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Northwest Missouri State University


How Safe Is Study Abroad?

Studying abroad is neither safer nor more dangerous than studying in the United States. The same acts that happen abroad can very well happen here in the United States, i.e. robbery, terrorism. Would you want your child to walk in the bad area of a big metropolitan US city at 4:00 a.m. alone? No. It is no different abroad.

The key point here is that much of the student's safety depends on his or her level of maturity, the decisions he or she makes, and responsibility. Here are some suggestions to remind your student to do in order to keep safe:

  • Do not travel alone (especially late at night)
  • Use caution with interaction with strangers
  • Stay away from dangerous areas or activities
  • Do not drink excessively
  • Avoid illegal drugs
  • Follow and know the laws of the host country
  • Respect the country's customs

Here are additional links for information on Safety Abroad:

Please refer to the checklist below gathered from "Responsible Study Abroad: Good Practices for Health and Safety," by Interorganizational Task Force on Safety and Responsibility in Study Abroad (revised November 2002, NAFSA: Association of International Educators):

Students should:

  • Assume responsibility for all the elements necessary for personal preparation
  • Fully participate in orientations (out-going, re-entry, and host institution orientations)
  • Read and research all materials issued by your program in host country
    • Safety, health, legal, environmental, political, cultural, religion
  • Consider your physical and mental health
    • Provide all relevant information to advisors and host institution
    • Update your health before you go (get a physical, go to the dentist, etc.)
  • Make sure you have sufficient supply of prescribed medicine. Take your prescriptions or copies with you
  • Make sure immunizations are up-to-date, and get immuizations that might be required by the country
  • Provide those to whom may be concern with your placement with emergency numbers
    • Communicate with them and advisors when you are traveling or if any emergencies or disasters may arise in the host location
  • Follow the rules and laws! Abide by host country and institution codes of conduct
  • Accept responsibility for your own decisions and actions
  • Follow the program policies for keeping program staff informed of whereabouts and well-being