Travel.State.Gov > International Travel > Before You Go > Travelers with Special Considerations > U.S. Students Abroad
One of our top priorities is the safety and security 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. Be mindful of your surroundings, learn the local laws and customs, keep a low profile and be prepared. Every traveler is unique, students with special considerations – such as women and LGBTQI+ travelers – may face additional challenges in other countries.
Sometimes – in spite of good planning – things can still go wrong when you are abroad. 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.
Take time to learn about your destinations. Discuss with family and friends when and how you will check in, so they can contact you in case of an emergency. If possible, you should take advantage of the sharing location function on your smart device.
In past years, there have been reports from U.S. citizens concerned they may have consumed tainted alcohol. Drink responsibly and in moderation. Stop and seek medical attention if you begin to feel ill. Students are more likely to encounter theft and assault when they are in an unfamiliar environment and unskilled at interpreting the environment and language. 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. We have an officer available to assist you in an emergency 24/7.
Follow the social media accounts of the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for information about your destination. Monitor the embassy’s or consulate’s social media accounts during natural disasters, civil unrest, and similar emergencies for important updates for U.S. citizens.
Review our Traveler’s Checklist, which includes:
Benefits of Enrolling in our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)
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.