Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

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Safety Issues

Safety Issues

General Information
Personal safety requires that you pay careful attention to your surroundings and act accordingly.  Whether you are an experienced traveler or this is your first time abroad, keep in mind that your on-site program staff will have many years’ experience working with American students in your host country.  Listen to suggestions and advice from Resident Directors and on-site staff.  Safety will be everyone’s concern.

Fordham students enrolled in study abroad programs are expected to comply at all times with the University Code of Conduct and all other rules, regulations and policies contained in the Student Handbook and other University publications.  They are also expected to conform to the rules, policies, and standards of their host institution and program.

Learning to respect others and to form friendships is a fringe benefit of study abroad programs. Each student is expected to respect the rights, opinions and integrity of others.

It is important that you pay particular attention to the acceptable norms of conduct in your host country and abide by those standards. Under most circumstances simple honesty, courtesy, restraint and respect for the law are usually sufficient guides for proper conduct anywhere.

Legal Issues
American students living abroad are expected to follow local and national laws.  In most countries, these are not unlike the laws governing the US, and a law-abiding student has nothing to fear.  Law enforcement and court procedure, however, may differ sharply.  You must be prepared to assume responsibility for your actions.  If you do have difficulties with the authorities, remember that you are subject to local laws.  We call your attention especially to the following:

Drugs are governed by harsh penalties and strict enforcement.  If you are caught with either soft or hard drugs abroad, you are subject to local, not US, laws and constitutional rights.  Penalties for possession or trafficking are often the same.  If you are convicted, you face the possibility of expulsion from your study abroad program, a stiff fine and/or a jail sentence.

As a guest in a foreign country, it is inappropriate for you to interfere in the domestic affairs of the host university or country.  Involvement in demonstrations or meetings which host country university or governmental authorities declare illegal may result in interruption of your academic schedule, personal injury, and open manifestations of hostility and violence to yourself and other students (either as random targets or as representatives of the United States).  Furthermore, it could jeopardize the present or future existence of study abroad programs in the host country and/or on the campus of your host university.

Safety Recommendations
The safety of students is vitally important to us.  Our offices regularly monitor U.S. Consular advice as well as State Department travel advisories.  Evacuation of students participating in study-abroad programs has been rare and would likely not occur unless recommended or required by either the U.S. Embassy or the U.S. State Department.  What can you do to ensure your safety while living and traveling abroad?

Be alert
+ Be aware of your surroundings and the people with whom you have contact.
+ Be wary of people who seem overly friendly or interested in you.
+ Be cautious about giving out your address or phone number to new acquaintances.
+ Learn which areas should be avoided.  If you find yourself in uncomfortable surroundings, act confident and get out as soon as possible.

Avoid theft
+ Keep valuable items in a safe place, if you must bring them at all.
+ Don’t keep all of your documents and money in one suitcase or location on your person.
+ Don’t flash large amounts of money: carry and use small bills whenever possible.
+ Be discrete in displaying your passport—do so only when necessary and avoid doing so in public places.
+ Avoid situations and locations popularly identified with tourists/Americans.
+ Use extra caution when traveling or going out alone, especially at night.
+ NEVER leave your bags unattended (even briefly!) in an airport, bus or train station.

Be prepared for an emergency
+ Have phone numbers of your program contacts handy at all times.
+ Know how to reach a doctor/hospital/clinic and the police in the country in which you are studying and/or traveling.
+ Have sufficient funds or a credit card on hand for emergencies.
+ Always carry enough local currency to take a taxi home or to make a phone call (phones in some countries do not accept coins, and you may need to use a phone card).

Stay in touch
+ Maintain regular communication with your parents.  Keep in mind that during a crisis, phone communication may be unreliable. Consider setting up an alternative method of communicating with your family, such as e-mail.
+ Maintain regular communication with your on-site program staff and when traveling and notify them (as well as someone at home in the U.S.) of your itinerary when traveling.

Stay informed
+ Stay informed of local as well as international events through newspapers, television and radio.  Some resources:,,
+ Review U.S. State Department Travel Advisories concerning the countries or region to which you will be traveling. Travel warnings and announcements are available online:

For more information on safety and security, visit the U.S. Department of State website:

+ Tips for students traveling abroad:
+ Travel Registration:
+ Services and information for U.S. citizens abroad:
+ Help in the case of an emergency:

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