Safety Abroad: Keep Informed
The Office of Study Abroad strives to keep students, faculty, and parents informed of conditions and decisions related to student safety and well-being. However, in these changing times, it is necessary that each student take responsibility for his/her own safety by staying informed and using good judgment.
Between now and your departure, it is your responsibility to stay informed about developments in the country/countries where you will spend time (including any countries you'll visit that are not part of your study abroad program's itinerary). The U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs assists American citizens traveling or living abroad. The Bureau also issues Consular Information Sheets, Travel Warnings, and Public Announcements that provide important information regarding foreign travel.
On the U.S. Department of State’s Web page, http://travel.state.gov/travel, you will find three different types of information: Consular Information Sheets, Public Announcements, and Travel Warnings. This information is updated based on current events worldwide. We ask that you read this information carefully before you depart the United States. Please feel free to call the Office of Study Abroad if you have any questions or concerns regarding the information on this site.
- Consular Information Sheets. These are available for every country of the world. They include such information as location of the U.S. embassy or consulate in the subject country, unusual immigration practices, health conditions, minor political disturbances, unusual currency and entry regulations, crime and security information, and drug penalties. If an unstable condition exists in a country that is not severe enough to warrant a Travel Warning, a description of the condition may be included under an optional section entitled “Safety/Security.” Sometimes, U.S. Embassy information given to official employees is restated here. Consular Information Sheets generally do not include advice, but present information in a factual manner so the traveler can make his or her own decisions concerning travel to a particular country.
- Public Announcements. Public Announcements are a means to disseminate information about relatively short-term and/or transnational conditions posing significant risks to the security of travelers. They are made any time there is a perceived threat and usually have Americans as a particular target group. In the past, Public Announcements have been issued to deal with short-term coups, bomb threats to airlines, violence by terrorists, and anniversary dates of specific terrorist events.
- Travel Warnings. Travel Warnings are issued when the State Department decides, based on all relevant information, to recommend that Americans avoid travel to a certain country. Countries where avoidance of travel is recommended will have Travel Warnings as well as Consular Information Sheets. For University guidelines on travel to countries for which a Travel Warning is in effect, please see http://www.umich.edu/~itoc/guidelines.html.