The safety and security of students are always of utmost priority for Belmont University and all study abroad program providers, particularly given international developments over the past few years. These concerns have been intensified by recent changes in real and perceived threats to U.S. citizens, both at home and abroad. Events since September 2001 have affected many aspects of all overseas programs. National and international security issues necessitate that you respect safety recommendations and security policies established by your sponsoring organization and the U.S. Embassy in the country of your destination.
While there is no reason to assume that going abroad will compromise your safety, you must be sure to follow safety guidelines provided by your program at all times. Your program/university will likely go over security policies and advice in depth during their orientation and we advise you to follow these carefully. Remain attentive to information provided to you and stay in contact with your program, the Office of Study Abroad, and your family throughout the duration of your study abroad program. Always inform your program’s resident director or contact person at the university of any incidents that may arise. You must also take personal responsibility for informing yourself of risks in locations in which you might study or travel; a good source of basic information is the U.S. Department of State Web site.
Belmont University discourages travel to countries and participation in a program in a country for which there is a U.S. State Department Travel Warning in effect at the time of departure.
Note: The U.S. State Department has advised Americans traveling anywhere to remain inconspicuous for their own safety, and we strongly support this advice. You are advised to keep a “low profile” wherever you may travel. Pay attention to culturally appropriate dress and behavior. Keep your voice down and avoid congregating in large, noisy groups, and avoid US entities considered symbols of US capitalism. Use restraint in situations that could get out of hand; your personal safety is far more important than your “honor” or your need to express yourself.
U.S. State Department links:
- A Safe Trip Abroad
- Bureau of Consular Affairs
- Crisis Awareness and Preparedness
- Current Travel Warnings
- Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC)
Additionally, the State Department has a very helpful website, Students Abroad, that contains a wealth of information about travel documents, health issues, emergencies, embassies, and insurance while traveling abroad.
As students studying abroad you are encouraged to:
- Stay aware of current political events
- Be informed of the laws, customs and standards in the host country
- Avoid popular American tourist destinations such as American bars and discos and U.S. fast food restaurants
- Be inconspicuous in dress and demeanor
- Avoid political demonstrations
- Notify the on-site staff and the Office of Study Abroad before engaging in any travel outside the country of study
- Register with the U.S. State Department in country
- Always remain alert to your surroundings and the people with whom you have contact
- Stay in touch with family and friends and the Office of Study Abroad on a regular basis
Property and Liability Insurance
Despite students’ best efforts to safeguard their property, it is still possible for it to be lost, stolen or damaged when traveling or living abroad. Belmont does not insure students’ property while they are overseas, so all student participants are encouraged to purchase property insurance for the entire duration of their stay abroad. Students should investigate their parents’ homeowner’s insurance to verify if all the items to be brought on the trip will be covered by their policy. It is recommended that all valuable items (e.g., laptop computers) be insured.
Trip Cancellation Insurance
The Office of Study Abroad recommends that students consider trip cancellation insurance. Trip cancellation insurance is effective in the case of a sudden illness or injury that necessitates canceling or interrupting a trip. Most policies also provide coverage due to a wide variety of unforeseen events.