Many students ask us if it is safe to travel to a certain place where we have a language program. This is always a difficult question to answer. For the most part our students feel very safe on our programs. Usually, the more experienced the traveler the more they feel confident about safety and security issues. Our schools are quality institutions in safe neighborhoods with helpful staff and we feel confident sending students on all of our programs. However some programs (such as our Middle East or South America programs) present unique challenges and may not be appropriate for our younger or first-time travelers.
One thing that may help with your decision is to hear feedback from a past student of the program you are considering. You may request this and if available the LA staff would be pleased to share it with you. You may also want to see what the US government says about travel to your destination: travel.state.gov
When traveling abroad you will discover that legal systems vary dramatically around the world. Students should beaware of applicable laws and policing from locals, if not before arriving. Take particular note of traffic violations and laws concerning drugs and alcohol.
If students are going to be in a country for more than a couple of weeks, they should register at their Embassy or Consulate. This is helpful to students and their families, if there is need to locate family members in the event of an emergency.
Should you find yourself in trouble overseas, the Consular Officer at your nearest embassy or consulate can provide certain assistance and advice. Aid is available in the event of illness, injury, natural catastrophe, evacuations, destitution, or death. However, embassies can not cash checks, lend money or serve as attorneys.
For a safe journey, keep the following precautionary points in mind:
- Let people know where you are. Leave travel arrangements, a list of addresses, phone and fax numbers or email addresses of contact people for your program with friends or family. Especially if you are traveling before or after your program.
- Make copies of your passport s data page and any visas. Keep a copy separate from the originals while traveling and leave one at home with your family. This will help to obtain a replacement passport in the event that a passport is lost or stolen. Travelling with extra photos will also aid in obtaining a new passport quickly.
- Carry your contact details with you. Be sure to include the address and phone number of your accommodation or school. Include the school where you are studying as well. If you are in a country that uses a scripted language, make sure you have the contact details written clearly and properly in that script.
- Check local customs and abide by them carefully. While some countries have restrictions on things like photography, others have strict rules that apply to religion, dress, food, drink, business procedures and social behaviors. Your body language may give very different messages than you intend.
- In some cultures, the casual male-female interactions and freedom of dress common to you may embarrass or offend people in other cultures. These inappropriate actions can jeopardize your safety.
- Consult local people about transportation, safe areas, how to handle homeless people or solicitations. Use government-regulated transportation or consult local people on the safest way to get around town.
- Walking alone can be hazardous. Avoid isolated areas and only walk during daylight hours. Panhandlers and hustlers often seek out travelers and can be very persistent. If bothered, continue walking and say "no" repeatedly in a loud and clear voice, using the local language. If you are still being followed go into the nearest store or hotel.
- Keep your keys, wallet, handbags and other essentials concealed. If you have access to a safe, use it. Leave anything you can t bear to lose at home.
- Avoid demonstrations or civil disturbances.
- To ensure you experience the safest journey possible, learn as much as you can ahead of time about the history, culture, politics and customs of the country to which you are traveling. Respect all customs, manners, rules and laws.