Safety & Security
The Office of International Safety and Security can support you with problems concerning your health, safety, security, logistics, finances, as well as legal, personal, and behavioral issues you may face while abroad.
Being abroad may cause various degrees of physical and psychological stress. Be sure to take care of yourself and learn to read the signs your body is sending. Most importantly, follow the advice and guidelines from your medical professionals and program coordinators.
- International Insurance
- University of Illinois Women’s Resource Center Support Services
- Disability Resources and Educational Services
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Managing Mental Health Abroad
Getting Help from Embassies
There are U.S. embassies in more than 160 capital cities of the world. Each embassy has a consular section. There are also consular officers at about 60 U.S. Consulates General and 20 U.S. Consulates around the world (Consulates General and Consulates are regional offices of Embassies). The consulate can provide the following emergency services:
- Replace a Passport. If you lose your passport, a consul can issue you a replacement. If you believe your passport has been stolen, first report the theft to the local police and get a police declaration. Passport Resources from the U.S. Department of State
- Help Get Funds. Should you lose all your money and other financial resources, consular officers can help you contact your family, bank, or employer to arrange for them to send you funds.
- Visit in Jail. If you are arrested, you should ask the authorities to notify the Office of International Safety and Security and a U.S. consul.
- Help in a Disaster/Evacuation. If you are caught up in a natural disaster or civil disturbance, you should contact the Office of International Safety and Security as well as let your relatives know as soon as possible that you are safe.
If you are an international student, search for “embassy” online with the name of your home country and education abroad location. Make sure to review the resources available to you from your home country’s embassy.
You may find it difficult adjusting to your new environment abroad and most students will experience some form of culture shock and it is normal to have a range of reactions when adapting to a new culture. Remember to be patient with yourself and those around you. Explore the resources below for tips on how to deal with culture shock and how to better immerse yourself in your host community.
- Quick Guide to Culture Shock
- How to Build Relationships in Your Host Community
- Seven Strategies for Cultural Immersion
There are many options to help you communicate with family and friends, as well as online Illinois resources that you can access while abroad. Talk with your cell phone provider to see what services they can provide and what they charge for international calls. If those options are too costly, look into getting a U.S. phone card, SIM card, or an international cell phone (some programs will provide an international cell phone as part of their program costs). Explore messaging and video messaging apps like WhatsApp, Skype, and Facebook messenger. Additionally, take advantage of Illinois resources that you can access online.
Protect your finances abroad by having multiple forms of payment on hand. Alert your bank and credit card company about your travel, contact them with issues you have abroad, and ask about additional international fees they may charge. If you need more money while abroad, contact your bank for recommendations on reputable banks or financial services companies in your host city. In a financial emergency, the Bureau of Consular Affairs can assist U.S. citizens abroad. International students should seek the support of their home country’s consular office.