When traveling internationally, engaging in safe and responsible behaviors is of the utmost importance. All study abroad participants are considered ISU students during their time abroad and are subject to the ISU Code of Student Conduct, as well as that of their host institution and any local laws.
All study abroad participants must enroll in Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) through the U.S. Department of State. Enrollment in STEP makes your international whereabouts known, in case it is necessary for the U.S. government to contact you during an emergency or crisis (e.g., natural disasters, terrorism, civil or political unrest, etc.) where you are traveling and assist you in circumstances where your safety is in danger. They cannot assist you if they do not know where you are. In accordance with the Privacy Act, information on your welfare and whereabouts will not be released to others without your written authorization or the disclosure is otherwise permitted by the Privacy Act.
U.S. embassies and consulates can assist Americans who encounter serious legal, medical, and/or financial difficulties, and provide information about dangerous conditions affecting your international travel. Although they cannot provide legal advice or serve as your legal representation, they can provide a list of local attorneys who speak English. In certain circumstances, limited emergency medical assistance loans may be available on a reimbursable basis for eligible temporarily destitute U.S. citizens. U.S. embassies and consulates can also perform non-emergency services, such as helping Americans with absentee voting. Most embassies and consulates have web sites with additional information. By registering your upcoming internatonal travel, you help the local embassy or consulate to locate you when you might need them the most.
How to enroll in STEP:
To enroll in STEP, you must click 'Create Account' and follow the instructions provided. Creating an account allows you to select a username and password so you may access your travel data at any time and provide details for future travel. After selecting your username and password, you will be asked to provide basic information about yourself in the Traveler Information section. The next section, Emergency Contact Information, is optional. If you do decide to enter an emergency contact, it is recommended you provide details for someone who is not usually traveling with you. Once you have created your account, you can view your profile and add your upcoming international travel to register with a specific U.S. Embassy or Consulate. When adding upcoming travel, always try to complete as much of the requested information as you can.
Enrollment in STEP is voluntary and costs nothing, but it should be a big part of your travel planning and security. It is recommended you enroll in STEP at least 2-3 weeks prior to your departure, even if you do not yet know your international address. Upon arrival to your host country, update your traveler information to reflect any necessary changes (e.g., address, phone number, etc.). For more information on STEP, visit the FAQ section of the Smart Traveler Enrollment Plan website.
When traveling internationally, there are a myriad of potential dangers to be aware of and precautions you can take. As students and/or tourists, you may be more susceptible to instances of crime as you are often seen as an easy target. It is important to be aware of your surroundings and belongings at all times, and to use caution in potentially dangerous situations. To better gauge the safety of your local host community and neighboring areas, you should consult the on-site staff for your program.
Learn a few phrases in the local language so you can signal your need for help, the police, or a doctor. We also recommend making note of emergency telephone numbers you may need (e.g., on-site staff, housing contact, local emergency services, nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate, etc.). As a reminder, "911" is not universal and thus local emergency services may have a different set of call numbers.
Below are some general safety measures of which we recommend all study abroad participants are aware.
Posessions & Valuables:
Drugs & Alcohol:
Human trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring, or receipt of people through force, fraud, or deception with the aim of exploiting them for profit. Men, women, and children of all ages and from all backgrounds can become victims of this crime, which occurs in every region of the world. Traffickers often use grooming, violence, or fake promises to trick and coerce their victims. The movie "Taken (2008)" is a mainstream representation of trafficking abroad.
If a situation and/or individual makes you uncomfortable, trust that feeling, use your judgment, and be cautious. Always tell someone where you are going, how long you expect to be gone, when you have arrived, and when you have returned.
Make sure that you always have a means of communication with you. If you think you might be in immediate danger or you are experiencing an emergency, dial the local emergency number (i.e., 911 or equivalent).
Espionage, more commonly known as governmental spying, is the act of obtaining secret or confidential information from non-disclosed sources or divulging of the same without the permission of the holder of the information. In the past, American college students have been recruited for espionage purposes and remains a real national security concern.
The F.B.I. developed a short film titled, “Game of Pawns (2014)” to help college students understand the threat and dangers associated with espionage.
If you feel you are being targeted or recruited for espionage purposes, we advise you to seek out the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate immediately.
All study abroad participants are subject to both the regulations of the ISU Code of Student Conduct and those of their host institution while abroad. Students are also bound to the local laws of the country they are visiting.
ISU has a zero-tolerance policy regarding the possession, use, manufacture, production, sale, exchange, or distribution of illegal drugs by students participating in ISU Study Abroad Programs. It is illegal for a student to possess, consume, furnish, manufacture, sell, exchange, or otherwise distribute any alcoholic beverages except as permitted by host country laws and local institutional regulations. Additionally, alcohol abuse is not tolerated on ISU Study Abroad programs. Violation of local laws and/or ISU regulations or policies may result in:
In the case of arrest or detainmnet, it is unlikely that ISU or your host institution will be able to provide any assistance as it is a governmental matter. Though the U.S. Department of State may be able to liaise with the country of detainment, it is important to understand that there are limitations to their power. Additional information regarding the arrest or detention of U.S. citizens abroad can be found on the U.S. Department of State website.