Stay Safe Abroad

Prescription Medication

Before you go be sure to get enough prescription drugs for your entire stay and an extra supply just in case. Bring the prescription notes from your doctor with you to show as proof that you are allowed to have the prescribed medication if you get questioned. All prescriptions medications must be in their original containers and labeled clearly in your name to avoid any problems with local authorities.

US prescriptions justify you having the medications; however, they are not valid in pharmacies overseas. For refills of prescription drugs, you will need to visit a local doctor who will most likely be able to write you a prescription.

Important Note: Certain prescription drugs (such as Adderall, commonly used for ADD or ADHD) that are legal in the US are illegal in various countries. Please be aware of any applicable restrictions and contact the US Consulate/Embassy for further details.


Vaccinations & Examinations

It is a good idea to have a medical & dental checkup before you leave the US. If you have any special health problem or history, it is REQUIRED that you bring copies of any important health records and a doctor’s statement regarding your condition.

For recommended vaccinations for your program location, please see for the Center for Disease Control’s current recommendations on immunizations. At this website, you will also find tips about preparing for international trips as well as staying healthy once you are abroad.



Check Your Medications Before You Go

Be sure to do your research and make sure your prescription drugs are legal in the countries you are visiting before you go.

Certain medications that are legal in the U.S. could be illegal in other countries (i.e. Adderall).

Emergency Information

While you are overseas, you will be given an emergency contact number for an on-call staff member at our host university. When an emergency occurs it is usually best to contact the on-call staff in your host country, as they are typically able to be of more assistance to you since they are on-site. Be sure to check your program specific pre-departure guide for the overseas emergency contact information of your program.

In the event of an emergency, you should take the following steps:

  1. Seek medical treatment or assistance from local authorities (if applicable).
  2. Contact the emergency on-call staff member overseas for assistance.
  3. If, after contacting the staff overseas, you need the assistance of Athena representatives, please feel free to use the Athena emergency number. Please only use in the event of an emergency.


If you have any questions of require non-emergency assistance during the semester, please feel free to use our normal business number 1-866-922-7623 or e-mail us at


Health Insurance

All students receive health insurance coverage from Athena’s HTH GeoBlue insurance policy. You will receive your health insurance card from us 1-2 weeks out from your program start date. Please refer to your online account for additional information regarding your coverage.

All of our overseas partners are well prepared to handle any type of emergency should it arise, so please do not hesitate to notify the onsite faculty of any medical concerns.

Travel, Trip, & Rental Insurance

While your Athena program does not include travel, trip, or rental insurance, it is a good idea for you to look into these. Things can happen overseas just as they can happen here in the States so it’s good to look into protecting yourself and your things.

Safety Tips

All of our programs are in safe places, however it is important that you use common sense and take precautions while abroad. When in larger cities, students are encouraged to be alert in the subway and carry money & passports beneath their clothing. As true in any city, caution is necessary for all travelers, and it always pays to be alert.

Be sure to learn about the customs and local laws of the country where you are going to. Remember that you are subject to their laws and are not protected by U.S. laws. In general, keep a low profile. In many countries Americans are not always viewed in a positive light. Once you have some time to adjust to your new location, you will have a better sense of how you wish to act in your new surroundings.

Practical Safety Tips & Tricks

  • Always carry a copy of your passport with you.
    Carrying a personal document is mandatory by law, but it is always safer when you are coming to class, or just taking a walk, to carry a copy rather than the original.*Note that if you will be traveling, or going to the bank to cash traveler’s checks, you’ll need your original passport.
    For a lost or stolen passport, call your consulate or go online to 
  •  Stay Informed.
    Frequently check the US government issued travel warnings at
  • Register with the US Embassy at
    • The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
    • Athena HIGHLY recommends registering with this free program in order to aid in safety checks, should an unforeseen safety concern happen in the area you are studying.
  • Tell a friend.
    When going out alone, inform someone of your whereabouts.
  • Blend In.
    Avoid standing out or drawing attention to yourself; try to blend in with your surroundings.
  • Know the Laws.
    Know the local laws, as you are subject to them while traveling abroad.
  • Do not show a reaction to whistles or cat-calls.
    Try not to overreact to whistles, stares, or cat-calls. They may be complements rather than harassment. This type of behavior is much more common in some countries than it is in the US, and it is also perceived in a much different way. Try not to feel threatened by it, but instead, be reminded to conduct yourself appropriately.
  • Beware of “gypsies” and pick-pockets.
    They are generally women and children, and have mastered the art of pick-pocketing, and feed on easily accessible purses or wallets in large crowds and packed buses. They are easy to recognize, and concentrate near the main tourist attractions and museums; most of the children carry newspapers or pieces of cardboard to distract their targets.
    Especially if you have had too much to drink – it is unsafe and inappropriate. Call a taxi or walk with someone.
  • Be smart about drinking
    Although the restrictions around drinking may be different in your host country than in the US, this does not mean that you can drink on the street any time, day or night. The police can and will stop you and ask for documents. Remember, if you are in an inebriated state, you are at a greater risk of being physically or verbally attacked.



Bags & Purses

While traveling, especially in larger cities, it is important to keep an eye on your belongings. Here are some tips for carrying items around:

  • Cross body bags are great!
    Not as easy to get your bag off you if it’s around your body.
  • Money belts.
    They may not be cool but they do work!
  • Keep bags shut.
    Don’t advertise what you have. Be discreet in opening/closing your bag and always keep it shut when you’re not using it.
  • Keep it in front of you.
    While walking be sure to keep your bag in front of your body so you can see it.
  • Straps under chairs.
    If you’re at a restaurant or café, secure your bag strap around the leg of your chair.


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