University works to inform students of safety issues while abroad

The Office of International Programs (OIP) recently updated their study abroad section of the Summer Session website to provide students with safety resources for their trips overseas.

The website now includes various links to the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Embassy. Information is available for each faculty-led study abroad program destination.

According to Associate Provost, Mary Kirk Rawn, the U.S. Department of State website supplies students with up-to-the minute travel information as well as travel warnings.

A recent media release sent by the U.S. Department of State, in relation to upcoming college spring breaks, warned that even on the best-planned trips, things can go wrong.

“Each year more than 2,500 U.S. citizens are arrested abroad, nearly half of them on narcotics charges, including possession of very small amounts of illegal substances,” the release said.

It also advised students traveling abroad to be aware that standards of safety overseas are different from domestic ones.

OIP has also developed their own resources to ensure student safety.

“The Office of International Programs sponsors pre-departure orientation sessions for students studying abroad,” Rawn said. “This orientation includes general travel tips as well as guidelines for safety when traveling abroad.”

Included with the orientation is a pre-departure packet that includes safety tips urging students to not travel alone at night, to keep a low profile, avoid loud conversations and fights and most importantly, to not carry large amounts of cash.

“OIP advises students to contact the U.S. Embassy upon arrival and register with the embassy so that they can be contacted in the event of an emergency,” Rawn said.

According to Rawn, in the event of unrest abroad, OIP will keep in touch with students.

“The U.S. Department of State and (the OIP) program affiliates in order to assess the level of safety and to discuss the best course of action for a given situation,” Rawn said.

The U.S Department of State urges all U.S citizens traveling, studying, or residing abroad to sign up for their Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, which makes it possible for the State Department to contact the student traveler in the case of an emergency.

Ashley Duvall can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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