Safety and security of students are always of utmost priority for Colby and all study abroad program providers particularly given international developments over the past few years. These concerns have been intensified by recent changes in real and perceived threats to US citizens, both at home and abroad. Events since September 2001 have affected many aspects of all overseas programs. National and international security issues necessitate that you respect safety recommendations and security policies established by your sponsoring organization and the US Embassy in the country of your destination. Remain attentive to information provided to you and stay in contact with your program, Colby College, and your family throughout the duration of your study abroad program. You and your family can monitor State Department updates and review Colby College updates and policies below.
In the unusual event that a country goes under U.S. Department of State Travel Warning after a student has been approved, the student will be required to submit a petition to Off-Campus Study, and sign a second waiver in order to proceed as planned. If a country goes under U.S. Department of State Travel Warning while the program is already in session students will not be required to return, as long as the program provider they are with indicates it is safe to remain.
For a listing of countries currently under Travel Warning consult the U.S. State Department website.
While there is no reason to assume that going abroad will compromise your safety, students must be sure to follow safety guidelines provided by their program at all times. They must also take personal responsibility for informing themselves of risks in locations in which they might study or travel; a good source of basic information is the U.S. Department of State Web site.
The program/university with which the student studies will likely go over security policies and advice in depth during their orientation and we advise you to follow these carefully. Always inform the program’s resident director or contact person at the university of any incidents that may arise.
Note: The US State Department has advised Americans traveling anywhere to remain inconspicuous for their own safety, and we strongly support this advice. You are advised to keep a “low profile” wherever you may travel. Pay attention to culturally appropriate dress and behavior. Keep your voice down and avoid congregating in large, noisy groups, and avoid US entities considered symbols of US capitalism. Use restraint in situations that could get out of hand; your personal safety is far more important than your “honor” or your need to express yourself.
U.S. State Department Travel Warning
Colby College discourages travel to countries and participation in a program in a country for which there is a U.S. State Department Travel Warning in effect at the time of departure. Students wishing to travel to a country currently under U.S. State Department Travel Warning are required to submit a petition to the Travel Warning Review Committee providing a complete description of and justification for their study/travel at a Travel Warning site. If approved, the student and his/her parents will then be required to sign a second waiver as part of the application for approval process.
Countries such as Kenya, Mexico, Lebanon and Israel are currently on this list. For a listing of countries currently under Travel Warning consult the U.S. State Department website.
In the event that a country goes under U.S. State DepartmentTravel Warning after a student has been approved, the student will be required to submit a petition, and sign a second waiver, in order to proceed as planned.
Students on programs already in session when a Travel Warning is issued will not be required to return, but will be advised of the Travel Warning by the OCS office and will be required to follow the guidance provided by their program.
Country-Specific Security Information
Travel Warnings and Consular Information Sheets
Colby Emergency Plan For Colby Programs
Emergency Plan for Off-Campus Programs in Times of Emergency
While you are abroad, you are subject to the laws of the country you are in, not those of the US or your home country. If you are arrested, your home country embassy can only ensure that you receive equal treatment under the terms of local law and procedure. You should always, in all circumstances, treat the police with respect and produce any document they may request, without confrontation. Do not expect that Colby College or your home country’s embassy can exert any pressure to extricate you from a situation which results from your own inattention to, or disrespect for, the laws of another country.
We suggest that you prepare all your emergency contacts and information in one place so it is handy when needed. Copy down all names, phone numbers, postal and e-mail addresses of people with whom you might need to contact while abroad.
In case of a program-related, health-related, or personal concern or emergency, your first step is to inform your faculty director.
If you choose to travel independently during your semester please follow your program’s guidelines and:
- Inform your resident director or university contact of your itinerary and contact numbers (or cell phone numbers), if available.
- Bring your cell phones if you have one.
- Do not travel to restricted countries without permission.
- Only travel during approved times or you may risk reduced grades.
You should also be aware of the following reasonable precautions for traveling:
- Do not put valuables in your backpack, especially in the exterior pocket. If you travel on planes, trains or buses, make sure to take your valuables with you whenever you leave your seat.
