Toward evidence-based study abroad

iStock_83464359_XXLARGENon-legislative strategies

We are aware that the study abroad industry does not favor the passage of laws mandating data collection. And so, in consultation with many, we’ve engaged in a multipronged approach.

  • Since there is little academic research regarding study abroad safety, one possible avenue is for a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study examining the risks and benefits of study abroad.
  • Another possible approach involves building new relationships between academia and government. For example, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has injury prevention centers, located in academic medical settings around the country—where study abroad programs also happen to reside. Breaking down the silos between these two departments, to collaborate on research, could result in new fatality prevention strategies.
  • Presently, the State Department releases the following information regarding deaths of U.S. citizens overseas: date of death, locality of death, and cause of death. Through FOIA requests, various people, including journalists, have unsuccessfully attempted to obtain information about deaths by age. While age-related data (for example, age of death, 15-30 years) would not represent a perfect data set, it would grant a window into how being young interacts with death and injury abroad.
  • In any national dialogue about student safety, the community of bereaved families must be included.