Any off-campus global learning experience fosters reciprocal exchanges of ideas and practices across cultures, borders, and languages through dialogue, debate, and immersive learning practice. The safety and welfare of the students while engaged in off-campus global learning is RISD Global’s foremost priority.
RISD Global, in collaboration with other entities on campus, actively monitors the U.S. State Department’s travel advisories, warnings and alerts regarding all programs destinations. RISD remains in close touch with other trusted sources, contacts, and partners in each location. Should a situation develop while the students are off-campus, RISD has safety policies and procedures in place, as well as on the ground resources, which will be activated as needed.
Students are encouraged to maximize personal safety by taking appropriate precautions such as keeping in touch with the faculty members and fellow students and exercising vigilance in such as keeping belongings in a safe place and making sure that emergency contact details are close at hand.
In order to travel safely for off-campus global learning, it is encouraged that students follow a number of safety precautions. Consulting the U.S. State Department’s Travel Safety Information for Students provides a traveler’s checklist and provides up-to-date travel information along with precautionary measures relevant to the country of destination. All students participating in off-campus global learning programs should learn about their country of destination and sign up for the U.S. State Department Smart Traveller Enrollment Program (STEP).
Living in a different country, in a new environment, is an exciting experience for a student and provides numerous opportunities for both personal and academic development. But it can also be a stressful time as emotions may range from elation to disorientation as the adjustment to a different culture takes place. This distinct change is commonly knows as 'culture shock'. The extent to which culture shock is experienced depends on a multitude of factors such as the student’s flexibility, preparation, expectation, previous travels abroad, the length of the study program, and the differences between home and the destination country.
Culture shock can manifest as a number of differing symptoms. Some are similar to depression while others can be experienced as homesickness, frustration, irritability, fatigue, or feeling lost and out of place. These symptoms typically occur within the first weeks after arrival and may last for as little as a couple of days to several weeks. In order to deal with culture shock, students are encouraged to reach out to the faculty and staff on site and to not isolate themselves. Other suggestions include taking time for reflection by writing and sketching and communicating with others who might be experiencing similar symptoms. Also maintaining as typical a routine as possible such as eating at regular times, sleeping well, reading, writing, and exercising can bring stability to the everyday.
Accommodation for students varies by course, program, and the destination country. Details about the specific housing arrangements, locations, and facilities are usually provided during the program info-sessions and/or the pre-departure meetings. RISD Global provides all off-campus programs with sufficient onsite RISD residential staff and/or local partners from hosting institutions. In case of an emergency, all staff are qualified to provide support and to manage a group or individual crisis.
Gender and Sexuality
RISD is committed to maintaining a positive learning, working, and living environment and gender-based discrimination, against or by any student of staff will not be tolerated. However, cultural norms related to gender and sexuality vary greatly from country to country. What is perceived as a behavioral norm in the United States can become an issue of concern or safety depending upon the country of destination. Therefore, taking time to research and understand the host country’s social and gender norms will help the students make informed choices about appropriate social behavior and dress codes, etc.
Travel Insurance and Medical Assistance
All students traveling for off-campus global learning will be enrolled in GeoBlue Travel Health Insurance. This provides access to elite healthcare providers around the world, 24/7 via online and phone services, and also digitals tools that help the students address health issues as soon as they arise. Students will have to login to their own health account, which includes useful details about the health environment, international medical information, and ways to find the local health provider as well as worldwide travel warnings and travel & safety information.
The insurance coverage is inclusive of most medical needs while off-campus and outside of the United States, but it also includes evacuation in the case of a natural or political disaster. For additional information on the insurance policy, students can visit GeoBlue Students website.
In Case of Emergency
In the event of an emergency situation while traveling overseas or to request emergency assistance, students must immediately contact RISD Public Safety at (+01) 401 454 6666.
The Department of Public Safety is available 24/7.The call will connect the student with a team of people on campus who can offer assistance and support.
Assault, Harassment and Title IX
In the event of an incident such as assault, robbery, or violence, the student or an associate/friend should seek immediate support by calling RISD Public Safety at (+01) 401 454 6666 and reaching out to the on-site faculty or staff.
In the case of a Title IX incident such as sexual assault, stalking, or sexual harassment, (further definitions can also be found here) the student or an associate/friend should seek immediate support by calling RISD Public Safety at (+01) 401 454 6666 or Title IX at (+01) 401 427 6919 and reaching out to the off-site faculty and/or staff. Once sexual harassment or violence is reported, RISD will take steps to end the harassment or violence, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects. RISD Global has defined procedures in place and complies with Title IX.
Safety and Emergency Procedures
In accordance with RISD on-campus divisions and off-campus partners and collaborators, RISD Global has defined emergency and crisis management protocols. These practices are tested and developed periodically to improve health, safety, and security.
Off-campus programs have sufficient onsite staff to manage a group or individual crisis and to provide support in the case of emergency. RISD Global staff and off-campus faculty and staff also have constant access to the emergency contacts provided by the students.