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Eileen Richardson -- Mother of a Stanford #ACEathlete in China (Summer 2017)

“ACE is a truly wonderful opportunity for student-athletes to be introduced to unique cultures, especially since an entire quarter abroad may not be possible.”


Online Pre-departure Training

All ACE participants are required to complete a series of online training modules, several of which focus on health and safety. We expect students to review these modules carefully in order to best prepare themselves for a successful summer experience.

pACE (Preparing for ACE)

All ACE participants attend one on-campus pre-departure training session together, which covers general and site-specific health and safety training information. Training topics are designed to alert students to possible risks and encourage them to make wise decisions. The all-ACE preparation meeting (pACE) is held in April (at Duke) and May (at Stanford). In addition, students meet once with their ACE program teammates and on-site program staff to go over details unique to their program including health, safety, cultural knowledge, packing lists, and service project plans. While the Duke and Stanford participants on each program do not meet physically together before the program, there is one virtual call arranged for the whole group to meet and go over final logistical details before departing.

Emergency Contact Card

A laminated, wallet-sized emergency contact card, which includes Duke and Stanford’s ISOS membership numbers and the SOS alarm center phone numbers, is provided to each student at the all-ACE preparation meeting (pACE) held in April (at Duke) and May (at Stanford) — and to their parents/guardians soon thereafter via email. The flip side of the card includes the ACE emergency hotline which is staffed 24/7 throughout the summer. This card should be carried by students at all times during their ACE experience.

International SOS

Duke and Stanford contract with International SOS (ISOS), a medical and travel security assistance company, to provide worldwide assistance and evacuation services to protect our students who study and pursue service work overseas. Services provided by ISOS range from telephone advice and referrals for everyday issues to evacuation by private air ambulance in the event of a health emergency. The SOS network of multilingual specialists operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year from Alarm Centers around the world. The coverage is designed to supplement the policies, procedures and support staff, which Duke and Stanford already have in place. For more information about the services provided by ISOS, please consult Duke Travel Assistance and Stanford International Travel Assistance.

Download the ISOS Assistance App to stay up-to-date with travel security analysis and medical information.

Mother of a Stanford #ACEathlete in Vietnam (Summer 2017)

“I still notice Allie talking to the kids and fellow teachers she met on the trip. It’s pretty incredible how strong connections can be after just three weeks.”


All participants in the ACE program are required to have health insurance. This insurance must be valid at least through the beginning of the next academic school year.

As part of the ACE program, students are required to visit Duke Student Health and Vaden Health Center at Stanford for a pre-travel health visit which includes recommended vaccinations and travel prescriptions. These pre-departure travel medicine costs are included as part of the ACE program; however, the cost of any medical care during or post-program is solely the responsibility of the student.


Every ACE participant will be provided with a simple cell phone for the duration of their program. Participants will receive their phones once they land in-country. Each student is responsible for keeping the phone on and with them at all times. The phone will come with a small amount of calling credit, and students may use the phone for personal calls and texts as they like but are responsible for maintaining enough credit on the phone for making/receiving emergency calls from program staff.

All ACE participants will have some internet access throughout the program; however, please be aware that internet service may be more limited and slower than what students may be used to at home or on-campus.

While students are permitted to bring their own cell phone, camera, laptop, etc. to the program, ACE is not liable for any damage, lost, or stolen items during the program.

We encourage students to talk with their family before departure to agree on a personal communication plan – how often students will check in, by what means, etc. Though it is relatively simple to stay in touch with friends and family in all the programs, ACE encourages minimizing the time spent on electronic devices and social media.

To find out more about communications in each program, please visit the program profile page to learn more:

Jackie Gehsmann -- Mother of a Duke #ACEathlete in Vietnam (Summer 2017)

“I was initially concerned with the distance and all the logistics involved with actually getting to Vietnam – what to pack, would he have enough food, would they be safe – but everything was thoroughly planned and extremely well-organized. Everything went very smoothly. It was an incredible experience for these student athletes in so many ways – from having to hand-wash their laundry to teaching children who did not know any English. They created life-long friendships with other student-athletes, Vietnamese college students, and the 8th- and 9th-graders they worked with. The students even FaceTimed Kevin the day he got home. A civic engagement program like this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience what another part of the world is like – what the people are like, what they do for a living, what their goals are, etc. Kevin gained so much more through ACE than we would have ever thought possible.”


As part of the program, ACE participants are provided and booked with a simple, round-trip airline ticket to their program site from an origination city of their choice.  Learn more about booking flights and other helpful travel FAQs.

Keith Hinkle -- Father of a Duke #ACEathlete in South Africa (Summer 2017)

“This was a tremendous opportunity for these student-athletes to experience another culture, give back to the community, and develop leadership skills.”