Safety and Security
Safety and security issues are an important consideration as overseas programs are being developed. Below are a few informative links that may help you prepare a safe program abroad and respond to emergencies that may arise. Read our open letter on safety and security abroad.
- Quick Reference Contact Info
Please contact us in the following order:
- Study Abroad Emergency Cell Number:
- Stephanie Leslie, Director of Study Abroad
- Zachary Vavra, Study Abroad Advisor
- IUPUI Study Abroad Office
317-274-2081 firstname.lastname@example.org 317-278-2213 Fax
- Sara Allaei, Assistant Dean & Director, Office of International Affairs
- Office of International Affairs
If unable to reach anyone after hours
Please call the IUPUI Police Department at 317-274-7911.
They have home contact information for staff.
If you are unable to reach IUPUI Staff
Please call the IU Office of Overseas Study: 812-855-9304, IU Office of Overseas Study.
The IUPUI Study Abroad Office is responsible for overseeing study abroad programs administered by the IUPUI campus. We will assist in working with the insurance company, developing response plans with the Faculty Director, and when appropriate contacting embassies, administration offices at Indiana University, and the emergency contacts for students.
In case of:
Any emergency on an IUPUI program abroad:
Inform the IUPUI OIA staff as quickly as possible. No cancellations or changes in programs, evacuations, or treatment other than that of an urgent nature should be undertaken without first contacting the IUPUI Study Abroad office. IUPUI's office will coordinate appropriate action in consultation with Faculty Directors and the Indiana University Office of Overseas Study.
Death or serious accident requiring medical evacuation of a U.S. citizen
Contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance.
Contagious illness, injury, incarceration, or death
Uninvolved program participants should be asked not to contact their homes or families until IUPUI have given instructions to the on-site representative for action.
Absence or incapacity of the Faculty Director
inform the home office before making decisions on emergency matters.
Keep written records of emergency situations.
- Study Abroad Emergency Cell Number:
IUPUI Emergency Preparedness
U.S. Department of State Travel Warnings and Consular Information Sheets include location of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, immigration practices, health conditions, minor political disturbances, unusual currency and entry regulations, crime and security information, and drug penalties for every country in the world.
- World Health Organization
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Avian Flu and International Travel
- Health Check for Study, Work, and Travel Abroad
- Health Information for International Travel (The Yellow Book)
- Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad
- SECUSSA Health and Safety Website
- School for International Training (SIT)'s Health and Safety Information
- The International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers can provide a directory of English-speaking doctors in 500 cities in 120 countries.
- Travel Health Online
- Travel Medicine: Information and Products for Safe Travel
- Travel Safe: AIDS and International Travel
State Department Information
- The Office of Overseas Citizens Services offers information about various types of assistance provided to American citizens
- U.S. Embassies and Consulates Worldwide
- U.S. Department of State Background Notes
- U.S. Department of State "Tips for Students"
Cell Phone Rentals
- Global Cellular Telephone Rental Service
- Ekit Phone Card
- AT&T Worldwide Traveler
- Telestial Wireless Solution for Travelers
International Insurance Providers
- HTH Worldwide Insurance: Standard policy provided for all IU/IUPUI programs
- Listing of international insurance providers
World News Outlets
Good Practices for Safety and Security Abroad
- Make photocopies of the front page of your passport. Ensure that your faculty director, your emergency contact person in the U.S., and the Study Abroad Office all have copies.
- Stay in regular contact with program staff and fellow participants. Ensure when traveling or going out independently that the program coordinator, fellow participants, and family know where you are going and when you expect to return. Provide them with an itinerary in advance, if viable, as well as emergency contact information.
- Establish a regular phone or e-mail contact schedule with family or friends.
- If at all possible, rent or buy a global (GSM) cell phone while abroad so family and program participants can readily be contacted, and calls can be made more easily in general (no need to have local calling cards, coins, etc.).
- Know how to use a pay telephone and keep the proper change on hand.
- Know at least a few phrases in the local language so you can signal your need for help, the police, or a doctor.
