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Safety Tips Abroad

UW-Stout takes all reasonable steps to help students be safe during study abroad. OIE regularly and responsibly monitors safety issues in each of UW-Stout's study abroad program locations.

However, the most important person responsible for keeping safe is you, the student. You are responsible for reviewing the safety information provided to you by UW-Stout and your program provider; you are responsible for handling the advice provided by local staff about how to stay safe abroad, particularly when on your own; and, you are responsible for any poor choices you make that may jeopardize your health or safety, or the health and safety of those around you.
We recommend students take the following steps to stay as safe as possible while abroad.


Research the risks and be informed
Crime knows no borders; it takes place around the world. It is important to check the facts about the area in which you will be studying. Research current events, customs and culture, politics, economics, history, religion, geography, and climate. Read about the everyday behaviors and practices of the people. Helpful resources include the following: U.S. Department of State, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as travel guides, books and websites focused on living abroad.

Register your travel
Once you have been accepted to study abroad and have finalized your travel arrangements, we strongly encourage you to take a few moments and register yourself with the U.S. Embassy in your host country by enrolling your travel information in the U.S. Department of State Smart Travelers Enrollment Program (STEP). Once you register your travel information with the U.S. Embassy, you will receive updates with the most current information about the country(ies) where you will be traveling or living. The local embassy will also be able to provide better assistance in the case of an emergency, whether it is a natural disaster or a lost/stolen passport. This step is essential for both short- and long-term programs.


Get to know your surroundings
Get to know the neighborhood in which you will be living and studying. Stay away from high-crime areas, or if you must go, take a trusted local friend with you. It is recommended to stay in well-lit areas and with others in a group. Be sure to notify friends and/or family of your whereabouts when traveling or visiting other areas, including travel dates and contact numbers.

Avoid carrying important or valuable items
We encourage you to leave anything valuable at home in the United States; however, for those valuable items that you must bring, leave them in a safe location when going out. For example, keep your passport in a safe location in your accommodations. Nevertheless, a photocopy of your passport you should always carry a copy of it with you or have a photo of it on your phone with you.

Be aware of local laws
Some country's laws are extremely strict, and there may be no way to plea or bargain your way out of a situation. Ignorance is not an excuse. While studying abroad, you are subject to the laws of the country. Students who violate the law may have to face legal proceedings in the local judicial system, which may not provide the same safeguards for those accused of crime as in the U.S. system. If convicted of a crime, you will face punishment according to local practices. If you are arrested abroad, a U.S. Consular Officer can visit you in jail, give you a list of local attorneys, notify family members and/or friends, protest mistreatment or abuse to local authorities, and see that your rights under local laws are fully observed. However, the Consular Officer CANNOT demand your immediate release, get you out of jail, represent you at trial, give you legal counsel, or pay legal fees/fines with U.S. Government funds.

Be aware of legal implications back home
UW-Stout students are expected to behave in a responsible and mature manner while abroad. In addition to the local laws of the country(ies) in which you study, you are also subject to the rules of the institution in which you are enrolled as well as the rules of UW-Stout. In general, disciplinary action under the UWS Administrative Code may be taken for one year after the alleged misconduct occurs.
Records of any disciplinary actions overseas become a part of a student’s disciplinary file in the Dean of Students Office and are communicated to the UW-Stout Discipline Officer.

Also, be aware of UW System Administrative Code/Policies:
UWS Chapter 14—Academic Misconduct (GPA standards, plagiarism, etc.)
UWS Chapter 17—Non-academic Misconduct (illegal drug use and alcohol, dangerous conduct or violation of university rules and criminal law)