Student exploring his surroundings while studying abroad.

Being Safe

Current Event & Local Conditions

Study Abroad participants should familiarize themselves with current events while abroad through local newspapers, radio stations, and TV stations. The U.S. Department of State provides clear, timely, and reliable safety and security information worldwide on their website. Every country has a Travel Advisory providing helpful advice; students should also read the Safety and Security section on the country information page of the U.S. State Department website.

Travel Documentation

Participants should leave copies of their itinerary, passport data page, and visa(s) with family or friends in the U.S.A. so that they can be contacted in case of an emergency. In addition, participants should email themselves copies of these documents in case they are lost or stolen. If your passport or lost or stolen, you'll need to seek help at the nearest Embassy or Consulate.

Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)

We strongly suggest that all students register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) – a free service of the U.S. Department of State. The STEP program allows students to receive important up-to-date safety information about the destination city/country. In the case of an emergency, including a natural disaster or civil unrest, it allows the local U.S. Embassy to communicate to the student. And, it helps family and friends get in touch in the event of an emergency. They have a free iPhone app that students can download for easy mobile access: Smart Traveler. The U.S. State Department also has this resource for U.S. students abroad.

Adhering to Local Laws

Remember: U.S. laws do not apply abroad. While in another country, you are subject to that country's respective laws. The U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad is limited in what it can do to assist you if you should get into legal trouble. If you are accused of a crime, they can't bail you out or provide you with legal representation, but a foreign service officer can offer assistance (including helping you find an English-speaking lawyer). What the U.S. State Department Can and Can't Do in a Crisis.

  • Make sure you know the relevant laws for each country you plan to visit. Foreign laws apply to visitors, regardless of the visitor’s country of citizenship.
  • If you find yourself in legal trouble abroad, the U.S. Embassy or Consulate may only be able to assist you in the following ways:
    • visit you in jail after your arrest
    • give you a list of local attorneys
    • notify your family and friends and relay requests for money and other aid
    • intercede with local authorities to help ensure your proper treatment under the law and in accordance with internationally recognized standards
    • protest mistreatment
  • You will be responsible for bearing the financial burden of your legal representation as well as the outcome of a trial.
  • You cease to be protected by U.S. law and Constitutional rights once you leave the country.
  • If you feel you have been unfairly imprisoned by another country’s government, the U.S. State Department can provide some assistance. It may be necessary for you to hire a local attorney.

Participants are subject to the rules and policies of the host institution abroad. Even while abroad, Pace University students are expected to abide by Pace's Guiding Principles of Conduct. Violation of local law, institutional rules and policies, or Pace's policies may result in expulsion from the program and thus the loss of academic credit, financial aid and scholarships, and program fees.

In An Emergency

Learn more about what to do in the case of an emergency.