Staying Safe Abroad
DeSales University monitors the international situation very carefully. However, students have the ultimate responsibility for personal safety. You are required to leave contact information while abroad, the name and contact information for an on-site coordinator at your host institution, and emergency contact information for added safety.
Some people assume a kind of carefree "vacation" mentality when they go abroad. It is important to not let your guard down just because you are doing something new and different. It is also important to keep your guard up for the entirety of your trip. As you become more comfortable in your host country you should always remain cautious and vigilant.
Know and Abide by Local Laws
Laws vary from country to country and ignorance is not an excuse. Know the laws of your host country and abide by them. Legal protection can easily be taken for granted in the United States. In most countries, the principle of "innocent until proven guilty" does not exist and bail may not be a possibility.
American Embassies & Consulates
Should you encounter an emergency, American Embassies and/or Consulates can offer limited assistance. Know where the nearest one is located. The American Embassies and Consulates will also have the most pertinent information about how to stay safe in the place where you will be living be sure to ask their advice. Stay in touch with them, especially if there is some kind of crisis, and register for the Department of State STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.)
Check for any travel warnings posted by the US government. Also follow the local and international news to be prepared for any situations that could affect your safety.
Let people know where you are
Any time you leave your program site, call your on-site coordinator, your classmates, your host family (if you will have one) and your parents. Tell them where you are going, where you will stay, and when you will return.
Guard your passport. Loss or theft of a passport should be reported immediately to the Department of State in Washington, the nearest US consulate or embassy, local police and your on-site coordinator.
Note: You may want to ask at least one family member to get a passport now so they would not be delayed in coming to see you overseas, should that be necessary.
At some program sites, female participants may have difficulty with the attitudes of the local men (or women) they encounter, in both public and private interactions. Making an effort to learn the unwritten rules about interpersonal communication in your host country will help you understand what behaviors are and are not safe or appropriate--for you or for others.
The following links contain helpful information related to health, safety and travel:
- U.S. State Department, Bureau of Consular Affairs
Travel advisories, consular information sheets, and public announcements.
- U.S. State Department, Travel Warnings
DeSales University will not send students to countries currently under a travel warning.
- U.S. State Department
Services and information for Americans Abroad.
- Center for Disease Control (CDC)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recognized as the lead federal agency for protecting the health and safety of people - at home and abroad, providing credible information to enhance health decisions, and promoting health through strong partnerships.
- Emergency Telephone Numbers
List of emergency numbers throughout the world.
- USC SAFETI (Safety Abroad First - Educational Travel Information) Clearinghouse
Part of the Center for Global Education at the University of Southern California, SAFETI Clearinghouse provides resources for study abroad, emphasizing health and safety issues.
- SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) Resources
- NAFSA: Association of International Educators
- Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Travel Advisories, country profiles, etc.
- British Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Travel advisories, country profiles, etc. (Click on 'Travel' under 'Service').
- It's Your World, the StudyAbroad.com Handbook
Advice for students abroad, by Bill Hoffa.
- USA.gov Tips on how to fly safely, restrictions and allowances for luggage, and other helpful tips.
- CIA World Fact Book Country Specific Information from the Central Intelligence Agency.
- U.S. Travel Insurance Association - UStiA is an association of organizations within the travel insurance industry that promote fairness, integrity and a commitment to excellence. MEDEX is a charter UStiA member.
- Time Around the World
- Currency Information
- Teleadapt - Resource for International Modem Connectivity
- Hot Spots - A concise summary and analysis of current security, aviation and international travel-related news from around the world.
- The Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) - Established in 1985 by the U.S. Department of State to foster the exchange of security related information between the U.S. Government and American private sector operating abroad.
- US Embassy Information
- Foreign Embassy Information
- Diplomatic Glossary - Dictionary of commonly used words, abbreviations, terms and phrases. Compiled using: Overseas Briefing Center, Foreign Service Institute. Protocol for the Modern Diplomat. US Department of State: Washington, DC.
- United Nations - Official homepage of the United Nations-includes member profiles, issues and extensive resources for current international events
- American Foreign Service Association - Detailed guide of foreign service missions, activities, members and other international public resources
- Governments on the WWW - A comprehensive database of governmental institutions on the Internet containing more than 17,000 entries from more than 220 countries and territories
- Pack for a Purpose - Make a difference in the lives of children around the world. Use available space in your luggage to provide supplies to the communities you visit.