Iowa’s colleges are taking extra precautions when sending students abroad, with concerns about violence in many areas and the Ebola outbreak in Africa. The University of Iowa suspended a trip to Israel this summer out of safety concerns.
Annique Kiel, director of Drake University’s “Administered Programs Abroad,” says a risk assessment committee considers several factors to determine the security of a trip. “We also look at a threat rating and a medical risk rating which are put out by our insurance provider,” Kiel says. “We look to see if the U.S. Department of State has issued a travel alert or travel warning for the country or if they have any specific safety notices out for the country.”
Kiel says the university and third party programs consider many elements to determine the safety of a country. “They also have safety and security assessments that they do themselves,” Kiel says. “So for our affiliate provider programs, we do work very much in tandem with them and rely a lot on their expertise and their faculty and staff they have on the ground.”
As of now, Drake’s trip to Ghana in January is still on, but the committee will meet to make the final determination in October. Iowa State University cancelled a trip to Ghana earlier this year.