Our first priority is helping our students have a safe and healthy educational experience abroad. And particularly in light of recent global headlines and events, it’s important for you to know more about the ways St. John’s works to make our study abroad programs as safe as possible. As you read this section, we’d ask you to keep two important concepts in mind:
So what does St. John’s do to make the program as trouble-free as possible, and to help students if they do encounter difficulties? We encourage you to read on for more.
Going abroad requires preparation, even for the most seasoned of travelers. It’s a period in your life where getting lost and exploring the streets of the city is not only expected, but welcomed! So before you go, we thought we’d reassure you of ways St. John’s helps keep students safe.
In conjunction with the St. John’s Office of Public Safety, we research all program locations with the U.S. Department of State, the Centers for Disease Control, other U.S-based and international governmental sources of information, and news reports. We closely follow the standards of best practice in the education abroad field, making sure that we take advantage of resources and connections needed to offer the safest possible programs.
Members of the International Education teams in New York and abroad are available 24/7 to assist students in the event of an emergency. We provide students with local emergency contact information upon arrival, but you should always reach out to us if you need something, day or night. During regular business hours, you may call us directly at 718-990-6105. After hours, please call Public Safety at 718-990-5252 to be connected to one of our on-call administrators.
As strong as our in-house resources may be, we recognize that you may need more—especially if you travel outside our programs’ “home” cities. From doctor’s visits to evacuation in the event of natural disaster, our insurance covers all students participating in St. John’s programs—whether they’re short- or longer-term, graduate or undergraduate. You’re automatically enrolled for health insurance and emergency assistance through Chubb. Once you’re enrolled by St. John’s you’ll receive an email from firstname.lastname@example.org with your insurance ID card and summary of insurance coverage for your trip. Please keep an eye out for that email before you depart for your trip. Here is the International Travel Insurance summary of benefits document which outlines your coverage and provides you with instructions on how to access the 24-7 travel assistance portal and download the mobile app.
All programs run by the Office of International Education require students to complete a pre-departure orientation program. In addition, students must take part in the Cultural Mentorship Program, which offers general tips for all aspects of study abroad, and may have components abroad as well. Our goal is to ensure that you have the information you need to make smart choices abroad, not just about your safety and health, but about how to make the most of your academic and cultural experience.
All U.S. citizens who provide our office with accurate passport information are registered with the Department of State’s “Smart Traveler” program to allow for better coordination in the event of an emergency.
For many students, independent exploration and travel is a major part of their study abroad experience, and with it comes a world of new insight and awareness. But part of that awareness also includes keeping yourself safe! That’s why we’ve dedicated this next section to outlining general tips for staying safe during your travels—whether you’re getting to know your new “home” city or heading farther afield.