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Safety FAQ

Here are some of the most Frequently Asked Questions concerning Safety. If you have any questions that we did not address here or elsewhere on the website please feel free to contact us by email or phone.


Is it safe to study abroad right now?

The staff at AIM is closely monitoring the current world situation. AIM conducts orientation sessions, provides each student safety tips and has established an emergency plan that that will enable the staff to make the necessary decisions related to the safety and welfare of all AIM participants.

We provide extensive pre-departure information for students, and require them to attend an on-site orientation  that includes health and safety information. We provide updates on safety and hold general student meetings when relevant.

Although we do everything we can to prepare students and stay informed regarding health and safety information, it is ultimately the student's responsibility to follow suggestions/guidelines and use common sense to protect his/her own health and safety. Additionally,  students should stay in contact with the international staff regarding their travel plans and other important information. Neither AIM nor any other study abroad advisor can ever guarantee a student's safety.


What has been done on-site in order to ensure students' safety?

Our Program Directors hold regular meetings with AIM students and are in contact with local police agencies. The Resident Directors assist in registering all AIM students with the local U.S. embassy or consulate.

Students on AIM programs go through an extensive orientation so there is a heightened awareness to use common sense and keep a low profile. During orientation, all AIM students receive the international staff's 24-hour contact information.


What would happen if there is a major emergency such as a natural disaster, terrorist attack or pandemic? Will AIM cancel the program?

There would have to be a Travel Warning  issued for the host country by the U.S. Department of State,  related to the event, stating that Americans should not travel to the country in order for the program to be cancelled. Recent travel warnings have been issued for select countries in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia; however, there have been no travel warnings issued for Spain.

The decision to cancel a program due to a Travel Warning will be made by the Executive Officers at AIM in conjunction with the other leaders in the study abroad industry and the Health and Safety Committee of NAFSA: Association of International Educators.


Under what circumstances would AIM evacuate students? Does AIM have an emergency evacuation plan?

This is a worst-case scenario and an unlikely event. However, if there is a need to evacuate, AIM staff would escort students by train or bus to the nearest international airport so they can take a commercial flight out of the country.

The type of plan that AIM would put into action will depend on the situation and the safest method of travel for the students. AIM's U.S. headquarters and the international staff will work closely together to execute the emergency plan.

Students are registered at the U.S. embassy or consulate. Not only does AIM have an emergency plan in place, but the U.S. embassy will be fully aware and will work with AIM and other study abroad providers to get students home safely.

International staff has the home and cell phone number of every AIM student so they will be able to contact the student in case of emergency.

During an emergency situation, there is full communication between international staff and the AIM U.S. headquarters. The key in an emergency situation is communication and information, and the dissemination of such is our top priority.


If I go on a program and there is an emergency situation, would I be given the opportunity to withdraw from the program? Would I be entitled to a refund?

AIM's Refund Policy states that once the program begins, refunds are not granted for meals, housing, tuition,

AIM-sponsored excursions, or transportation unused by students because of absence or any other reason.

If AIM cancels a program due to a Travel Warning, accepted applicants are given the choice of (1) deferring to a future program session; (2) a  refund of  recoverable fees less the $95  application fee, confirmation fee and any expenses already incurred on behalf of the student at the time of the event.

AIM will only cancel a program if the State Department issues a Travel Warning for Spain. This policy is in accord with other study abroad providers. In AIM’s history, there has never been a need to cancel a program because of a Travel Warning.


Should I worry about being the target of anti-American actions while abroad?

Although individual Americans are generally well-liked abroad, host nationals may sometimes question the activities of the U.S. Government and may espouse anti-American views.

Using common sense, keeping a low profile, dressing to blend in, speaking softly, avoiding overt displays of American patriotism and staying away from locations often associated with Americans (like McDonald's or Hard Rock Café) all help to alleviate this issue.

Students are always advised to avoid all public demonstrations. Additionally, during orientation, AIM students are provided with location specific information.


How can I decide whether or not to go abroad?

AIM is committed to international education and encourages students to study abroad. We believe these kinds of international experiences broaden one's view of the world and increase cross-cultural understanding.

By studying abroad, students can help to forge relationships across national and cultural boundaries that promote peace. However, the decision ultimately rests with the student.

AIM will work with the student, the student's family and university to provide the most current, comprehensive information to aid in the decision making process.


Who can I talk with at AIM if I have safety concerns?

AIM advisors are available to talk with students and parents about their concerns. Please call or e-mail us. 

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