Additional Safety Information

Legal Matters 

While in a foreign country, you are subject to that country’s laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in your home country and may not afford the protections available to the individual under you home country’s law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than at home for similar offenses. Persons violating the law, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned.

 

Alcohol 

The legal drinking age in most other countries is 18. You should be aware that the alcohol content in many countries is considerably higher than in North America—drink responsibly. In all our destinations, there is a very low tolerance for drinking and driving, and there are heavy penalties for people who drive while under the influence of alcohol.

Your host university will also have strict regulations on alcohol consumption and behavior. You should familiarize yourself with rules and regulations, which can be found in the university handbook. The Student’s Association at the host university will be able to provide you with legal counsel and/or advice; notify them if you need help. If you break your university's regulations, you may be expelled, thereby losing your student visa status, and being required to leave the country.

Drink spiking does occur in bars/pubs in many countries. It is important to keep an eye on your drink at all times.

 

Drugs

Almost all other countries have strict policies on illegal drugs, particularly when it comes to foreign visitors. This means no drugs of any kind, except alcohol and prescription medication, are allowed. Anyone caught in possession of illegal substances will have to deal with the authorities and possibly be deported home.

 

Driving

GlobaLinks Learning Abroad discourages students from owning or operating motor vehicles abroad while participating on a study abroad program. Traffic laws and regulations, civil and criminal can make driving in foreign countries extremely hazardous. Insurance requirements or other financial responsibility laws vary from country to country.

U.S. Citizens:
For additional country specific information on traffic safety and road conditions, please review the host country consular information sheet provided by the U.S. Department of State website.

Canadian Citizens:
For additional country specific information on travel, please review the host country consular information provided by the Canadian Consular Affairs website.

If a student makes the decision to operate a motor vehicle while abroad, he/she assumes full responsibility for any financial, legal, and/or health related situations should he/she be involved in an accident while operating the vehicle.

Guidelines to Follow When Traveling Abroad

  • Make two copies of all important documents (i.e., passports, credit cards, traveler’s insurance, air/bus/train tickets, driver’s licenses, etc.) before you leave home. Leave one copy with someone at home and keep the other with you, separate from the originals.

  • Do not leave your bags or articles unattended in the airport or agree to watch other people’s luggage.

  • Do not take large amounts of cash with you on your person. Carry traveler’s checks and/or credit cards.

  • Hide your valuables on your person.

  • Lock your valuables, including your passport and air tickets, in the hotel safe when available.

     

  • Do not flash jewelry, expensive cameras, or other electronic equipment.

  • When traveling, make sure someone knows your travel itinerary.

  • Do not travel to countries the State Department has advised not to travel to. Review existing travel advisories concerning the country or region to which you will be traveling.

     

  • Maintain regular contact with the international office at your campus.

  • Integrate into the university community as fully as possible.

  • Keep informed through radio and television broadcasts. Develop a political awareness.

  • Avoid large crowds or demonstrations. Get out of the area immediately.

  • If you are out at night, stay in well-lit areas; don’t use short cuts or narrow alleys.

  • When going out at night, travel with a group.

  • If you’re out on the town, always keep enough money with you for a taxi back to your accommodation.

  • Maintain regular contact with “home” so parents and others are assured of your safety.

  • Contact the proper authorities and know what you would do in an emergency situation.

  • Be aware of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). DVT can be brought on by prolonged sitting during air travel. Sitting motionless for long periods may increase the risk of blood pooling and clotting in your legs. DVT can be prevented by a number of actions such as stretching before, during and after your flight. More information can be found at the official DVT website.