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Health and Safety Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is The School for Field Studies' approach to risk management? 

    The School for Field Studies (SFS) is proactive in its approach to risk for its study abroad programs. While no one can guarantee safety anywhere, we have very robust safety systems in place, and are known in the industry for our diligent approach to risk management.

    The SFS model is a structured program that takes care to manage the itineraries and logistics of daily life to protect students and enhance the student experience. We pay strict attention to the political, environmental, and local factors in each of the countries in which we provide programs. We have operated in small, rural towns for decades and are an integral part of the communities in which we work. Most of our staff members are in-country nationals. We employ local people who help provide a rich abroad experience for our students. They understand and manage our local programs in a way that no outside or expatriate staff could. This helps us to better understand politics, natural disaster, community unrest, and other local issues than if we were only following state department reports.
  • Can I communicate with my family during my SFS program? 

    In times of emergency, SFS field station staff encourage and help students in contacting their families.

    Potential students and families of current students should also contact SFS headquarters with any questions or concerns at 1.800.989.4418. Our safety team maintains an emergency hotline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. (978.741.3567, press 2).
  • How does SFS manage safety and health? 

    SFS maintains detailed, global risk management systems for all of our programs. We tailor our systems to coordinate to different pressures at all our locations, enabling us to adapt to the dynamic changes of the natural and political world to both prevent and respond to risk quickly and soundly.

    SFS seeks input from a variety of external resources and continually monitors world news, U.S. State Department Warnings, and daily briefs from the Overseas Security Advisory Council. SFS maintains a 24-hour emergency contact system. Every SFS fieldstation has a satellite phone, cell phones, land lines, and Internet access. We have 24-hour communication lines as well as regularly scheduled conference calls with SFS headquarters to monitor day-to-day situations. As part of our strong, proactive approach to health and safety, SFS focuses on outstanding staffing, training, and attention to detail, and we educate students on accurate expectations, resources, and preventative care.

  • Who are your staff? 

    SFS staff are committed professionals with years of student program experience, selected for their great skills, leadership abilities, and expertise in the region.

    All field stations staff a full-time residential Student Affairs Manager (SAM) who is dedicated to safety and student life. The SAM holds a 72-hour Wilderness First Responder certification. Most others staff members hold 36-hour Wilderness Advanced First Aid certification. At its headquarters, SFS also has a full-time Director of Safety and Student Life that has extensive experience in managing student health and safety in international settings.
  • How do you communicate with the field? 

    We are in daily communication with all the field stations. Field staff communicate regularly by email and phone, and we have formalized check-ins to update health, safety, and program information.

    All field stations have satellite phones for more remote travel and for emergency use. On an annual basis, the Safety Department staff travel to all the our locations to conduct safety reviews and training.
  • How do I know if an SFS program is right for me? 

    Our admissions process is a detailed and informative in order to help you understand the daily living conditions, expectations, and activities for all our programs.

    We provide descriptions of “a day in the life,” the risks and responsibilities involved, and the rewarding, transformative experiences our programs can provide. For more information, call 800 989 4418.

    Students considering SFS should make their decisions carefully and consider their goals and risk acceptance as part of their own evaluation. While SFS does not presume to guarantee safety for our students or our staff; our decades of experience, robust safety management system, and exceptional and experienced staff help enable us to provide a positive, enriching abroad experience.