Health & Safety

There’s nothing more important to us than your health and safety while abroad. We go the extra mile to make sure our students are taken care of – which means offering 24/7 support during your stay and plenty of information to help you prepare beforehand.

In addition to the internal knowledge of our team of seasoned professionals, our risk management guidelines are formulated using the recommendations of the two standard organizations in our field: The Forum on Education Abroad and NAFSA: Association of International Educators, the world’s largest nonprofit association dedicated to international education.

We offer:
  • 24 Hour Emergency Phone
  • On-Site Staff Support
  • Collaboration with Top Hospital Facilities
  • Mental Health Services
  • Comprehensive International Medical and Accident Insurance
  • In-Depth Pre-Departure and On-Site Orientations
  • Bilingual English and Spanish-Speaking Staff

“Your assistance in the various medical and housing issues that my daughter faced, your communication with us, and your assurances with regard to our concerns were exemplary.  It can be a stressful experience for parents to have their students in a foreign country for an extended time! You are very good at helping to ease fears, explain details, and handle the myriad of situations that arise during their study abroad.” – Parent of Friends University Student

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I get hurt or sick?

If you find yourself needing a doctor, we’re here to help! The last thing you want to worry about in the case of an emergency is translating the issue to a medical professional and finding someone you can trust so we went ahead and did that already. We have personally established contact with several English-speaking doctors, both female and male, so they are prepared to provide assistance to any of our students.

And remember, all of our participants always have around-the-clock support…upon your arrival in Barcelona, you will be given our 24-hour emergency phone number which will repeated, repeated, and repeated again. Your welcome orientation will ensure you have the number memorized so there is no delay if you need us.

What happens when I use the Emergency number?

  • Our staff is trained to handle emergencies and takes every phone call very seriously.
  • If needed, a staff member will personally accompany you to the hospital.
  • We will create a detailed report of all incidents, no matter how large or small.
  • We will help you with logistics, paperwork, and follow up.
  • We’re your “familia” while you’re in Barcelona, which means that in the unlikely case that something does happen, you will not be alone!

How has Barcelona SAE established their medical support and is it kept up to date with current risks?

Although most students have no issues during their time in Spain, traveling abroad comes with inherent risks. Barcelona SAE utilizes a variety or resources to stay on top of health, political, and educational issues to be sure we can respond to the specific health and safety needs of each student.

The resources we use include:

  • On-Site Program Director, in-country staff, and cooperating institutions
  • Relationships with local health care professionals and facilities
  • We ask for health backgrounds to meet the needs of individual students
  • Adherence to US and Spanish government advisories
  • Updates from the Center for Disease Control
  • Close relationships with the U.S. Consulate General

What type of training and experience do the Barcelona SAE staff have?

Our on-site staff all have studied or interned abroad themselves, and we have years of experience advising and supporting students.

What will I learn during my pre-departure and welcome orientations?

Through our extremely detailed and engaging orientations, learning all about Barcelona will begin well before you ever get on your flight. We provide all students with a pre-departure webinar, a welcome orientation the day you arrive, and a cultural orientation during your first week in Barcelona. Orientation and information is subject to change, but always includes applicable information as you begin safely navigate your new home.

Barcelona SAE has a health and safety code of conduct in accordance with specific laws and site specific dangers inherent to Spain and Catalonia. These rules are disseminated in pre-departure information and discussed at length and agreed upon with students when they arrive.

  • Students are provided with specific laws and important site information that regard the Barcelona SAE safety code of conduct
  • We require each student to send us their personal travel itineraries to staff before they go away so we can contact them in case of emergency
  • Health forms for all students are carried at all times by our staff so important records are literally at our fingertips
  • Safety in Barcelona – where to take the most care in the city and areas to avoid
  • Tips for avoiding pickpockets in Barcelona
  • What to do in case of an emergency
  • How to avoid dangerous situations
  • Cultural differences that could lead to problems
  • Risk aversion tactics
  • Each student receives the US consulate travelers’ advisories upon arrival

Great! Is the welcome orientation the only time that health and safety is covered?

No! Health and safety is always our number one priority, and therefore, we encourage our students to make choices that keep them healthy, safe, and happy throughout their time abroad.

It is human nature to become comfortable and complacent after a certain amount of time in any one place and that’s good; we want you to feel at home, but we also want you to remain aware of your surroundings. For that reason, Barcelona SAE holds a brief Health and Safety session six weeks after the program begins, because in our experience this is when we see a spike in pickpocketing and other small incidents.

We also maintain constant communication with local universities so we are aware of student attendance. This is a safety precaution, but also helps ensure the academic side of the program is going well.

I’m afraid I will get homesick and lonely. Do you offer mental health services while I’m abroad?

Not all issues are physical. In fact some of the most common problems abroad include homesickness, anxiety, and other personal issues that can arise no matter where you are. Some issues such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and learning disabilities can be exacerbated when in new environments. We offer support in these areas too. We have taken the same precautions with these situations as with other medical issues. So you can call us at any time as well as rely on a network of professionals we have know and trust.

Do I need special health insurance while studying in Spain?

Spain does not require international students to have medical insurance, but we still believe it is very important. All of our students are covered by our $5 million general liability policy. The insurance policy is through a US provider that specializes in the medical needs of international students so you will be well covered by experts.

Who should I tell if I have a problem or am concerned about something?

You can always feel free to tell ANY of our staff members. We stress the importance of communication between student and staff and value the relationships we build every semester. Meeting you is the best part of our job and the most effective way for us to know how to help – never hesitate to discuss any issues with us. Constant communication with onsite staff is key to preventing little incidents from turning into larger problems.