Safety and Health Abroad


The study abroad program at the University of North Florida sends over 600 students abroad to several different countries including France, Japan, Peru and Egypt to name a few. With recent terrorist attacks and development of the Zika virus, some students may find study abroad to be unsafe, but UNF has taken active steps to keep students safe and healthy. Ruth Lopez talks about what steps students must take before studying abroad, and also talks about things to avoid when in a different country.

Students are required to attend a safety session that goes over health and crime alerts. It gives students tips to stay safe while abroad like practicing the buddy system or staying away from large crowds or political events.

When abroad, students need to know how to be able to reach their emergency contact. Telephone systems are different around the world, so you want to make sure you can be able to call someone in case of an emergency. This includes making sure you can stay in touch with the U.S. Embassy.

The Embassy is who you want to contact during an emergency abroad, but students should also know how to contact local police. Note that 911 is not a universal number to contact police. Several countries have different numbers. For example, in South Korea, France and many other countries you want to dial 112, but in Brazil you want to dial 192.

The safety session also lists a couple of things students should do prior to their trip. For example, students are encouraged to give family members a schedule of what they are planning to do while they are abroad.

Students will also receive a country information packet from the State Department that goes over specific tips on how to stay safe in a particular country. This packet also includes very helpful information about the country’s demographics and political information.

Students are encouraged to enroll their trip with the Department of State through their Smart Traveller Enrollment Program or STEP for short. By enrolling in the STEP program, it will help facilitate communication in case of emergency either in the United States or the country the student is visiting.

Ruth Lopez, who is the director of the International Center at the University of Florida, speaks about how the university chooses to continue or discontinue a program abroad. 

The UNF Travel Clinic also helps identify what kind of diseases students will be exposed to at the country they are traveling abroad to. Once they identify these diseases, the clinic will help provide immunizations like pills or vaccines to help prevent students from catching these diseases.Students are recommended to meet with the Travel Clinic six weeks before leaving the country.

The country-specific information packet also provides valuable information diseases found in that country. Some of the information includes how one can get the disease and steps students should take to prevent getting sick.



Steve Wozniak’s Vision For the Future

Tickets for Tuesday night’s event were sold-out. The audience eagerly waits to hear Steve Wozniak speak.

Co-founder of Apple Inc. Steve Wozniak spoke to a sold-out audience at the UNF Arena Tuesday night. President John Delaney asked Wozniak a variety of questions about his early life, work with Apple, and his hopes for future technology. Wozniak answered Delaney’s question with ease, and even gave audience members a look at what might be ahead in our future years.

After establishing Apple Inc. with Steve Jobs, Wozniak’s goal shifted from creating new technology to educating the younger generation to promote creativity and innovation. Wozniak taught computer classes to fifth graders for eight years after leaving Apple. Wozniak tells students to “find what you love, and take it out of class.”

“He spent the latter half of his life focusing more on children, the education, and providing younger generations the technology. As opposed to what he, himself could do or what he, himself could invent or patent.”

– Mattie Ledew (audience member)

He now travels and gives speeches at different locations hoping to aspire the next generation.  “If you try to get good at something when you are young, maybe that turns out to be the valuable things,” said Steve Wozniak to a group of high school students before the speech.

“It’s not about what they can do now, but what they can do five to ten years from now. I want kids to get into this mindset of I can do anything if I sit down and apply myself.”

-Mark McCombs (audience member)

Steve Wozniak hopes that with his influence he could inspire someone to follow his footsteps and “create things that have never existed.” Some of the things he sees around the corner include Amazon drones, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and self-driving cars. These ideas got the audience excited, and made them think about steps we could take to promote the innovation of technology.

Steve Wozniak speaks about his early career in Apple and his future hopes for technology.


UNF student Jay Lacanilal mentions that a way to promote innovation is by staying up to date with technology as it moves forward. “I think that guidance counselors at high schools and advisors for incoming freshmen should push for more technical classes no matter what degree the students are studying for. This is to raise awareness since technology is in every field and always changing.”

Other audience members like Mark McCombs are already promoting children education in technology. McCombs is part of Renaissance Jacksonville that helps teach students from Kindergarten to 12th grade how to design and build robots for competitions. “The goal is to build more competitive robotics teams in North Florida than in anywhere in the country to get companies like Apple to relocate to take advantage of all the talent.” said Mark McCombs.

In the end, Wozniak’s message can be narrowed down to finding one’s passion and pursuing it to find happiness. For technology, this means building a foundation of kids who are eager to learn and create.

“This was the message: give the kids in the house the best computing powers that the family’s got and give the parents the hand-me-downs because the kids are the ones that are going to learn how to exploit it. They’re going to be the creative ones, the curious ones that go there, poke around and take it to the limits of what its abilities are while the parents are just going to mess around on Facebook.”

-Mark McCombs (audience member)