Safety

CSU takes student health and safety seriously and advises students on safety strategies for international travel during advising sessions and mandatory orientations for education abroad programming.  In addition, students traveling to higher risk destinations must complete a petition process that outlines their strategies and resources for staying safer in a higher risk destination.  While CSU takes steps to advise students, it is up to students to be responsible for their own safety while participating in education abroad programs and while on personal travel during those programs. Education and safety planning is an important piece of preparing for any international experience. Being aware of your resources and planning ahead are the best ways to reduce the likelihood of health and safety incidents. Your Education Abroad Coordinator can discuss safety topics with you if you are interested in learning more specifics about the location you are traveling to.

Current alerts affecting major program sites – see News and Updates

Country Specific Travel and Safety Information U.S. Department of State

The CSU Conduct Code still applies abroad

Inappropriate or dangerous behavior can result in program expulsion and/or consequences at CSU. Likewise, students with CSU disciplinary infractions may not be authorized to participate on an education abroad program until the punitive consequences are resolved.

Travel Safety

  • Buy a guidebook for more regional travel advice. You may also use CSU’s Chubb International Insurance site for country travel and safety information
  • Know the emergency contact information for your program and the 911-equivalent number in the country.
  • Know the people you are traveling with and always leave your itinerary and your approximate time of return with a friend or your host family.
  • Follow the recommendations for travel safety and location safety offered by your program leaders – they generally give you this information in orientation or a program handbook.
  • Traffic accidents are the leading cause of American deaths abroad. Choose transportation wisely: know the safer options for your location and avoid the less safe options, no matter how convenient they are. Don’t hitchhike, rent cars or motos, ride in unregulated taxis, minibuses or overloaded vehicles.  Always wear a seat-belt when possible and if riding in a taxi or other form of transportation with a driver, ride in the back seat and do not accept additional riders.
  • Walk safely. Many education abroad students find themselves walking more than in the US due to lack of cars and ease of getting around many EA program locations. Choose walking routes based on safety, not convenience. Avoid busy intersections if there are not reliable pedestrian signals, avoid walking through isolated or higher risk areas and use walkways that are well-lit, have sidewalks and are well-traveled by other pedestrians, if possible.
  • Plan for travel and arrivals during the daytime whenever possible; Travel in pairs or groups.
  • Choose accommodations wisely, especially during personal travels – private or semiprivate rooms with locking doors are often the safest choice. Stay in accommodations with good reviews and which are located in safe areas.
  • Visit a doctor for a travel health consultation and recommended immunizations and medicines. See Health
    • Please note: This is a required pre-departure step for many programs.
    • Register with the U. S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) so you can receive emergency notifications in case of safety, security or natural disaster threats
      • Please note: This is a required pre-departure step for many programs.
  • Travel with some emergency funds in the form of cash or credit cards in case you experience unexpected delays that require overnight expenses or in case you need emergency medical care, medicine, or transportation.
  • Bring a first aid kit, especially if you are traveling alone or in areas of the world where standards of medicine may not be as high as in the US or where some treatments/medicines may not be available.
  • Use caution when swimming or entering water abroad, especially if you are not an experienced swimmer, if you are in a developing country where emergency services may not be readily available or if you are unfamiliar with the safety or danger of the local currents. Never swim alone, always heed warning signs (although note these may not exist in all countries), stay within your own swimming capabilities and refrain from alcohol prior to swimming.

Personal Safety

Your behavior and the choices you make play a large role in your personal safety.

