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Health, Safety, and Security Abroad

SUNY and approved study abroad programs are very proactive in making sure your student will be healthy and safe while studying abroad.  

Purchase determines whether a location is safe to send a student based on a number of factors including the Department of State travel advisory and the Center for Disease Control recommendations. We are are in close and regular contact with our partners and vendors abroad who best understand the context of a location. We also host a yearly pre-departure orientation, training, and preparation, course for all faculty who are leading a program abroad.

Any student studying abroad on a Purchase program is required to register in the Safe Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) through the US Department of State. Once enrolled, the free service allows individuals to receive information directly from the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate about safety conditions in their destination country. It also enables the Embassy, and family and friends, to contact registered travelers in case of an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency.

Respecting the norms of the host culture with regard to behavior and dress and obeying host country laws as well as all policies and regulations of the host institution will also go a long way to reduce most risks. As a way to further reduce risk and avoid potential emergency situations, students are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with the code of conduct as expressed in the SUNY Agreement and Acceptance of Risk for Study Abroad Form (AAR) that they sign after being accepted to any study abroad program. 

Although most students experience no emergencies or crises while abroad, it is still important to be prepared. Being in a new and unfamiliar environment can make otherwise minor problems seem more serious than they are. In the unlikely event of illness, emergency or other situation, families should encourage their student to reach out to the on-site or home campus staff first. These individuals who are closer to the context are likely to have access to more information and are in a better position to assist your student.

For emergencies that occur abroad, OGE will contact the person identified by your student as their ‘emergency contact.’ If you have any question about who this is, please verify this information with your student before they begin a program abroad.

More detailed and country-specific information is available in the handbook your student will receive during their Pre-Departure Orientation.

In the case where a student has contacted you directly and not the site location personnel or SUNY Purchase, please contact Purchase College’s Office for Global Education (OGE) immediately at (914) 251-6032. After business hours or on weekends, please call the Purchase College University Police at (914) 251-6900; they will get you in touch with a member of our OGE office or the administration.