“At API, we are committed to breaking down the barriers between people of different cultures as a force for good in the world. After working in the field of international education for more than twenty years, I had the pleasure of accompanying my son’s class trip to Costa Rica when he was a graduating middle school student. He had traveled extensively with me before that point and yet the experience of spending a week abroad with his peers was extremely meaningful and significant for him — and for me. Witnessing the young students interacting with local children and seeing their joy was affirming in a way that no other experience has been for me as a professional.

Even knowing all of the positive ways an international experience can change a person, as a mother, I can attest to the anxiety that affects parents as they send their child thousands of miles away. I felt the same worry sending my son to Salamanca, Spain, as a college student. I want to reassure all parents that at API, the safety of our participants is our number one priority. We hire personnel we know will care for our participants on- site as if they were their own children. I am confident in the highly capable and trained directors we have in each of our sites."

Jennifer Attal-Allen, API President

Emergency Contact Information

True emergencies warrant a phone call. Please do not send emails or Facebook messages during emergencies. Email and Facebook messages are not always checked on weekends or after normal business hours.

Participants abroad are instructed to call their on-site API director or local coordinator first in the event of an emergency.

Individuals not currently abroad or family members/friends who need to report an emergency should call the API office at 1.512.600.8900 during business hours, M-F, 8:00 to 5:00 pm. Outside of normal business hours, please call 1-866-311-2261 or 1-702-380-9073 and your message will be relayed to an API representative. An API staff member will respond to all messages within two hours.

In the event of an emergency that affects a group of students, updates will also be posted on the API web page, our Blog, and our Facebook Page and Groups.

Medical and Life Insurance

Do API programs offer insurance?

All API high school, gap, and university students and interns will receive medical insurance coverage through AMA & Associates as part of the standard program fees. API insurance benefits also include emergency medical evacuation and repatriation insurance, as well as coverage in the event of a serious security incident or natural disaster.

Students and families should be aware that international health coverage varies greatly from domestic insurance in the United States. International patients are generally required to pay for all medical visits up front. The insurance provider will directly pay the doctor or hospital in only the most rare of incidents, and arrangements can be difficult to orchestrate. For overnight stays in hospitals, large fees may be requested from the patient in order to receive care.

In order to properly submit a claim for reimbursement with the insurance company, participants must retain all receipts that detail the diagnosis and treatment received. For more elaborate procedures, it is recommended that the participant also solicit a written statement from the attending physician detailing the rationale for a particular form of treatment.

The insurance company must be notified within 90 days of the date of injury or the first treatment for sickness in order to process claims. Academic Programs International is not responsible for this process, but our on-site directors are happy to help a participant work through the paperwork if they need additional assistance.

Participants should be aware that the insurance provided to treat pre-existing conditions is more limited.

In addition to the health insurance and evacuation coverage, all participants are provided with $100,000 of life insurance for accidental death. Each participant will have named a beneficiary for their policy on the notarized document provided by Academic Programs International. This policy is also provided through AMA & Associates.

Click here to download the AMA Insurance Claim Form.

Note: Insurance for Cuba students is provided through ASISTUR, not AMA. Please contact your Program Coordinator for more information on ASISTUR insurance.

Participants receive details of the insurance policy in their acceptance packet and orientation materials.

Safety Features of API Programs

What pre-departure safety features do all API programs for high school and university participants offer?

  • Emphasis on safety from the very beginning. When deciding which programs will be offered for participants, API believes in the importance of researching safety and security issues related to the desired location.
  • Assurance that participants are well prepared for the experience prior to their arrival on-site. API takes pride in providing extensive health and safety information to participants during the pre-departure phase. Participants benefit from reviewing the resources available in the online pre-departure orientation known as the API Toolbox.
  • Appropriate housing and excursion selections for participants. All API programs include housing, and safety is the number one consideration for API when selecting participant accommodations. All API housing must be located in areas of the city with low levels of crime. Participants should be able to feel comfortable walking alone in the evening (before 9-10 p.m.) in their neighborhoods, subject to city variations. In sites where participants are housed with host families, API directors/coordinators conduct extensive interviews and work only with families who have been personally referred to API staff or who have been screened by a trusted housing agency. API directors/coordinators are very careful when selecting excursion sites, and seek to work only with providers that are trusted and referred by others.
  • The inclusion of extensive insurance coverage in the standard program fee. All API participants benefit from a comprehensive medical insurance package, as well as emergency medical evacuation and repatriation insurance and life insurance. Likewise, the policy provides coverage for political, security and natural disaster evacuation services.

