e-Learning Seminar
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How do schools determine whether or not to send students to countries with U.S. State Department travel warnings?

As study abroad programming widens into more nontraditional destinations, institutions must strike a delicate balance. Many are faced with the challenge of meeting high safety standards while offering study and work abroad programs in relevant, but sometimes less safe, areas. Each must determine their acceptable level of risk when sending students and faculty to these countries.

Join this live NAFSA e-Learning Seminar to examine how institutional culture and risk tolerance affect these decisions. Become familiar with best practices concerning the management of petitions for programming. Compare and contrast existing models of how institutions handle travel warnings.


After attending this e-Learning Seminar, participants will be able to:

  • Compare and contrast models working with travel warnings for applicable takeaways;
  • Describe best practices for the management of petitions;
  • Understand how institutional culture and risk tolerance affect decisions on countries with State Department travel warnings.

The content will appeal to study abroad managers, directors, or other education abroad professionals tasked with making decisions regarding the location of programs, as well as those working in public relations or communication, legal counsel, or risk management. This seminar will not address the implementation of emergency preparedness planning.


Ryan LarsenRyan Larsen
University of Nevada-Las Vegas

Ryan Larsen is associate director of the Office of International Programs at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. Larsen previously worked at the University of Alicante in Spain and the University of Nevada-Reno. He holds a master’s degree in public administration and a BA in international affairs and Spanish language and literature. Larsen has served as a Regional Affairs Committee chair, as well as chair and treasurer of Region XII. He has presented numerous times at NAFSA regional and annual conferences, and is currently pursuing a PhD in public affairs.

Fern MacKinnonFern MacKinnon
University of Massachusetts-Lowell

Fern MacKinnon is the director of the Office of Study Abroad and International Experiences for the University of Massachusetts-Lowell where she oversees study abroad programming and international partnerships and exchanges. Prior to joining the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, she served as director of international programs and primary designated school official at Emmanuel College in Boston. Working within a consortium of five universities, MacKinnon collaborates on best practices and shared systems to ensure effective student tracking and safe travel. She also manages the development and operation of short-term faculty-led study abroad programs. She holds a BA in educational studies with a concentration in multicultural education from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and a MA in intercultural relations with a concentration in international and intercultural education from Lesley University.

Bill BullBill Bull
Council on International Educational Exchange

Bill Bull is responsible for creating, implementing, and assessing the health, safety, and security policies of each of the Council on International Exchange’s (CIEE) nearly 200 programs in more than 40 countries. Additionally, Bull leads a central CIEE risk management team; coordinates all CIEE staff training in health, safety, and security; and works closely with program staff to upgrade CIEE facilities as needed. He has extensive experience in the safety and security field, serving as East Africa and East Indian Ocean safety and security officer for the Peace Corps, an organization he has maintained close ties with since he first became a Peace Corps volunteer in 1985. Since 1999, Bull has served in many capacities for the organization, including as associate Peace Corps director (APCD) for the rural development and post safety officer in Gabon; as APCD for the environment and safety officer in Madagascar; and as Country Director in Madagascar. He holds a bachelor’s degree in international affairs from Lafayette College and a master’s degree from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.