Are Global Programs safe?

Given the world situation right now, it would be natural for you to have some concerns about travel plans. It is not InterVarsity’s practice to put students into danger. In fact, we take student safety very seriously. While there are dangers that exist in overseas travel, going overseas does not automatically imply danger any more than staying home automatically implies safety.

We estimate the relative safety of a location with the help of a few information sources.

  • The U.S. State Department provides warnings for those locations that they deem unsafe for Americans traveling abroad.
  • We also seek the advice of a Christian consulting agency, called Crisis Consulting International, which specializes in equipping American who are serving in hostile locations.
  • Along with these sources, we will listen to the advice of our hosts on site in the foreign location. As local residents, they are experts on the safety and risks in their area.

At appropriate times in the year, the Director of Global Programs will call together the President of InterVarsity, our legal counsel, and other leaders to review the programs planned for locations that are deemed unsafe. On several occasions we have helped program leaders to redirect their teams because of safety concerns. More often, we have gathered sufficient evidence that the locations in question are, in fact, not as dangerous as reported or that our program is located in an area far from the area of concern. Contingency plans are made in the event of an emergency. If there is any question whether or not students will be safe, the President of InterVarsity is responsible for deciding whether or not we will travel.

In addition to assessing the safety of our Global Program locations, we train our program directors and staff in crisis management procedures. While Global Program teams are abroad, our office staff are always on hand to support and advise program directors in the event of an emergency. We are confident that InterVarsity staff will continue to lead with clear-headedness and wisdom as they call our students to be responsible global citizens. Global Programs directors can find a copy of the Overseas Crisis Management document under the GP director resources "onsite" portion of our website.

Read More:

Urbana Blog: Risk Aversion and God's Mission  Leroy Barber writes about having confidence in God despite fears about safety.