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Study Abroad Safety

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OK, parents–your child is studying abroad and you’re scared out of your mind. It doesn’t matter if they’re in Mexico City or Milan, London or La Paz, there are precautions you both can take to help protect them while they’re away.

The most important thing to be aware of is that there is no central body overseeing study-abroad programs.

Even your child’s home college and host college will be relatively hands-off once they get there. So what can you do?

First, for any child traveling out of country, it’s often a good idea to register their information and itinerary with the State Department.

It’s free, and can be helpful if they’re headed to a place that’s prone to high crime, civil unrest or even natural disasters.

If something happens, the American Embassy can locate or evacuate students, or point them toward legal resources.

Also, check out the Web site, which offers guides broken down by country with safety tips and how to find medical assistance.

It explains how even countries that seem easy to visit—like Canada—can have challenges such as a lower drinking age, language barriers, and in some cases, hostile attitudes toward Americans and/or American politics.

Most importantly, no matter where they’re traveling, practice common sense with your kids.

That means researching parts of town that they should avoid, and setting up a regular time to check in so they can let you know everything is all right.

Get more information in our Student Travel section.

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