Columbia University

Global Travel

Traveler Feedback: Erin Giventer

Erin Giventer, GS ’17, values the support she received from International SOS (ISOS) for her back-to-back study abroad trips in Japan and Mexico.  

After learning about the service while planning her study abroad with the Office of Global Programs, Erin called ISOS to ask their advice. During that call she was able to speak to representatives in the health and safety departments for both of the trips she planned.

“The health coordinator went over all of the necessary pieces of information, including proper vaccines, ways to prepare for eating and drinking and what to do in an emergency on site,” Erin said. “The safety coordinator expressed surprise that I was traveling to Mexico, and was a bit adamant about precautions and gang/cartel violence awareness, but was still very clear and thorough once I explained that I was still planning on traveling there.”

Erin said the safety agent at ISOS also answered all of her questions about safe travel as a single female, particularly on public transportation.

“I never felt rushed or confused, and by the end of the conversation, I knew exactly who to contact, and in what kind of situation,” Erin said. “I was very satisfied with the service, and happily did not need to use them while abroad.”

Erin also appreciated the attentiveness of the agents she worked with at ISOS, saying they, “did not rush me, give me ‘stock answers’ or brush-off responses. They allowed me to ask my initial questions, and then more questions based on their responses.”

“Both agents asked me if I had any other needs before hanging up. They followed up within minutes, via, email, sending me the lists of local hospitals as I had asked,” she said. “I happen to have traveled domestically and abroad many times, but these qualities are even more important for a younger or less experienced student who might not be familiar with what type of information they even need to be gathering.”