International Safe Travels Foundation Educational Program Development Project
The purpose of this project is to assist in the development of an educational program for the International Safe Travels Foundation. In order to increase the safety of high school and college students during international travel, travel education is necessary. A clear understanding of and commitment to ensuring safe travel experiences will aid in increasing the overall well being of students participating in international travel opportunities. This program is intended to create an understanding of potential dangers that students may face during international trips, along with effective methods of avoiding or overcoming such threats.
Safety is of the utmost importance to the Hotel and Restaurant Management (HRMT) program at Auburn University during international travel experiences; therefore, it will be the key component throughout the proposed program. College and high school students may not implement all the steps necessary to ensure safe travel experiences, which may be due in part to a lack of available educational resources that address travel dangers. In a world that is becoming increasingly unstable, travel safety education is vital to the security of international travelers. The proposed program will not only teach travel safety education, but will also address the measures that students may take when faced with dangers while abroad.
The program will be created by Auburn University HRMT graduate students and also faculty with expertise in international travel. The training and educational programs will be delivered by HRMT faculty members and graduate students in the HRMT program.
The first objective is to develop a program which defines and discusses the importance of the travel safety construct and its influence upon international travel experiences. The safety practices required for successful and secure travel encounters will form the basis of the travel safety education curriculum. The first travel safety training session will be presented in January 2007 to college students who are chosen to participate in a trip to Europe in the summer of the same year. The training will cover the basics of travel safety. The second objective of the program is to develop and empower the implementation of a travel safety plan by all students who will participate in the trip to Europe. This will be achieved through a fifteen week training program that will include extensive feedback from the CEO and President of the International Safe Travels Foundation, Mrs. Beth Holloway Twitty. This training will be developed based on student feedback, faculty feedback, and observatory evaluations. Surveys will be developed and analyzed by project personnel in order to identify future training needs and development. The survey results will be used to implement ways to strengthen the travel safety skills introduced in the initial training. The HRMT program currently utilizes an extensive risk management strategy for international travel, which has been accepted by the Office of International Education as the university standard. This strategy highlights not only potential risks, but also the degree of risk and likelihood of occurrence, thereby minimizing risks during international travel initiatives. In developing the International Safe Travels Foundation travel safety training program, the current risk strategy will be examined and utilized. Upon development of the educational training program, future implementation at the high school level will be researched.
After the training program is developed, the target population to receive the training program will include Auburn University students chosen to attend a university educational study tour of Europe in the summer of 2007.
Upon completion of the training program, participants will be able to:
- Define the travel safety concept in the context of the modern tourism environment in general and in the European tourism environment specifically.
- Appreciate the importance of the travel safety concept to successful international travel experiences.
- Appreciate the concept of travel safety from a student, faculty, and parental perspective.
- Integrate knowledge of the following concepts to develop and implement a travel safety plan while studying abroad, exhibiting excellent judgment and character:
- Alcohol and Drug Laws
- Judicial System
- Police and Law Enforcement
- Safe and Dangerous Places within Destination
- Style of Dress/Other Ways to Avoid Appearing Out of Place
- United States Embassy Locations
- Importance of Remaining in a Group/Staying Together
- Cell Phone Safety/International Differences
- Transportation System/Routes and Methods of Travel within Destination
- Potential Dangers in Specific Location
- List and Pictures of Most Wanted Criminals in Destination
- Past Crimes Against Tourists
- Current Events in Destination
- Medical Concerns/Travel Insurance
- Any Other Information Pertinent to the Safety of Students
The development of the International Safe Travels Foundation travel safety program will begin August 16, 2006 and comprise one year in duration. The months of August through December will be utilized to coordinate materials, concepts, lectures, guest speakers, and other needed resources for the development of the travel safety program. The work will be completed based on an average of 10 work hours per week on the project.
The work will be conducted in various locations including the following:
- Classroom space at Auburn University, to be used for one hour a week for 15 weeks during the spring semester of 2007 (15 total hours);
- Office space with telephone and internet capability provided by the Hotel and Restaurant Management program at Auburn University, to be used for communication with the International Safe Travels Foundation, conduct research, and utilize data processing applications. Space will be used for an average of three hours a week for 16 weeks per semester for three semesters (48 hours).
- Space designated for the use of the International Safe Travels Foundation in Birmingham, Alabama. This space will be used to meet with Mrs. Twitty and Mrs. Sunny Tillman, Vice President of the Foundation, about program development, research, and progress, as well as website development for an average of 6 hours a week for 16 weeks per semester for three semesters (96 hours).
The nationwide safety awareness campaign created by Beth Holloway Twitty known as SAFE TRAVELS wrapped up this school year in Twitty’s home state of Arkansas. Following presentations in four high schools there Twitty reached a milestone, delivering Natalee’s story to a total of more than 10,000 students and adults since kicking off the safety campaign from her daughter’ s high school on February 28th.
“I admire Mrs. Twitty’s dedication to teaching these young people the importance of international travel safety,”
commented parent Sharon Wilkins.
“My son just left last Saturday for China and I just emailed him the International SAFE TRAVELS Foundation information.”