Students and employees traveling abroad will now have experts providing services from health care to political evacuations under guidance of TCU, an official in the Center for International Studies, TCU Abroad said.
TCU signed a contract with International SOS, an international emergency service provider, so students and employees who are studying or conducting research abroad with TCU will benefit from emergency medical, personal, travel, legal and security assistance services, said Tracy Williams, associate director for the Center for International Studies, TCU Abroad.
Williams said the services will come at no charge, and students and employees will receive a membership card for this service before they go abroad. She said the university purchased the service and referred questions about the cost to TCU Risk Management.
Paul Fox, manager of Risk and Insurance, declined to comment on the cost of the service.
Williams said The Center for International Studies learned of International SOS through NAFSA: Association of International Educators. She said all the Ivy League schools are using this company, as well as many major corporations.
She said in the past, staff members from the center had to independently research travel information for students, and students had to purchase an emergency evacuation supplement in addition to their study abroad tuition.
“None of us could be an expert to the degree this company could be,” Williams said.
According to the emergency provider’s Web site, 20 Harvard University affiliates were evacuated to safer locations by International SOS personnel during Israel’s bombing of Lebanon in 2006.
Williams said students with health issues who were hesitant to take advantage of study abroad programs can contact International SOS for predeparture advice on how to manage the situation abroad. She said International SOS has its own clinics in remote locations where health care is not the same standard as that in the United States.
Randall Bryant, a senior music education major who studied abroad this summer in Japan, said he was satisfied with the safety while studying there, but his Japanese professor was the only person whom students could refer to while they were in Japan.
Rob Rhodes, associate professor of professional practice and director of international programs for the Neeley School of Business, said one of the advantages is that if he encounters students having health issues he could call International SOS experts who can speak fluent English and get the best health advice.
“It’s a real comforting resource,” Rhodes said. “Students are far better off being taken care of by professionals.”