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“The ACE in Place program was an amazing opportunity for my daughter to experience the Vietnamese culture, develop her leadership skills and make lifelong friendships. My hope is that she will one day get to travel to Vietnam and experience their customs and traditions firsthand.”

Kristin Simmons, Mother of a Duke #ACEinPlace athlete (Summer 2021)

Preparation and Safety

Online pre-departure training

Before traveling with ACE, all ACE participants are required to complete a series of online pre-departure training modules. Several of these modules 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) meetings

  • 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).
  • Student-athletes 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.
  • Duke and Stanford participants on each program do not meet physically together before the program, but there is one virtual call arranged for the whole group to meet and go over final logistical details before departing.

International SOS (ISOS) app

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.

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.


Recommended vaccinations and medications vary by program location and year. However, as part of any ACE program, all student-athletes are required to visit Duke Student Health/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.

In general, most dietary restrictions and preferences can be accommodated. The “Housing and Meals” section of each program profile outlines program-specific food options and examples of typical meals.

If you have additional concerns not outlined within the program profile, please have your student-athlete contact the ACE office to discuss whether or not specific dietary needs can be reasonably accommodated at a program site.

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.


While students are permitted to bring their own cell phone, camera, laptop, etc. to the program, ACE is not liable for any damaged, 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.

Cell phone

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.

Program-specific means of communication

To find out more about communication resources available at each program site, please visit the program profile page to learn more.

To learn more about a specific program’s central service projects, typical daily schedule, cultural enrichment activities, and training opportunities, read the “Program Details” sections within the program profile of your student-athlete’s program site.

If you’d like to stay updated on what your student-athlete and other ACE participants are doing during their ACE experience, follow us onInstagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Each ACE participant is also asked to share reflections on their experiences via the ACE program blog. Read student-athlete reflection blogs from previous summers.

Again, we also 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.


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.