Personal Safety While Studying Abroad

Safety risks for travelers, ranging from verbal harassment to sexual assault, are present everywhere, including abroad. Treatment of travelers vary considerably around the world – you may encounter unwanted comments, verbal assaults, and limits to your freedom or, by contrast, you may experience dignity and respect unknown to you in the US.

  • Acknowledge that you are outside your comfort and familiarity zone.
  • Consider local dress norms and look to those around you for guidance.
  • Know how local citizens handle taunting and verbal harassment; follow guidance from your program or institution on how to respond to these situations.
  • Be vigilant. Know that without informal protection systems, such as traveling in groups, you are at greater risk for unwanted attention and harassment.
  • Know that excessive alcohol and drug use impairs your facilities and increases your vulnerability.
  • Use caution, good judgement, and follow the safety and security advice provided by your program or university.

If you experience sexual harassment or sexual assault while abroad:

  • Turn first to the support and resources provided by your program or host university. They have an existing support system, know the local context, and can act quickly to help you.
  • Bates Sexual Respect and Title IX website is also your resource – on campus and abroad. Please contact Gwen Lexow, the Bates Title IX Officer, through this website for additional support, if the resources available locally are not meeting your needs, or for any other reason.
  • Bates Security is open 24/7 and is trained to respond to emergencies and can forward your calls to college staff and faculty: +1-207-786-6254.
  • Staff in the Center for Global Education are also available to assist you: +1-207-786-6223.

In addition:

  • Colorado State University has a good web site with various resources for women studying and traveling abroad.
  • RAINN provides access to an inventory of international abuse and domestic violence agencies.