Studying abroad gives students valuable learning opportunities they literally can’t get anywhere else, from Mexico to Madagascar to Mongolia. These popular programs also expose students and faculty to a variety of risks, including natural disasters, traffic accidents, and terrorist attacks.
Mitigating these risks is becoming more complicated than ever. In a recent Security Magazine feature, authors Oren Alter and Brandon Biederman lay out the essentials of a pre-travel safety plan that protects students and faculty traveling internationally and prepares schools to coordinate an effective response should a situation arise. Some of these include:
- Developing a trip synopsis
- Planning for local emergency support
- Purchasing health and travel insurance
- Creating a detailed risk assessment
Finally, the authors recommend that the university and the group leader should routinely oversee local news outlets
and government websites.
On its face, this sounds like a simple request. But consider the implications for the staff of a college, university, or high school. Scanning news outlets and multiple government websites for signs of civil unrest, bad weather, or terror attacks is extremely time-consuming and imprecise. Even the most attentive reviewers may miss a potentially critical item. In addition, manual processing is not scalable, stretching resources thin as schools expand international programs to dozens of locations.
Real-time updates from Dataminr offer a more effective way for schools to learn about critical accidents as soon as they occur — and often before the first news reports are published. This technology uses machine learning, natural language processing, and sophisticated algorithms to identify high-impact events and critical breaking information within public social media content. It then routes alerts to users based on their unique preferences.
With real-time updates, a school can easily subscribe to alerts about an entire country, a specific region, or a variety of cities. These alerts can be scaled to include new study abroad locations as well as adjusted to accommodate logistical changes in active programs.
As part of a robust security operation for international study, Dataminr can give school officials confidence that they will learn about events more quickly, coordinate with local authorities more efficiently, and respond more effectively whenever student and faculty safety is at risk.