Risk Management for International Students
One of the challenges that institutions are facing as the flow of international students to Canada grows is ensuring that students who are involved in these programs are receiving the support services that they require in order to make their cultural and social transitions optimal. As such, institutions need to be pro-active in risk management both at the level of program and of policy by planning and providing these services. Indeed, all members of post-secondary institutions involved in international education programs need to be aware of the responsibilities involved in hosting international students on our campuses.
Queen’s University offers a wide range of student services and social and cultural activities that support international students before and during their sojourn in Canada. These activities also offer international students an opportunity to learn more about Canada and the Canadian lifestyle; they range from advising and orientation to skating, bus trips and tobogganing. The health and safety of the participants is an important part of the planning of these support services and events.
The process of studying at Queen’s University as an international student involves a number of stages. At each stage Queen’s takes steps to prepare the students and the institution for promoting a health and safe entry and adjustment to Queen’s by the students and providing support services and programs during the students’ sojourn in Canada. Queen’s also provides crisis support in the unfortunate occurrence of an emergency. The table below lays out the stages, activities and resources so that international educators can visualize the process and utilize the resources developed by Queen’s to assist in building their institution’s resource base for promoting health and safety for international students on their campuses.
Keep in mind when setting up international student programs:
- Inform the participants about health and safety matters well before an activity takes place.
- Use activity registration and pre-activity briefings to augment or replace waivers for document informed consent.
- Add a disclaimer to academic course and activity literature or web site information.
- Provide communication support at the site of the activity in case of emergency.
- Review transportation contracts to ensure that the transportation arranged for the activity is safe and secure.
- Plan all activities with the health and safety of participants in mind.
- Avoid offering activities that involve high risk to the participants.
- Use waivers with care and with an eye to documenting informed consent by the participants
- Review all promotional literature and advertisements to determine if they are accurate since these documents may form the basis of a contract with the international students.