Health & Safety

The safety and well-being of Rutgers students abroad is Rutgers Global's top priority. Once admitted to a study abroad program, we provide students with in-depth information on program location, instructions for how to prepare for a program and its locale, and tips and suggestions for how to remain safe and healthy throughout the study abroad experience abroad.

Resources

Staying Healthy +

Being abroad can disrupt your normal routines. You will have to adjust to the time zone, to the food, to the sleeping arrangements, and to the people—all of which can affect your physical and mental being. It is important that before you leave, you consult your physician for advice on how to maintain a healthy life style while abroad, especially if you have any medical or psychological conditions.  

Health Insurance +

Rutgers Global–Study Abroad provides an emergency travel assistance service and travel insurance program to students, faculty, and staff traveling abroad on all of our programs. This coverage is built into the cost of our programs and ensures that students are automatically enrolled for services for the duration of the program.

The ISOS international plan combines the products of the following providers:

1. Emergency Assistance – International SOS Medical and Travel Security Services

International SOS offers service and support through a global network of critical care specialists and global security advisers available to all Rutgers students, faculty and staff traveling abroad. One phone call connects you to an I-SOS representative trained to help resolve medical and security issues and emergencies.

The 24/7 alarm centers are staffed by doctors, logistics coordinators and security experts. International SOS alarm centers can provide medical advice, payment of overseas medical bills, full coordination with the International SOS credentialed medical provider network, and medical evacuation.

2. Insurance - ISOS Medical

ISOS Medical provides the international insurance program in concert with International SOS for Rutgers faculty, staff and students abroad on all CGE related activities.

Note: Given that coverage is only granted for international travel, enrolled participants are encouraged to remain covered with U.S. health insurance while abroad. Stopping and starting coverage may create gaps that leave you uninsured, so before dropping any existing or U.S. plans, make sure you are informed about coverage dates, fees for discontinuing coverage, or any re-enrollment waiting periods or fees.

Take full advantage of the International SOS membership by:

  • Calling an International SOS Assistance Center, which has physicians, operations managers, and medical and security professionals on hand to speak with you. This service is available to students before as well as during the program. Proactively connecting to ISOS can be a critical component to establishing healthy routines and treatment plans for any medical or health related conditions.
  • Preparing for your travels by browsing through the various medical and security online reports and tools
  • Signing up for alerts to receive the latest travel, health and safety information about your destinations.
  • Activating your Emergency Record, where you can store your vital personal health, vaccination and travel information securely online so you can access it anytime, anywhere. The information will be available to you and, with your consent, made available to International SOS medical staff to better assist you in the event of an emergency. The system also recommends appropriate vaccinations and sends you reminders when follow-up boosters are required.
  • Printing and carrying your International SOS card with you at all times while traveling.

Staying Safe +

Your safety is our primary concern. Rutgers Global–Study Abroad: 

  • Constantly monitors the safety and security of our programs and program locations
  • Discusses with our staff and colleagues in our program locations any safety concerns or measures as they arise
  • Monitors the U.S. State Department guidelines for Americans abroad and subscribe to a variety of independent security agencies for further information
  • Watches the media
  • Consults with experts here at Rutgers

Should something occur in a particular location abroad, we will address what is necessary in that location. We treat each location individually and specifically; we do not make blanket decisions or recommendations for all of our programs. If you have particular safety concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us with questions.

Keeping Safe While Abroad

Safety is of utmost importance for American students abroad. There will be endless distractions while you are abroad—new sights, new smells, new foods, new friends—and while you may not be aware of it, others are. Travelers can become targets to pick-pocketers or thieves. Make sure to read this section carefully to learn how to take care of yourself and how to proceed in the event of an emergency.

1. Traffic, Road, and Transportation Safety
While road and traffic safety may not be one of your highest concerns when planning your study abroad experience, the Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT) reports that road crashes are the leading cause of death and injury for healthy Americans traveling abroad. Young people, ages 15-24, are at greatest risk as they represent the largest number of pedestrians and users of public transportation and are more prone to taking risks. The ASIRT website provides a wealth of tools and resources regarding road safety abroad. In addition, the State Department also provides safety information on road, traffic and public transportation.

ASIRT tips for road and traffic safety abroad advises that you:

  • be aware of traffic patterns especially at intersections (traffic patterns are culturally specific and can vary greatly from the US)
  • select the safest form of transportation in your area (additional information on traffic safety and road conditions can be found on the State Department’s Country Specific Information)
  • avoid late night road travel in counties with poor safety records and/or dangerous terrain
  • understand how seasonal hazards affect road conditions  
  • walk where you can be easily seen
  • be aware of local holidays (when road accidents tend to increase)
  • wear seat belts whenever possible
  • do not  hitchhike
  • always ride in the back seat of a taxi cab

While it may be tempting to rent cars or motorbikes while abroad, Rutgers Global–Study Abroad does not recommend that students drive while abroad.

2. Natural, Political, or Social Emergencies
If you have any concerns about your safety, contact Rutgers Global–Study Abroad at 848-932-7787; outside of office hours, we may also be reached through the Rutgers Campus Police 24 hours a day at 732-932-7211. In the event of a natural, political, or social emergency, and we believe that you will not be safe in your host country, we will assist you in exiting  the country as safely and efficiently as possible.  This is why it is important that you inform us of your travel plans and how to best contact you. Our primary concern is your safety.  

3. Legal Matters
Being a foreign student in your host country does not exempt you from the laws and legal codes of that country.  Obey and respect all local laws.  If you are ever tempted into doing anything illegal, consider that some countries have more stringent penalties for misdemeanor violations than the United States. Penalties can range from a small fine to the death penalty. Prisoners may have fewer rights than they do in the United States and therefore may be subject to corporal punishments and poor living conditions during their imprisonment. Bails are rare in other countries and most likely you would be kept in a prison pretrial.  Although some locals may appear lax to obeying their own laws, this will not protect you from being prosecuted by local authorities.  In fact, law officials may be less lenient with a foreign traveler.  In the event that you disobey the laws of the host country, Rutgers Global–Study Abroad cannot protect you.

Power of Attorney

It may be helpful for you to grant your parents or guardians power of attorney, so that they can take care any legal transactions for you while you are abroad.  For example, such transactions can include paying loan checks, filing your taxes and discussing any fraudulent charges with your bank.  Power of attorney must be completed in the presence of a notary.

Emergency Contacts & Preparedness +

Our primary concern is your safety. Please review the following information and keep it on hand in case of emergency.

Although most emergencies are better managed by working with local authorities, Rutgers Global–Study Abroad can be reached 24 hours a day in case of extreme emergencies by calling the Rutgers Campus Police at 732-932-7211.

In the event of a natural, political or social emergency, and we believe that you will not be safe in your host country, we will assist you in exiting the country as safely and efficiently as possible. This is why it is important that you inform us of your travel plans and how to best contact you.

In the event of a medical or health emergency, students should go immediately to the nearest physician without delay and contact the study abroad health insurance provider. The insurance provider will then take appropriate action to assist and monitor your care. You should also contact Rutgers Global–Study Abroad at 848-932-7787 or through the Rutgers Campus Police outside of office hours at 732-932-7211 as soon as possible.

The U.S. Department of State has special resources for students studying abroad, including travel alerts, considerations before traveling, news alerts, and volunteer opportunities. Please visit travel.state.gov/content/studentsabroad/en.html for more information.