myIIT Portal

    Study Abroad

    McCormick Tribune Campus Center (MTCC)
    Room 203
    3201 S. State Street
    Chicago, IL 60616

    Phone: +1 312.567.3680
    Fax: +1 312.567.3687

    Health & Safety

    While abroad, you should take the same health and safety precautions you would back home.  It is possibly an even better idea to be over-cautious, as dealing with an emergency while in unfamiliar territory will always be more difficult than usual. 

    If you’re in an emergency situation, the best remedy (as always) is preparation.  Be sure to take the following advice to heart.

    Stay Healthy
    Remember to take care of your health while abroad.  While this may seem obvious, it can be easy to forget once you’re in the thick of your new temporary life.  Neglecting your health has the potential to negatively impact your study abroad experience.  Follow through with the plans you and your physician at home made for you.  Remember to get enough sleep and exercise.  Eat nutritiously and avoid risky behavior.  In addition, it will be critical that you are attentive to your emotional needs, as studying abroad can create feelings of loneliness and homesickness.
    Be Observant
    Being observant boils down to knowing your surroundings. While abroad, you should take the same safety precautions you would in any city with which you are unfamiliar.  Make sure that you attend any security briefings organized by your host university and pay careful attention to advice given.  Discuss safety precautions with local students and always remember that it is better to be overcautious in the first few weeks as you adapt to a new environment. 

    Additionally, as a foreigner you may be an increased target to pickpocket scams. Always be aware of your surroundings and your personal belongings.  Do not make yourself a target by having items such as cell phones and laptops on open display, especially after dark, and always make sure that you stick to well-lit and high-traffic areas both on campus and off.

    Specific safety suggestions for students abroad include:

    • Stay informed of local laws and customs;
    • Do not wear conspicuous clothing or jewelry;
    • Do not carry large amounts of cash;
    • Do not leave your luggage unattended;
    • Do not flash large amounts of money when making a transaction;
    • Ensure that your credit card has been returned to you after each transaction;
    • Keep passport, cash, and credit cards in a secure location such as an inside pocket or a shoulder bag, not in easily accessible pockets or bags;
    • Be aware of any group of people who create a distraction;
    • Try to act purposeful even if you are lost.  Ask individuals of authority for directions;
    • Only take taxis clearly identified and confirm the cost of your ride before departure.
    Personal Emergencies
    In order to prepare for any potential emergencies abroad, you should locate local emergency numbers and carry them with you at all times.  If you find yourself in an emergency, call the local police and host university contact before calling IIT.  They will be better positioned to assist you. The U.S. Department of State maintains a published list of emergency numbers by country.  112 is also the international emergency number for GSM mobile phones.  By dialing this number, you will be redirected to the local emergency responders.  After you have reached a local emergency service, you may reach one of the following numbers:

    International Center (office hours): 001 312-567-3680

    IIT Public Safety (emergencies outside office hours): 001 312-808-6363

    IIT Public Safety (non-emergencies outside office hours): 001 312-808-6300

    Health Emergencies

    Worldwide Assistance (call collect): 202-659-7777

    IIT Health Insurance Plan: 301-656-4152 (Chickering)

    Travel Warnings and National Emergencies
    In the event of a political, social, health or natural emergency on a national or local level, the International Center at IIT will be in close contact with our counterparts at your host institution.  Be sure to remain in contact with the nearest U.S. Embassy or consulate as well as with the international studies office.

    In case of any national event that poses a threat to your personal security, please follow the advice below:

    • If you have not done already, register with the U.S. Embassy in your host country, informing them of your whereabouts and contact details
    • Monitor U.S. State Department travel warnings
    • Maintain regular contact with key people – host university, Study Abroad Office at IIT and family in the U.S. or elsewhere – and keep them informed of your whereabouts and movements.
    • Monitor email regularly – the Study Abroad Office will make all contact using your IIT email (and any web-based email address you provide us with before departure). If you have a cell phone, inform the Study Abroad Office of your number and keep the Study Abroad Office number programmed into your phone (+1-312-567-3694).
    • Keep a low profile and be cautious.
    • Make a decision in collaboration with embassy representatives, on-site coordinators and the SAO, and inform other key people once action is decided on.
    • If possible, avoid traveling alone.
    • Keep everybody informed of your whereabouts, if possible, including your arrival at a safe location.


    Last modified: 04/28/2014 13:41:35

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