What on-site safety features do all API programs for high school, gap, and university participants offer?

  • On-site directors/coordinators in each of our city sites. API’s highly qualified and experienced English-speaking Resident Directors/Coordinators (RDs/RCs) are available to participants in each host city throughout their session abroad. API Resident Directors/Coordinators are charged with essential health and safety duties, including:
    • Informing participants of safety and security policies and procedures;
    • Conducting extensive safety sessions during orientation and throughout the semester as needed;
    • Maintaining a list of English-speaking doctors, counselors, and other medical professionals;
    • Referring and accompanying participants to doctors as needed;
    • Maintaining current contact information for all participants;
    • Serving as the on-site respondent for all emergencies, 24/7;
    • Periodically updating emergency contact information and reviewing procedures on-site.
  • Continual training for our on-site Resident Directors/Coordinators. All of API’s academic and internship programs have on-site directors/coordinators that are hired and trained by API’s stateside staff or seasoned Regional Directors/Coordinators abroad. API stateside staff conducts annual virtual trainings, annual in-person trainings for Regional Directors who directly supervisor our on-site directors, and in-person trainings for all resident directors every three years. At our training meetings, we invite experts from the fields of psychology and risk management to conduct specific exercises with our directors.
  • Extensive on-site orientation and arrival services. During the initial days of the program, all API participants participate in an extensive on-site orientation program. Resident Directors/Coordinators focus on establishing a rapport with each new group of participants so that they feel comfortable coming to the RDs/RCs in the event of an on-site emergency or difficulty. Directors/Coordinators convey to participants what practices can be dangerous on- site, which areas of the city are best avoided, etc. All participants are provided with an emergency card that details all emergency numbers for the RD/RC, as well as local authorities, including the police, fire and 911 services, during the first dayon-sitee onsite orientation. Likewise, all API sites prepare an on-site handbook that serves as a guide for participants abroad. RDs must include all sections referenced in a “model” handbook, to ensure that all API participants are provided with essential health and safety information in a concise and easy-to-read format.
  • Ongoing safety updates to participants. Resident Directors/Coordinators inform groups about upcoming protests or other potentially dangerous situations via email and the API Facebook groups throughout the semester. API RDs/RCs remind participants to monitor local media and to follow instructions provided by local authorities at all times. In instances where a fellow participant has been the victim of a local crime, API RDs/RCs may hold impromptu safety meetings with groups to ensure that other participants are aware of the safety risk and modify their own behavior.
  • Timely intervention when participants are at risk of harm. Resident Directors/Coordinators (RDs/RCs) are trained to respond to participant incidents 24/7. For example, RDs/RCs are trained to assist participants in any of the following scenarios:
    • Emergency illness/injury or visit to doctor’s office/hospital for emergency treatment;
    • Drug use or alcohol abuse;
    • Theft or assault;
    • Housing or excursion violations (e.g., parties, overnight guests, returning to host family home in an inebriated state);
    • Academic problem
    • General misbehavior (e.g., excessive drinking or disruption of group activities);
    • Housing concerns;
    • Non-emergency illness or visit to doctor’s office for non-emergency treatment.

Note: Parents/guardians are notified by API Texas staff when incidents represent a serious health risk or jeopardize a student’s continued participation in the API program.

  • Referring participants to medical professionals and accompanying them if desired. It is common that participants fall ill when traveling abroad, as they are exposed to new food and water systems and may experience high levels of stress. API RDs/RCs will refer participants in need of care to local doctors who speak English and/or accompany them to doctor’s appointments, as requested.
  • Maintaining extensive Emergency Action Plans (EAPs). API believes in being prepared for the worst-case scenario and directors/coordinators are trained to respond to emergency situations, including (but not limited to) the following types of emergencies:
    • Abuse within a host family environment
    • Civil unrest, terrorism or anti-American threats
    • Drug/alcohol abuse
    • Emergency situations during excursions
    • Medical emergencies or serious illness
    • Mental health crises
    • Missing or lost participant
    • Natural disasters
    • Student arrest
    • Sexual assault
    • Suicide attempts
    • Student death
    • Unplanned pregnancy

API has managed emergencies both for individuals and groups over the years, including but not limited to drug/alcohol abuse, serious medical and mental health emergencies, sexual assault, suicide attempts, natural disasters and terrorist crises. Throughout the years, the support of the on-site resident directors/coordinators offered to participants, combined with the collaboration between the API stateside office, the participants’ family, and the home university in the event of on-site emergencies, has been instrumental in helping participants to have safe and successful experiences abroad.

