Throughout the study abroad experience, students can have a major impact on your own health and safety through the decisions you make before and during your program and by your day-to-day choices and behaviors.
It is important to apply the same common sense while traveling overseas, as you would at home.
- Remain in regular contact with your family, friends, and contacts at both your home and host university. Inform others of your whereabouts and welfare so they can update others if necessary.
- Create and carry a list of emergency phone numbers with you at all times. Know how to reach a doctor, a hospital or clinic, and the police in the country in which you are traveling.
- Pay attention to warnings and follow the directives issued by local program administrators regarding safety and security issues.
- Stay updated and informed on news and current events around the world. Get your news from more than one source (preferably from both U.S. and foreign media sources).
- Make copies of your passport, other forms of identification, and travel documents and leave copies in a safe place while you are away.
- Avoid poorly lit places and walking alone. Stick to well-traveled streets and try to walk in groups at night. Students should be especially cautious when in a new city and not yet sure what parts of town may be less safe.
- Do no leave your bags unattended.
- Be aware that dating norms and gender roles may be different in your host culture.
- Use alcohol sparingly and be aware that drinking may increase your vulnerability to crime. Drink responsibly!
- Be on the offensive, rather than the defensive. Be aware of the surroundings.
- Avoid political demonstrations, large crowds and gatherings.
- Integrate into the host culture as much as possible, including: clothing, mannerisms, language.
- Have sufficient funds and/or a credit card on hand for emergencies.
- Avoid substance abuse of all kinds.
Please know that your safety is ultimately your responsibility. Saint Louis University would like to assure that students feel prepared and equipped with the knowledge necessary to make wise decisions while abroad. If you would like additional information on safety and security abroad, please contact the Office of International Services.