The U.S. State Department has issued a Travel Alert following the announcement that U.S. troops had killed Osama Bin Laden. Please note that a Travel Alert is merely a cautionary statement, not a warning of a specific threat or incident. Today's Travel Alert, which will automatically expire in 90 days, is not affecting our current or upcoming programs in any way.
As always, we recommend that our students follow reasonable security measures once abroad. A full list of these measures is located in the "Student Safety Precautions" section of our Preparing to Study Abroad booklet. Some of our recommendations include:
- Blend in to the local community. Socialize and study with the host university degree students.
- Speak the language in your host country. Don't stick out by speaking English where another language is the norm.
- Follow local security instructions. If police or other government officials have issued instructions, follow them politely and quietly.
- Don't frequent American hangouts (fast food restaurants, clubs, U.S. Embassy or Consulate).
- Stay away from political rallies or protests.
- Avoid risky behavior. Abuse of alcohol or taking illegal drugs that impair your judgment can result in becoming a victim.
- Consult local news or news websites on a regular basis to keep up to date with local and world events.
IFSA-Butler's resident office in your host country can help you stay safe. For students currently abroad, and for those who will soon begin their programs, please be sure to follow these program-specific security measures:
- When traveling on your own (as opposed to an official IFSA-Butler excursion), please submit your travel plans to the IFSA-Butler resident office. More information about this process is included in the Student Handbook, which is distributed at orientation.
- Carry your IFSA-Butler laminated emergency card, and your IFSA-Butler issued emergency insurance card with you at all times. Use the ICE (in case of emergency) technique of putting your local and U.S. emergency phone number(s) in your phone under ICE so that police can call someone on your behalf if necessary.
- Should you find yourself in an emergency situation, please follow our emergency procedures as described in your IFSA-Butler Student Handbook. Call IFSA-Butler's local office; if you call after business hours, an after-hours voicemail will give emergency instructions. In the event of a national emergency where phone lines may be compromised, please e-mail our resident office using the dedicated emergency e-mail address provided at orientation.
In addition to the precautions above, we recommend enrolling in the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), which gives free travel and safety updates. You can also find helpful information by visiting the websites linked at the bottom of this message.
Lastly, for those students traveling soon on summer or semester 2 programs, we remind you to allow extra time for security at U.S. airports.
If you have further questions or concerns about this Travel Alert, please feel free to contact your program advisor or call us at 800-858-0229. We will be updating students and parents as necessary, though we again reiterate that there has been no specific safety threat or incident at this time.
U.S. State Department
IFSA-Butler Health and Safety News