfirm transport availability before traveling;
  • Prepare for longer security lines at airports, train stations, bus terminals,etc.;
  • Keep your cell phones with you, fully charged and turned on at all times, responding immediately to any calls, emails, or messages;
  • Make sure you report to your program all independent travel. This will help ensure staff can reach you immediately in an emergency;
  • Should an incident occur, let your family and program know you are safe;
  • Exercise good situational awareness, be aware of your surroundings and maintain a low profile;
  • Report any suspicious activity, individuals, vehicles or objects to the local police immediately;
  • Follow and abide by any advice and instructions issued by the local authorities, and stay well-informed;
  • Regularly check embassies and consular websites for up-to-date information and further developments regarding the situation. Twitter alerts issued by the London’s Metropolitan Police may be received by following @metpoliceuk. Transport for London may be followed at @TfL.

Lastly, I want to remind you that as WFU travelers, you have access to the WFU/red24 GlobalAssist app. See attached sheet for details on how to download. If you haven’t already, I strongly encourage you to download the app. If you don’t have a smart phone, you will continue to receive email/text notifications and alerts from the WFU/red24 TravelTracker system. As you have done throughout the day, continue to respond to any of these alerts that ask you to check-in or confirm receipt of information.”

Here is information about Global Assist:  Global-Assist

I can also tell you from a Crisis Management Team perspective that whenever there is an incident, there are immediate steps taken to check in on the students, ensure their safety, get them info they need, etc.  It is a well-oiled machine.  I saw this happen with the Paris attacks last year and it was incredible how efficient and effective the team was in accounting for students, supporting them, and communicating with offices on campus who needed to know about their safety.  If my son was going abroad, I would feel very comfortable with the level of support for safety issues (and everything else) that our study abroad team provides.

Not to end the week on a tough note, but I thought it might be reassuring to see how we handle these kinds of situations.  Have a great weekend, my Deac families!

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