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Health + Safety

Stay up-to-date on our COVID-19 Planning
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Health and safety of students abroad are one of our top priorities. Below you can find information on:

Safety Precautions by UWEC

The CIE staff monitor a variety of health and safety email list serves/resources and maintain communication with international partners to stay informed on international issues and crises that might affect our students. In particular, UWEC looks to official government sources, such as the U.S. Department of State travel advisories and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) travel warnings, when considering program safety. In addition, CIE staff participate in regular webinars and trainings related to health and safety topics. 

All students are enrolled in CISI Insurance (see below for more info), which does include a Security Evacuation Benefit (at this time COVID-19 isn't considered a security evacuation triggering event). All students are also enrolled in the U.S. State Department's, Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)

UWEC considers the U.S. Department of State travel advisories and the CDC travel warnings when reviewing program safety.   A Level 3 or 4 warning from the CDC and Level 3 or 4 advisory from the U.S. State Department would prompt review by the UWEC Travel Risk Committee, which includes the UW-Eau Claire risk manager, faculty/staff with study abroad expertise, and staff from the Student Health Services. If a decision to cancel a program is made, the CIE will contact students directly about the decision and next steps.

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Required International Insurance Coverage

The University of Wisconsin System mandates that all students studying/traveling abroad on a UWEC sponsored program must be enrolled in health insurance with Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI). The policy has provisions for medical coverage, emergency evacuation and repatriation.

The CIE enrolls all students studying abroad on UWEC programs in CISI regardless of current coverage the student or family may have. The cost of this insurance has been built into the program cost, found on each program's brochure page. Some countries and programs have additional insurance requirements for students.

Enrollment in CISI occurs one-two months prior to departure. The CIE automatically enrolls students and emails them with further information to access their CISI Portal. Through the CISI portal, students can:
  • Print or e-mail their insurance card, coverage brochure, consulate letter, and claim form.
  • Extend their insurance coverage if they plan to do additional travel before or after the program.
  • Find valuable travel-related information, such as health and vaccination recommendations, contract information for English-speaking doctors abroad, and country-specific information for every country in the world.
Policy Information:
For programs that begin after May 1, 2022 (summer 2022, fall 2022, winterim 2023, spring 2023): 

CISI 22-23 Policy Information and Claim Form

FAQ: Should a student stayed enrolled in their U.S. insurance policy?
The CIE encourages students to maintain enrollment in their U.S. insurance in the event a student needs to return home to continue medical treatment. We encourage students to discuss this with their U.S. insurance company. 

FAQ: COVID-19 coverage
Please see CISI's website for COVID-19 related questions and how coverage will work. The standard UW system coverage does not include pandemics or epidemics. Because of this, we encourage students to explore option Cancel for Any Reason/Interrupt for Any Reason packages. 

Steps to Take in an Emergency

In an emergency, the CIE is in close contact with our partners abroad. Depending on the situation, our partners will seek advice from local authorities and the U.S. Consulate or Embassy closest to the program. In emergency situations, students should:
  1. Inform the local program staff 
    • This is crucial, especially if there is a time difference with Eau Claire. Local staff can respond in real time and are knowledgeable about local resources.
    • If there has been a large scale attack or disaster, please check-in with your local staff ASAP
  2. Contact UWEC CIE
    • If during regular UWEC CIE office hours (7:45- am-4:30 pm, Monday-Friday), call +1-715-836-4411.
    • If after regular UWEC CIE office hours, call the UWEC Campus Police +1-715-839-4972.  After hours contacts can be made to this number 24 hours a day. You may get an answering machine, however, an officer is alerted as soon as you have left a message. Be sure to leave a phone number you can be reached at and what type of assistance you require. The officer will contact a study abroad staff member who will respond to you.
  3. Contact family/friends
    • When it is safe to do so, please inform family/friends of your safety
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Health and/or Safety Incident Reports

Although our partners abroad often report serious concerns involving UWEC students abroad, UWEC would like to be made aware of any of the following incidents that occur on a UWEC program:
  • aggravated assault
  • arrests
  • death
  • illness
  • injury
  • missing/separated person
  • sexual assault
  • sexual harassment
  • theft 
  • other concerns such as: disease outbreak, fires, floods, equipment failure, etc. 
Reporting allows the appropriate UWEC office to provide support and resources to help manage a health or safety concern abroad. UWEC may have legal obligation to report certain types of incidents that occur on program abroad. The collection of information will help the university determine which incidents need to be reported to the federal/state government. '

There are two ways to report an incident:
1. Contact the UWEC study abroad coordinator who oversees that program and provide them with:
  • Date of incident
  • Time (in-country time) of incident
  • County/city of incident (note there may be different than your program site if you're traveling)
  • Nature of incident (i.e. illness, injury, assault, theft, etc.) See above for information on what to report. 
  • Individuals involved
  • Activity/location at time of incident (i.e. train station, concert, resident hall, etc.)
The coordinator may then ask follow up questions to help provide the appropriate support and complete the reporting process.

Please note that by law, UWEC study abroad coordinators must report incidents of sexual misconduct, including victim's and alleged perpetrator's names, if known, to the campus Title IX and/or Clery coordinators. Information gathered may also result in an investigation by the UWEC Dean of Students Office of the Affirmative Action Office. 
2. Incident Report Form allows for anonymous reporting (or an option to provide contact info). Students can complete the Study Away Health & Safety Incident Report Form.  
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Health + Safety Resources

  • US State Department:
    • The U.S. State Department "Student Abroad" site has information on health, emergencies, safe travel tips with special sections for women and LGBT travelers, and voting while abroad. You can stay connected to the U.S. State Department by signing up for their Facebook page and Twitter feed. Please note that the CIE enrolls all students in the State Department "Smart Traveler Enrollment Program" (STEP).
    • State Department Travel Advisories 
  • Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
    • The CDC has valuable information about health, safety, and vaccinations for international travelers.
  • Managing Stress and Enhancing Your Experience Abroad:
    • The University of Michigan has a resource to identify techniques to assist in overcoming loneliness, culture shock, group conflict and personal struggles that may arise when abroad. 
  • SAFETI Clearing House:
    • The SAFETI (Safety Abroad First – Educational Travel Information) Clearinghouse Project creates and disseminates resources to support study abroad program development and implementation, emphasizing health and safety issues.
  • IAMAT:
    • The International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers has information about health risks at specific destinations, travel health tips and information on planning healthy travel. 
  • UWEC Campus Safety Information:

Sexual Violence Abroad Resources

Sexual violence can happen to people of all gender identities anywhere in the world. It is important to know what resources exist in the event this happens to you or a friend. The following resources are not an exhaustive list of resources available to students. There may be additional services within your host country. 

U.S. Government Resources: International Resources: UWEC Resources: Additional Resources: (return to top)