Ensuring International Student Safety During Holiday Travel

It was one of the best spring breaks that Judy, a Chinese international student, had experienced so far while studying abroad in the United States. She was so excited to see Niagara Falls, which she had heard so much about. She loved the independence of visiting a new place by herself. However, Judy had one problem. She was held back at the Canadian border with an unendorsed I-20. Without that signature, Judy was detained as an unaccompanied minor traveling alone, unable to go back to people who knew and loved her.

Travel is an essential part of the international education experience. Students travel overseas yearly to visit family in between academic terms. And while they are studying in the States, naturally, they will want to go and explore the tourist attractions found across North America.

To ensure that your students are traveling safely, here are a few travel tips:

1. It is imperative to know where your students are going and who they are staying with.
2. Make sure to include adult chaperones when students are making travel plans.
3. Confirm that your students’ I-20s are signed.
4. All students’ I-20s must have an active signature of the current Designated School Official (DSO) at your school. The signature on the I-20 essentially is your student’s ticket to enter back into the States.

We recommend planning timely meetings before any holiday travel times, such as Thanksgiving break, winter break, or spring break with international students. We suggest having an international student meeting to address the logistical requirements of traveling provides the opportunity to articulate the expectations for travel to students clearly. Your Student Development Manager (SDM) can work with students to offer travel information, and ensure the natural parents approve travel plans and that everything meets our student safety guidelines.

Your help in making sure students complete this requirement and only travel when their parents and Cambridge Network have approved the plans will help ensure the students safely return to you at the end of their trips.

Exploring new cultures and regions of the world is part of what makes the study abroad experience unique. We hope that while your students are here, they are taking advantage of the unique opportunity that they have and make the most of the experience. The goal is to help them travel wisely and safely so that they can have a positive and enriching experience.


Cambridge Network is an international education consulting company that provides admissions, academic, and homestay solutions to schools throughout the United States and Canada. We work to raise the global profile of high schools, enhance diversity, and provide valuable support and supervision for all students. Check out our blog section to learn about industry trends, international program best practices, ways to engage students, and more.

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