Health, Safety, and Wellbeing: Global Education in a Changing World

As we begin to plan for global education opportunities, how are we framing health, safety, and well-being in the changing world? The Center of Disease Control (CDC) has recently announced “racism as a serious threat to the public’s health.” Considering the negative impact that racism and discrimination has on the mental health of students, staff, and faculty, what support mechanisms are being built or enhanced to ensure all constituents are supported when impacted by instances of discrimination and/or racism? How are we centering equity and inclusion in health, safety, and wellbeing discussions, strategies, and programming? How are campus leadership, faculty, staff, students/families, and providers integrating new health, safety, and wellbeing protocols into global education programming? After over a year of working from home, how will wellbeing be factored into staff and faculty success as global education programs begin to pick back up? What strategies would be helpful for offices who continue operating under a hybrid model to ensure effective student support? What support is in place for international students who are arriving on campus? For international students who will be participating remotely, how will their wellbeing be centered in their global education experience? How are we tailoring the message specifically for international students around health, wellness, and wellbeing to ensure they are supported and can be successful?



A special thank-you to members of the Diversity Abroad consortium for supporting thought leadership at the intersection of global education and diversity, equity, and inclusion.


Over the course of the last two years, the global community has navigated life-altering events that have happened both in rapid succession and simultaneously. These include the global pandemic resulting from COVID-19, social unrest as a result of racial injustice and police brutality, climate-related catastrophes, nationalist uprisings, and military invasions, just to name a few. And still, international educators and practitioners, and the field of higher education more broadly, are asked to press on in the daily activities of educating students and providing student and academic services. It is no wonder, then, that issues of mental wellbeing and health have drawn the attention of educators and administrators in a rather unprecedented way.

Institutions of higher education are looking more closely than they have in the past at their infrastructure and ability to provide adequate mental health and health care services to all students, and the results from such examinations have left much to be desired. Assessing these gaps in services is a critical step to identifying what resources institutions can bring to bear to respond to higher demand for mental health services and access to trained professionals. In our current global circumstances, it is vital that we recognize that students, faculty, and staff do not simply wear their professional and/or academic titles, they are human beings navigating emotional, social, and personal responses to the often overwhelming events taking place globally and in their communities.

It is with this in mind that we wanted to draw on the experiences of individuals and institutions responding to the issues of health, safety, and wellbeing in international education. We were eager to hear how practitioners and educators were thinking about how to respond to the crises that seem to surface daily. Importantly, we wanted to better understand the strategies the field has developed, informed by the last two years, that can help prepare us for the inevitable disruptive events that will arise in the future. In the subsequent articles, the authors help us apply theoretical frameworks from different disciplines to understand how racism and discrimination permeate our systems and processes; detail campus efforts to create spaces of healing and opportunities to listen to student voices; reframe how we can advise students to draw on their strengths; and outline strategies for how to embed health and wellbeing throughout international education opportunities.

It is important now more than ever to center student (and faculty and staff) wellbeing and health, and invest in restructuring our processes, policies, and procedure in a way that considers diversity, equity, and inclusion principles from the outset rather than as reactive measures. The field of international education has and continues to be significantly impacted by the events of the last two years; simultaneously, we are presented with a unique opportunity to rebuild our field with students, diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice at the forefront of our planning, just as the authors in this issue challenge us to do.

As you read the articles, if you are inspired to share how you or your office or organization is learning from the experiences of the last two years evolving to meet the needs student, faculty, and staff health and wellbeing, I invite you to submit a proposal to Global Inclusion 2022, Diversity Abroad’s annual conference, or reach out and share a best practice with us. We would love to hear from you. Please share your reflections and ideas with us at [email protected]. We also invite Diversity Abroad members to join the conversation on the online community forums.

Lily Lopez-Mcgee, PhD

Executive Director | Diversity Abroad


Editorial Board

The main task of the Editorial Advisory Board is to review article submissions for the Diversity Abroad Quarterly publication. While not a peer-reviewed academic journal, the Diversity Abroad Quarterly publication compiles articles to advance domestic and international conversations around diversity, inclusion, and equity in global education with respect to the thematic focus identified each quarter.

  • Shakeer A. Abdullah, Ph.D. - Clayton State University Vice President of Student Affairs
  • Erich Dietrich, Ph.D. - New York University Professor of Higher Education & International Education, NYU Steinhardt Associate Academic Director, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Community Programs, NYU Abu Dhabi
  • Paloma Rodriguez - University of Florida Director, Office of Global Learning
  • Vivian-Lee Nyitray, Ph.D. - UCEAP Associate Vice Provost and Executive Director

Table of Contents

  • Reframing International Health Insurance as Essential to Student Healthcare Access and Equity
  • Wellness & Wellbeing for Education Abroad: Holistic Support to Reduce Harm and Enhance Learning
  • Dueling Pandemics: Global Learning at the Crossroads of Racism and Public Health
  • Critical Race Theory Imperative for BIPOC Student Wellbeing in International Education
  • Supporting Diverse Students to Achieve Mental Wellness Abroad


Note: To access the articles, you must be logged in as a licensed member user. Once logged in, the list of articles will appear below.

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