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Safety and Security

Health, Safety & Insurance

Going to another country may affect your health in some way. To prepare for this, we recommend that you bring any prescription or over-the-counter medications that you normally use (and some you usually do not use, such as traveler's diarrhea medicine), and an extra pair of glasses or contact lenses. Also bring a copy of the prescriptions for the medicines that you will be bringing. If you will be abroad for a long time and will need to fill a prescription, be sure to have the generic/scientific name of the drug written on it. The web page of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) can give you a general idea of the vaccination recommendations and general health precautions for the countries to which you may be traveling.

It is also wise to purchase supplemental travel insurance (which is not included in most policies) that includes benefits for medical evacuation. International Education/Programs or the Program Director will assist you with the purchase of this type of insurance.

Staying safe and avoiding crime in a foreign country is easy if you use common sense. Follow the laws of the country you will be visiting. Realize that the legal system in many countries is not like that of the U.S. - innocent until proven guilty, but rather, guilty until proven innocent. Therefore, you would do best to avoid anything that has the vaguest possibility of being illegal.

Listen carefully to the advice of your program director and read orientation materials carefully. Buy a tour guide book for the countries you will be visiting and read up on their recommendations. In many countries, street crime such as pick pocketing is much more common than in the U.S., and tourists are targeted. Do your best not to dress like a tourist and, whenever possible, avoid locations where many tourists gather. Use a money belt or neck pouch under your shirt to carry your money and passport and never let your guard down. Carry little cash, cashing traveler's checks only when necessary, and leave an emergency credit card at home. When using traveler's checks, keep the stubs separate from the checks and keep track of which checks you have used. Leave copies of the stubs at home as well. Take a photocopy of your passport and put it in a safe place apart from your passport. Do not carry a wallet in your back pocket and never in a backpack. Never pull out large sums of money in public. In crowds be aware of your body and do not let yourself get surrounded by questionable people, even if they are children. For more information on safety abroad and general travel advice, see the U.S. State Department's web page Tips for Students Abroad.