What to Do when a Disaster Strikes while Abroad…

Given the recent Earthquake in New Zealand, Cyclone in Australia and political unrest in Egypt, we thought we would put together some helpful tips to stay safe while abroad, even in the wake of a disaster.


1. Before departing for an international trip, you should register your itinerary with the US Department of State: https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ui/
2. Have copies of your passport, credit cards, flight information and insurance information with you, AND leave a copy of these with your emergency contact person at home.
3. Get to know your school or program’s “in case of emergency” plan, and what you’re supposed to do when it’s implemented.
4. Make sure you have all your emergency phone numbers with you, and know how to dial international calls. These numbers should include:

* Your programs’ emergency contact
* Your home institutions’ public safety office
* Close friend or relative (emergency contact) at home that can help you.
* The closest US embassy or consulate

5. Be aware of your surroundings at all times, avoid demonstration that could get violent. (Learn more about your program’s surroundings and other insider safety tips from our student reviews!)
6. The buddy system is always a good idea.
7. Public transportation isn’t always an option; know how to walk back to your accommodation.
8. Keep emergency cash on you, always.
9. Return to your accommodation or a safe place as soon as possible.
10. Call your mom.

Thankfully, all the American students abroad in New Zealand, Egypt and Australia have reported back and are safe. If a Travel Warning is issued while you are abroad, as in Egypt, the U.S. State Department will assist in getting students out of the country. Programs that can’t continue in their location often offer options for their students to continue their time abroad at another institution. Remember, when things don’t go as planned, there is always an opportunity for adventure!