for Parents

Health & Safety

During pre-departure and the first days of orientation on site, APA covers a range of safety topics to prepare everyone with the knowledge to have a successful stay. Students know from the get-go that our on-site staff are available 24/7 for support, for issues big and small. A Prevention and Emergency Action Plan has been developed to quickly disseminate information and check in with all parties in the event of an emergency.

All students on every program must meet the Essential Eligibility Criteria. These points have been developed based on our 30+ years of experience in the field and best practices as outlined by the leading education abroad organizations of which APA is a member: Gap Year Association, Forum on Education Abroad, NAFSA, and APUAF.

Whether a seasoned traveler or this is the first time outside of the country for your child, below are a few helpful tips.

Physical Disabilities & Emotional and Mental Health Concerns

  • APA works diligently to accommodate students of all capabilities. When a physical, emotional, or mental health concern is disclosed to us, APA is able to proactively work with the student to create an individualized plan that will meet their needs without sacrificing the study abroad experience. Past plans have included securing English-speaking specialist doctors, weekly therapist appointments, and handicap-accessible homestays.
  • Students are responsible for obtaining and administering any prescription medication without the aid of an APA staff member or host. Depending on the medication, students are able to bring an advanced supply, a prescription refill note to be filled by a pharmacy abroad, or an alternative.

Safety Tips

  • Make a copy of your child’s identity page in their passport and keep on file our host country office address and telephone number. Once your child’s homestay is announced, have this address on file as well.
  • Make sure your child has a paper copy of your contact information including address, telephone number (including work number) and email address.
  • Register for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive travel updates from the US Department of State. All students are required to register for STEP.
  • When your child is doing any personal travel, request that he or she send you the following information: what city they will be traveling to, the dates, who they are traveling with, and where they will be staying. This information is required by the APA office prior to taking any personal trips.


  • APA provides personal liability insurance as part of the program fees.
  • All students are responsible for providing their own health insurance. If your child is covered under your health insurance policy, please make sure that this includes international travel.
  • Some US colleges and universities automatically enroll students in international health insurance when studying abroad. Check with your child’s study abroad office to see if this is an option and to learn more about the policy.
  • If your child will need to purchase health insurance, GeoBlue and CISI are two companies that specialize in international student coverage.
  • Consider a travel insurance plan to protect against theft or lost items, trip delays, sports, and other activities. Some student travel policies combine health and travel coverage at an affordable rate.

Cell Phones

  • All students are required to have a cell phone with a host country SIM card so that they may easily be reached by APA staff, host families, and professors. International data fees are costly and add up quickly so one of our first stops is a host country cell phone provider for students to purchase a host country SIM card, calling plan, and cell phone if needed. These items are often a fraction of the cost of their stateside counterparts.
  • Unlocked American cell phones (not tied into a contract) can accept a local SIM card and calling plan and be used abroad. A locked phone will not work with a host country SIM card. Phones cannot be unlocked outside of the US. Consult your cell phone provider to check the status of your child’s phone.