During any emergency affecting one or more individual participants, API maintains regular communication with all involved parties (e.g., participants, victims, and families) and home university officials as appropriate. Though not a university, API strives to comply with best practices and federal regulations and policies mandated for U.S. universities, to ensure the utmost health, safety, and privacy of our participants.

During any emergency affecting an entire API group, API maintains initial and on-going communication with our participants via SMS, Facebook posts, and emails. These methods have proven to be the most efficient, time-sensitive and wide-reaching. After an emergency has passed, API staff continues to communicate with participants in person, group meetings, emails and other communication methods established to be effective with that group.

API communicates with involved parties via telephone and email, striving for the most timely and efficient vehicles of communication. In the event of a mass emergency, API will also maintain updated information on our website, blog and Facebook groups.

  • Involving mental health professionals in crisis situations. API stateside staff members consult with mental health professionals whenever necessary to ensure the safety of our participants abroad. Following the Paris attacks in November 2015, for example, we invited mental health professionals to meet with API participants at our offices and centers, to help participants to handle their emotions and manage their fears following the incident.

Personal Wellness Abroad

I’ve heard that Americans are walking targets for pickpocketing. How can I avoid being targeted?

Petty theft is more common in large cities, but not just because you are abroad! To reduce your risk:

      • Leave valuables and expensive jewelry at home;
      • Do not leave your purse, bag, backpack, electronics or other belongings open and unattended in public (e.g., dining locations, public transportation, restrooms, etc.
      • Do not place valuables in easily accessible locations (i.e. do not put your wallet or passport in your back pocket, or in the outside pocket of your backpack or purse)
      • Keep personal items secured in your room and lock your doors;
      • Take routine precautions as you would on your home campus.

What should I do if I find myself in an uncomfortable situation abroad?

Local resident directors or API contacts provide you with their emergency contact information upon arrival. You should use these emergency numbers to seek assistance if you find yourself in a situation that could be potentially dangerous. Likewise, local directors will provide participants with contact information for local authorities, such as the police. You are also highly encouraged to talk to local directors or coordinators in your program site for information regarding any sort of recurring problem, either in regard to your own program experience or regarding the behavior of other program participants.

How can I avoid harassment abroad? Is the risk of sexual assault or gender discrimination higher abroad than on my campus at home?

Though significant data does not exist specifically regarding this question, there is some indication that some forms of gender discrimination are higher abroad than on a home campus. The studies conducted have been small and focused on the experience of female travelers. Some consistent themes related to sexuality and (unwanted) attention while abroad were as follows:

  • In many countries, “cat calling” and verbal comments regarding areas of the body are more common than would be considered acceptable in the U.S. This is not considered harassment in many countries, although it would be in the U.S.;
  • Unfamiliarity with local norms regarding body language, attire, behavior and actions can lead to misinterpretations regarding interest in, and availability for, sex;
  • Unwanted touching, verbal overtures, rape or other non-consensual sexual activity is often linked to excessive alcohol consumption, and may result in decisions to leave friends to follow an unknown or lesser known party.

Based on these findings and anecdotal evidence from our own experience sending thousands of participants abroad every year, API cannot stress enough the importance of maintaining sobriety and remaining with trusted friends while out late at night. It is also critical to trust your instincts. If you feel like you are in an unsafe situation, regardless of cultural “norms” or politeness, get out or seek help.

In the event of rape or sexual assault, API encourages you to contact your Resident Director immediately to receive the help and support that you need in that situation, to pursue medical attention and to potentially to file a police report. Once API is informed, please be aware that API has an obligation to share basic information about any type of gender discrimination with the home universities of any current students. (See API’s Non- Discrimination Policy).

