Traveling abroad, especially with close friends and classmates, is a very exciting opportunity. For those who have not been outside the U.S., it also can be overwhelming to experience different social norms and safety concerns. Whether visiting our neighbor Canada or heading overseas, it’s important to remember that you are representing not only yourself, but also your instructor, peers, school and country!
- Carry and publicly show large amounts of money, or exchange currency at places that do not appear safe and secure.
- Walk with a purse or bag loosely over one shoulder. Instead, carry it diagonally facing the inside of the group or friend next to you. If you have a backpack, the safest place for it is on your chest when in a large crowd. Of course, NEVER leave these items unattended.
- Go to places not listed on your itinerary (unless specified by your instructor or chaperone). Stay clear of isolated or dimly lit areas especially in the evening. Curfews are in place for a reason.
- Mock or poke fun of the culture and people around you. You are a guest and should remember to “treat people the way you want to be treated.”
- Be aware of your surroundings. If anyone or thing looks suspicious, notify your chaperone or instructor.
- Only carry as much cash as is needed. If using traveler checks, give the larger amount to a chaperone for safe keeping.
- Lock up valuables.
- Memorize your passport number. You should also have a copy of your passport stored in another location. If it becomes lost or stolen, knowing your number will speed up replacement.
- Memorize your credit card number (if you are given one) and important phone numbers to call in case your card is lost or stolen. Make copies and leave the list at home.
- Dress appropriately for a destination; blending in with the locals makes you less of a target for those in search of obvious tourists.
- Follow the buddy system. Always have a friend or group with you. There is safety in numbers!
- Have FUN! Make the most of your experience by staying off your electronic devices. Soak in as much of your experience as you can.
If students respect, listen and act responsibly along with these tips, your student group is bound to have a successful and exciting trip abroad!