Villanova University considers your health and safety while you study abroad as a top priority. Obviously, there are risks involved in any type of travel and it is important for you to prepare for both known and unknown circumstances. While no university, program provider or host institution can guarantee your safety, the risks can be significantly reduced by providing you with the information and resources that will help you become aware of potential threats and encourage you to make good decisions.
The goal of providing this health and safety information is for you to learn to manage and to reduce your risk to the greatest extent possible while studying and traveling overseas. The excitement of travel and the newness of the environment may make it easy to become careless or distracted, but ultimately, you are responsible for your own personal safety. These guidelines will provide you with the information and knowledge to remain vigilant and to consider your health and safety as a top priority while studying abroad.
The OIS believes that all students are primarily responsible for their own health and safety through the decisions they make before and during their time abroad.
As such, participants on international programs need to:
- Read all materials issued or recommended by the OIS, Program Providers, Host Universities and faculty program coordinators that relate to safety, health, legal, environmental, political, cultural and religious conditions in your host countries prior to departure.
- Consider your personal, emotional, physical and mental health and safety needs when accepting a place in a program.
- Provide your accurate physical and mental health information to the OIS, Program Provider or Host University along with any other personal data that is necessary in planning for a safe and healthy overseas study experience.
- Assume responsibility for your personal preparation for the program and participate fully in orientations. Use the online resources provided to conduct additional pre-departure research on your host country.
- Obtain and maintain appropriate health insurance policies and abide by any conditions outlined in these policies.
- Inform your parents, guardians and any others who may need to know about participation in the international program. Provide them with emergency contact information and keep them informed on an ongoing basis.
- Learn the culture and laws of your host country of study. Comply with local codes of conduct and obey host country laws. Remember that Americans are not immune to local laws in the host country. The U.S. Embassy does not have the authority to shield your from the consequences of breaking the host-country’s laws.
- Be aware of local conditions when making daily choices and decisions. Promptly express any health or safety concerns to the program staff or other appropriate individuals.
- Inform the faculty program coordinator, resident director, program provider, host university and/or host family (if applicable) when traveling independently while abroad and provide these parties with your emergency contact information.
Villanova University and the Office of International Studies
- Cannot guarantee or assure the safety of participants or eliminate all risks.
- Cannot monitor or control all the daily personal decisions, choices and activities of individual participants.
- Cannot prevent participants from engaging in illegal, dangerous or unwise activities.
- Cannot assure that U.S. standards of due process apply in overseas legal proceedings or provide or pay for legal representation for participants.
- Cannot assume responsibility for the actions of persons not employed or otherwise engaged by Villanova University for events that are not part of the program or that are beyond VU’s and its subcontractors’ control, or for situations that may arise due to failure of a participant to disclose pertinent information.
- Cannot assure that U.S. cultural values and norms will apply in the host country.
- Cannot assure that participants will be free of illness or injury during the program.
- Cannot assume responsibility for acts and events that are beyond our control or ensure local adherence to U.S. norms of due process.
US State Department – Students Abroad
Designed by the US State Department to address concerns that are specific to students studying and traveling overseas. Includes links and information regarding the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) which allows US citizens to register their travel plans with the State Department in case of an emergency.
US State Department – Country Background Notes
Background Notes include facts about the land, people, history, government, political conditions, economy, and foreign relations of independent states, some dependencies, and areas of special sovereignty.
Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC)
The OSAC website offers information on security-related incidents and threats overseas. Some of the information accessible from the website include US Department of State Consular Affairs Bulletins; daily security-related news articles; overseas reports on security and crime incidents; timely presentations on current terrorist attacks and other incidents; general crime information for cities and countries; locations and contacts at US posts overseas; and updates on new or unusual trends.
Center for Disease Control (CDC)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recognized as the lead federal agency for protecting the health and safety of people - at home and abroad, providing credible information to enhance health decisions, and promoting health through strong partnerships.
Transportation Security Administration
Provides airline travel packing guidelines and other travel related informations.
Emergency Telephone Numbers
List of emergency numbers throughout the world. Add these to your IMPORTANT NUMBERS wallet card that you received at pre-departure orientation.
The Center for Global Education
Provides resources for students planning to study abroad, including health & safety tips, along with country specific information.
SAFETI adaptations of Peace Corps Resources
Utilizes information developed for Peace Corps members and translates the materials into a resource for students planning to study abroad. This site include a pre-departure health training handbook, and a personal safety and awareness workbook.
Offers guide to help students prepare for their international experiences.
World Health Organization
Provides information on health risks for travelers and health recommendations.
International SOS provides Villanova University students with pre-departure health and safety advice along with 24 hour overseas emergency assistance services.
Association for Safe International Road Travel
The global epidemic of road crash fatalities and disabilities is gradually being recognized as a major public health concern. The first step to being informed about global road safety and to developing effective road safety interventions is to have access to facts.
Global Travel Warnings
Nations Online Project collects travel warnings around the world to help travelers and citizens to take their own decisions about their travel plans. Be prepared before departure. Before your departure find out about safety and security conditions, health questions and entry requirements for the country or countries you are going to.