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Safety Tips

Traveler Health and Safety Tips and Resources 

Safety for students abroad is carefully monitored by Samford faculty leaders on-site as well as staff in the Global Engagement Office. Before going abroad, students are required to attend a health and safety orientation. Samford Abroad works with students during the pre-departure process to prepare them for what to expect while abroad. While abroad, on-site directors offer orientations to help students understand any risks specific to the area where they are studying abroad. Faculty and on-site staff are available to help students seek care in the event of a medical emergency. Should a student ever feel unsafe while abroad, he or she should immediately speak with the faculty director or on-site staff. 

General Safety Tips 

Students abroad should take the same precautions they would take in any large, unfamiliar U.S. city they are not familiar with: 
  • Don't travel alone, especially at night or on long journeys. Always let people know where you are going and when you will be back. Be aware of your surroundings. 
  • Be careful with money in public just as you would be in this country. Don’t flash cash around. 
  • Become a professional people watcher. Watching local residents and their habits is your best guide to safe behavior. The less you stand out the safer you will be. Don’t carry your American backpack around the city. 
  • It is extremely important to safeguard your passport. You should purchase a cross body bag with an inner pocket or a lock for your backpack.  Never carry it in your back pocket outer pocket of any bag. 
  • Always take official taxis. If meters are used in taxis in your destination country, be sure you tell the driver that you would like them to use the meter. If meters are not used, always?agree on the fare before you get in. 
  • Avoid areas with public demonstrations or any kind of civil disturbances. These events can escalate without notice and lead to arrests and injury. Remember that you are subject to their laws and are not protected by U.S. laws. 
  • Make two (2) photocopies of your passport ID page, airlines tickets, and credit cards. Leave one copy at home. Bring the second copy with you in case something gets lost or stolen abroad. Bring extra passport size photos for student ID’s abroad, a replacement passport if needed, or for obtaining a visa abroad. 
  • If anything is lost or stolen report it to the local police. Keep a copy of the police report for insurance purposes or in case you need to replace your passport or student visa. Report the loss of travelers check to the nearest issuing office; passport to both the local police and then to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to apply for a new one; airline tickets to airline or travel agent. 
  • Samford Abroad does not support any swimming activity when a lifeguard is not present. Swimming in unfamiliar conditions is extremely risky. In fact, swimming in very polluted waters can also expose travelers to serious infectious diseases. If there is no lifeguard on duty, Do Not Go In The Water! 
  • Before going to another country, check the country’s travel advisories and read safety, health, and travel recommendations for your destination. The State Department SMART travel section is very useful.  

Important Contact Information 
  • As a precautionary measure, keep emergency contact numbers of various family members in one place (such as in your phone and at the end of the Study Abroad Handbook) so that you can access them quickly.  
  • Program the local emergency number in your phone and know how to make calls from abroad:
  • Keep contact information for your host family or roommates, program/resident director, and the GEO.  
  • Give a relative and/or friend a copy of your travel itinerary and contact information.  
  • If you are traveling over weekends or breaks, be sure your cell phone will work where you are traveling and keep it with you always - fully charged and turned on.  
  • Have GPS tracking on for the AlertTraveler app.  
  • Respond to any calls, text, or AlertTraveler check-in requests immediately.