Health and Safety
In choosing to study abroad, you have demonstrated that you are a risk taker of the very best kind. We here in the OCSE hope that you’ll continue to challenge yourself and take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves to you while abroad. Your safety and security are always important when traveling and living overseas. Although we hope that during your time abroad you will not have to concern yourself with global crisis, we know that the world situation is constantly changing. Therefore, we offer the following safety precautions for Americans studying abroad. These precautions make good sense at all times; however, they are even more critical during any time of conflict. In addition to these guidelines, please rely on your on-site support staff to guide you as needed.
- Avoid traveling in large groups and always check the Department of State web site before traveling outside of your host country.
- Avoid speaking English in public if that is not the native language of the country you are visiting.
- Do not stand out by wearing typically American clothing (college sweatshirts, clothes with American symbols, shorts, etc.); try to dress as the locals do.
- Avoid highly trafficked tourist attractions and American establishments such as fast food chains and typically American bars.
- Be aware that anti-American sentiments do exist and do not get drawn into arguments. Avoid all conflicts.
- Be constantly aware of your surroundings and those around you. Remove yourself immediately from situations you suspect may be dangerous.
- Use caution when talking about yourself and other members of your program. Do not offer information freely regarding your program or anything that might link you to an American organization.
- Communicate regularly with your family in the States and with the school sponsoring your program overseas.
- Register yourself at the local United States Consulate or Embassy and know how to contact them in an emergency.
- If you travel away from your program site, leave a detailed itinerary with your family and an official from your program. Be sure to stick with your itinerary.
- Formulate a plan for what you will do in an emergency. Know the direct numbers of whomever is supervising your program abroad.
Remember that your health and safety are your responsibility. Pay attention to your surroundings, keep your head on straight, and don’t place yourself in situations that could be potentially dangerous. Above all, remember to use common sense. Pay attention to the advice from your program director or sponsor. If s/he recommends that you not travel alone or in a particular part of the country, pay attention. Any restrictions on travel are only made with your safety in mind.