Health & Safety
The health and safety of students is our highest priority. We are constantly monitoring current events around the globe to help assess the safety of all of our programs. While NAU cannot guarantee complete safety while students are abroad (just as we can’t in the United States), we do our best to ensure that students are participating in programs that prioritize safety and security along with culturally and academically rich experiences.
What We do to Monitor Safety
Education Abroad (EA) staff monitor US State Department travel alerts and warnings. If a travel warning is published by the State Department, a message is sent to students in the region so that they are aware of current events. EA also encourages all students to stay informed about current events and developing situations in their region of the world. The best way to do this is by signing up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program with the State Department.
What To Do In An Emergency
NAU students have 24-hour access to a phone line that they can call anytime they are experiencing an emergency. Each student is provided with a wallet-sized card that includes this number along with the contact information of all staff within the Office of Education Abroad.
24 Hour Emergency Line: 001-602-234-9105
Crime-How to Protect Yourself
Crime is an unfortunate reality wherever you are in the world, including the U.S. There are several steps that can be taken to significantly reduce your chances of being a victim of crime:
Whenever you are traveling after dark, don’t go alone and always travel with another person(s) you trust.
Blend in with the local population. The more you stand out as a foreigner through your clothes and behaviors, the more of a target you may become.
Trust your instincts. If you feel that you are in an unsafe situation, remove yourself from that situation as soon as possible.
Avoid substances that impair your judgement such as alcohol and drugs.
Sexual Assault and Harassment
Sexual assault is defined as any unwanted sexual contact, including rape. If you have been sexually assaulted while abroad, get yourself to a safe place and consider talking to friends and/or relevant local staff. This may include an NAU faculty member, international student advisor/counselor at your host school, or another person you trust in the area. Of course, deciding whether or not to report an incident can be a stressful and confusing choice.
If students wish to report a sexual assault to NAU, there are several ways to do so. More information on this can be found on NAU’s website here:
When students travel to a foreign country, they are subject to local laws and penalties. While many students feel like all laws abroad are common sense, there are many laws abroad that would surprise Americans. Lack of familiarity with local laws is not considered an excuse and will not prevent you from being arrested and possibly jail time. Please consult with your host institution’s local staff to determine if there are any laws that may be very different from the United States.
While local political demonstrations can be very attractive to students looking to learn more about the culture of their host country, EA strongly advises students to avoid them. These events have the potential to escalate from peaceful protests to violent eruptions that puts everyone’s safety in jeopardy. Participation or observation (including taking photographs) in local political demonstrations can also lead to arrest and detainment by local officials.
Students with disabilities are encouraged to study abroad through NAU. Students registered with Disability Resources at NAU who are eligible for on-campus accommodation may also be eligible for overseas accommodation when it can be arranged.
You may voluntarily disclose your needs to education abroad staff or Disability Resources following admission to a program, so appropriate arrangements and reasonable accommodations can be made in advance.
Remember that other cultures may provide disability access in a different way—learn about what types of accommodation are typically provided in your host country, and be flexible and open to different ways of accommodating your disability.
Before you go, find out as much as you can about your host culture and how they view disability by reading, talking to other students, and attending pre-departure orientation sessions. The more you know, the better prepared you will be for the interaction between your disability and the new environment.
Think about how you will answer questions about your disability in the language of your host country—look up key vocabulary words ahead of time.
Immunization and Health While in the Developing World
Visit a doctor or travel clinic before you go to discuss an immunizations you may need that are specific to your destination.
Research what health risks may be endemic to your destination. Can you drink the tap water? Can you eat the fruits and vegetables from the market? The Center for disease control is an excellent resource.
Prescribed medications may be difficult or impossible to obtain while abroad. If possible, work with your health care provider to get any prescriptions filled for the period of time you’ll be abroad.
Some countries do not allow certain prescription and non-prescription medications. The medications may be confiscated as you enter the country. It is very important that you check with the embassy webpage of your host country to see whether your medications will be allowed.
International Health Insurance
All NAU students are required to have international health insurance while abroad. Most NAU students will be enrolled in GeoBlue international health insurance. Others will have insurance provided by their host institution or provider. GeoBlue can provide a range of services including medical translation and health care provider locator. Students will receive additional information (including policy details and coverage) in an email from GeoBlue after being enrolled. Please refer to these documents or your Education Abroad Advisor should you have any questions about coverage or procedures.