Emergency support abroad and safety

Make sure you know what to do in an emergency abroad and how to say safe.

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Ensure you have comprehensive travel insurance.

If you are on an official study placement as part of your degree, you may be covered by Goldsmiths travel insurance.

If you are not covered by Goldsmiths insurance, buy your own.

Share the policy number with your family and with the Global Opportunities team in case of emergency.

Keep a copy of the policy number and emergency contact number in your wallet and in your emails for easy access.

Research your destination

Things to consider:

  • Consult the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel and safety advice or via social media channels
  • Check the World Health Organisation website for advice for travellers
  • What is the current political, economic, social situation in your destination?
  • What are current attitudes like in your destination?
  • Talk to the locals and find out which areas of your host village/town/city are safe
  • If your host country is at risk from natural disasters make sure you are aware of the organised response plans in case of emergency. Talk to your host organisation and local authorities for their advice.
  • GOV.UK has good advice on minimising your risk from terrorism whilst abroad
  • Useful guidance on keeping safe whilst abroad and what to do if you are a victim of a crime or sexual assault.

Medical requirements

  • Find out if you need any vaccinations for your destination
  • Do you have enough medication to last for your time abroad? If not, can you access medication you might require whilst abroad? Before you leave talk to your GP.
  • Study abroad can be a hugely positive experience, but it can also be an intense and stressful time. Consider how you will manage the change, what support networks do you have at home and how can you replicate these abroad? How will you manage homesickness and adjust to a new country?
  • Check out for advice and guidance on travelhealthpro.org.uk

Securing your information

Keep back-up copies of all your important documents, and have a mixture of cash and credit cards.

Make sure you store them in different places, and don’t carry lots of money with you.

Bank accounts

Inform your bank that you are going abroad so your card isn't blocked.

Consider setting up a new bank account that doesn’t charge overseas payment or withdrawal fees.

Keep in contact

  • Unlock your phone prior to departure
  • Buy a pay-as-you-go phone or start a new contract that won't charge you extra for overseas calls, texts, or data.
  • Share your new contact number with your family and the Global Opportunities team
  • Memorise at least one of your closest relatives' phone numbers
  • Enter an ICE (In Case of Emergency) contact in your mobile phone or keep one in your wallet
  • Research local contact numbers – your host organisation, the local emergency services, the nearest British Embassy or High Commission, details of fellow participants
  • Keep a note of the Goldsmiths contact numbers:
  • Remember that in emergency situations, the local authorities and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office should be your first points of contact

Stay up to date

  • Set up email alerts so that you are automatically notified when the FCO advice on your host country is updated
  • Read local news and keep informed of local events
  • Do not get involved in public protests or enter public spaces where there is evidence of civil unrest

Emergency situations

Please find some suggested advice of what to do in an emergency. Whilst this does not cover all eventualities it gives some pointers to what to do. In the case of major incidents, a member of staff from Goldsmiths will normally contact you to check on your welfare. You must reply to any emails of this nature as quickly as possible so we know you are safe.

  • Contact the local emergency authorities and your local national embassy/consulate.
    •  In case of a medical emergency, secure medical treatment either via a doctor or a local accident and emergency services. The priority is your health and safety
    •  If you have been a victim of a crime report this to the local police services – they will be able to help and this could be a requirement of your insurance
    •  Details for contacting British Embassies and Consulates can be found on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website. Please note that British Embassies and Consulates can only assist British Nationals overseas - they cannot provide this support to other countries’ nationals, even if they may have been legally living in the UK. You should make sure to locate your nearest national embassy or consulate when you arrive in your host country. If it is unsafe for you to stay in the country, your national embassy will arrange for your evacuation.
  • Contact your host organisation for advice and support
  • Keep the Global Opportunities team updated
  • Let your immediate family know that you are safe. Keep in touch with other participants in your area.
  • Your travel insurance provider can also provide support and guidance. You or a family member/friend should contact your travel insurance provider to alert them and ask for emergency assistance
  • Sign up for Foreign and Commonwealth Office Travel alerts for the country that you are in so you stay updated on major issues overseas.
  • In the case of civil instability in your area or nearby, make sure to avoid demonstrations and known areas of conflict. Keep up to date via local news sources and follow instructions given by your host university carefully.
  • Check-in on social media to let people know you are safe.

On your return

If you have been affected by incidents whilst abroad and need additional support upon your return, please do get in touch with the Global Opportunities team or colleagues in Wellbeing.