Stay Safe While Studying Abroad
See below for health and safety information resources that you can use while abroad.
In an Emergency
See our webpage on Emergencies Abroad for more information.
For current news, safety bulletins and analysis view:
Medline Plus – National Institute of Health (NIH)
Road Safety Overseas – U.S. Department of State Country Specific Information
Building Safety Standards
Safety Tips from your Building Inspector – International Code Council
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Earthquakes – Federal Emergency Managment Agency (FEMA)
Crime and Safety
- Situational awareness – be aware of what is happening around you at all times.
- Trust your instincts – take immediate action to remove yourself from situations that feel unsafe or uncomfortable.
- Avoid behaviors and situations that put you at risk – if you consume alcohol and drugs, don’t walk alone, and never leave a club or get into a car with someone you don’t know.
Your Safety is Our Priority – U.S. Department of State
Country Specific Information – U.S. Department of State Country Specific Information
Friends and Family
While you are away, your friends and family will want to keep in touch with you. Managing communication expectations early with your loved ones will pay off during and after the program abroad. Be sure to tell your loved ones how often they can expect to hear from you and how often you will be available to talk with them. Before you leave, be sure to share your travel information and anticipated arrival time so your family and friends have an idea of when you will first be available to confirm your safe arrival.
Becoming romantically involved in an international context, whether with someone of another culture or your own, has a specific set of complications to consider. If you choose to date while you are away from home, you may find some of the following links useful. You may also want to research common sexually transmitted infection rates and types in your destination site. You can find STIs in every part of the world, but you may not be able to find condoms. Arm yourself with knowledge and be prepared.
Long Distance Communication
Communicating while abroad in a connected world – PDF from CIEE
Sexual Health Abroad
Safe sex and study abroad – from Healthy Travel Blog
Sexual Assault and Harassment
Sexual assault and harassment prevention links:
Behaviors to Watch For – SafeCampus
RAINN – Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network
Tips to Avoid Becoming a Victim of Sexual Assault – Australian Government
Drugs Abroad – U.S. Department of State
When you travel to a foreign country, you are subject to its laws and penalties. In most cases, the laws are common sense but, in other instances, they may be much more obscure (e.g. taking pictures of government buildings, purchasing antiquities, or collecting biological samples without permits). If you violate a law, the consequences may be more severe than for a comparable offense in the U.S. Lack of familiarity with local laws is not considered an excuse and will not absolve you from prosecution or sentencing. If you are arrested overseas, the U.S. Department of State can provide limited assistance and support.
For more information view:
Local Laws – U.S. Department of State
Whether you are passionate about the cause or a curious observer, do not attend any political demonstrations while abroad. As we have seen in the U.S., not only do these events have the potential to escalate from peaceful gatherings to violent clashes with police and government forces, but with your status as a foreigner, your participation may also be illegal and can carry severe consequences. U.S. students abroad have been arrested, detained, subjected to fines and jail sentences, and forcefully deported due to their real or perceived involvement in demonstrations. If you know of a scheduled rally or demonstration, avoid the affected area of the city. If you come into contact with a demonstration by chance, adjust your route and leave the area.