The health and safety of students abroad is of utmost importance to the University at Buffalo and the Office of Study Abroad Programs.
In order to facilitate management of risks, the study abroad staff takes a number of measures to help promote proactive planning and safety while abroad.
These measures include:
Life is filled with risks, but we try to minimize these risks on our programs. Although no one can guarantee safety or security in any part of the world, international travel can be very safe, especially if one takes specific steps to prepare for it.
Student Health Information Form – part of the post-decision documents in the online application portal. Be sure it is completed and discuss it with your primary physician (including prescription medications).
Make sure you have enough medication for the length of your stay, prescription refills may be hard to obtain abroad.
Sometimes the stress of culture shock can aggravate pre-existing depression, anxiety, or other mental health concerns – discuss with your treatment provider and make a coping plan ahead of time.
Be aware and informed about communicative diseases that may be impacting the world regions you are traveling to:
U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) www.cdc.gov
World Health Organization (WHO) www.who.int
Study abroad students can be perceived as easy targets. We strongly suggest you to be aware, be careful, and use common sense at all times.
No matter how safe you feel and how trusting you are, you must always stay mentally alert so that you make wise decisions.
Be especially cautious at night. Avoid public demonstrations and large gatherings of people.
Realize that you are easily identified as a tourist and might be targeted for that reason. You can minimize risks and avoid obvious dangers by keeping a low profile.
The University at Buffalo has purchased a product called AlertTraveler to help students make informed decisions about their travel, while abroad. AlertTraveler is a mobile application for iOS and Android devices that utilizes GPS and the student's travel itinerary (as informed by our application management software). AlertTraveler provides travelers with country and city intelligence to help them make informed decisions while traveling, safety and security alerts to let travelers know of any events that could potentially impact their travel or safety, and an instant check-in option allowing travelers to report their status back to administrators and travel advisors at their institution in case of an incident. Even though we hope travelers never have to use this app, we know the world is an unpredictable place. We want all students who go abroad to be aware of the possible dangers that could affect their studies at any given time.
Students can find more information about AlertTraveler through their UB study abroad application portal (simply log into www.buffalo.edu/studyabroad). We look forward to supporting your safety as you embark on the experience of a lifetime through studying abroad!
In the event of an emergency abroad that affects the location where we have students, our office will send check-in requests (asking students to confirm their safety) and the AlertTraveler app allows for students to respond with the touch of a button.
We encourage students to be responsible with alcohol and other substances while studying abroad.
If you experience sexual misconduct while abroad, please know there are resources for reporting and support at UB for students who seek assistance. Whether or not you report an incident, UB's Office of Equity Diversity and Inclusion offers assistance and support including:
The Office of Equity Diversity and Inclusion website provides information on:
Students identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, intersex or queer should be prepared to encounter new and different attitudes concerning sexual orientations and identities. The atmosphere surrounding LGBTQ rights and issues in each country or region is determined by numerous cultural, religious and political factors. The best way to avoid problems that cause discomfort or danger is to become familiar with the prevailing attitudes before departing for study abroad.
Travelling as a gay student may pose some problems. In order to make your journey as safe and enjoyable as possible, it is important to be cautious in some parts of the world. Such areas include Poland, Mauritius, the Middle East (excepting Turkey), Trinidad, Jamaica, Indonesia, Malaysia and Chechnya, as well as some African countries. These countries have anti-homosexuality laws which reflect cultural attitudes which may pose a threat to your safety while travelling through or visiting.
We also recommend students become familiar with TSA policies and considerations for transgender travelers.
For more information, please visit:
IES Country-Specific Diversity Resources
List of LGBTQ organizations around the world
US Department of State LGBT Travel
International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association
Students with seen or unseen disabilities are underrepresented in study abroad programs throughout the U.S. Travelling can be difficult for those living with a disability, but there are resources available to aid students who wish to explore the world regardless of physical, cognitive, or emotional/behavioral challenges. With the proper research, preparation and care, every student can have the opportunity to expand their education internationally.
U.S. Department of State - Travelers with Disabilities
Mobility International USA (MIUSA) provides resources, advice and support to students of various ability impairments seeking to study abroad.