Case Study of Rip Current Knowledge amongst Students Participating in a Study Abroad Program
Keywords:Rip current, Study abroad, Student safety, Natural hazard
Students studying abroad or participating in a foreign exchange often visit a beach during their time abroad, but little is known about their understanding of rip currents and other surf hazards, their behavior, their choices, or if they take precautions when visiting a beach. This study describes the results of a survey of Texas A&M University students who completed a study abroad program between May 2013 and May 2015. Results of the survey suggest that a majority of the students surveyed (~74%) visited at least one beach during their time abroad, and over 50% of students visited more than 2 beaches. The visit to the beach was optional for most of the respondents and most went as part of a group. Decisions about the beaches visited tended to be based on convenience and recommendations from other students, tourists, or locals, and were rarely based on safety. Results of this preliminary study point to a need for implementing proactive beach safety education programs for students studying abroad.
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