Local universities prepare for emergency abroad - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Local universities prepare for emergency abroad

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Written By: Lindsey Sablan

Traveling abroad is a common for many universities.

School officials say they work hard to make sure they can communicate with faculty or students overseas.

Notre Dame is a major university that typically has 750 students in more than 20 countries.

ND spokesperson Dennis Brown says, "Just never know what the situation or challenge will present but we have been through a number of over years and try to call upon experiences in the past to help us in the present."

Brown says when tragedy strikes, they have liaisons in each country where they have programs, who communicate daily with the university.

They also keep a contact list, so they can communicate with family members of those traveling.

In the most recent case, where a handful of university employees were in Port Au Prince, the response was quick.

"One of our faculty members there, Father Tom Streit, who is the head of the program was able to make a phone call almost immediately after the earthquake," says Brown.

School officials at Goshen College take the same precautions.

Tom Meyers, Goshen College Director of International Education, says, "In every location we have faculty members living there with his or her family. I work carefully with those people before they go and on site for these kinds of events." 

Meyers says it's just as important to prep the students.

80% of their student body studies abroad, so they have three different orientations before leaving.

Meyers says, "Each one grows in intensity, in terms of these kinds of issues, safety, security, the "what ifs" if you're in another country."

When faced with these scenarios, both schools have pretty detailed plans, providing there's no technology barrier.

If there is a barrier, the schools say their staff and students are ready.

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