Health and Safety
BCA Study Abroad knows that you may be concerned about your students' safety while abroad. Please rest assured that BCA carefully considers the safety of the locations where we send students. We take precautions to ensure the security and well-being of students while studying abroad and also stay informed about events in each of the countries where we have study centers. BCA draws from extensive experience to continually improve its programs and make them safe for studying and exploring.
The following are some of the ways that BCA Study Abroad works to maximize the safety of all study abroad program participants.
Upon arrival students have an on-site orientation during which they are provided with an introduction to daily life at their specific site, which includes information on dining, public transportation, academic expectations, independent traveling and surrounding attractions. The orientation sessions also emphasize what precautions to take on site and the importance of good decision-making when it comes to personal safety.
Health, Safety, and Emergency Management Plans
BCA stays informed about the Department of States' recommendations for U.S. citizen safety abroad, particularly in the regions where BCA operates study centers. Should a situation deteriorate, BCA staff will work with the host university on any necessary actions to ensure student safety.
Travel and Medical Assistance
We provide all students with membership in On Call International, a leading travel and medical assistance company, which services include emergency evacuation, security advice, medical assistance (such as prescription advice or referrals to English-speaking doctors) and medical payment guarantee.
To help ensure that you remain healthy while abroad, BCA requires all students to have major medical insurance coverage. We are happy to provide names of companies that offer reasonably priced coverage for study abroad students.
Network of Contacts
BCA operates more than a dozen student programs worldwide. All of our students receive wallet-size emergency cards with telephone numbers for contacting BCA staff on site. Additionally, students receive an International SOS card, a 24-hour emergency contact service that will assist students wherever they are.
Awareness of Surroundings
BCA stays in contact with host university officials, local police and civil authorities in their respective countries. BCA staff abroad and our host university contacts are sensitive to student concerns and will meet with students who may be concerned about a situation.
Integration in the Local Culture
Since BCA believes in integrating students into the local culture, we keep a low profile and give students advice on ways to blend in before becoming fully acclimated to their new settings. We encourage students to develop an understanding of the culture so that they gradually become accustomed to daily life at their location. All BCA study centers are located on local university campuses. Most BCA students live with local residents, in homestays or in dormitories and apartments with local students.
War and Terrorism
While the possibility of war or terrorist attacks is certainly a realistic concern, the prospect of terrorism affecting you and your student is miniscule. BCA cannot guarantee the safety of anyone, but we believe that students are not in danger at any BCA site. In the unlikely event that the U.S. government recommends evacuation of civilians from any of the BCA countries, our first concern will be ensuring that arrangements are made for the students to travel to a secure location. After that we will see to the completion of the academic program in cooperation with the student's home institution.
Returning Early From a Study Abroad Site
Whenever a student decides to return home prior to the end of a semester, the U.S. home campus will have to determine how much credit to accept, if any. The same would hold true if a student has to return home because a program is canceled. BCA is prepared to work with the home campus in assisting the student in completing coursework for as much credit as possible.
We encourage you to contact us at the BCA main office if you have any questions or concerns. The BCA toll free telephone number is 1-866-222-6188 and you may also get in touch with Elizabeth Huskin, Director of Program Services, who will assist you with all BCA health and safety issues. She can be emailed at ehuskin@BCAabroad.org or called at 717-361-6612.
In addition, please inform us of any updates to you or your student’s contact information, along with your student's name, BCA study center and home institution at inquiry@BCAabroad.org. This will enable us to contact you quickly in the event of an emergency and to provide you with the latest information on BCA programs.
We hope that we have provided you with information to satisfy all your concerns as a parent and look forward to helping you and your student in the application process and beyond. Thank you.