Our first and foremost priority
The safety and welfare of our students abroad is our first and foremost priority. Country-specific information about health and safety is provided to students throughout the advising process and pre-departure orientation, and additional resources are available in the Study Abroad Handbook. Students are encouraged to contact their OGE advisors with any questions or concerns prior to departure or while abroad.
We care deeply about events that occur throughout the world, including those that may impact our students abroad, international exchange students currently studying at BC, and our extended university community. In the event of an emergency, political crisis, or natural disaster in a city or country in which the OGE currently has a program in session, OGE staff will be in close contact with our on-site colleagues, students, and emergency contacts as necessary. Our staff will also be in contact with our international exchange students regarding events that occur in their home countries.
The OGE monitors a variety of sources on international safety and security on a daily basis, including the U.S. Department of State (DoS) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advisories, OSAC, local media, as well as updates from on-site staff around the world. We recommend that students and their parents also stay informed. Under the current DoS system, every country has a travel advisory providing levels of advice from 1-4. As of November 2020, the CDC has implemented a new Travel Health Notice system with a four-level scale focusing specifically on COVID-19, as well as new recommendations regarding testing and international air travel for travelers.
In the rare event of a severe natural or political disaster abroad, BC has an evacuation plan in place.
The OGE operates programs in countries with an active DoS Level 3 (Reconsider Travel) advisory on a case-by-case basis; if we do have a program in a country with an active Level 3 advisory, in most cases students will be informed and asked to sign an agreement prior to confirming their participation.
Boston College undergraduate students are typically not permitted to travel to DoS Level 4 countries (Do Not Travel), as well as CDC Warning Level 3 (Avoid Nonessential Travel), or the recenlty assessed CDC Level 4 (COVID-19 Very High) countries.
Students should also be aware of countries with varying levels of advice that apply to specific locations or areas within a country. Higher-risk areas designated by the DoS within Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 countries (as seen on the map) are to be strictly avoided. Conditions in any country may change rapidly and at any time. The DoS Travel Advisories also provide clear reasons for assigned levels, using established risk indicators, and offer specific advice to U.S. citizens who choose to travel there, such as Crime, Terrorism, Civil Unrest, Health, Natural Disaster, Time-Limited Event and Other.
Please be sure to thoroughly acquaint yourself with the advisory for the country you plan to study in, as well as any other countries you plan to visit. Note that non-program related travel is only encouraged before or after official program dates and that Boston College does not take responsibility for students who chose to travel independently outside their designated program dates.
In a medcal emergency abroad, go to the nearest physician or hospital without delay and then contact CISI Team Assist at: 855-327-1411.
In the event of an emergency, public health or political crisis, or natural disaster in a city or country in which the OGE currently has a program in session, OGE staff will be in close contact with our on-site colleagues, students, and emergency contacts as necessary. Our staff will also be in contact with our international exchange students regarding events that occur in their home countries.
The Emergency Response Preparedness Guidelines were designed to help students manage and respond to emergency incidents that occur overseas. If you encounter an emergency abroad such as a natural disaster, severe illness or injury, physical or sexual assault, or political disturbance, you should:
- Contact on-site staff immediately
- Contact the OGE at +1 617-552-3827 during business hours (Monday-Friday 9 am - 5 pm EST) or the Boston College Police Department (BCPD) if outside of business hours at +1 617-552-4444. BCPD is available 24 hours/day and will contact the appropriate university personnel to assist you.
- Contact your family in the US/abroad
Boston College takes all reports of sexual misconduct and discrimination very seriously, regardless of where such incidents occur. Cultural norms may mean that actions are interpreted differently in other countries. Regardless of these norms, you are encouraged to utilize BC support resources and report any incident of harassment or sexual violence.
The OGE works closely with BC’s Title IX Coordinator to ensure survivors receive the privacy and support they need both overseas and upon their return to campus. In the case of an incident of sexual assault, get to a safe place, seek medical care if necessary, and take time to decide how you wish to proceed, i.e. reporting the incident to the local authorities, reaching out to BC, or speaking with someone you trust. Your resident director and faculty program leader are always available as a resource, and you should not hesitate to contact the OGE directly as needed.
Any student who is a victim of sexual assault is strongly encouraged to utilize the services of the Sexual Assault Network at Boston College, a 24-hour/7-days-a-week private and anonymous resource that is staffed by advocates who are trained to listen, provide options, and support the survivor. SANet resources are available to you while overseas and when you return to campus. Call +1(617) 552-BC11 (2211) for assistance.
Boston College partners with Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) to provide health and emergency services to Boston College students while traveling and living outside the United States.
Please note that CISI does not replace required medical insurance within the United States. Rather, it will provide you with medical services and assistance overseas. The BC plan includes Political and Natural Disaster evacuation services. General policy exclusions apply. Program coverage dates vary by program. Prior to traveling, please review the documents listed here:
OGE will enroll you in the CISI plan by your program's start date. Students participating in external programs with a waiver (see below) will not be enrolled in CISI.
