For many students, independent exploration and travel is a major
part of their study abroad experience, and with it comes a world of
new insight and awareness. But part of that awareness also includes
keeping yourself safe! That’s why we’ve dedicated this next section
to outlining general tips for staying safe during your
travels—whether you’re getting to know your new “home” city or
heading farther afield.
- Stay on top of current events and be aware of your
surroundings: While some of us would like to think of
ourselves as experts in “big city” etiquette, it’s important to
always stay alert and to use common sense when traveling in a
foreign country. Street smarts in New York are not necessarily the
same thing as street smarts in Paris or New Delhi. Research your
destinations before you go, and stay informed of current events and
subsequent travel advisories for use in making good independent
travel decisions. We recommend the Department of State’s Students Abroad and
general Travel site as
- Don’t do anything abroad that you wouldn’t do New
York—or any other big city in the U.S. While we encourage
our students to experience new cultures and explore new
neighborhoods to get to know the local culture, you should never
put yourself at risk. In addition to your independent research,
talk to the site staff or your professors to determine what “safe
exploration” looks like in your destination(s).
- Keep the on-site staff or your program leaders aware of
your independent travel plans. When travelling, remember:
whether you’re taking a long weekend in another city or simply
“crashing” in your new home town, let the local staff know your
plans—and be sure to carry the on-site emergency contact numbers
with you at all times.
- Avoid scams. Going to school in New York City,
you probably think you know everything there is to know about
avoiding scams. You also probably know how to spot a tourist from
five blocks away. With that in mind, it's time to accept that,
soon, YOU will be the tourist! Be sure to visit our Student Guide for a list of
the most common scams, as well as how to prevent them, or recover
from them should they happen.
- Pay attention to pre-departure and on-site orientation
sessions and materials! We know that there’s a lot of
information to take in, but being informed truly is the best way to
stay safe—and we’re here to help!