Resources for Parents
Program Safety and Health
As parents or guardians with a student who has been selected to participate on an overseas or off-campus program, we know that you may have questions related to program safety and health. Of course, no one can guarantee complete safety and health while abroad, just as no one can guarantee complete safety and health anywhere in the US, but we are committed to working with our students and our in-country contacts to plan for overseas experiences that are safe as well as educational. Below we provide information about our policies.
Information concerning the cost of Overseas Programs can be found here.
Lewis & Clark College Policy
Lewis & Clark is committed to developing and offering programs that challenge our students academically and introduce them to other ways of being and knowing. This commitment includes operating programs in both traditional (e.g. Western Europe) and non-traditional locations (e.g. East and West Africa.) Please be assured that our first priority is the safety and well-being of our students at all program locations. If at any time during the development or operation of a program it becomes necessary to postpone or evacuate, we will do so by weighing the US Department of State recommendations with on-site reports from our in-country faculty and staff, bearing in mind that general statements about an entire country may not be applicable in a specific area where a program is operating. For example, instead of immediate evacuation, we may consider moving the program location within the country or geographic region. We have successfully operated programs for over fifty years using this form of sound and informed judgment.
The Role of the US Department of State
Traveling is a risky activity everywhere in the world—including the U.S. Lewis & Clark College carefully monitors public announcements and travel advisories and warnings issued by the US Department of State. We register all students with local consulates/embassies, and our overseas staff receives automatic e-mail alerts from these local offices. The State Department listings can be found at http://travel.state.gov. Additional useful information may be found on websites maintained directly by embassies around the world: http://usembassy.state.gov/. Again, please keep in mind that this information needs to be balanced against what is happening in the specific area where each program is located.
Every Lewis & Clark College program is managed by at least one Resident Director who speaks the local language fluently, has lived or studied in the local city, and/or is a native of the country. Every program is also hosted by a local university or academic institute, and one of the duties of the program administrators is to support and assist the Resident Director in times of crisis. Resident Directors communicate with our office on a regular basis. Our office is staffed by study abroad professionals who have lived, studied and worked overseas in various locations. In times of emergency, you may reach a member of our staff (24 hours a day) by phone at 503.768.7295 and following our recorded directions.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects the rights of students by guaranteeing access to their educational records while prohibiting unauthorized access by others. Should you wish to receive information about your student while they are gone, your student will need to fill out the FERPA Release Form, found in their Confirmation Forms, or here. Without this official designation, we are not permitted to share any personal information about your student with parents or family members.
Responding to Crises
Lewis & Clark College has been operating overseas & off-campus programs since 1962, and, over the course of our history, we have responded to a number of emergencies. When there are actual emergencies or dangers on a program or in the region, our residential and office staffs discuss appropriate safety measures. These include but are not limited to precautions with students, restricting their movements (as we did in September 2001), relocating them to another site (as we did in 2010 after the earthquake in Chile) or evacuating them from a site.
In addition to providing all students with supplemental travel health insurance through iNext, Lewis & Clark College also furnishes students with information about international health clinics available to them while they are overseas. This is discussed during in-country orientation.
The Lewis & Clark College refund policy is described in detail on our “Release & Agreement” form, which is included in the application. As stated in this policy, if Lewis & Clark College cancels a program prior to the group’s departure, 100% of the fees paid on the student’s behalf will be refunded. If Lewis & Clark College chooses to cancel a program due to safety concerns after the term has begun, we will refund all recoverable program costs.
In short, please be assured that we are well-prepared to assess risk, respond to emergencies, and take appropriate actions. We remain committed to study abroad because we believe that international education can improve global understanding in important, practical ways—ways that are difficult for students to imagine or experience in American classrooms.