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Risk Management


SIT Study Abroad has a team of trained Student Affairs duty officers available 24 hours a day to respond to potential threats to student safety and manage emergency situations. 

Call: 802.258.3366

SIT carefully balances student safety and security with experiential learning. However, just as it cannot be guaranteed at home, safety cannot be guaranteed abroad. SIT is committed to taking reasonably necessary steps to maximize student safety at each program site during every phase of our programs. Our unique program structure, which envelops students in trusted local communities, provides a very real protective factor. Active reflection on daily experiences increases awareness and skills that help students meaningfully and securely navigate new contexts and environments.

SIT has a dedicated team of student affairs professionals who work closely with our field-based program staff to ensure that our policies and program-specific risk management plans meet current global health and safety realities. The Student Health, Safety & Well-bring team includes experts in risk management, crisis response, mental health, disability services, and global health.

Through our 80-plus years of running international education programs, SIT has developed sophisticated and proactive risk-management strategies that foster rapid response and adjustment to changing situations.

SIT’s approach to risk management starts with our responsibility to conduct thorough risk assessments, prepare for contingencies, and establish clear crisis management protocols and detailed safety policies. We infuse safety and security throughout the program curricula through regular training of our field-based teams, sharing standards across our portfolio, and developing tools and approaches to uphold those standards.

During pre-departure and in-country orientation sessions, SIT staff educate students about potential safety risks and strategies to keep themselves safe within their new environment. SIT staff provide additional safety and security briefings at key junctures throughout the semester, most notably when students are moving to different program locations.

Homestays are central to most SIT experiences. Homestays provide students with grounding in the local culture, which is critical to building realistic perceptions of risk. Host families help students navigate their new surroundings by providing firsthand exposure to local norms, modeling culturally appropriate behavior, and giving precautionary guidance about the local environment.

Socioeconomic, political, environmental, and medical conditions vary widely across the more than 30 countries in which we operate. On a day-by-day basis, U.S.-based and in-country staff evaluate situational information from a wide variety of sources including governments, our contacts in nongovernmental organizations, international and local media, and our own network of local contacts within each country. In rare circumstances, situations may require an itinerary change to the program, which are communicated to parents and sending institutions.