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Student Health Safety & Wellbeing
Independent travel is defined as travel that is not part of an SIT program or activity and/or is undertaken by a student on their own. Independent travel also includes any student travel during free time, and during research and practicum phases. Students are responsible for their own welfare and well-being during independent travel. When engaging in independent travel during a global master’s program, students must inform their degree chair and onsite staff of their plans and itinerary in advance of travel. Independent travel may be restricted on some global master’s programs due to various risks.
Driving an automobile and/or motorcycle/scooter in foreign countries is generally prohibited in SIT’s Statement of Responsibility and Conditions of Participation, but graduate students can fill out a waiver and abide by conditions and restrictions set forth while on global master’s programs to drive automobiles. Only on certain programs and with a specific training and waiver is driving or riding on scooters or motorcycles permitted.
To ensure student safety, all local motorized transportation must be done with registered and insured transportation options when possible. Students are prohibited from renting motorized watercraft and should not fly in private airplanes and helicopters or ride on scooters or motorcycles.
There are dangers inherent to any water activity, including boating, wading, swimming, and snorkeling. Some SIT programs include certain water activities within the program itinerary. In such cases, SIT staff will provide water safety guidelines for local conditions prior to any program activity, e.g., orientation to tides, currents, water temperatures, site specific water hazards, water animals that could pose a risk to students, and relevant weather concerns.
In accordance with the SIT Conditions of Participation, some activities are expressly prohibited, including, but not limited to, surfing, scuba diving, white water rafting and jumping into waterbodies from heights. Any student who chooses to swim during free time should never swim alone, should defer to local knowledge regarding swimming safety in various locations, should not have ingested alcohol, and should limit swimming to locations where there is a posted lifeguard on duty, if possible. Students are not permitted to enter the water for any reason within 12 hours of consuming any alcohol. Any student conducting water-based academic work must stay within five meters of a swimming/snorkeling partner. This partner may be another student, program staff member, or advisor. Any student who is not feeling well should speak with SIT staff and stay out of the water. Any student who is required to carry an inhaler must ensure the inhaler is close at hand and its location is known by the water partner, other students, and staff. Further detailed water safety guidelines with local context will be covered by SIT in-country staff.
Students may be placed on involuntary medical leave when their health, or behavioral manifestations of their health, render them unfit to continue the program. Prior notice and the opportunity to be heard will, under ordinary circumstances, be given before the imposition of an involuntary leave. However, SIT reserves the right to conclude that, on certain occasions, conditions exist that warrant an immediate leave of absence resulting in a return to the student’s home community to ensure appropriate mental health resources are available and/or to avert imminent harm to the student or to other persons involved in the program or in the host community.