Be Alert and Prepared!
Take the same safety precautions you would in any city with which you are unfamiliar. Always be aware of your surroundings and your personal belongings.
As a foreigner, be aware you may be an increased target to pickpocket scams.
Monitor safety warnings and alerts in your host country and any country to which you plan to travel (http://travel.state.gov). Make sure that you attend any security briefings organized by your host university and pay careful attention to advice given. Discuss safety precautions with local students and always remember that it is better to be overcautious in the first few weeks as you adapt to a new environment.
Ensure that your new accommodation is secure and ask your landlord to fit new locks if existing ones are inadequate or if you are concerned about others having keys.
Do not make yourself a target by having items such as cell phones and laptops on open display especially after dark and always make sure that you stick to well-lit areas both on campus and off.
Register your travel with the U.S. Department of State so that you may be contacted if need be, whether because of a family emergency in the United States, or because of a crisis in the area in which you are traveling.
To prepare for any potential emergencies abroad, you should identify local emergency numbers and carry them with you at all times. If you find yourself in an emergency, call the local police and host university contact before calling IIT. They will be better positioned to assist you. The U.S. Department of State maintains a published list of emergency numbers by country at http://travel.state.gov/content/studentsabroad/en/emergencies.html. To reach IIT for additional assistance and to report all incidents, call one of the following numbers:
International Center (office hours): +1 312-567-3680 IIT
Public Safety (emergencies outside office hours): +1 312-808-6363
IIT Public Safety (non-emergencies outside office hours): +1 312-808-6300
The international emergency number in many countries for GSM mobile phones is 112. By dialing this number, you should be redirected to the local emergency responders.
Create a plan so you can be prepared should an emergency occur while you are abroad. For example, what would you do if you find yourself in an emergency or become ill? How will you contact home? At what point would you return home or would your family travel to your host country? Do your parents have passports should they need to travel to your host country? What is your plan should an emergency occur at home?
What buses or trains can I take to get to the hospital, consulate, or police station? What are the local emergency, police, consulate, and hospital numbers? Who are my personal emergency contacts and how will I reach them? Do my personal emergency contacts know what I want them to do in an emergency? What financial reserves will I have and how will I access them?
What is my back-up emergency plan?
Travel Warnings and National Emergencies
In the event of a political, social, health or natural emergency, the International Center at IIT will be in close contact with the international studies office at your host institution. Be sure to remain in contact with the nearest U.S. Embassy or consulate as well as with the international studies offices.
In case of emergency situations arising from a natural disaster, war, civic unrest and/or threat to your personal security, do the following immediately:
Register with the U.S. Embassy in your host country, informing them of your whereabouts and contact details.
Monitor U.S. State Department travel warnings at http://travel.state.gov.
Maintain regular contact with key people – host university, Study Abroad Office at IIT and family in the U.S. or elsewhere – and keep them informed of your whereabouts and movements.
Monitor email regularly; the Study Abroad Office will make all contact using your IIT email (and any web-based email address you provide us with before departure). If you have a cell phone, inform the Study Abroad Office of your number and keep the Study Abroad Office number programmed into your phone (+1-312-567-3694).
Keep a low profile and be cautious.
Make decisions in collaboration with embassy representatives, on-site coordinators and the Study Abroad Office.
Communicate all decisions to key people once a course of action has been decided. If possible avoid traveling alone.
Keep everybody informed of your whereabouts if possible including your arrival at a safe location.