Study Abroad Guidelines

All program faculty/trip leaders should implement the following in their planning of UVM sponsored trips abroad:

Travel Advisories

Follow State Department travel advisories both when planning courses that include travel abroad and prior to traveling abroad. Travel should never take place to countries on the State Department’s warning list.

Health Care issues

Mandate that all students carry health insurance which would apply to payment of claims worldwide and includes repatriation and medical evacuation coverage. The UVM sponsored student health plan does provide this in combination with the emergency services program through International SOS which is already in place for all students and employees. Full-time students registered for nine or more credits can enroll in UVM’s student health plan in August or January of any given year by calling UVM’s student insurance broker, Consolidated Health Plans (CHP) at

Or you may call (800) 633-7687, or email

Students should carry an insurance card with them at all times.  For additional questions, contact the Center for Health & Wellbeing Insurance Coordinator at 656-0602.

 Full time UVM employees automatically have health insurance coverage through a combination of UVM’s health plan, workers compensation and travel accident insurance.  In addition, International SOS provides medical evacuation, repatriation and emergency services.  

Request verification of required immunizations prior to departure. Contact UVM's Student Health Center Travel Clinic (656-3350) regarding recommended immunizations.


UVM contracts with International SOS Assistance which responds in emergency situations to coordinate health care and emergency travel services.  All UVM employees and students automatically have this service.  SOS Emergency cards can be obtained from the Department of Risk Management at 656-3242 or, from the Office of International Education at 656-4296, or can be downloaded directly from the ISOS website

·  Develop an emergency notification plan, with contact information and details on how to access emergency funds, as well as an emergency evacuation plan.

·  All participants shall supply the name and telephone number of an emergency contact person. A master list shall be left at UVM for reference

·  Outline procedures for host families in case a student is injured in their home.

·  At least one person, instructor, staff or student, should be instructed in basic first aid. A first aid kit should be readily available.

·  Institute an incident reporting system to immediately notify UVM Risk Management (656-3242) of any event resulting in significant injury or crime against participants. This keeps Risk Management abreast of any potential liability situations. Click here for a sample incident report form.

Conduct a student orientation prior to departure


Faculty/Trip leaders shall be responsible for obtaining information about and advising students on how to seek help in emergency situations, including medical care and law enforcement assistance.

Remind students of the aid available from the US Embassy and how to contact them. The diplomatic corps can be especially helpful since tending to the needs of US nationals is one of their responsibilities.

Personal Safety

  • Encourage a "buddy system" Advise  students that they not travel alone, especially at  night.

  • Avoid crowds, protest groups and volatile situations
  • Lock doors, windows of room
  • Don’t divulge personal information to strangers.
  • Remind participants to be inconspicuous. Keep a low profile and don’t draw attention to nationality or wealth
  • Contact UVM's Police Services (656-3473) regarding training sessions that may be available to the University community.
  • Advise students of any planned activities that may pose unusual risk or require physical exertion.

  • Discuss code of conduct and expectations
  • Provide information on counseling and support programs available in the host country.
  • Prohibit abuse of alcohol or illegal drugs
  • Educate students as to cultural differences, including local laws pertaining to illegal drug and alcohol use.

  • Vehicle Use

    Discourage students from renting or driving vehicles while in foreign countries because of complications in settling matters if an accident were to occur. Should students elect to rent or drive a vehicle for their personal use, they must clearly understand that the University will not be responsible for any damage or bodily injury.All drivers must attend UVM Risk Management driver training and have their motor vehicle record checked. If vehicles are chartered with a hired driver, make sure Risk Management reviews the charter agreement. Vans greater than a 12-passenger are prohibited. Charter companies must provide proof of insurance. They must never drive the vehicle that is rented for course work for personal business.

    Early Termination of Trip

    Outline trip cancellation and refund policies including who makes the decision
    Outline process and criteria for an individual participant’s termination from the program. Be clear that related travel costs are the individual’s responsibility in this case.


  • Maintain continuous and open communications between campus administrators here and those abroad
  • Faculty will maintain e-mail access with participants, when reasonable.
  • Encourage students to call home and check in with parents from time to time.
  • Remind students to register their address and phone number with the US Embassy.
  • Faculty or supervising staff should check in periodically with campus administrators
  • Faculty should keep track of the location of their students when away from the group overnight.
  • Faculty should check the Department of State website or check in with OIE (x64296) for periodic updates on travel advisories, during their trip.

  • Waivers

  • Have all students sign an Acknowledgement of Risk in I-Abroad at which clearly outlines what conduct is expected from all participants, the consequences for non-compliance, and the responsibility assumed for personal activities.
  • During Orientation, clearly advise students of any planned activities that may pose unusual risk or require physical exertion. Students who elect not to travel with the group should complete an Alternative Transportation Waiver.

  • Conduct a Faculty/Staff Orientation Prior to Departure

  • Develop an itinerary which specifies course activities and activities that are outside the scope of course work.
  • Cultural, safety and other issues
  • Roles of faculty and staff
  • Duties of on-site faculty and foreign staff
  • Travel procedures and processes
  • Reporting incidents, including serious injuries, crimes, medical problems
  • Provide periodic updates to UVM campus
  • Basic first aid procedures

  • Contracts

    Have UVM Risk Management review all agreements affecting the program, including touring companies, housing agreements, and charter transportation. Risk Management will require proof of insurance.
    Location and inspection of host country

  • Conduct inquiry of the health and safety risks of the local environment of the program, including program sponsored accommodations, events, excursions and other activities on an ongoing basis and share information with students and parents
  • Do not place faculty and students in residences adjacent to US government offices, like embassies, since official buildings are potential targets for terrorism.