Health and Safety

Emergency

EMERGENCY EVACUATION INFORMATION

The College has purchased insurance that offers all Kalamazoo College students, faculty, and staff international travel services:

  • Travel Assistance
  • Travel Medical Assistance
  • Security Assistance

Included in this coverage is insurance coverage for medical, political, or natural disaster evacuation services. It is also possible to receive security reports on countries and general information on cities around the world.  Students, faculty, and staff can also receive assistance with such things as lost baggage, lost travel documents, or referrals to the local embassy or consulate.

Contact the CIP for more information

EMERGENCY CONTACTS
  • For Study Abroad Emergencies during Office Hours – please call the CIP office at 269. 337.7133 or contact a CIP staff member
  • For After-Hours Study Abroad Emergencies please call Campus Security at 269.337.7321. If you can, provide security with the name of your site’s Program Coordinators. That would be either Margaret Wiedenhoeft, Alayna Lewis, Tony Nelson, Asia Bennett, or Lizbeth Mendoza Pineda depending on the site. Security will then call that manager or another appropriate manager who will assess and address the emergency.
  • The Counseling Center  Emergency phone number is 269. 598.6907

Health

Before you Travel

IMMUNIZATIONS

Most immunizations are not mandatory, but provide valuable protection; therefore, it is highly recommended that students remain up-to-date in their immunizations prior to departure for study abroad.

GENERAL IMMUNIZATION RECOMMENDATIONS
from the K Health Center Travel Clinic

The Student Health Center only bills the “K” Student Health Insurance directly. For all other insurances, we will offer you an insurance-ready receipt at the time of service.

PHYSICALS

Some countries and Kalamazoo Partner programs require a combination of a date sensitive physical examination, certificate of good health, laboratory tests, and/or vaccinations as part of the study abroad application, to apply for a student visa, or for certain residency permits.

Please be advised that consulates and partner institutions can and frequently do make spontaneous changes in their student visa requirements and application process.  Consult with the appropriate consulate or the CIP regarding the most recent requirements.

MEDICAL INSURANCE

All students participating in study abroad are required to have hospitalization and medical insurance that is valid outside the United States.

Please note, many programs require in-country student insurance for participants.

PRE-EXISTING MEDICAL CONDITIONS

Any student who will be on medication regularly, has a chronic medical condition, or may need medical services or doctors while abroad, should make an appointment to see the Associate Provost or Associate Director of the Center for International Programs. Please schedule this appointment before the end of the second week of the quarter preceding the study abroad experience so that appropriate arrangements can be made with the program abroad.

If participants have a chronic medical condition, please see a medical provider soon after arriving in country to “establish care.” This establishes a relationship prior to the participant’s potential need for healthcare, and allows a more prompt appointment when one needs it.

ALLERGIES

Participants should know how to express allergies in the native language and make sure that travel companions are aware of any severe allergies. If any cause anaphylaxis, carry an EpiPen (be sure it doesn’t expire while abroad).

PRESCRIPTIONS

Students who take prescription medications, including anti-malarial medication, should carry an adequate supply for the duration abroad in the original container with his/her name on it.  The CIP staff cannot deliver medication to students abroad.  Family members will be unable to mail medication to participants abroad.  Mailed mediation (even if sent by a private carrier such as FedEx or DHL), may be confiscated by customs officials.  Please carry a card, tag, or bracelet that identifies any physical condition that may require emergency care.

Students who may not be able to obtain enough medication to take them for their study abroad program may have a health care provider give a summary of the conditions and treatments (including the medications prescribed) for the condition. Participants are still encouraged to carry at least three month’s worth of medication.

For participants currently taking a controlled substance, such as any form of Ritalin or Adderal, please bring a letter from the prescribing Doctor indicating the current medication, dosage and medical indication for taking the medication.

