Travel Safety

Off campus projects which do not comply with the above requirements will not be funded by the honors program.

Because of the flexibility of the program, we must be careful to follow guidelines set down by associations of universities and colleges in the United States. We owe it to you, to your parents, and to the program to make sure that we do everything possible to make sure that this is a good, positive experience. It is also our legal responsibility to make sure that this program does not allow you to put yourself at unnecessary risk, especially since you will be traveling on your own.

We want you to succeed, and we want you to do it safely.

Throughout its history, the Honors Program has made a strong effort to use responsible guidelines and requirements for the off-campus study component of the Honors Scholar Program. The off-campus project is unique in that students find an off-campus university site, or a site in the business, government and community service sector and work with an off-campus mentor. This means that the student travels alone to the site, works with a mentor on site, and often lives on his or her own for the duration of the experience. Students may also take part in projects both within and outside of regularly organized international studies programs sponsored by specific universities. In both cases it is absolutely necessary that strict safety guidelines be enforced to ensure the safety and well-being of the student.

Recommendations of the AASCU

In October 2001, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) issued a series of guidelines for international travel. At present we comply with their requirements in having a set of forms for the students to sign concerning compliance with guidelines for medical and evacuation coverage, compliance with guidelines of behavior, and a form which indicates their responsibility for medical and other liabilities that they may incur.

Given frequent instability in many areas of the world, and the chances that American citizens could be targeted while acting as guests in certain countries, it is necessary to evaluate carefully each application for the off-campus study in light of the guidelines and requirements listed below.

Off campus projects or sites which do not comply with the requirements listed below will not be funded by the honors program.

Honors Program Policy Requirements

A. General Requirements

  1. Students must choose countries for their off-campus study in which the government is stable, and in which the student is assured that he or she can have access to good, well-organized medical care and other forms of social protection.
  2. Student who travel to countries in which diseases are prevalent which are uncommon in the United States, must have all required vaccinations and must be fully informed about safety measures. This is usually done as part of an organized program with a mentor who travels with the student group, ensuring student safety.
  3. Students may not travel to countries in which outbreaks of communicable diseases pose a potential threat to the student's health.
  4. We pay close attention to guidelines established by the United States Government. The U.S. State Department issues clear guidelines concerning the relative safety and stability of foreign countries in the Consular Information Sheets and travel warnings and advisories.
  5. The number one priority at all times is the safety of the student. In the cases where students choose an area of questionable status according to State Department guidelines, it is required that a security system be in place to cover all medical, emergency and legal needs, as well as mentorship and/or supervision through an organized program that is clearly outlined or defined by the sponsoring university.
  6. Students cannot undertake an off-campus study completely independently, without a mentor. Students may not work on site without a university-affiliated mentor or professional mentor in case of internship. This policy is required to ensure the safety of the student and to comply with the legal responsibilities of the university.
  7. NOTE: Off-campus study projects, whether individual or part of a group, may be canceled in case of a sudden change in any of the factors outlined above in the host country.

 

B. Language Restrictions and Requirements

  1. Students who travel to a foreign country where they are not fluent in the language are required to travel as part of a study abroad program with chaperons, and other personnel available in case of emergencies and problems.  This study abroad program may be sponsored by the University of Michigan-Flint's IGS (International Global Studies) program, or it may be sponsored by a reputable university in the United States.  Trip leaders must be fluent in the target country's language or have 24/7 access to a professional translator.
  2. Exceptions: Students with fluency in a foreign language are not restricted from travel to a country where that language is spoken unless other restrictions apply concerning the student's safety. Fluency is evaluated by professors fluent in the language.
  3. Foreign language majors generally take one of the two following options: a study abroad trip with a reputable university, or a semester or more abroad in a reputable foreign language program. Because of the language barrier, students in foreign languages do not generally study with a specific professor in their area of interest. Instead, they perfect their language skills in order to undertake a project in consultation with their advisor at UM-Flint. The project generally deals with the literature and/or linguistics of the target language.
  4. Foreign language schools and programs are permissible for foreign language majors and fulfill both the off-campus study and requirements in the major.  These schools must be chosen with care.  Students and professors must be consulted as well as former students who have participated in the program.  If the foreign language school does not provide names and contacts for former students, this is a very bad sign!  Consult carefully with the honors director and your advisor in your major before deciding on a school.  See below in Study Abroad Plans.

