Injuries

Taken fom Managing Liability, Business and Academic Operations; United Educators, 2008. 

Each year, some American students abroad suffer serious and sometimes fatal injuries from participating in programs, field trips, sporting or other activities, independent travel, or even horseplay.  Sometimes alcohol is involved.  Although it will never be possible to prevent all serious accidents or injuries, institutions can help reduce risk in a number of ways, including:

  • Limiting sponsored field trips and activities to those that are required for the success and integrity of the academic program.
  • Relegating inherently dangerous or risky activities such as cliff climbing, swimming in or crossing dangerous waters, or bungee jumping to independent activities that are only available to students who choose to participate in them during their free time.  To avoid being considered the sponsor of such activities program staff and faculty should not:
    • Include them in marketing materials for the program
    • Collect money for them
    • Pay for any part of the activities
    • Make arrangements for the activities with transportation companies or other vendors
    • Allow faculty or staff to accompany students on them
    • Promote those field trips or activities
  • Ensuring that marketing and other program materials state which events and activities are (and are not) part of the sponsored program and clarifying when the official program (and individual field trips or activities) begin and end.

While motor vehicle accidents will never be entirely preventable, there are steps program providers can take to help manage and reduce the risk.  First, it is a good idea to maintain a list of approved charter bus and transportation companies for field trips, excursions, and other events and activities funded or sponsored by the short-term study abroad program.  Program directors should determine whether to restrict driving by student program participants.  You should also consider your policy on renting, buying, or operating motorcycles, mopeds, scooters, and off-road vehicles.