Safety Abroad

Basic Safety Tips

  • Keep identification on you at all times (i.e. a photocopy of your passport)
  • Be able to communicate at all times. Carry a cell phone and/or know how to use a pay telephone and have the proper change on hand.
  • Always carry important emergency contact numbers with you, including the following numbers:
    • Dartmouth College Safety & Security (24 hours): +1-603-646-4000
    • International SOS (24 hours): +1-215-942-8226
    • Program specific emergency contact information
  • Become familiar with the local transportation system.
  • Do not discuss travel plans or other personal matters with strangers.
  • Do not walk in unfamiliar areas of the city at night or accept rides from strangers.
  • Be careful with money and other expensive items in public.
  • Beware of pickpockets. They often work with accomplices who may jostle you, ask you for directions or the time, point to something spilled on your clothing, or distract you by creating a disturbance.
  • The less you stand out the safer you will be.
  • Plan ahead. Before you drink, set limits and designate a friend in charge of making sure everyone comes home safely. Don't leave a friend behind, even if s/he says s/he is okay. Stick to your plans.
  • For your safety, you should buy your own drinks and never leave your drink unattended; it's the best way to protect yourself from date rape or other drugs being added to your drink.
  • It's okay to choose not to drink.
  • Avoid public demonstrations and other disturbances.
  • When traveling, never leave your bags unattended. 
  • Be sure your faculty director knows where you will be traveling and when, in case you must be contacted.

Safety tips like these and more are outlined in the following video from International SOS: "Street Smarts"

Medical and Travel Security Assistance

All Dartmouth students are covered by the Dartmouth International SOS Medical and Travel Security Assistance plan. The services provided by International SOS range from telephone advice and referrals to full-scale evacuation by private air ambulance for medical necessity. This coverage does not provide health and medical coverage overseas. You remain responsible for ensuring that you have such coverage in the countries and for the duration of your travels.

Please be aware that some of ISOS’s services carry additional charges. Should you request a service which has an additional charge, ISOS will inform you in advance and will require a credit card number in order to activate the service. If, in the event of an emergency, Dartmouth provides the financial guarantee to ISOS on your behalf, the College will bill you for this charge upon receipt of the actual amount by ISOS. Please know that such charges may not be billed until after you return from the trip abroad.

Cultural Issues & Perception

Don’t assume you know and understand the local culture. Try to learn about your host culture’s values, customs, popular culture, etc. as much as possible. Most people will experience some difficulties adjusting to their new country and culture. This is totally normal, and should be expected. Cultural adjustment comes in stages and people react differently to the changes. Try to look at things from their perspective. For every behavior you don’t understand, try to figure out what is its underlying value.

Sexual Harassment

Cultural difference in interactions on romantic or sexual levels can be a problem area - some behaviors might be inappropriate in the US, but considered acceptable in the culture in which you are living, and vice-versa. Sexual harassment is a particularly difficult area because of variations in acceptable behavior across cultures. You are encouraged to contact your faculty program director or Guarini Institute staff to report any behaviors that you feel are sexually harassing. They will assist you in resolving the situation in a culturally appropriate way.

Compliance with Local Laws

When you are in a foreign country you are subject to its laws and not protected by U.S. laws. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse. It is important that you learn about local laws and regulations and comply with them. If you become involved in a legal matter, please inform your faculty director or contact Guarini Institute staff immediately. 

Emergency Situations

  • Emergency procedures will be explained to you during onsite orientation.
  • If at any time you feel that your physical safety is threatened and you have not been able to reach your Dartmouth faculty director, local program support staff, or the local police in your host country, call the Dartmouth Department of Safety and Security (DSS) at (603) 646-4000, and they will connect you to the appropriate College resource.