WDAY: The News Leader

Published January 15, 2014, 11:24 PM

An App that may keep you safe when studying abroad

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - More than likely you know someone who has spent a semester abroad.

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - More than likely you know someone who has spent a semester abroad.

For a Minnesota family - the adventure of a lifetime ended in the death of their 16 year old son, while in Japan.

While overseas in 2007, Tyler Hill suffered from extreme altitude sickness while hiking Mount Fuji.

He dialed 911 to get help, unaware that it's an emergency number unique to the United States.

The Hill family has since founded "Clear Cause Foundation" in hopes of keeping students safe while traveling.

And they created "A Student Abroad Preparedness Plan" App - downloadable, for free.

The app can link to facebook, has GPS, and can even alert your contacts something is wrong with the push of a button.

"this photo was taken at Cambridge University"

Kjerstin Engebretson is just one of 125 or so Cobbers traveling abroad each semester.

Kjerstin Engebretson/Has Studied Abroad: "You definitely have to take responsibility for yourself."

Her latest trip - took her to London.

Engebretson: "On my smart phone I use apps all of the time."

Engebretson says she is big on technology - from Face Timing to Facebooking.

While she says she'd give the Student Abroad Preparedness Plan" App a chance - - she isn't alone in thinking it may NOT be fool proof.

Dr. Per Anderson/Assoc. Dean for Global Learning: "We're sending them to places that we think provide real access to real people and engage the culture and that doesn't always mean technology goes with that."

Engebretson: "I'm a huge travel enthusiast. Its something that I want to do for the rest of my life, it's always been there."

But with it can come risks - like personal safety.

"Trying to focus on prevention...."

Something the college doesn't take lightly. Students must fill out these emergency information cards - containing key numbers.

"emergency care, public safety, they know how to reach their supervisors, their host families."

The college calls it their form of an "app" to keeping students safety in check.

Currently the app works in 18 countries.

For more information we've set up a link to "ClearCause Foundation" on our website at