As a special note, local laws vary by host country, though there are generally protections in place to support victims of sexual harassment and assault. (In some API destinations, including the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, sexual assault victims are discouraged from reporting abuse to local authorities, due to the nature of local laws.) Should allegations of harassment or abuse be put forward against an API participant, steps will be taken by API to limit contact of the reporting party and the responding party while information can be collected to determine the veracity of the allegations. All API participants are warned that abuse and disrespectful behavior toward fellow participants goes against the API Code of Conduct and can result in disciplinary action and sanctions.

If you are interested in reading more or conducting research are encouraged to consult the following sources:

The following links provide important information and support for how to prevent and respond to sexual assault and harassment while studying abroad:

What if I become ill or injured overseas?

Local resident directors and coordinators provide participants with extensive information about where to seek medical assistance when needed. We prioritize identifying medical staff that is able to work with patients in English. API resident directors are happy to accompany participants to medical appointments when English-speaking doctors are not available.

Participants are advised to contact their resident directors in the event of a medical emergency using the 24/7 emergency line provided on-site.

To prepare our coordinators and directors in advance of your trip, be sure to complete the API medical questionnaire as honestly and as with as much information as possible. Doing so will allow API staff both in the U.S. and abroad to determine if any special requests can be accommodated.

Up-to-date sources of information regarding both country-specific and world health can be found online at:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): The CDC website provides information on diseases and conditions, emergency preparedness, travelers’ health and much more. They maintain the latest information on all world-affecting viruses, diseases and much more.

There are also great recommendations about minimizing risk available online at http://www.globaled.us/peacecorps/.

How does API accommodate participants with special needs, including disabilities or food allergies?

  • Special Needs: You should carefully consider your own health needs when selecting a preferred host country and particularly, a housing option. Accommodations that are “standard” in the U.S. are not always available abroad (e.g., academic, health or physical). If you need specific accommodations, please contact the API office prior to applying for a particular program so that we can best advise you on the most accommodating locations, and visit the API Diversity and Identity Abroad page.
    • Multiple housing options are available in most sites. It is your responsibility to communicate to API any physical needs regarding your living arrangements prior to departure so that we can work to find the best options possible. Ideal options may not be available in all host countries.
  • Disabilities Abroad: While it has historically been more challenging for individuals with disabilities to study, travel and live abroad, the good news is that this is changing. However, many countries still trail the U.S. in mainstreaming and accommodating people with special needs. Please be aware that many countries simply do not offer accommodations for participants with physical limitations. For example, entrance/exit ramps are not widely available in housing, universities or on public transportation in many locations. Applicants should work with API to educate themselves about the cultural norms and commonly held perceptions [of those with special needs] within the desired host country prior to applying to a program. Sadly, individuals with visible physical disabilities may find themselves the subject of prejudice or unkind and unwelcoming behavior.
  • Food Allergies/Sensitivities: Participants who have very specific food concerns may wish to select an accommodation that allows them to prepare their own meals (e.g., private apartments, dormitories, etc.). Additional fees may be assessed to cover special accommodations.SelectWisely is a great source of information for travelers with food allergies. The website offers customized translation cards and allows travelers to select from among 25 allergy-causing foods and nine languages.

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, what is the most important safety tip of all?

  • Don’t drink too much, and make wise and thoughtful choices about your behavior and activities.
  • Don’t do anything in your host country that you would not do in the United States.
  • Don’t do anything that you would not want your grandma, your home university, or local media to know about!

Is it safe to party at night in my host country?

Nightlife is a vibrant part of many cultures abroad and experiencing it will be part of the fun and enjoyment of living in your host country. The key is to be smart about participating in the local nighttime activities. API highly recommends that you give yourself time to acclimate to your host city and benefit from our extensive on-site orientations before exploring your new cities too much. In other words, you need to know where to go and where not to go, and you need to know how to get around and how to back home late at night. Our orientation sessions include tours of the host city and host institution, as well as overviews of the cityscape. You are encouraged to explore the city in small groups with other participants during the day in order to become more familiar with their neighborhoods, and you should avoid getting drunk (Wait! Didn’t we already say that?!).

Past participants have reported that the on-site orientation helped them to better understand the layout of their city, gain familiarity with the local transportation system and feel overall more comfortable in their new home away from home so that they felt comfortable when going out at night.

Bottoms up! What is API’s policy on drinking?

