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International SOS Info for Travelers

International SOS (ISOS) is the world’s largest medical and security assistance company, with 24-hour assistance centers, international clinics and remote-site medical facilities across five continents. As ISOS clients, Duke students, staff and faculty can access up-to-the-minute health and security information about global travel. We encourage students who have questions or concerns about travel safety, to check the ISOS website for relevant information. Log in to the Duke ISOS portal.

Post-it Note type stickers with handwritten words Diversity and Equality on wooden background

Overview of Available Resources

The experiences of each DukeEngage student will be as different as the students themselves. Some students will be placed in locations where they may be considered a minority and possibly encounter challenges or discrimination based on religion, race, sexual/gender identity, ability or other aspects of their identity. We strive to prepare all DukeEngage participants for the location and culture in which they will be immersed — and support them during their DukeEngage placement. If you have any questions or concerns related to your safety or well-being during your travels, please reach out to one of our staff advisors: dukeengage@duke.edu.

Below are some resources that could be useful to students as they plan for their unique travel experience.

Race/Ethnicity

Some DukeEngage students may be the first person of their perceived ethnicity or race to work in their host community; yet others may find themselves among the majority for the first time. While some students have reported minimal differences between their home and their host cultures, others have faced complicated cultural assumptions and norms. If you would like to discuss any potential concerns with a DukeEngage staff member, please contact us at dukeengage@duke.edu.

Read related blog posts below from previous DukeEngage students.

LGBTQ

Students who identify themselves as LGBTQ have reported a variety of experiences in DukeEngage. Some have worked in cosmopolitan cities where they’ve never felt more welcome to be themselves, while other students have chosen not to share their identities with host country nationals due to perceived cultural norms. If you would like to discuss any potential concerns with a DukeEngage staff member, please contact us at dukeengage@duke.edu.

Read related blog posts below from previous DukeEngage students.

In this deeply moving account of his struggle to be true to his identity while prioritizing his safety, Indy Rajan describes the careful but difficult choices he made and what he learned along the way.

Students with Varying Abilities

Duke students interested in applying to a group program or independent project are advised to consider their health status, need for ongoing medical treatment, and need for accommodation to carry out the activities involved in a DukeEngage experience.

If you have concerns or questions about the volunteer and everyday life activities typical at a specific DukeEngage site, we encourage you to contact Kathy Sikes, kathy.sikes@duke.edu, early on in your decision making for information and advice. The team at DukeReach also has many years of experience supporting DukeEngage students who want or need advice about traveling with physical or mental concerns; please connect with them if you’d like to talk with someone about your unique needs. If you have a disability, we also encourage you to contact the Duke Student Disability Access Office for advice specific to your needs and to understand the process for requesting accommodations.

Women

Prescribed gender roles vary across societies, and the host communities of our DukeEngage programs are no exception. While some women have reported little to no difference in how their perceived gender shapes their experience, others have encountered strict and/or troublesome cultural norms that have influenced their behavior beyond what they initially expected. If you would like to discuss any potential concerns with a DukeEngage staff member, please contact us at dukeengage@duke.edu.

Read related blog posts below from previous DukeEngage students.

Religion

Duke students come from a wide variety of religious backgrounds, and many DukeEngage students find that they don’t share the same religion as their local host culture. While this normally poses no problems, students may want to consider how they would react to a lack of access to religious services or how they may need to modify their behavior in order to comply with host-culture norms and expectations. If you would like to discuss any potential concerns with a DukeEngage staff member, please contact us at dukeengage@duke.edu.

Read related blog posts below from previous DukeEngage students.

Identity-related DukeEngage Blog Posts

At DukeEngage, we understand that it may be helpful for future participants to gain perspective from their peers. Here are a few blog posts from some of our recent DukeEngage students reflecting on their experiences dealing with diversity issues abroad.