Safety Information

IU takes your safety and security while on study abroad programs very seriously.

In addition, remember that you have an important role to play based on what you do abroad. Use good judgment and stay aware.

The more prepared you are for unexpected situations, the better you will be able to cope with them. We encourage you to follow the safety and security suggestions below in addition to the information provided by your program director.

In case of an emergency overseas during a study abroad program, immediately contact:

Study Abroad Emergency cell number at 317-409-2925

Inform the IUI OIA staff as quickly as possible. No cancellations or changes in programs, evacuations, or treatment other than that of an urgent nature should be undertaken without first contacting the IUI Study Abroad office. IUI's office will coordinate appropriate action in consultation with Faculty Directors and the Indiana University Office of Overseas Study.

  • Additional Emergency Contact Information

    In case of an emergency when you are studying abroad, please contact us in the following order:

    1. Study Abroad Emergency Cell Number: 317-409-2925

    2. Stephanie Leslie, Director of Study Abroad: 317-278-0716,

    3. Emily Charlton, Assistant Director of Study Abroad: 317-278-2097,

    4. IUPUI Study Abroad Office: 317-274-2081,, (Fax) 317-278-2213 

    5. Office of International Affairs: 317-274-7000,

    If you are unable to reach someone outside of normal business hours:

    Please call the IUI Police Department at 317-274-7911.
    They have after hours contact information for staff.

    If you are unable to reach IUI Staff:

    Please call the IU Office of Overseas Study at 812-855-9304.


Stay in regular contact with program staff and other participants. Ensure when traveling independently that the program coordinator, other participants, and/or family know where you are going and when you expect to return. Provide these individuals with an itinerary in advance, if possible, as well as emergency contact information.

  • Establish a regular phone or e-mail contact schedule with family or friends.
  • If at all possible, have a cell phone that you can use while abroad so family and other program members can readily be contacted. Most US cell phones will work abroad these days but you’ll want to check with your cell phone provider to understand charges and the service you can expect.
  • Keep the cell phone fully charged and with you at all times.
  • Know how to use a pay telephone and have the proper change or token on hand. Know the local emergency number to dial in case you need of assistance (i.e. the local 9-1-1 equivalent. We will give IUI program participants an emergency card with this information.)
  • Memorize local emergency contact information (names and telephone numbers.
  • Know at least a few phrases in the local language so you can signal your need for help, the police, or a doctor. If you don’t know the local language it can be very helpful to have a phrase book or a language app that can help you communicate.

Be Informed

It's important to stay informed and know the local laws. When you are in a foreign country, you are subject to its laws.

Monitor and assess safety issues in the region and country in which you are studying by:

Personal Preparation

In preparation for your experience abroad develop a personal emergency plan in case something unexpected occurs while you are traveling. As part of the predeparture paperwork you will submit in iAbroad we will ask you to consider developing a plan for yourself. This will be especially important if you are extending your time abroad beyond the program dates. Things to consider are:

  • Do you know who to contact and how to reach them in case of an emergency?
  • Have you and your family at home agreed how regularly you will be in touch?
  • Do you have access to additional funds in case you need them?
  • The U.S. Department of State has student specific emergency information that may also be useful for you.
  • Pathways to Safety is an organization that provides resources on sexual assault prevention and response, including a crisis hotline.

In Country 

  • Read and behave in accordance with any safety and emergency protocols set out by your program director.
  • Don’t wear expensive jewelry while traveling. Leave irreplaceable items at home.
  • If you take taxis, learn the official markings and license plates designating a registered vehicle and driver.
  • Carry a copy of the photograph page of your passport with you.
  • Travel light. You can move more quickly and are less likely to see your luggage down, leaving it unattended.
  • Avoid crowds or moving about the city in large groups of readily identifiable Americans.
  • Maintain a low profile while in the host country; including adopting more regionally appropriate dress standards, speech patterns and behavior.
  • Avoid locations known to be common gathering points for US citizens (including bars, restaurants, nightclubs, etc.).
  • Avoid discussing politics or government/regulatory policies.
  • Avoid public demonstrations and other civil disturbances.
  • Don't use short cuts, narrow alleys or poorly-lit streets. Try not to travel alone at night.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash by withdrawing money only as you need cash. Carry small bills in different places on your body. Use a pouch that can be hidden under your clothes.
  • Carry the following phone numbers and email addresses at all times (We will give you an emergency card with much of this information):
    • Study abroad program director, IUI International Office emergency contact numbers, or, if applicable, contact numbers for the foreign university international student office.
    • Family at home and work
    • U.S. Embassy and/or local Consulate in any country you visit
    • Travel agent
    • Local police and fire service
    • Medical facilities
    • Your hotel, host family, residence hall

For more on this topic and other important travel information, please review the  Pre-Departure Handbook.

Water Safety Abroad

  • Exercise caution when walking near the water's edge. 
  • NEVER swim after consuming alcohol or food.
  • Never swim alone.
  • Swim within your depth and parallel to the shore. 
  • Always swim, or surf, in areas patrolled by lifeguards.
  • Swim in the designated swimming area when bathing in the sea.
  • Obey all the usual safety rules that apply in any properly run pool e.g. no running, no running dives, no horesplay, etc. 
  • Ensure that you do not dive into shallow water.