In the thrill and excitement of being in another culture, it is important for participants to stay aware of their surroundings and take precautions. Participants should avoid potentially risky behavior while abroad, which can include drinking, traveling alone at night, attracting unwanted attention, etc. Understanding culturally appropriate behaviors can go a long way in ensuring one's safety and security while abroad.
Please take some time to watch the YouTube series called Health and Safety Abroad which was created by HTH Worldwide. The series covers how to address, avoid or manage certain issues such as alcohol, prescription drugs, illegal drugs, mental illness, chronic illness, STDs, jet lag, traveler's diarrhea, sun exposure, malaria, motion sickness, water hazards, altitude sickness and security. If participants are traveling to a remote location, it is also important to read the Staying Healthy and Safe in Remote Locations brochure.
Staying Healthy and Safe
Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. U.S. citizens should sign up for the free Smart Traveler Enrollment Program at https://travelregistration.state.gov. This will help the Department of State contact you if there is a family emergency in the U.S., or if there is a crisis where you are traveling. In accordance with the Privacy Act, information will not be released to others without express authorization.
Emergency Contact Information Card. It is prudent for participants to carry an Emergency Contact Information Card at all times. Be sure to include local emergency contact information, the contact information of the on-site staff, and any other essential information in case of an emergency. If necessary, the information should also be noted in the local language.
Personal Travel. Part of an experience abroad is engaging in the local culture. Participants are encouraged to be open to new experiences but also not to let down their guard. Telephone numbers, addresses, and other personal information should not be given to strangers. When traveling alone or in small groups, participants should leave their itinerary with the program leader, site leader, or another trusted individual. Any valuables should be left at home. Do not leave unattended luggage in public areas, and do not accept packages from strangers.
Clothing and Style. To avoid being a target of crime, participants should not wear conspicuous clothing or jewelry or carry excessive amounts of money. Wearing clothing without insignia can help one blend in with the local population. Standing out as an American could invite anti-American sentiment in some locations. Participants should stay aware of the attitudes, dress, and behavior of the local population in order avoid drawing unwanted attention.
Drinking. Some of the most common problems occurring among education abroad participants are linked to alcohol consumption. Drinking excessively can lead to a loss of control resulting in theft, assault, and unsafe sexual contact. Excessive drinking can also lead to entanglements with local authorities, a violation of host institution rules and policies, and can have repercussions at UK.
Sexual Health. Whatever decisions you make about sexual behavior while abroad, it is important to make smart and healthy decisions. Please review this booklet, Sexual Health Abroad: A Guide to Healthy Practices During Education Abroad.
What to do in an emergency
In the event of an emergency while abroad, first contact the appropriate local authorities. Then, contact the program director or UK faculty member for guidance. If immediate contact with UK is needed, direct your call to the University of Kentucky Police, who will relay your call to the appropriate individuals in the Office of International Center. Support with health-related emergencies can also be sought by contacting HTH Worldwide Insurance.
Consular personnel at U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad and in the U.S. are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to provide emergency assistance to U.S. citizens. Contact information for U.S. Embassies and Consulates appears on the Bureau of Consular Affairs website at http://travel.state.gov. Also note that the Office of Overseas Citizen Services in the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs may be reached for assistance with emergencies at 1-888-407-4747, if calling from the U.S. or Canada, or 202-501-4444, if calling from overseas.
Faculty members may electronically submit the Education Abroad Incident Report Form in order to quickly inform the EA staff of incidents on-site that may require attention.
Helpful phone numbers:
University of Kentucky Police
Tel: (859) 257-8573
HTH Worldwide Insurance
Tel: (800) 257-4823 or (610) 254-8771, if outside the U.S.
Main Phone Line, UK Education Abroad
Tel: (859) 257-4067
Dr. Anthony Ogden, Director, Education Abroad
Cell: (814) 574-0120
Note: Calls from abroad require that the U.S. country code be entered before the local area code. In most countries, the code is 001. For example, for the UK Education Abroad main office line, dial 001-859-257-4067.