- Read and behave in accordance with any safety and/or emergency protocols set out by IU policy and the policies of your program director.
- Consider registering with the U.S. Embassy.
- Continue normal routines within their program.
- Carry a photocopy of the front page of your passport.
- Travel light. You can move more quickly and are less likely to set your luggage down, leaving it unattended.
- Avoid crowds or moving about the city as large groups of readily identifiable Americans.
- Maintain a low profile while in the host country; including adopting more regionally appropriate dress standards, speech patterns and behavior .
- Avoid locations known to be common gathering points for U.S. citizens (including bars, restaurants, nightclubs, etc.).
- Avoid discussing politics or government/regulatory policies as topics of conversation, debate or as general points of comparative exchanges.
- Avoid public demonstrations and other civil disturbances.
- Don't use short cuts, narrow alleys or poorly-lit streets. Try not to travel alone at night.
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash by changing your travelers' checks only as you need currency.
- Carry the following phone numbers and email addresses at all times:
- Family at home and work
- Study abroad program resident director, IU International Office emergency contact numbers, or, if applicable, contact numbers for the foreign university international student office.
- U.S. Embassy and/or local Consulate in any country they visit
- Travel agent
- Local police and fire service
- Medical facilities
- Your hotel
Know the local laws. When you are in a foreign country, you are subject to its laws. Monitor and assess safety issues in the region and country in which you are studying by:
- Periodically checking the U.S. Department of State Consular Information Sheets and Travel Warnings.
- Reading local newspapers and guidebooks
- Reading the pre-departure materials provided by the host program or university.
Read and refer family/friends to the advice contained in "Advice for Parents: Frequently Asked Questions" by William Hoffa, Academic Consultants International.
- Is IUPUI canceling any programs?
Any decision to suspend or cancel a program is not one that IU system officials take lightly and will involve close consultation and input from faculty and administrators as well as include references to sources such as:
- Indiana staff in-country;
- Officials at the partner institutions;
- U.S. Embassy officials in-country;
- Other officials from U.S. agencies and/or NGOs;
- The appropriate U.S. State Department country Desk Officer(s);
- Other IU System offices; and
- This office's own assessment of certain events.
Events potentially triggering this decision making process include, in random order:
Public health warnings, declaration of war by the U.S. against the program's country or an adjacent country; declaration of war by a third country against the program country; significant terrorist activity in the program city or country; protracted or indefinite closure of the host institution(s); inability of IU staff to organize and carry out an academic program outside of the host institution(s); disruption of public utilities and/or services; widespread civil unrest, violence, or rioting; a declaration of martial law in the program city; recommendation of suspension/cancellation by the partners, affiliates or IU program staff in-country; and/or travel warning and/or specific directive by the U.S. State Department and/or U.S. Embassy.
- How safe are IUPUI students abroad?
Based on all information reasonably available to us, we believe all students to be safe at their study abroad locations, provided they behave in a reasonable manner and observe standard safety practices for overseas travel.
Basic precautions that are strongly recommended for students are available at Good Practices for Safety and Security Abroad.
We also strongly encourage all students as well as their family and friends to actively monitor and assess safety issues in the regions in which travel and programs take place.
Carry the following phone numbers and email addresses at all times:
- Family at home and at work;
- Study abroad program resident director, IUPUI Study Abroad emergency contact numbers, or, if applicable, contact numbers for the foreign university international student office;
- U.S. Embassy and/or local Consulate in any country you visit;
- Travel agent, if applicable;
- What has IUPUI done to address security and safety concerns abroad?
IUPUI and the IU system have regular meetings at various administrative levels and routinely draw up contingency plans for emergency situations both before departure and when on-site. Staff are asked to encourage students to register their details with the local U.S. embassy or consulate and to follow recommended safety guidelines for living abroad.
For additional information regarding IUPUI's emergency preparedness please see http://www.iupui.edu/~prepared/.
- What happens if a study abroad program is canceled?
In the unlikely event local or world conditions should lead the university to suspend or cancel a specific study abroad program, students and parents should refer to the IU system policy.