Here’s the reality: bad things happen when people are drunk that do not happen when they are sober. In almost all API program sites, most university students are of legal drinking age. At the on-site orientation, the correlation between drinking and unsafe or risky behavior is specifically addressed. Participants are encouraged to carefully monitor their own alcohol consumption and act responsibly. You are cautioned only to drink in the company of trusted friends and host locals and never drink to the point of inebriation or loss of control. You should also keep your eyes on your drink at all times, and do not accept drinks from strangers; it is critical that you know what you are ingesting! The API Study Abroad Agreement and Code of Conduct prohibit alcohol consumption during API-sponsored events (i.e. group dinners or activities), and they also expressly prohibit alcohol abuse. If you engage in behaviors that put your own safety or that of your program peers at risk, you could be dismissed from the API program, and under these circumstances you would need to return home at your own expense, potentially forfeiting academic credit and/or financial aid. API strives to make all participants aware that many dangers abroad are avoidable through careful monitoring of one’s consumption of alcohol and by making prudent choices about socializing and traveling.

If you are concerned about your drinking (or that of your peers), resources exist around the world through Alcoholics Anonymous:

Alcoholics Anonymous World Services

P.O. Box 459, Grand Central Station

New York, NY 10163

Tel: 212-870-3400

I took a pill in Ibiza… Illegal Drug Use Abroad.

  • “Drug use” doesn’t just mean “needles in your arm,” or buying or using drugs in back alleys or dark rooms. Drug use includes misuse of prescription medication (e.g., sharing your ADHD medication with friends or using anti-anxiety medication like XANAX recreationally) or smoking weed.
  • Drug laws differ from country to country, as they differ from state to state in the U.S. The most commonly used illegal drugs include: marijuana (laws vary by area), cocaine, heroin, amphetamines, methamphetamines and club drugs. (www.centeronaddiction.org). In many countries, the penalties for using, dealing or being caught with these drugs can be serious, including fines, imprisonment, years of hard labor, and in some extreme cases, the death penalty. Marijuana is also illegal in some countries, and marijuana use, possession or purchase bears the same consequences as harder drugs. If you are arrested for the use or possession of drugs you are subject to the laws of your host country and there is nothing API or the U.S. Embassy can do to modify the consequences.
  • API policy prohibits drug use for program participants. If participants are found to be using drugs in or out of program housing, consequences will range from a written warning to dismissal from program housing or program dismissal, depending on the severity of the incident.
  • You are responsible for complying with local drug laws whether or not you know what the law is. DON’T TAKE CHANCES AND JUST AVOID THEM COMPLETELY!
  • Never carry an unknown package for a new friend or stranger. If you are arrested with drugs, you can be found guilty whether or not you knew what you possessed. This is not just a cautionary tale based on a Hollywood story like Brokedown Palace… the risk is real and the potential repercussions could be potentially devastating!

Recreational Use of Legal Drugs Abroad

  • When discussing the dangers of drug use abroad, a common assumption is that we are talking about illegal drugs only. But equally, or perhaps more, dangerous is the use and abuse of “legal” drugs, those drugs prescribed by a doctor.
  • We cannot stress enough the danger of sharing prescription medications. DO NOT SHARE YOUR MEDICATION WITH SOMEONE YOU LIKE (OR DON’T LIKE). Prescription medication is given specifically for the prescribed party, under the supervision of that party’s doctor, taking into consideration other health concerns and medical history. As an example, even if your friend is freaking out, don’t give them some of your Xanax or other anti-anxiety medication! Sharing your medicine with a friend, without knowing that person’s medical history, allergies, other medication being taken at the time, etc., can have severe unintended consequences.
  • If you are with a friend who appears to be having a reaction to a prescription drug, call the local equivalent of 911 (your API representative will share the local number during orientation) and your on-site representative.

How hard will it be to manage studying abroad? What can I expect in terms of physical and/or emotional effects of studying abroad?

Hey, if you are already at this far down the list and still reading, you are well on your way to being successful already!

