Safety and Emergency Procedures

Overview of Emergency Precautions:

The Center for Global Study and Engagement has always taken seriously our students’ safety while studying abroad.  In the wake of the September 11 events, safety concerns are even more urgent.  With the continuing threat of terrorism around the world, we are obviously concerned about the global security situation and continue to monitor it, and we encourage students and parents to do likewise. 

We depend on a variety of sources to assess situations overseas, including the news, our own Resident Directors, and other on-site contacts abroad, as well as professional colleagues and publications.  One of the most important sources is the U.S. State Department.  Please review the Department of State (DOS) web site (see next section), as well as any other information you may find useful.    

All past decisions about canceling or closing programs have been informed by Department of State or World Health Organization recommendations.  

We consider it essential that students take responsibility for their own safety, and we expect their cooperation.  For example, students are asked to share flight itineraries with our office; our Resident Directors ask students to inform them of any travel plans away from the site. We share DOS warnings and announcements with students and remind them frequently to review common sense safety and security measures, such as those printed below in this section.   Each student is given a key chain with emergency phone numbers and instructions and is asked to carry it at all times.  In a serious emergency, administrative staff of the Center for Global Study and Engagement can be accessed 24 hours/day, 7 days/week.

Dickinson Centers and partner institutions are in regular contact with the Center for Global Study and Engagement in Carlisle, and contact information is updated routinely for students overseas, on-site staff, partner institutions, and local emergency officials at our program sites, as well as U.S. Consulates and Embassies.  Our staff abroad remains in contact with local university and civic officials on an ongoing basis.  

Dickinson College has developed emergency plans that can be implemented in the event of a crisis directly affecting any of our programs abroad.  In the unlikely event that it became necessary to return students to the United States, every effort would be made to offer alternative means for students to complete their academic program. 

Dickinson College is concerned about the health and safety of its students traveling abroad.  We review our approach frequently and make every effort to anticipate health and safety issues.  This said, it remains true that many of the risks in traveling abroad cannot be reasonably anticipated or prevented.  

Department of State Announcements:

Department of State travel information and publications are available on the Web here.  Every student going abroad is responsible for becoming familiar with the Department of State web site and the information available there.

  • Before leaving, read the Consular Information Sheet for your host country.  
  • For your safety, do the same while abroad for all countries you visit. 
  • Current Travel Warnings and Public Announcements are accessible through the State Department web site.  
  • The DOS home page links to their Travel Safety Information for Students page, which has good advice and many links, including the fact sheet Travel Warning on Drugs Abroad.

The Center for Global Study and Engagement occasionally sends students Department of State announcements that are relevant to their host country.  These announcements are not to alarm students (unless warranted), but instead to inform them of current situations in your host country or surrounding countries that they may possibly travel to.

(U.S. travelers may hear recorded information by calling the Department of State in Washington, DC at 202-647-5225 from a touchtone phone.)  

Key Chains for Emergencies:

Lightweight key chains are distributed to all students participating in an off-campus program.

Students are asked to attach the key ring to the key(s) that they carry with them at all times.  On one side of the tag is the Dickinson College 24-hour Hot Line number (001 717-245-1111). (The digits 001 are the International Country Code for the United States.)  On the reverse side is the phone number of the Center for Global Study and Engagement (001 717-245-1341).  A Program Center number or other emergency number can be entered in the blank space.  For obvious security reasons, the overseas home address or phone number should NOT be entered.   The emergency numbers on the key chain make the following easier:  

  • Calling for help at any time in a serious emergency 
  • Contacting the Center for Global Study and Engagement during office hours with matters of concern
  • Identifying “who he/she belongs to” if injured seriously while not carrying identification.

Obviously, the first step in an emergency is to react to the emergency itself, i.e., contact a doctor, call the police, inform your host family if you are at home, then contact the Resident Director or other on-site contact, etc.  

Any student abroad, whether a Dickinson student or a guest student in a Dickinson program, may call the 24-hour Dickinson College Public Safety number collect in a serious emergency and ask for assistance.  The student should identify himself/herself and the program, and give a brief description of the emergency and a call-back number.  The operator will locate the proper CGSE staff member, who will then return the call.

Parents and the Public Safety Number:

Parents, too, may use the 24-hour Dickinson Public Safety number if they need assistance in contacting their son or daughter after hours in a serious emergency, or if their son or daughter has contacted them because of such an emergency.  The procedure would be the same as above.  

Requests for Contact Information and Itineraries:

To have emergency contact information at our fingertips, we collect emergency contact information for each student. Parents’ work and cell phone numbers and email addresses are extremely useful, should we need to contact parents quickly.   We therefore ask you to cooperate with our requests for parental contact information as well as your host-country mailing address and phone numbers.   

We also need to know student flight itineraries. Therefore, please share your itinerary with us by completing the flight itinerary questionnaire on the online application system here