How to stay safe while studying abroad

by KATIE BEMB

After the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, France where at least 128 civilians were killed, some students may wonder about safety concerns while studying abroad.

According to their website, the Education Abroad office at the University of Maryland has set as its mission the empowerment of UMD students with the knowledge, skills, and perspectives to become mindful and engaged global citizens. With this in mind, executive director of Education Abroad Dr. Moira Rogers has shared with PulseFeedz her list of precautionary tips to follow while studying abroad:

.    Stay abreast of current political and social issues reported in the media.  Pay close attention to and follow all public safety advisories.

.    Stay in touch with your on-site program staff, and follow all health and safety guidance they provide.  Use them as a resource as you make decisions about tourist activities.

.    Dress and behave as inconspicuously as possible.  Avoid American logos on your clothing and property.

.    Stay away from all political demonstrations.

.    Do not express opinions on controversial political or social issues to conventional or social media outlets.

.    Exercise good judgment about the places visited during the day and at night, and avoid being out late as much as possible.

.    Socialize in groups of peers.  Avoid going out alone, especially at night.

.    Be prepared for possible delays in travel.

.    Heighten awareness of personal surroundings and safety.

.    Avoid excessive drinking and all other activities that could impair judgment and compromise safety.

moira
Courtesy of LinkedIn: Dr. Moira Rogers has served as the director of Education Abroad since spring 2014.

There are currently 11 students studying in France, only one of them in Paris. In addition, UMD students studying in Western Europe go to Paris on weekends. The Education Abroad office was able to stop two students who were on their way by train from London to Paris.

“Education Abroad at the University of Maryland is monitoring the safety and security climate in the places our students study abroad, particularly in light of the tragic events most recently in Beirut and Paris,” said Rogers.

Education Abroad relies on the guidance provided by the U.S. State Department, along with their international insurance provider and its crisis response team, in-country partners, and their professional network of study abroad risk management professionals. These professionals “help us assess risk and provide direction and resources to help students make wise decisions about their personal safety,” according to Rogers.

Rogers also confirmed that the University of Maryland will carry out all study abroad programs during winter, spring break and spring terms, as planned.

 

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