While Abroad

FOOD

AVOID:

  • Raw food and unfiltered water and ice
  • Undercooked meat
  • Live poultry around homes and/or markets
  • Piercing and tattooing
  • Mosquitoes, ticks, stray animals including dogs, cats and monkeys
  • Swimming in freshwater
  • Excess alcohol intake
WATER

It is not uncommon for students to report feeling dehydrated. Most participants do not drink enough water or liquids while on study abroad. Alcohol and caffeine increase fluid loss. To avoid dehydration, drink half your body weight of water in fluid ounces per day.

Signs and symptoms of dehydration:

  • Rapid heart beat
  • Lightheaded when changing position
  • Dry mouth
  • Deep breathing
  • Irritability
  • Reduction in urine output, increase in yellow color
  • Cool and mottled extremities
  • Lethargy

If you have these symptoms, find an area out of the sun, drink fluids and rest. If you do not feel better, seek medical care.

ILLNESS

Most students report getting sick during their time abroad.

What students eat and drink will affect their health.

In the case of accidents or injury, students should inform the Resident Director as soon as possible. 

MENTAL HEALTH

Whether you are currently being treated for mental health concerns or if you see them as something in your past, you should know that preparing for and participating in this new experience can bring about a return or increase in symptoms. Since it is always easier to prevent or respond to difficulties if they have been anticipated ahead of time, use this guide from the K College Counseling Center to prepare for mental health considerations and services abroad. .

Sexual Safety

SEXUAL HARASSMENT

Students on study abroad programs may find that other cultures and societies have a much different understanding of what might be considered sexual harassment than is typically the case in the United States. Likewise there can be great variation in the roles of men and women and also in their forms of social interaction. Part of the study abroad experience is to learn how another culture and society organizes everyday life. What might be perceived as sexual harassment in Kalamazoo might be regarded by some as being socially acceptable, albeit obnoxious and unsettling behavior.

While American laws do not extend beyond the borders of the United States, Kalamazoo College students studying abroad are bound by College policy regarding social behavior, sexual harassment, and the Honor System for their own actions. With regard to the actions of others, the Center for International Programs has worked to make our partners abroad aware of College policies regarding sexual harassment. We attempt to follow federal regulations regarding Title IX policies and reporting protocols. This means if a student feels that they have been the subject of sexual harassment during a study abroad program, the student should first report this to the Kalamazoo College program staff or to the proper University official, typically to the Dean of Students or the International Office. The student may also choose to report to a CIP staff member. Once receiving the report, either from the student or resident director (or other staff member), CIP staff are required to report to the Title IX officer at Kalamazoo College. The host university may also investigate the charge according to their procedures. Students making a report of sexual harassment may be asked to provide details concerning the incident and the perpetrator(s). We will try to maintain confidentiality throughout the process and honor the reporting
student’s request for follow up. If the harassment charge is against a Kalamazoo College student, we will make every effort to follow the procedures used on campus with adjustments for the distance, the rules, and the mores of the partner institution. To ensure the safety and well-being of others, Kalamazoo College reserves the right to suspend or terminate the accused student’s participation in the study abroad program.

The College is obligated to respond when a student on study abroad or a member of that student’s family reports to a Kalamazoo College staff member that the student has been the target of sexual harassment.

A typical response by the College would include a discussion with the student as to what happened, followed by a discussion with appropriate officials at the host institution abroad about possible courses of action. Although every effort would be made to handle these matters confidentially, Kalamazoo College has no control over how the host institution abroad may choose to handle the report of an incident of sexual harassment. Furthermore, the College’s concern for the students’ health, safety, and well-being while abroad may require that all details relating to the incident be communicated to the Kalamazoo program staff and/or the partner institution abroad.

CRISIS

As part of the on-site orientation, we expect that participants will be given information about locating local contact numbers for agencies and organizations that deal with crisis issues such as assault, rape, suicide, alcohol and drug abuse counseling, depression, etc. On Kalamazoo programs we ask our Resident Directors to include this in the materials students receive at orientation.