Once enrolled, students need to register online by logging into myCISI at culturalinsurance.com/boston
The website will then give you access to a large number of medical care providers and facilities abroad that directly work with CISI. With this service and coverage plan, there is no need for a separate claim to your health insurance company in the United States. You simply need to show your CISI membership card and all billing will be done directly between the provider and CISI.
Students can log into myCISI to:
- Check coverage dates 24/7
- Create/replace personalized: ID cards, Consulate letter, Certificate of insurance
- Enter trip-specific details for tracking
- Purchase additional insurance coverage
- Gain access to helpful links and resources tailored to your program
The Boston College CISI policy is in effect for all students studying abroad on BC semester and summer programs, including most approved external programs. Please note that only students attending external programs who have their own CISI policy comparable to BC will be able to request a waiver of the BC coverage. American Councils, API, CIS Abroad, and IES students must keep BC’s CISI policy due to differences in coverage. Consult with your OGE advisor for details.
We recommend that students look into purchasing travel cancelation insurance. Boston College students have the option to purchase CFAR/IFAR through a CISI-vetted partner, Travel Insured International, subject to terms and conditions.
By logging into myCISI, you will be able to request and review a quote for Trip Cancellation for Any Reason and Trip Interruption for Any Reason. Please keep in mind this plan is completely separate from the CISI Boston College Travel Abroad Insurance Coverage. This plan can be purchased with a major credit card.
Students traveling abroad before the start of their program, or those who wish to remain abroad after the program ends have the option to extended their CISI coverage through the Individual Online Enrollment plan.
AlertTraveler offers a world of up-to-date country and city travel intelligence in your pocket, including location safety scores and practical information. Keep up to date with timely alerts based on your GPS location, the travel itinerary you submitted to your institution, and by creating opt-in subscriptions.
Among its many features, AlertTraveler allows you to:
- View safety maps
- Call local emergency services
- Receive check-ins from Boston College in the event of an incident
- Receive information about country safety and intelligence
- Receive country alerts
How to access AlertTraveler
Download the AlertTraveler App and enable GPS location and alert features
Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI), along with our Travel Assistance partner, AXA Assistance, are proud to launch Doctor Please, a global teleconsultation service.
Doctor Please is with you anytime, anywhere:
• 24/7 virtual medical care via app or phone
• Prescriptions managed globally
• Trained, licensed and experienced doctors
• Multi-language capabilities
When can I use the teleconsultation service?
Doctor Please can be useful when:
• I am seeking medical advice
• I forgot my medicine and need a prescription for a chronic condition
• I have a non-emergency ailment and don’t want to waste time in a hospital waiting room.
Our doctors diagnose and treat minor illnesses, injuries, infections, colds and allergies. For lifethreatening or major incidents, seek care right away.
How to access Doctor Please
• Contact AXA Assistance by phone
• AXA will verify eligibility and provide you with an activation code
• Download the app via Google Play or App Store
• Register and enter the access code
• Enter personal details, request a video or call back
• Access to an MD via video or phone
• Coverage is based off your policy benefits and limits
How to Access BC Safe App
BC Safe is the official mobile safety app for Boston College. You can use the app throughout the day to find essential information and to quickly check bus schedules, weather updates, search for key contacts, get helpful travel information, access emergency guidance and much more. Boston College Public Safety maintains the app. Regardless if you are a student, faculty, staff, alumni, visitor or a friendly neighbor, BC Safe has something for you!
- Get help, receive emergency notifications, find emergency, support and other key resources & contacts;
- How to Respond emergency guides;
- Friend Walk to share your location in real time with family or friends;
- Maps & Transportation to find out where shuttle buses are, where to park, find your way on campus;
- Travel Safety & Weather to assist with keeping you aware and safe during your day and travel.
How to Download:
- Download the BC Safe app by visiting either the Apple iTunes Store (iOS) or Google Play Store (Android).
- Search for BC Safe and download (it only takes about 30 seconds). Be sure to allow notifications, which pushes BC alerts to your device.
- Launch the BC Safe app! Start exploring the app and become familliar with its capabilities and features.
How to Access WellTrack
WellTrack is a secure and anyonymous way for users to assess their personal well-being and quickly gain access to resources tailored to help them make progress in changing thoughts and behaviors that are not working for them. Some of the specific tools WellTrack offers are videos, relaxation exercises, mood tracking tools, and written exercises to help raise awareness and work on addressing unhelpful thought patterns.
WellTrack access for the Boston College community has been paid for by University Counseling Services.
To Create an Account:
- Visit signup.welltrack.com
- Enter your access code: BCWelltrack, and create an account.
- Watch for an email from email@example.com to confirm your account. BC Information Technology Services recommends using a non-BC email account.
- You are now logged in and ready to begin your course.