International scholar safety guide

The higher education institution is responsible for ensuring personal safety and security of its employees and students including international ones.

International academics might not be familiar with the surroundings and lack awareness of local risks (e.g. related to accomodation, streets at night, use of transport, health safety risks).

The objective of the international scholar safety support/guide is to provide concise English-language information about off-campus and on-campus risks and guidelines on how to act in specific situations and where to seek help.      



Improved quality of service Enhanced safety and security

Basic information
Categories Safety, Healthcare & Wellbeing
Mobility stages Pre-arrival phase During mobility phase
Delivery schedule Once an academic year
Importance Important to have
Scale of organizational change
Target groups PhD student/Early career researcher R2 - R4 researchers Lecturers (incl. Language Teachers)
Types of contracts of researchers Full degree student Permanent employee Visiting scholar Employee in training (interns, research fellows, postdocs) Fixed term employee Exchange student
Career stages of researchers Less than 6 months 6-12-months of experience 1-3-years of experience 3-10 years of experience 10-15 years of experience More than 15 years of experience
Lengths of stays of researchers 0-3 months 3-6 months 6-12 months More than 12 months
Practice setup

The responsible unity/IRO has to collect comprehensive information about all possible risks and incidents that could take place on-campus or off-campus, with special emphasis on threats that could be facing by international academics given their lack of knowledge about surroundings and local culture/realities. Such information covers possible risks in the following areas:

  • Safe on-campus and off-campus accommodation (e.g. risks of discrimination, racial or ethnical violence)

  • Safe public and private transport (e.g. use of private taxis)

  • Surroundings (e.g. neighbourhoods or places to avoid)

  • Health safety (e.g. drinking water, local products, epidemic concerns) 

  • Etc.

It should also cover the list of safety helpers and main actors on-campus and off-campus:

  • Police

  • On-campus security service

  • On-campus/local emergency operation center

  • Emergency medical center

  • Mental health support service or hotline

  • Etc.

The responsible unit has to identify most suitable channels and moments for dissemination of the related information among international students and staff (e.g. welcome pack, leaflets, dedicated webpage).

Cost of practice setup
Time required for practice setup
Personnel effort required for practice setup
Actors involved in practice setup
  • HR Department
  • IRO/welcome centre
  • Campus health center
Partners involved in practice setup
  • EURAXESS centre
  • Other HEI/research organisation in city/region
  • Tourist information centre/board
Indicators for evaluating progress/quality of practice setup
  • Process organization developed

Internal Actors:

@HR department, Campus health center - IRO should collect the existing information from both relevant university departments dealing with occupational and personal safety.

External collaborations:

@All external partners such as local tourist information centers, EURAXESS centers or national international education support and promotion agencies can provide information on occupational and personal safety in the city/region.

These internal and external partners can be involved in both drafting and validating the guide.  

Practice delivery

The IRO should provide all incoming international academics with the safety guide prior to their arrival. Once they arrive in the country, a special information session could be organised once or twice a year to address various safety and security concerns.

The information provided in the guide should be updated on a regular basis, particularly with regard to the contact details of safety helpers.

University safety helpers should be offered additional/continuing English-language training.  

Cost of practice delivery
Time required for practice delivery
Personnel effort required for practice delivery
Actors involved in practice delivery
  • HR Department
  • IRO/welcome centre
Indicators for evaluating progress/quality of practice delivery
  • Number of researchers assisted annually

@ IRO plays the key role in the set-up and delivery of the related information support service, relying on the actual support provided in case of emergency by on-campus or off-campus safety and security operators (e.g. police, firefighters, medical emergency services). 

Examples of practice

Safety resources for international students and scholars

The Yale University provides a wealth of information about safety and security on campus through a dedicated webpage featuring safety orientation, safety tips and resources, emergency information, law enforcement, U.S. laws, scams & fraud.