  • Ensure you have adequate health and security insurance coverage
    • CSU Education Abroad requires that all travelers have international insurance, but plans differ by program.  Please review your program’s insurance plan to insure it meets your personal needs and is sufficient for the destination you are traveling to.
  • Alcohol and drug use can carry significant health, cultural and legal risks for travelers abroad.  Using alcohol to excess is often culturally unacceptable, and may increase risk for safety incidents or injury.  Drug laws are often stricter outside the US. Once students are outside US borders, they are subject to the host country’s laws.  Students that exhibit excessive or irresponsible intoxication or illegal drug use may be subject to CSU conduct sanctions, dismissal from the program at their own expense or emergency contact notification.
  • Do not walk alone at night; always travel in pairs or larger groups. In large cities or riskier locations, this may also be true during the day.
  • Wear clothing appropriate to the location. Example: In some cultures, shorts are very inappropriate, as are bare arms. Know the culture of the country and conform to it. You are there to experience another culture, not to change it.
  • Do not carry large amounts of visible cash and pay extra attention to your safety as you enter and exit ATMs; if a thief observes that you have money, you are more at risk.
  • Important documents such as your passport, travel documents, traveler’s checks, money, and credit cards should be kept in a money belt or neck wallet under your clothing to keep them out of the reach of a pickpocket. If your money belt is difficult for you to access, it will also be difficult for a thief to get. Keep small amounts of money in a more accessible place for daily use.
  • Watch your phones, bags, purses and wallets: Don’t leave them accessible to thieves – phones on tables, purses on backs of chairs, backpacks worn on your back and wallets in a back pocket are all easy targets for resourceful pickpockets and thieves.
  • Keep a list of your credit card number(s) and the company(s) phone number and leave a copy at home so you can call the company to report a loss or theft if necessary.
  • Robbery and assault are rare, but happen occasionally. Think about things you might do to avoid being a victim and what you might do if you are robbed.  In most cases, giving the robber the item(s) immediately is a better option than fighting back, since a physical attack is more dangerous than losing a wallet or purse.
  • If you feel that someone is targeting you for a crime, do whatever you need to do to draw attention to the situation and to get to a safe place. Follow your intuition – it is better to offend someone or look silly than put yourself at risk.
  • Avoid demonstrations or political rallies – they can become violent quickly.
  • Sexual health and safety is important in any culture, but in certain areas of the world or populations you need to take even more precautions due to high rates of HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases. Abstain or use condoms/birth control and practice safe sex to reduce your risks. If condoms/birth control are not available in your host country, prepare to bring a supply that lasts the entire duration of your time abroad.
  • Sexual assault and misconduct can happen anywhere and to anyone, but getting assistance, medical attention and advice can be complicated abroad due to language, differing laws or norms and limited availability of supportive medical professionals or counselors.  For general support or assistance with decisions related to a sexual assault or other form of sexual misconduct (for you or another person on your program), please contact the CSU Victim’s Advocate Team (24 hours): 970-492-4242 or email wgac@colostate.edu.

Destination Safety

  • You may access destination-specific safety, security and crime information on the CSU Chubb Insurance App or website (see International Insurance)
  • If a health, safety or security incident occurs in your location, follow all instructions from your program, school or local authorities. When it is safe, check in with your family, friends and CSU so you are accounted for as safe.
  • Learn about the cultural and political environment of your host country so you can practice situational awareness as you travel there: How are Americans viewed? Are there things that many Americans consider normal that could put you at risk (flashing an IPhone, jogging outdoors, wearing clothing with American emblems, wearing shorts or exposing specific body parts such as knees or shoulders)? Are there topics that are culturally inappropriate to discuss or ask about?
  • Various components of your identity may be viewed, expressed and talked about very differently than in the US. Find out how your various identities may fit in and be viewed in the host culture, and decide how you can best be yourself while staying safe and adapting to the norms of the host culture.
  • If you have a disability, review how your disability may be viewed and accommodated by the host culture and location. Review how you may reasonably manage your disability abroad, and think about how you may manage if some accommodations are not possible, if you could find different types of accommodation that could substitute or if there are alternate programs/locations that might be a better fit for you. Mobility International USA is an excellent resource to help you learn about going abroad with a disability and plan for an experience abroad.
  • Know local laws and how they differ from the US; you are required to follow the host country laws and neither CSU nor the US consulate can provide much assistance if you have been taken into custody for breaking a law.
  • Review CSU’s policy and Resources page to find out about procedures for evacuating or altering program components in case of serious emergency in a program destination.