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Study Abroad Guide
FAQs About Study Abroad
Selecting the Right Study Abroad Program
Study Abroad Pre-Departure Guide
During the Study Abroad Program
Health Issues Abroad
Safety and Security
Women's Issues Abroad
Minorities Abroad
Legal Matters
Managing Your Money
Cultural Adjustment
Culture Shock
Intercultural Communication
Alcohol Use Abroad
What it Means to be 'American'
Handling Anti-American Criticism
Returning Home from Study Abroad
Study Abroad Resources
Student Testimonials

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Safety and Security

You might find the location you choose to study abroad at to be very different from your home campus. You may not even be on a university campus, and it is very easy to perceive that your new environment is much more dangerous. This perception is heightened by international media coverage of violent incidents in other countries. On the other hand, you may become naive to the true security nature of your new environment; traveling may give you a new sense of freedom and a false sense of security. It is very important to be aware of the environment and take necessary measures to ensure your safety.

No matter how safe your campus and community appears to be, you should acquaint yourself with your new environment. Most study abroad programs hold an orientation sessions at the host location and it is highly advisable to attend and pay attention.
  • Explore your new neighborhood and campus during the day and become familiar with areas around you
  • Ask fellow students or staff members about areas you should avoid at night
  • Always carry the address and telephone number of your new home with you until you have memorized them
  • Become familiar with the common laws and customs of the host country
Be cautious

Exercise the same precautions you would in any U.S. city. Do not walk alone at night. It is better to call a taxi or walk with a friend. Never carry large amounts of cash! Use concealed money belts or a concealed purse for your passport, visa, money, credit cards and other documents. Don't leave your luggage unattended.

Stay informed

Stay well informed about local and regional news and conditions. Read newspapers with international coverage of local issues. In some countries, anti-Americanism requires that U.S. students be extra prudent and cautious. Check the U.S. State Department Travel Advisories regularly:

Keep in contact with home

Your parents and friends will have concerns while you are away. Please keep in contact with them on a regular basis and let them know how you are. Also if you plan to travel during your stay, leave your itinerary with the local program directors and with your family.

Be alert

Be aware of your surroundings, including unknown individuals "hanging out" in your building or any strange activity nearby. Be careful who you give access to your room or apartment.

Take precautions

Take the same precautions you would at home. Do not give out your name or address to unknown people. Know where the nearest police station and hospital is, and keep emergency numbers handy. Do not go into unsafe or unknown areas alone after dark.