U.S. Students Abroad

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Current Outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019

The CDC recommends institutes of higher education (IHE) consider postponing or canceling upcoming student foreign exchange programs. In addition, CDC recommends IHE consider asking current program participants to return to their home country.  Students abroad may face unpredictable circumstances, travel restrictions, and challenges in returning home or accessing health care while abroad.

One of our highest priorities is protecting the lives and interests of U.S. students traveling, studying, and living abroad. Exploring new destinations and experiencing other cultures is both rewarding and exciting, but it is also important to do so safely. Students with special considerations – such as women and LGBTI travelers – may face additional challenges in other countries.

Throughout the past year, there have been reports from U.S. citizens concerned they may have consumed unregulated alcohol. Drink responsibly and in moderation. Stop and seek medical attention if you begin to feel ill. If you have questions or need to report an incident, contact the American Citizens Services unit at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. You may also contact the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs in Washington, D.C. at 888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444.

Take time to learn about your destinations. Discuss with family and friends when and how you will check in, so they don’t worry. 

Review our Traveler’s Checklist, which includes:

  • Specific information about your destination,
  • What documents you will need – like a passport and foreign visa
  • Where to sign up for our free Smart Traveler Enrollment Program
  • Information about overseas insurance coverage

Just know that sometimes – in spite of good planning – things can still go wrong when you are in another country. Prepare for the unexpected by reading about how to plan for a crisis overseas before you go. If you do find yourself facing an emergency situation while overseas, contact the American Citizens Services unit at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Other Resources

Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC)

OSAC provides in-depth safety and security information to U.S. higher education institutions and study abroad programs. Connect with other U.S. colleges and universities through OSAC’s Academia Working Group. See OSAC.gov for information about joining OSAC.

Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA)

ECA promotes study abroad and provides exchange opportunities for U.S. students. See studyabroad.state.gov and exchanges.state.gov for more information.

Last Updated: March 12, 2020