If participants need help in one of these areas while abroad, we hope they will seek it out. In addition, the CIP urges participants to talk with the Resident Director or a staff member at the program. These are highly personal issues and it is difficult to talk to anyone about them. The Kalamazoo Directors have experience in helping students through tough times. Local contacts are another good option. If a study abroad participant is the victim of an assault and battery, sexual assault or rape, we encourage participants to inform the Resident Director and the local authorities in addition to seeking help and counseling from a crisis center or other professional.

SEXUAL ASSAULT

Rape and sexual assault can happen to women and men anywhere in the world.

In the United States, one in six women and one in 33 men will be the victim of a sexual assault in their lifetime; global statistics are comparable. See RAINN. Unfortunately, once students leave campus, their risk of sexual assault is not lowered. Kalamazoo College and the Center for International Programs take this issue extremely seriously: the following section is not meant to scare participants, but rather to provide strategies to mitigate the risk of sexual assault while abroad as well as provide information about what to do after a sexual assault.

Below are several factors that can place students at risk for sexual assault. This list has been adapted from the Kalamazoo College sexual misconduct policy.

The following factors can place students at risk for being subjected to sexual assault:

  • Use of alcohol or other drugs that impair judgment or being with someone who is using alcohol and is intoxicated
  • “Hooking up” with unfamiliar persons
  • Feeling pressured to engage in sexual activity or feeling like everyone else is doing it
  • Feeling lonely or depressed
  • Not communicating clearly about your wishes and expectations

The following factors can place students at risk for perpetrating sexual assault:

  • Use of alcohol or other drugs that impair judgment or being with someone who is using alcohol and is intoxicated
  • “Hooking up” with unfamiliar persons
  • Not communicating clearly about your wishes and expectations
  • Not adequately researching country specific laws of consent prior to sexual conduct
  • Not seeking clear, unambiguous consent for specific activities
  • Ignoring “stop” signs during a sexual encounter
  • Assuming consent when none is given

In addition to these factors, there are additional considerations when a student is outside their familiar cultural environment. Culture, gender, and law shape personal interactions and the norms of consent in any given place. It is important to understand how the norms of consent in a host country may differ from those in the United States.

For example, if a woman allows a man into her living space, is it considered or interpreted as an invitation for sexual activity? Is sexual activity expected if a woman accepts a drink or some other gift from a man? Study abroad participants may find the answers to these questions by seeking out past program participants, by speaking with international students from the host country before departure, or by talking to local women and/or program staff while abroad. Seek these answers out. Understanding the cultural context will not only increase the level of safety for participants while abroad, but will also enrich the study abroad experience.

While laws regarding sexual assault greatly differ by country, incidents between Kalamazoo College students are subject to the Kalamazoo College Sexual Misconduct Policy.

PHYSICAL ASSAULT

Physical assault is a traumatic event that can occur in any environment, whether on K’s campus or abroad. As an international sojourner, study abroad participants are typically more visible than what they are used to being and thus more likely to attract interest, whether positive or negative. Maintaining personal safety can be complex in one’s own cultural environment and much more so in one that is less familiar. It is more challenging to read situations and to assess risks to physical safety. Even though only a handful of students report being mugged or physically assaulted, it is a traumatic experience.

Responding To Assault

SEXUAL HARASSMENT/ASSAULT

Sexual assault is a traumatic incident regardless of when or where it happens, but it can be particularly challenging if participants are in an unfamiliar culture and far from their normal support network. Even if the participant knows they do not want to report to the police, a first step should be to seek medical attention.

For students on Kalamazoo programs, CIP recommends reporting the incident to the Resident Director. The Resident Director is responsible for handling emergencies as well as for being a source of information for the personal health and well-being for participants. They can help participants access medical treatment, emotional support, legal counsel, and other needs.

The Resident Director at each Kalamazoo site has specific instructions for how to proceed in the event a student in the Kalamazoo program has been sexually assaulted. These instructions reflect appropriate laws and cultural practices in each site. Kalamazoo Resident Directors are required as part of their protocol to contact a designated staff member in the Center for International Programs whenever such an incident is reported so the Center can initiate campus protocol in assisting the student.

