Before you travel internationally, research safety issues in the specific locations you will be visiting by consulting U.S. State Department Travel Advisories on those locations, and register your trip with the State Department so that they can better assist you in the case of emergencies.
In case of an emergency please follow your program specific emergency guidelines.
Other safety tips:
- At all times carry a cell phone with pre-programmed emergency numbers and/or an emergency contact card, with phone numbers for program leaders and local emergency resources. Research backup means of communication for areas in which cell service is unavailable.
- Learn and follow local traffic rules and practices and to avoid dangerous modes of transportation, including mopeds and sub-standard buses. Travel accidents, whether as a pedestrian or driver/passenger, are one of the main sources of injuries and fatalities on study abroad programs. See the Department of State’s Resource for road safety overseas.
- To reduce the risk of becoming the victim of a crime, including sexual harassment and assault, avoid areas known to have a high incidence of crime and do not walk or travel alone, especially at night.
- Avoid excessive use of alcohol, which is associated with an increased risk of becoming the victim of a crime or accident.
- Learn basic terms related to safety and emergencies in the host country language, such as “help” and “police.”
- If you are in an area in which Americans are viewed negatively or as prime targets for crime, as much as possible dress and behave like a local.
- Note that loss arising from participation in high-risk activities such as scuba/skin diving, sky diving, hang gliding, bungee jumping is not likely to be covered by insurance.
Health and accident insurance resources: GeoBlue Global Health Insurance, UC Traveler Insurance Coverage, Extended Overseas Travel Coverage, Gap Coverage for Domestic Insurance, and Trip Cancellation Coverage.
Staying healthy while abroad requires following many of the same good habits needed for staying healthy at home—with additional precautions depending on your location.
Some countries have specific vaccination/immunization requirements that need to be fulfilled before departure. There may also be vaccinations that are recommended rather than required—sometimes based on the areas in the country you will be visiting.
If you are sexually active while abroad, please be aware that laws, cultural norms and risks related to sexual activity may vary widely, and it is important, to consider the context of your individual situation and assume a greater degree of caution.
Alcohol abuse and intoxication are a leading cause of injury and disruption on study abroad programs. The abuse of alcohol is often tied to becoming a victim of a violent crime or accident.
Living in a new culture can be exhilarating, rewarding, and stimulating. It can also be disorienting, frustrating and depressing. Such distress or “culture shock” is due to the twofold challenge of being in a new environment with unfamiliar customs, language, etc., and being away from home.
Travel to any part of the world, including within the United States, includes risk of natural disaster, terrorism, severe weather, criminal activity, disease, accident and injury.