Health and Safety Abroad

National Security Education Program David L. Boren Undergraduate Scholarship 2004 Midwest Convocation May 21, 2004 David Comp The University of Chicago

Health and Safety Abroad
• War in Afghanistan • War in Iraq • War on Terror

With everything happening in the world today how do you identify and avoid risk abroad when you are in an unfamiliar country and everything is new?

Health and Safety Abroad

U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs

http://travel.state.gov/

• Consular Information Sheets • Public Announcements • Travel Warnings

Health and Safety Abroad

Protecting your documents
• Critical to safeguard passport, other forms of identification, money, and health related papers such as prescription and immunization information

Keep copies of documents with family or friends back in the U.S. Keep additional copies with you while abroad but separate from originals “Virtual Safe” - Scan documents as PDF or JPG documents and send them as e-mail attachments to yourself.

Health and Safety Abroad

Remember that you are representing the United States while abroad
Your behavior abroad feeds the perception others have of the U.S. and how they react to you

Health and Safety Abroad

Learn about and be aware of the cultural norms of your host country and remember that you are a guest in the country.

Health and Safety Abroad

Always understand and be aware of your surroundings:
• Dress appropriately and according to the customs of the local community. • Find out what areas of your city or town are less safe than others. • Know where to get help in times of need. • Do not touch suspicious items or open unexpected letters or packages.

Health and Safety Abroad

Understanding and Awareness of your surroundings (continued)
• Report to authorities any suspicious people loitering around residences, instructional facilities or following you. • Keep your doors locked when you are home. • Use common sense when divulging to strangers what you are doing in the county and where you live. • Avoid political demonstrations.

Health and Safety Abroad
Students who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or questioning should learn about the local culture and scene and how homosexuality is viewed in your host country.

Health and Safety Abroad

Safety issues for women:
• Think about your beliefs and your own cultural background and how these may compare to the majority viewpoints of the country in which you’ll be studying • Learn about basic safety and selfdefense techniques, from what to pack to what to do in worst-case scenarios

Health and Safety Abroad

Safety issues for women

(Continued)

• Consider your beliefs about issues which affect women, and be able to articulate them if you choose to engage in discussion with local people • Think about ways to deal with intercultural frustrations relating to gender and/or being a woman overseas, including your response to people’s possible stereotypes of you as an American woman abroad

Safety and Study Abroad: For Women Only, Northwestern Univeristy Study Abroad Office, http://www.northwestern.edu/studyabroad/forms/safety_abroad.pdf

Health and Safety Abroad

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Infectious Diseases

http://www.cdc.gov/travel/

World Health Organization

http://www.who.int/en/

Health and Safety Abroad

Sanitary and health conditions vary greatly around the world. Food and Drink
• Boil it, Cook it, Peel it, or Forget it!

Health and Safety Abroad

HIV/AIDS and STD’s
• Many countries have a very high rate of HIV/AIDS and STD’s which are mostly passed heterosexually. • Important to apply what you’ve learned to your sexual behavior abroad.

Health and Safety Abroad

SARS
• According to the WHO:
As of April 22nd 2004, there have been nine confirmed cases of SARS in China.  A total of 8,098 people worldwide became sick with SARS during the 2003 outbreak. Of these, 774 died.

• According to the CDC:

The United States had 9,858 reported cases of the West Nile Virus with 262 confirmed deaths.

Health and Safety Abroad
Identify your instincts, and learn to pay attention to them and trust them. Take responsibility for your own health and safety as this will be one of the best educational experiences of your life.

Health and Safety Abroad

Safe Travels!

David Comp Assistant Director Office of International Affairs The University of Chicago dcomp@uchicago.edu

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