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Safety Abroad


Travel Safety Resources

Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) 
State Department Travel Warnings
Center of Disease Control
NAFSA SAFETI
SASHAA

Money and Valuables

Students should take traveler's checks, cash, some host country currency (for use before you find somewhere to exchange money), and an ATM/debit card or a credit card with them. Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) are widely available in most large cities. When traveling to more remote areas, take local currency with you. Some debit cards and credit cards automatically have a restriction on international transactions. Check with your bank or credit card company before you depart and, if needed, have the restriction on international transactions removed.

Do not carry large amounts of cash around with you; carry traveler's checks and major credit cards instead. Keep your passport and money safe in a money belt or small purse that can be worn underneath your clothing. Wearing a purse on the outside highlights where you keep money and valuables; moreover, it can easily be cut or ripped from your shoulder. Many thieves will simply grab the bag and run, sometimes breaking arms in the process. If possible, don't carry a handbag at all. Wrapping rubber bands around your wallet can make it difficult for a pickpocket to remove.

Do not take valuable items on your trip. Guard carefully at all times your passport, visas, and other documents that you carry with you, and do not leave them in the outer flaps of your bags. It is better to have to dig for them the few times you will need them, than to leave them out for anyone to steal. Before leaving, make a copy of the identification page of your passport. Keep this copy separate from your passport and carry it with you at all times. If local law does not require you to keep your passport with you, carry only the photocopy of your passport when you are out and about.


Personal Safety

As you are preparing for your stay abroad, remember to make preparations for your personal safety as well. While abroad, you should take the same common-sense safety precautions that you would at home: be aware of your surroundings and keep your valuables concealed. Many travelers fall victim to crimes because it is assumed they are carrying cash, and in a foreign environment, they are often easy to distract. Be prudent when meeting strangers, and listen to safety advice from your program coordinator and local residents. Remember, most incidents happen when you are careless. If you should fall victim to crime, remember that your embassy is there to help you. Every embassy and consulate has a duty officer on-call around the clock to assist in an emergency.

 

When traveling:

Out on the Town:


Alcohol Abroad

In the United States, the official legal drinking age is 21--higher than it is in other countries. Attitudes towards alcohol consumption vary greatly from country to country. Whatever the local rules and customs, use moderation and good judgment, and remember that drinking may place you at risk because it reduces your awareness and ability to judge potential dangers. Excessive consumption of alcohol has been identified as the single greatest risk factor for study abroad participants.


Avoiding Sexual Assault

These suggestions have been adapted from a U.S. campus pamphlet on avoiding sexual assault. They contain common sense advice relating to personal safety in any country. We often let our guard down when we are with people we know. Unfortunately, most sexual assaults involve people who know each other. These tips can help you identify danger and protect yourself in any situation.

 

Basic Tools:

 

In Social Situations


Self Defense Tips

At home:

  • Always keep windows and doors locked. Never prop open doors or windows.
  • Do not let strangers into your room or apartment.
  • If you observe a suspicious person, notify the police immediately.
  • At night, close drapes, shades, or blinds.
  • Never give your home address to a stranger on the phone or over the Internet.
  • Be cautious about posting personal information on the Internet.
  • RAD class
  • Haven

While walking

  • Use a steady, confident pace.
  • Practice being aware of your surroundings.
  • Lower the volume or remove your headphones, so you can hear what is happening around you.
  • Carry your keys in your hand, so you can get into your car or home quickly. Keys can also serve as a defense weapon if you are attacked.
  • Wear comfortable shoes, and do not overload yourself with books or bags.

Excerpt taking from the International Student Exchange Program handbook


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