American embassies overseas will assist you in times of national crisis or threatening circumstances. Embassies will not assist you if, by virtue of your own actions, you break the laws of the country in which you reside. The U.S. government provides information online for overseas travelers including specific country information and safety alerts for various situations. The below programs will be valuable to students preparing to study abroad:
Country Specific Information
Information on every country in the world, including location of the U.S. embassies and consular offices; crime and security information; health and medical conditions; and penalties for certain offenses. This is a great place to start learning about where you are going.
Alerts are means to disseminate information about short-term conditions that pose a significant risk to the security of U.S. citizens, including: natural disasters, terrorist attacks, coups, election-related demonstrations or violence, and high-profile events such as international conferences or sporting events that might generate a Travel Alert. Warnings are issued for long-term conditions that make a country dangerous or unstable, in which the State Department recommends that Americans avoid or consider the risk of travel to that country.
Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)
The State Department developed this program to better aid American citizens in emergency situations. By registering with the STEP program, you will receive updates, information, and travel warnings via email from the U.S. Embassy regarding your host country while you are abroad. The contact information you provide through this registration process allows the State Department to better assist you should an emergency arise. All students going abroad for academic credit are required to enroll in this program as part of the pre-departure paperwork process.