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I. How to prepare 
  • Understand your program’s safety and security practices and ask questions if a detail is unclear.
  • Take pre-departure and on-site orientation and your program’s policies seriously.
  • Share concerns about personal matters such as health conditions, medications, ethnicity/religion and security questions, questions about women travelling alone, and LGBTQ safety abroad.
  • Know the specific details of the program site such as current security and health situations, safe transportation means, location of local hospitals, embassies, etc.
  • Share details about the your program with parents, guardians, or spouses.
II. Familiarize Yourself
Prior to your arrival and during the first few weeks you are abroad, take time to do the following:
  • Review the Country-Specific Information of your host country on the U.S. State Department website which includes information on local laws, crime and security, medical considerations, etc.
  • Research the cultural norms, typical lifestyle, shared values, traditions, and current events of your host culture.
  • Use resources such as Google Maps and travel guides to learn about your host country, host city, and your neighborhood. The more you know, can blend in, and look confident as you go about your business, the safer you will be.
  • Become familiar with the basic laws of your host nation and the countries you may want to visit – you will be subject to their laws!
  • Memorize the phone numbers for the police, fire, and medical emergency services in your host city.
  • Utilize the other resources available to you through the U.S. State Department such as additional country-specific information, travel advisories, and risks to look out for in each country, including methanol poisoning. They also have a web site catering to American Students Abroad which has helpful information.
III. You are not in Davidson anymore
  • Carry emergency contact information, your insurance card, and a copy of your passport at all times. Leave your actual passport in a secure place in your "home" unless traveling to another country.
  • Picture This: Do's and Don'ts for photography
  • Be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts – if it does not feel right, it probably is not.
  • There is safety in numbers– do not go out alone, especially at night.
  • Always let someone know what your travel plans are if going out of town.
  • Always carry enough currency to get home safely, and keep the number of a safe and reliable transportation service with you.
  • Avoid bringing valuables with you; if you do choose to carry items such as digital cameras, iPods, laptops, etc., be sure to be discrete and not flaunt them or let them hang out of your bag while in public.
  • Avoid wearing expensive jewelry.
  • Avoid public demonstrations. Even calm gatherings can quickly turn violent.
  • Know a little bit of the local language. This will go a long way.
  • Pickpocketing is rampant in many cities, especially in areas that attract tourists and on public transportation, so keep an eye on your backpack, purse, wallet, phone, etc.
IV. Resources
  • In case of an emergency, please notify the director of your study abroad program as soon as possible.
  • If you need to reach a Davidson Education Abroad staff member, call +1-704-894-2250 and follow instructions.
  • Pathways to Safety International specializes in prevention and response to American victims of sexual assault overseas, regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, or geographic location. Pathways case managers provide an informed, culturally-sensitive, compassionate response, as well as advocacy and assistance navigating medical, law enforcement and legal options. The program can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from overseas by calling an international toll free hotline, 833-723-3833, via the AT&T Direct Access code for each country or by email via Additional instructions can be found on the Pathways to Safety International website.
  • International Suicide Prevention, Awareness, and Support:

Last modified 10/14/2019

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