Safety Issues

Domestic - Read information and click on all links where indicated.

International - Read all information and click on all links in all the sections below.

Crime and violence, as well as unexpected difficulties, can occur in any part of the world at any time. Whether you are traveling in the U.S. or to an international destination, the following information will give you some ideas about how to remain safe.

In the event of an illness or an emergency you should do the following in order:

  1. Contact the Program Coordinator or Gustavus faculty member on site.
  2. Contact the Gustavus Center for International and Cultural Education.
  3. Contact your parents.

Top Five Safety Tips

1. Inform yourself ahead of time about safety issues at your destination.

Check out the U.S. State Department Country Specific Information and CDC information. Know where you’re going and what to do and not do once you get there. Be aware of the safe and unsafe areas where you are living and traveling. Use your safety skills from the U.S. while abroad: Don’t travel or go out alone (buddy system); don’t go into neighborhoods with a high incidence of crime or violence, be more careful at night, etc. Thoroughly acquaint yourself with the information provided regarding your country in the State Department Country Specific Information sheets. These sheets include every country of the world with information on such matters as the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, any areas of instability, and the location of the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate in the subject country.

2. Inform yourself ahead of time about cultural differences at your destination that may lead to misunderstandings if you're not careful.

Be aware of stereotypes of U.S. men and women, and understand local verbal and non-verbal communication. Remember that gender dynamics are different in other cultures than they are in the U.S., physical displays of affection may be misinterpreted in some cultures, and people in many international locations dress more conservatively and modestly than Americans do.

3. Avoid High-Risk Activities

Avoid certain activities like bungee jumping, whitewater rafting, mountain climbing, and other "high-risk" adventures. Above all, do not at any time ride on a motorcycle. The Gustavus insurance that covers you while you are on study away specifically EXCLUDES these activites from coverage.

4. The Effects of Alcohol and Drugs can Hurt You

Although alcohol may be legal at a younger age abroad, its use and abuse is many times tied to being a victim of crime, violence, accident, and injury. Drug use abroad can result in severe consequences - plan on being treated as guilty (in jail) until proven innocent outside the U.S., with the possibility of severe punishment. Also remember that you must abide by Gustavus policies while you are on study away, including the Gustavus Alcohol and Drug Policy. Violations of these policies may result in disciplinary action once you return to campus.

5. Be Able to Communicate at All Times

Keep your cell phone turned on and charged up at all times. If you don't carry a cell phone, follow the advice and guidelines of your faculty leader or on-site host about health, safety, and communication plans. Know the numbers for your on-site host, and the Center for International and Cultural Education at Gustavus.

(Adapted from the Center for Global Education's Top Ten Health and Safety Tips, Study Abroad Student Handbook.)

Helpful Links:

CICE downloadable information:


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