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Safety Abroad & Emergency Support

The opportunity to travel, study and work around the world is one of the greatest privileges many Canadian students enjoy.  However, we want to ensure that your international experience is as safe and healthy as possible.

The following information is intended to inform and guide you as you prepare for your upcoming experience abroad:

Before You Go

Checklist for Queen’s University Sanctioned International Activities

Checklist for Students Going Abroad

All students must complete the following steps prior to departure:

  1. Print off the Emergency Contact Card (or pick one up from your faculty or departmental office).
  2. Ensure that you have adequate out-of-country health insurance coverage, trip cancellation insurance, property insurance, etc. Review the Health Insurance Information Sheet to assist you in reviewing your health coverage while abroad.
  3. Learn if you need to get specific immunizations for travel to (or through) your host country/ies.  DrugSmart Pharmacy, located in the ARC, operates a travel medical clinic under the direction of Dr. Jay Keystone, a world-renowned expert on tropical medicine and senior author of the textbook Travel Medicine. 
  4. Research your host country/culture prior to departure:
  5. Consider an Emergency Action Plan
  6. QUIC has excellent resources that can assist you with doing this research.  Visit the Other Useful Pre-departure Resources page
  7. Register as a Canadian abroad at  OR with your country of citizenship, if you are traveling on a non-Canadian passport.
  8. Complete, submit and receive approval for the Queen’s University Off-Campus Activity Safety Policy (OCASP) Safety Planning Record which includes the on-line Pre-Departure Orientation.

Pre-departure Orientation

Pre-departure Orientation

To support Queen’s participants in their preparations for study, work and travel abroad, QUIC offers an on-line pre-departure orientation (PDO). All undergraduate students taking part in Queen’s University-sanctioned international activities are required to complete the on-line pre-departure orientation which is embedded in the Off-campus Activity Safety Policy – On-line Planning Tool.  All other participants are strongly encouraged to complete it.  The on-line PDO offers information on travel logistics, cross-cultural adjustment, health insurance, the Queen’s Emergency Support Program, the Off-Campus Activity Safety Policy and more.

QUIC also offers in-person/group PDO sessions that can be customized to meet specific travel needs, including crossing cultures/cultural adjustment, risk assessment and mitigation, country-specific information and more. For more information please contact the Risk & Responsibility for Study, Work or Travel Abroad Office.

Other Useful Pre-Departure Resources 

Off-Campus Activity Safety Policy (OCASP)

Off-Campus Activity Safety Policy (OCASP)

The Queen’s University Off-Campus Activity Safety Policy (OCASP) became effective on 01 September, 2004 and applies to all Students, Faculty and Staff, who are undertaking studies, doing research, or carrying out any other work that takes place off-campus and is under the purview of the University. The University is committed to ensure that all off-campus activities are conducted in as safe and as fully aware a climate as possible.

All members of the Queen’s community involved in off-campus activities are invited to register their trip/activity in the Off-Campus Activity Safety Policy On-line Planning Tool (OCASP 2.0) and in some cases, registration is mandatory. This registration record can be accessed in the event of an emergency and will be used by the Emergency Support Program to assist those involved in the incident.

Depending on your university status, your destination and the activity itself, you may be required to complete, and receive approval for, a full risk assessment which includes an on-line pre-departure orientation. This orientation provides resources which will be of helpful to those completing a risk assessment.

To learn more about the Queen’s University Off-Campus Activity Safety Policy click here.

To register your up-coming off-campus activity, access the OCASP 2.0 On-line Planning Tool here.


While Abroad

In the Event of an Emergency While Abroad

In the Event of an Emergency While Abroad

If program participants are in a situation that deteriorates to the point that their welfare is threatened, they should:

Contact the local emergency authorities for assistance. (Ensure that you know the emergency phone numbers in your host country. Do not assume 911 works everywhere in the world. Local emergency numbers should be recorded on your OCASP form, which you can access remotely if needed.)

Speak with the contact person at their host institution, if applicable.

Contact the local Canadian (or your country of citizenship) Embassy/Consulate for assistance.

If you have one, activate your Emergency Action Plan

Contact Queen’s Security using the number on their Emergency Contact Card (613) 533-6111 (collect calls will be accepted) to report on the situation and to initiate the Emergency Protocol.

Learn more about telephoning Canada from abroad. As noted above, program participants are encouraged to contact the Global Affairs Canada (GAC) at Tel.: (613) 996-8885 (collect calls will be accepted) Fax: (613) 943-1054. Further information is available on the GAC web site.

When a program participant contacts Queen’s University to report an emergency situation, the Procedures for Out of Country Emergencies is activated and the Emergency Management Committee (EMC) will assess the situation and determine the University’s response. The EMC will coordinate the emergency support provided by Queen’s University, which includes but is not limited to: communication, emergency funding, evacuation/repatriation, participant debriefing, media enquiries and counseling.

NOTE: Students studying at the Bader International Study Centre (BISC) in the United Kingdom should refer to the BISC Travel Emergency Guidelines.

All  program participants and their families are instructed to monitor the various news sources for information and updates.

Global Affairs Canada (GAC)

CBC News

CNN News

BBC News

Emergency Support Program

Emergency Support Program for Study, Work or Travel Abroad

To support Queen’s program participants in their preparations for study/work/travel abroad, the Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC) facilitates the Emergency Support Program (ESP) for Study/Work/Travel Abroad. Created in 1997 the Emergency Support Program aims to:

  • Raise awareness of participants around risks and responsibilities of study/work/travel abroad
  • Provide emergency support to participants
  • Safeguard institution in matters pertaining to legal liability
  • Work with the Off-Campus Activity Safety Policy (OCASP) to support all study/work/travel abroad participants.

All members of the Queen’s community involved in off-campus activities are invited to register their trip/activity in the Off-Campus Activity Safety Policy On-line Planning Tool (OCASP 2.0) and in some cases, such as undergraduate students involved in international travel, are required to. This on-line record can be accessed in the event of an emergency and will be used to support those involved in an emergency situation abroad. To access the OCASP 2.0 On-line Planning Tool click here. Key Components of the ESP are:

For more information,  please contact the Queen’s University Emergency Support Program for Study, Work or Travel Abroad.


Coming Home – Re-Entry Support

Coming Home - Re-entry Support

Coming “home” after an international study/work program can be exciting, and also a little bewildering.  It is important to know that there are people on campus who can relate to this adjustment and who are interested in hearing about your study/work abroad experience.

We at QUIC want you to remember that the experience and insights you have had abroad makes you a wonderful resource on campus.  Your experiences, perspectives gained and knowledge of other places.

To learn more about how QUIC can support you, and to learn about up-coming Re-Entry Sessions click here.


Risk Management Resources for International Educators

Risk Management Resources for International Educators

Over the years the Queen’s University International Centre has gathered and developed resources pertaining to risk management in study abroad. We are happy to share these resources with you. Click here to review Risk Management for Study Abroad.