Traveling is a demanding endeavor, but one with so many rewards. To minimize risk, we encourage all outbound participants to prepare in advance as much as possible. This may include learning about culture shock and the general trends of adaptation to a new host country. API provides information on the stresses and cycles of cultural adaptation in your Toolbox prior to departure. It may include speaking to your physician(s) or mental health professional(s) about the physical and emotional demands of studying and traveling abroad. They can help determine any specific medical needs you may have while traveling outside of the United States. If you are currently taking any specific medications, your physician can also help to determine how much medication can be secured before traveling abroad and whether or not you will need to visit a local physician on-site to continue a specific health regimen

Mental Health Concerns

  • Being in a new environment may trigger or exacerbate mental health challenges. It is important to notify API prior to departure of any specific mental health struggles of which we should be aware in order to best support you on your program. It is to your benefit to inform API staff of any medication that you are taking while abroad. In the event that you require medical assistance, an API staff member will be better equipped to assist you with a medical professional if we know what may/should be in your system.
  • While abroad, if you experience a mental health crisis, you are encouraged to notify your API RD as soon as possible so that we can assist you in receiving the support you need to successfully complete your program abroad.
  • English-speaking medical professionals, including medical doctors and therapists, are available to you.

Mental Health Resources

International Safety Issues

What on-site safety features do all API programs for high school, gap, and university students offer?

  • On-site directors in each of our city sites. API’s highly qualified and experienced English-speaking Resident Directors (RDs) are available to participants in each host city throughout their session abroad. API Resident Directors are charged with essential health and safety duties, including:
    • Informing participants of safety and security policies and procedures;
    • Conducting extensive safety sessions during orientation and throughout the semester as needed;
    • Maintaining a list of English-speaking doctors, counselors, and other medical professionals;
    • Referring and accompanying participants to doctors as needed;
    • Maintaining current contact information for all participants;
    • Serving as the on-site respondent for all emergencies, 24/7;
    • Periodically updating emergency contact information and reviewing procedures on-site.
  • Continual training for our on-site Resident Directors. All of API’s academic and internship programs have on-site directors that are hired and trained by API’s stateside staff or seasoned Regional Directors abroad. API stateside staff conducts annual virtual trainings, annual in-person trainings for Regional Directors who directly supervisor our on-site directors, and in-person trainings for all resident directors every three years. At our training meetings, we invite experts from the fields of psychology and risk management to conduct specific exercises with our directors.
  • Extensive on-site orientation and arrival services. During the initial days of the program, all API students participate in an extensive on-site orientation program. Resident Directors focus on establishing a rapport with each new group of participants so that they feel comfortable coming to the RD(s) in the event of an on-site emergency or difficulty. Directors convey to participants what practices can be dangerous on- site, which areas of the city are best avoided, etc. All students are provided with an emergency card that details all emergency numbers for the RD, as well as local authorities, including the police, fire and 911 services, during the first day of the onsite orientation. Likewise, all API sites prepare an on-site handbook that serves as a guide for students abroad. RDs must include all sections referenced in a “model” handbook, to ensure that all API participants are provided with essential health and safety information in a concise and easy-to-read format.
  • Ongoing safety updates to participants. Resident Directors inform groups about upcoming protests or other potentially dangerous situations via email and the API Facebook groups throughout the semester. API RDs remind students to monitor local media and to follow instructions provided by local authorities at all times. In instances where a fellow participant has been the victim of a local crime, API RDs may hold impromptu safety meetings with groups to ensure that other participants are aware of the safety risk and modify their own behavior.
  • Timely intervention when students are at risk of harm. Resident Directors (RDs) are trained to respond to participant incidents 24/7. For example, RDs are trained to assist participants in any of the following scenarios:
    • Emergency illness/injury or a visit to doctor’s office/hospital for emergency treatment;
    • Drug use or alcohol abuse;
    • Theft or assault;
    • Housing or excursion violations (e.g., parties, overnight guests, returning to host family home in an inebriated state);
    • Academic problem
    • General misbehavior (e.g., excessive drinking or disruption of group activities);
    • Housing concerns;
    • Non-emergency illness or visit to doctor’s office for non-emergency treatment.
  • Referring participants to medical professionals and accompanying them if desired. It is common that participants fall ill when traveling abroad, as they are exposed to new food and water systems and may experience high levels of stress. API RDs will refer participants in need of care to local doctors who speak English and/or accompany them to doctor’s appointments, as requested.
  • Maintaining extensive Emergency Action Plans (EAPs). API believes in being prepared for the worst-case scenario and directors are trained to respond to emergency situations, including (but not limited to) the following types of emergencies:
    • Abuse within a host family environment
    • Civil unrest, terrorism or anti-American threats
    • Drug/alcohol abuse
    • Emergency situations during excursions
    • Medical emergencies or serious illness
    • Mental health crises
    • Missing or lost student
    • Natural disasters
    • Student arrest
    • Sexual assault
    • Suicide attempts
    • Student death
    • Unplanned pregnancy

