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.
Study Abroad & Travel Restrictions
Update on Winter and Spring 2022
COVID-19 has upended the traditional framework for assessing risk for students studying abroad. Rutgers University's commitment is that, regardless of CDC or Department of State travel advisories, we will only operate in countries where we have assessed that testing and medical care is readily available and where we can mitigate risks while still ensuring that students have an academically rigorous and culturally enriching experience. Rutgers has approved student travel to a number of countries that are currently listed as CDC or Department of State Level 4 based on COVID-19 concerns, keeping in mind that the U.S. is also listed as a Level 4 country.
Students studying abroad on a Rutgers University program will be fully vaccinated and have a different risk and support profile than the average American traveler. Our students are well-supported before they travel by a team of Rutgers Global advisors, and then supported upon arrival and throughout their program by experienced local teams from partner institutions and programs, who are trained and ready to respond to emergencies and needs.
Looking Ahead to Summer 2022
In anticipation of future international travel and programming, Rutgers Global–Study Abroad is continuing to recruit and accept students for tentative enrollment in study abroad and internship programs for all future terms. However, international travel remains subject to University approval.
As the university currently evaluates the full resumption of study abroad, students are encouraged to review all university updates regarding COVID-19 - https://coronavirus.rutgers.edu
Note: Acceptances into a program by RGSA or your host institution does not mean travel authorization has been granted. Students will be directly informed by an RGSA advisor of any travel authorization decision and next steps, as appropriate. Additionally, the university retains the ability to suspend participation at any time.
COVID-19 University Policy for Study Abroad
Rutgers students are required to comply with the University’s COVID-19 vaccination policy (Policy 10.3.14) prior to program participation in any RGSA study abroad program. Enrolled students can upload their vaccination documentation, which includes boosters as of January, 2022, on the Rutgers Student Immunization portal.
Please note that, while students may be eligible for an exemption that will allow students to be compliant with the Policy and attend classes at Rutgers, a Rutgers University exemption may not satisfy vaccine or other safety requirements abroad or be accepted by our international partner institutions. Additionally, COVID-19 policies and laws for each host country, program, or local authority may change at any time and may affect your ability to participate should students not be vaccinated. Given the current complexity of international travel and in support of the university’s commitment to health and safety, RGSA strongly recommends that students have a COVID-19 vaccine prior to overseas study.
Obtaining the vaccine is the student’s responsibility, and students will be responsible for any costs associated with a failure to secure the vaccine prior to beginning their program which may include the costs of testing or the cancellation of your program, among other possible costs.
On-campus vaccine clinics are available for those in need of vaccination. Appointments may be scheduled via the Rutgers Vaccine Portal. Appointment scheduling assistance is available upon request via the Rutgers Vaccine Scheduling Assistance Program. You can also obtain information on other locations where you can receive a vaccine at https://covid19.nj.gov/pages/vaccine.
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.
On Call International provides the following services:
Before you depart…
• Contact On Call with any pre-travel health or security questions
• Closely review your full plan description
• Save On Call Contact information in your mobile phone (check out the last page!)
You can contact the On Call International 24/7 Global Response Center from anywhere in the world to reach an assistance coordinator who is ready to help you with your crisis, no matter how big or small.
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.
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.