Staying safe abroad Staying safe abroad

While most students do not encounter any difficulties while abroad, it is useful to think ahead about what to do and who to ask if you do find yourself in a situation where you need help. Our students need to be aware that there are some risks associated with travelling, working, and studying overseas, but with proper preparation and care, exposure to potentially hazardous situations can be mitigated.

Staying safe 

  • Research your destination before you go. The UK government provides travel advice and you should read this carefully before you set off, to make yourself aware of any potential issues. 
  • Keep a list of emergency numbers with you. Familiarise yourself with the contact details for emergency services in each country you travel to, and save these directly into your phone so that you can access them easily if you need to. In all European Union countries, you can dial 112 to reach emergency services. 
  • Know how to contact your nearest relevant Embassy or Consulate. 
  • Keep important documents safe. It’s a good idea to keep scanned copies (or even photographs) of your passport, visa, and bank cards, so that if documents are lost or stolen, you have the details to hand quickly. 
  • Keep in touch with your host university’s Study Abroad Office. Save their contact details into your phone, as they may be able to help you more adequately based on their proximity and the lack of a time zone difference. In accordance with data protection legislation, they will also keep UEA updated. 
  • Don't fall foul of the law. Research in advance the legalities for consuming alcohol, age of sexual consent, and drug legislation. For example, some medications that are legal in the UK are not in other countries (even within the EU), and could potentially lead to criminal conviction and/or deportation.
  • Purchase travel insurance. Choose a policy that will, where possible, cover any medical bills, repatriation (getting you home after an emergency), loss or damage of possessions, missed flights, or costs associated with having to end your trip earlier than planned. 
  • Keep in touch with UEA. Should there be a natural disaster or incident to warrant concern within the country of your placement, staff from the Study Abroad Office will contact you to check that you are safe. Such correspondence is vitally important; therefore please answer these emails promptly. Be sure to check your UEA email account regularly or you may find your access is locked due to inactivity. 
  • Be careful when on your own. Whatever your gender, try to avoid being alone with strangers, stay in public and well-lit areas, and exercise reasonable caution when meeting new people. Sexual harassment is completely unacceptable wherever you are in the world, so make sure you report any unwelcome advances or attention to the local police and Study Abroad Office at your host university. 

LGBTQ+ and Study Abroad

“Every country varies in its acceptance, awareness and understanding of the LGBT community, and it is important for LGBT students to understand what type of environment they will be walking in to. The types of laws, policies, and organisations present in any country are huge factors in determining its social environment, so these are all things LGBT students should consider before studying abroad.” An LGBT Student Guide to Studying Abroad
  • Research your destination thoroughly, and identify issues that may affect your experience studying/working there, for example occurrences of homophobia, or failure to recognise same-sex marriage rights. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has regularly updated information on traveling that you may find useful, as does NAFSA: Rainbow Special Interest Group. 
  • Identify support services that can provide help, should you need it. For example, your host university may have a LGBTQ+ society, or a dedicated member of staff in their Student Services team. There may also be LGBTQ organisations in your destination country that you can join.

Emergency contacts information

  • In the first instance, contact your local host university Study Abroad Office. 
  • During 9-5pm UK time, you can call the Study Abroad Office at UEA on +44(0)1603 591871 with urgent queries.
  • For out of hours calls, UEA has a 24-hour emergency number +44(0)1603 592222. The UEA Emergency number will assist you or will be able to contact the Student Services (formerly Dean of Students’) or Study Abroad Office.