 

C. Study Abroad Plans

  1. Students traveling to at-risk countries according to U.S. government guidelines, or to countries which provide a language and communication barrier must participate in a study abroad plan to ensure their safety at all times.
  2. The study abroad plan may be sponsored by the UM-Flint International Global Studies Program.
  3. Students may also participate in study abroad plans sponsored by universities other than UM-Flint. In such cases, students must demonstrate that the study abroad program is being carefully monitored, and following responsible guidelines which take into account the safety of the student. Students provide evidence through paper work and contact with the professors who are leading the program.
  4. For potential study abroad programs, consult Peterson's.com and Studyabroad.com.  Please note that this is not an endorsment of the programs listed on these sites.  All programs must be carefully investigated.
  5. Study abroad programs in Michigan colleges and universities do not require payment of out-of-state tuition fees.  Check individual websites for details.  Michigan State University, Wayne State University, Western Michigan University, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Central Michigan University, Eastern Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, Saginaw Valley State University.

 

D. Medical Insurance Coverage While Abroad



Medical Coverage for Study Abroad:

  1. All UM-Flint students who travel abroad, whether on their own or as part of a study abroad program, are required to have health insurance through HTH.
  2. In order to register for this insurance, students who travel independently need to contact the honors program admistrative assistant, Sarah Hilton-Watson.
  3. Sarah handles all of the paper work required and provides the students with a card confirming the insurance.  Students must carry this card at all times while studying abroad.
  4. HTH only covers study abroad, not study in the United States. 
  5. Students must have medical evaucation insurance, as indicated below.

Medical Coverage for Study in the United States:

  1. Students must provide proof of medical insurance that will cover them while traveling out of state.  Note, that many HMO programs cover students only within a limited region.  You may need to purchase additional insurance for the period of your off campus study.
  2. Students must have medical evaucation insurance, as indicated below.

 

Medical Evacuation Insurance

In 2001, the Honors Council established the following policy concerning medical evacuation.

  1. All students who go off campus more than 150 miles from home are required to have Medjet Assistance, a Medical Evacuation Insurance which guarantees to bring individuals who must be hospitalized back to the United States, or back to their home state based on consultation with the student's own medical doctor. This plan also covers emergency advice and consultation about medical treatment in the country or state where the individual is located.
  2. The plan is a one-year membership, which works much like AAA roadside assistance but with EMT teams and the private jets owned by Medjet Assistance.
  3. The honors program does not purchase the insurance for the student. Instead, the student is provided the funds needed to purchase the plan.
  4. Funds for the off-campus project are not released until the student furnishes proof of membership in the form of a membership identification number for Medjet Assistance.
  5. Although HTH provides some evacuation insurance, honors program students are required to have Medjet Assist in addition to HTH.

 

Rationale for the Policy

The policy was established because most insurance policies do not provide adequate coverage for medical evacuation.

  1. The drawback with most of the plans for evacuation is that the plan's own representatives must make the decision about whether the individual should be evacuated and where they should be evacuated.
  2. In the case of disagreement with the plan's appointed medical personnel, plans are frequently discontinued according to a clause in the contract. Furthermore, most plans provide only for evacuation to the nearest large medical center, rather than evacuation home.
  3. Costs for evacuation range from $85,000 to over $150,000 depending on the case.
  4. It is not worth even the slight risk of such an occurrence which would leave the student stranded far from home, or at risk of extremely high medical evacuation bills.

In all cases the safety of the student is a top priority.

Off campus projects which do not comply with the above requirements will not be funded by the honors program.