SMU has heard from all 11 of its students studying in Paris that they are safe. The SMU Travel Oversight Committee is closely monitoring the situation and is receiving updates from the U.S. State Department and International SOS.
SMU community members abroad are asked to be aware that France has declared a national state of emergency and has tightened its borders. On Saturday, Nov. 14, the U.S. Embassy in France issued a security message regarding the terrorist attacks:
“Further incidents are possible. We strongly urge U.S. citizens to maintain a high level of vigilance, be aware of local events, and take the appropriate steps to bolster their personal security, including limiting their movements to essential activity. U.S. citizens are encouraged to monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities.”
While airports and train stations remain open, travelers may expect delays due to heightened security measures.
All SMU Abroad students are covered by emergency travel assistance through I-SOS and may use the services of I-SOS worldwide during their term of study abroad. During SMU Abroad orientation, students received laminated cards with emergency phone numbers for I-SOS. I-SOS contact information also is available online at the International SOS website. In addition, every SMU-approved study abroad program has its own emergency preparedness plan and protocols.
Students with concerns or questions are asked to contact the SMU Abroad Director, Dr. Cathy Winnie (214-768-4904), or SMU Assistant Chief of Police Jim Walters (214-768-1586). Student safety is the highest priority of SMU and our partner study abroad programs.
Students abroad are asked to review these personal security steps:
- Register your travel with the State Department Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, or STEP;
- Make sure you register all independent travel with your program director so staff can reach you immediately in an emergency; remember to confirm and update any changes to your emergency contact information in your my.SMU account online;
- Follow news reports closely;
- Remain alert to your surroundings at all times;
- Walk away from the first sign of trouble, and report any suspicious persons, packages or activities;
- Avoid loud conversations and discussions that identify you as foreign, and avoid wearing clothing such as football jerseys or university sweatshirts, or T-shirts with American logos;
- Keep your international cellphone with you, fully charged and turned on at all times, and respond immediately to any calls or messages from program staff.
SMU Abroad is taking students more places in 2009 with the launch of 100 new programs.
Offered in collaboration with the Council on International Education Exchange and other study abroad organizations, the new programs provide opportunities for study, internships and service in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Oceania.
SMU will continue to offer its 30 semester, academic year, winter and summer programs, including discipline-specific programs led by SMU faculty, in locations such as China, England, France, Germany, India, Italy, Jamaica, Mexico, Poland, Russia and South Africa.
“By working in partnership with the country’s leading university study-abroad program providers, SMU is able to diversify its programs, the majors who can participate and the locations offered,” says Susan Kress, director of SMU Abroad. “Students now can opt to spend a semester at SMU-in-Paris and follow up with an internship in Senegal.”
The new programs were reviewed and approved by SMU’s Education Abroad Council for academic content and suitability, and follow the recommendations of SMU’s Task Force on International Education to increase opportunities abroad.
• Read more from SMU News
• Learn more about the Task Force on International Education (log in with SMU ID and e-mail password)
• Meet SMU students abroad at the Student Adventures blog
Throughout the 2008-09 academic year, students and faculty have shared news of their research and travels around the world and at SMU on the Student Adventures blog. Highlights this spring included:
• SMU’s Model United Nations team, which was invited to represent the Vatican in the World Model U.N. 2009 Conference in The Hague, Netherlands.
• Alternative Spring Break bloggers, including the students, staff and faculty who volunteered in Appalachia, Tennessee, and New York City.
• Shelby and Kelsey in the new Education Abroad program SMU-in-Cairo. They have climbed Mount Sinai and explored pyramids, in addition to studying at the American University in Cairo.
If you know students or faculty whom you consider Adventurers – whether they’re researching, traveling volunteering, leading or interning this summer – contact Sarah Hanan in SMU News and Communications, 214-768-7622.
• Meet the bloggers at SMU Student Adventures
Ben Manthey, a junior from Dallas majoring in history with minors in Chinese and business, has spent Spring 2008 in Beijing at the Capital University of Economics and Business. He shares his perspective on life and learning in the People’s Republic – including the deadly Sichuan earthquake that has devastated the nation – at his Student Adventures blog. (Right, Ben’s photo of night life in Central Beijing’s Houhai district.)
The SMU Athletic Department, in conjunction with the SMU Lettermen’s Association, inducted the 2008 inaugural class of the SMU Athletics Hall of Fame during ceremonies May 2. Forrest Gregg, Lamar Hunt, Martina Moravcova and Payne Stewart were honored, with Don Meredith serving as honorary chair. See Athletics Hall of Fame video online.