Managing risk & travel: A guide for learning abroad practitioners during COVID-19

The Managing risk & travel: A guide for learning abroad practitioners during COVID-19 is a starting point that identifies policies, procedures and processes related to the resumption of travel and learning abroad opportunities for students.

The guide highlights the need for learning abroad teams to build capacity and expertise to prioritise issues of student safety. For Australian institutions to reactivate student travel to return to pre-COVID-19 levels, they must prioritise and invest in resourcing critical areas, including risk, safety and security.

The purpose of the guide is to identify key areas of focus for strengthening your team's capabilities in safety and risk management. Key concepts include:

  • Governance and policy
  • Prioritising duty of care
  • Travel insurance settings
  • Travel advisories and intelligence
  • Emergency preparedness and response.

Within the guide, you will find an example action plan to help learning abroad officers develop their own emergency preparedness processes to support students, staff and onshore partners during a COVID-19-related incident.

About the authors

Sarah Argles
With over 15 years of experience in differing roles in the learning abroad sector, Sarah’s career path has led her to become a skilled risk
and security professional. She has expertise in group travel and study tours, having developed high volume programs such as Monash
University’s Global Immersion Guarantee and led trips in North America, Europe and Asia. She is now the Project Manager, Learning
Abroad (Risk and Safety) at Monash University and is an active member of risk and safety organisations such as Pulse: International
Safety and Security Professionals in Higher Education, Inc.
Benita Ho
Benita joined the University of Melbourne in 2016 and is currently Manager, Global Learning overseeing the University’s learning abroad
programs. She has over a decade of experience working in the international higher education sector in Australia and the UK. Benita is
motivated to deliver meaningful learning experiences for international and domestic students alike, both in Australia and abroad and
proactively seeks to improve processes and systems to further enable student’s participation.
Fiona White
Fiona began her career in international education in the corporate sector in the UK. After relocating to Australia she moved into the
tertiary education sector, where she has since worked in student mobility offices for more than 10 years. In her current role as Head,
Student Mobility and Exchange, she leads the outbound mobility team at the University of Sydney. She is committed to fostering change
and improvements in the mobility space to ensure students are given access to relevant, and life changing experiences as part of their


This document was borne from the Return to Travel Group that was established by IEAA in September 2020. Special thanks to Steven
McDonald, Western Sydney University and Simon Watson, Convener, IEAA Learning Abroad Network, and University of Technology
Sydney for their insights that helped shape the direction of this document.
IEAA acknowledges the significant challenges faced by the sector, institutions, students, graduates, and careers professionals as a result
of the COVID-19 global pandemic. This document was written in mid-2021, at a time of significant disruption and uncertainty, with long-
term impacts still unknown. One of the primary aims of this document is to ensure learning abroad practitioners have a resource to assist
navigate novel challenges they may be faced with in the resumption of student travel and overseas study experiences. IEAA recognises
that the information contained in this document is accurate at the time of publication, and will be updated as the global pandemic
continues to unfold. To find the most current information, please visit

Suggested citation

Argles, S, Ho, B & White, S (2021) Managing risk & travel: A guide for learning abroad practitioners, International Education Association
of Australia.

Published in May 2022