During my 25 years of service as a Special Agent of the FBI working within the United States and abroad, an issue regularly brought to my attention was one of concern for American students studying abroad. No matter where I was or what I was doing, when I met parents of study abroad students, I wanted to help them. You could see the anxiety on their faces and hear it in their voices. Rightfully so, these parents were worried about their child’s well-being while being thousands of miles away. They were full of questions they wanted answered, and they had what seemed to be a simple request. They wanted an in-country point of contact who knew law enforcement and embassy protocols within that country. They wanted to feel like they weren’t helpless during their child’s study abroad experience. They wanted someone who could assist them or their child if anything were to happen and someone who could give them advice or guidance before or during the travel experience. I knew exactly what they wanted as a tenured law enforcement official, but more importantly, I knew exactly what they wanted as the father of three children – one of whom is set to travel and study abroad this fall.
As fate would have it, Salus Security Services was launched just in time for my own daughter’s study abroad experience. Along with two senior overseas FBI colleagues, my brother and I founded Salus Security Services, an independent security advisory firm for U.S. students abroad. The firm proudly advises and assists students and their families with a variety of security-related issues — with points of contact both here in the United States and on the ground in the student’s country of study. Our in-country experts are former senior U.S. security and FBI Legal Attachés whose work required strong in-country relationships and comprehensive knowledge of local law enforcement, U.S. Embassy and State Department protocol. Our experts are also fluent in the language of the country in which they serve. Our in-country experts are a resource our clients can rely on to help prepare students for their travel and to help navigate a variety of emergency situations should they occur. Salus seeks to address the question “What would happen if… ?”
In the world we live in today, we as parents have 24/7 access to our kids through the use of technology. However, their smartphones cannot guide them in the event of an emergency while thousands of miles away from home. Our in-country security experts can! We’ve launched Salus in the two most popular countries for American study abroad programs, Spain and Italy. France, Germany and the UK are soon to follow. Joining the Salus network gives a student and his/her family instant round-the-clock personal and electronic access to their in-country Point of Contact (PoC). We also hope it gives parents something they truly deserve — peace of mind for them and their child in a changing world!
Carlos J. Barron
Salus Security Services