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.
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.
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.
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.