API has managed emergencies both for individuals and groups over the years, including but not limited to drug/alcohol abuse, serious medical and mental health emergencies, sexual assault, suicide attempts, natural disasters and terrorist crises. Throughout the years, the support of the on-site resident directors offered to participants, combined with the collaboration between the API stateside office, the participants’ family, and the home university in the event of on-site emergencies, has been instrumental in helping participants to have safe and successful experiences abroad.

During any emergency affecting one or more individual participants, API maintains regular communication with all involved parties (e.g., participants, victims, and families) and home university officials as appropriate. Though not a university, API strives to comply with best practices and federal regulations and policies mandated for U.S. universities, to ensure the utmost health, safety, and privacy of our participants.

During any emergency affecting an entire API group, API maintains initial and on-going communication with our participants via SMS, Facebook posts, and emails. These methods have proven to be the most efficient, time-sensitive and wide-reaching. After an emergency has passed, API staff continues to communicate with participants in person, group meetings, emails and other communication methods established to be effective with that group.

API communicates with involved parties via telephone and email, striving for the most timely and efficient vehicles of communication. In the event of a mass emergency, API will also maintain updated information on our website, blog and Facebook groups.

  • Involving mental health professionals in crisis situations. API stateside staff members consult with mental health professionals whenever necessary to ensure the safety of our students abroad. Following the Paris attacks, for example, we invited mental health professionals to meet with API students at our offices and centers, to help students to handle their emotions and manage their fears following the incident.

Is it true that everyone hates Americans? How can I feel safe while abroad with API?

Though always a legitimate question when traveling abroad, in most countries the general population does make distinctions between “Americans” and “American politics/foreign policies”. What participants will likely discover is that the general population in other countries likes to discuss politics and foreign policy more than the average American. Participants may be asked their opinions on American actions or positions in the world from point of curiosity and discussion, but are less likely to experience hostility toward them simply because they are American. Take this as an opportunity to learn about American politics AND your host country and you may have some lively conversations! Note: If discussions regarding American foreign policies or American politics/elections becomes heated, walk away. It is not your responsibility to defend American political positions to the world!

For safety measure, API’s Code of Conduct prohibits participants from attending political rallies, demonstrations or other potentially volatile gatherings—these can become dangerous to both spectators and participants regardless of nationality. Also, please note that in some countries, simply being part of the crowd in the vicinity of the protest can result in incarceration, so it is wise to avoid these situations entirely.

While there is no guarantee of “safety” in any country, there are choices that program participants can make that will minimize potentially dangerous situations:

  • Be educated and aware of your surroundings, neighborhoods, and areas;
  • Do not consume alcohol to the point of inebriation or loss of consciousness;
  • Do not separate from friends or hosts to go with unknown people late at night after partying;
  • Try to frequent clubs or bars where locals go, rather than solely visiting venues targeting American visitors;
  • Do not instigate fights or provoke potentially volatile situations;
  • Avoid fulfilling the terrible American stereotypes of being a loud, obnoxious tourist!;
  • Learn about your host country and work to fit in—not compromising who you are, but being open to who others are;
  • Honestly identify personal habits, behaviors, lifestyle choices that may or may not be as widely accepted abroad. Understanding the culture into which you are heading, and the social “norms” that are acceptable in that particular culture, can assist you in making choices that can alleviate potential tension or uncomfortable/unwanted situations. Advance knowledge is a key to understanding and success!

Are there any governmental sources of information that I should get in the habit of consulting?

For information on U.S. State Department Resources:

“Following the attacks in Paris in November 2015, the API network of resident directors, administrators in Austin, and everyone else worked so efficiently to account for students, communicate with families and colleges/universities, and follow-up, keeping in mind the safety of all our students abroad.

I have always been impressed and continue to be impressed with [API’s] professionalism. I extend my heartfelt gratitude for all that you do for our students each and every day- and particularly during a time of tragedy. API is truly the gold standard study abroad program.”

Lauren B. - Study Abroad Advisor