Assessing and mitigating the risks to student health abroad
In December 2015 the Go International programme led a session at the BUTEX Winter Workshop on risk assessment for study abroad periods. During the session we gathered examples and best practice from universities in the room on how they went about assessing and mitigating the risks to student health abroad. The list below includes some of the measures that universities were already taking in the area:
- Clear university health and safety policy for mobility, setting out responsibilities of university staff, students and partners
- Approvals from the university and the host before mobility begins
- Copies of the partner's health and safety policies and procedures
- Site risk assessment visits
- Health and Disability Disclosure Forms
- Cross-support from other relevant units: the Health and Safety Office, Health Services, Disability services etc
- Pre-departure Risk Assessment/Awareness Forms
- Health and Safety pre-departure briefings/modules, including on emergency procedures
- Student Study Abroad Handbook (Health, disability and safety sections)
- Health and safety information on students kept on record
- Emergency contact cards distributed to students for them to carry whilst abroad
- Certificates of insurance required pre-departure
- An identified point of communication during the mobility period
- Regular contact maintained with students abroad via email, skype, whatsapp
Clive Souter from the University of Leeds, and Helen Johnson, from the University of Warwick, each presented an overview of their own institution's approach to risk assessing outward mobility in the workshop. These presentations looked not only at health, but at risk more broadly, and provide examples of some of the protocols institutions have in place to help support students in staying safe and healthy while overseas.
- The University of Leed's Health and Safety study abroad protocols are available at this page on their website, which also links to their relevant forms and documentation, including their Study Abroad Risk Awareness Form. Their Health and Safety work placement protocols are set out on this page, including links to their 'Tripartite Agreement' form, which sets out the roles and responsibilities of all three parties involved in the placement - the student, the placement provider and the home university.
- Helen Johnson's presentation is available here, and includes an overview of the University of Warwick's risk assessment protocols as well as their emergency response procedures.
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