Generally, programs that are cancelled without the completion of credit attract full refunds for the credit fee components unless the cancellation is due to political, natural, technological, or other catastrophes beyond its control, in which case IUPUI will be able to refund only uncommitted and recoverable funds. Should another sponsoring institution cancel its program, its refund policy, if any, will apply.
- Can a student currently on an IU program abroad choose to come back now? What are the academic and financial consequences of withdrawal?
IUPUI students abroad and their parents have certain options available to them. A staff member from the IU system office would be happy to discuss these choices and help work through the implications each would have for individual students' programs. Available options may include the following:
Voluntary withdrawal from the study abroad program and return to this campus before the drop/add period ends: Refunds will be made according to the refund policy as stated in the Statement of Authorization and Consent signed by each student and in line with IU enrollment policy.
Voluntary withdrawal from the study abroad program with a delayed return to the U.S./campus after the add/drop period or for a later term: Student must secure permission for personal leave from his/her academic dean and must notify the Study Abroad Office of such plans. Refunds will be made according to the policy set out in IU handbooks and as established in the Authorization and Consent form signed by each student and parent/guardian.
In both cases, the student MUST apply to the Office of International Affairs for permission to withdraw and give written notice to BOTH this office and the foreign institution/program of the withdrawal and departure details. In each case the student will be responsible for all non-recoverable costs associated with his/her enrollment in the program overseas.
Students must complete the academic program requirements of the host institution in order to receive credit on study abroad. If a student withdraws prior to completing course work, it is unlikely s/he will receive credit from the host institution. If the student withdraws in time to return to campus for the semester (by the end of the semester's drop/add period), s/he may enroll on campus.
Financial consequences of a voluntary withdrawal are subject to the refund policy in the Statement of Authorization and Consent signed by the student participant and his/her parent or legal guardian. In essence, any deposit made for an IU-administered program is non-refundable. For a semester or academic year IU-administered program, any remaining paid fees will be refunded in accordance with the refund policy outlined in the IUPUI and IU-Bloomington student handbook. If a student leaves an IUPUI/IU-administered summer program for any reason after the balance due payment deadline set by that program, tuition is non-refundable. Program fees will be refunded to the extent that prior commitments have not been made. Non IU/IUPUI sponsors have their own refund policies and should be contacted directly to ascertain the implications of this decision.
- Are the policies the same for students studying on non-IU/IUPUI programs?
Students studying on non-IU programs (i.e., direct enrolments outside the IU system including Y496 registrations) are subject to the withdrawal and cancellation policies of their program or host institution. The logistics and timing surrounding the student's subsequent return to this campus would be dependent on the applicable academic regulations and subject to advice from their academic advisors and department heads.
- What does a State Department Caution or Warning Mean?
Travel Warnings are issued when the State Department recommends that Americans avoid travel to a certain country.
Public Announcements are used to disseminate information about short-term and/or trans-national conditions posing significant risks to the security of American travelers. They are made when there is a perceived threat, usually with Americans as a particular target group. In the past, Public Announcements have been issued to deal with short-term coups, bomb threats to airlines, violence by terrorists, and anniversary dates of specific terrorist events.
- Where can I find more information about world events that may directly affect study abroad programs?
Participants and their families are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with the resources on our Emergency Planning page as part of their decision making processes in participating in study abroad programs.
The Department of State also offers a site on Crisis Awareness and Preparedness.
- What other resources are available for students on programs abroad?
Click to expand:
- Is IUPUI canceling any programs?
Current Flu Concerns
Locally, IUPUI's Health Services has vaccination information for current IUPUI students, staff, and faculty.
We recommend that you stay informed, particularly when traveling to countries where the viruses have been found in animal or human populations.
For suggestions on how to avoid contracting swine flu please see the CDCs recommendations.
To track the reported Swine Influenza cases, visit: Map of Human Cases of Swine Influenza
Currently the risk of infection for humans is low, so we do not discourage travel to or from any part of the world because of the H5N1 virus.
More information on pandemic flu is available at:
Finally, we always recommend that international travelers consult the U.S. Department of State's consular information and travel warnings prior to making travel plans.