Once a Resident Director has informed a CIP staff member, it is typically the practice of the CIP to talk with the survivor directly to ensure the student has received the appropriate medical and counseling assistance available locally. CIP staff members must follow campus protocol and notify the Dean of Students and the Kalamazoo College Title IX officer. The CIP staff member will inform campus counselors, parents, or other campus personnel only with the consent of the survivor. If students wish to talk with someone who will maintain confidentiality, students may notify the campus Chaplain Liz Candido (Elizabeth.Candido@kzoo.edu or ++ 269.337.7361) or a member of the Counseling Center (oncall
phone is ++269-598-6907 or counseling@kzoo.edu). The Counseling Center and the Chaplin are the only confidential resources available on campus.

Immediately following a sexual assault:

  • Get to a safe place. Your safety is the HIGHEST priority. If you feel unsafe, please contact someone.
  • Seek help from someone you trust.
  • Inform the Resident Director. Resident Directors have been trained to respond to students in times of crisis. Their first priority will be your physical well-being and providing emotional support. They can also provide you with information regarding next steps.
  • Avoid showering/bathing, brushing your teeth, or urinating (if possible) before you receive medical care. This will keep evidence intact should if the student chooses to make a police report at any time.
  • Seek medical attention.
  • Write (or ask the Resident Director or a friend to help) a detailed report of the incident. As time passes, students may forget details that may be important should the student decide to press charges.
  • Listen to the Resident Director for legal, medical, and psychological information and support.
  • Students are strongly encouraged to seek medical attention after a sexual assault. A doctor can not only collect evidence of the assault and also check for STIs, provide emergency contraception and other treatments, and treat any injuries. If a student chooses to make a report to the police, understand that sexual assault and rape laws vary greatly by country. The Resident Director and other program staff can help participants understand local laws and procedures.

Sexual assault is a very traumatic experience, and it takes time to recover. Each survivor experiences unique reactions to sexual assault, and the process of recovery often is not linear. It will likely impact your ability to function or concentrate. Some students find it helpful to talk to a counselor during this
time. Upon return to the United States, survivors may have unique challenges reintegrating to K.

Continue to seek support from friends, and consider utilizing on- and off-campus resources such as the Counseling Center or the Kalamazoo YWCA. Because many K students tend to participate in programs with other K students, participants may also find themselves supporting a friend who has been the victim of sexual assault. Friends of participants are encouraged to follow the “response to sexual assault” steps outlined previously. Remember an important role is to be a friend and to be supportive, not to determine what happened.

PHYSICAL ASSAULT

We encourage participants to inform Resident Directors when this occurs. On-site staff may assist in getting participants to the hospital, reporting the incident to the police, and reporting the incident to the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate, if applicable.

Additional Health Resources

Safety

LEVEL OF SECURITY

If you are concerned about — or just interested in— the level of safety and security in any part of the world, the U.S. Department of State maintains a comprehensive international travel website for each country. There you can find information on crime, safety, medical facilities, entry/exit requirements, and much more, including safety bulletins as soon as they are issued.

SAFETY BULLETINS

Safety bulletins (also known as travel warnings) are issued when events or threats in a city, country, or region lead the U.S. Department of State to warn traveling U.S. citizens about possible safety or security concerns. The Center for International Programs recommends that parents and students pay attention to the travel warnings issued by the Department of State prior to departure and while the student is abroad.

CIP SAFETY AND SECURITY MONITORING

The Center for International Programs’ staff carefully monitors current events in every study abroad site through international media and through our contacts and staff abroad. The CIP also receives regular updates from the U.S. embassies closest to our sites. If there is any concern about the safety of our students abroad, the CIP maintains close contact with parents, students, and our contacts abroad to resolve any problems.

ADDITIONAL TRAVEL SAFETY RESOURCES