- If you have a paper ticket for a train or airplane, treat it like cash. It cannot be replaced if you lose it.
- Make a photocopy of the first two pages of your passport, and keep the photocopy in a safe place (not with the passport).
- Never leave cameras or other personal items on your seat in a train or plane.
- Be aware that pickpockets operate almost everywhere. Keep your wallet in an interior pocket or in a purse worn close to your body.
- Remain alert when using ATM machines and always hide your PIN code (never carry it with you).
- Keep a list of credit card numbers and bank emergency phone numbers. It is a good idea to leave a copy with your parents.
Other Resources on Safety
- SAFETI (Safety Abroad First – Educational Travel Information)http://globaled.us/SAFETI/index.asp
- Association of Safety International Road Travel (ASIRT) http://www.asirt.org/
- Jasmine Jahanshahi Fire Safety Foundation http://www.firesafetyfoundation.org/
- Consider a portable smoke detector
Registering with the local police and the U.S. Embassy. Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program
In many countries, you will be required to register with the local police station upon arrival. You should also register online with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate or with your home country’s Embassy or Consulate in your host country.
Advice on Alcohol and Drugs
Colby’s policy is to respect the laws of the host countries of its programs. Where it is not legal to use drugs, including marijuana, do not do so. Most programs have a zero tolerance policy concerning drugs. If a student is caught using illegal drugs, either by the police or by the resident director, that student may be sent home immediately, without prior notice, and with no credit or refund of fees. Students caught selling illegal drugs may be dismissed from the program and from Colby College.
If you choose to drink alcoholic beverages, be aware that you must know your limits and be moderate in your use of alcohol. Not only will you heap embarrassment on yourself and your country if you consume excessively, but you will also jeopardize your health and physical safety. Most student incidents that occur are usually alcohol-related. The director of your program will usually have the authority to dismiss students from the program for violation of the alcohol and drug policy. If a student is expelled from the program, the student may be sent home with no credit and no refund of fees. Colby takes the alcohol policy very seriously, and asks students to take it seriously as well.
Alcohol Policy on Colby Programs Abroad
All students studying on Colby programs abroad are subject to the laws of the host country, including those pertaining to alcohol and/or drug purchase and/or consumption. Additionally, Colby College responds to the Drug Free Schools and Campuses Act (DFSCA) by implementing measures to prevent the unlawful possession, use or distribution of illicit drugs by students, faculty, and staff, on campus as well as on College sponsored programs abroad. The following has been excerpted from the Colby College student handbook and clearly states the College’s position on alcohol abuse:
“Students are adults and are thus expected to obey the law and to take personal responsibility for their conduct. Colby does not police students’ personal lives on or off the campus, but disciplinary action will result if a students’ use of alcohol creates disorder, public disturbances, danger to himself or herself and others, or property damage. Similarly, hosts of parties or sponsoring organizations may be held accountable for violations by the College and by civil authorities under Maine law.”
Please refer to the Colby College student handbook for complete details of U.S. laws and applicable legal sanctions.
While participating on Colby sponsored programs abroad, adherence to the U.S. and Maine laws shall be interpreted in the following manner:
1. Colby programs abroad will not tolerate abuse of alcohol or drugs. Abusive behavior may be defined as, but not limited to:
• Excessive consumption of alcohol
• Any use of illegal drugs
• Destruction of property (private or public)
• Disruptive behavior
• Endangerment of self or others
• Public intoxication
2. Intoxication will not be accepted as a defense or an excuse for disorderly conduct and such conduct will be subject to disciplinary action.
3. Students, faculty, and staff who violate Colby programs abroad policy will be subject to disciplinary action by the College. The severity of the imposed sanctions will be appropriate to the violation. Violations of Colby policies concerning illegal drugs and alcohol will result in the imposition of one or more of the following sanctions in accord with established College policies insuring due process:
• Expulsion from the program (and possible expulsion from Colby College)
• Official censure or reprimand
• Participation in a rehabilitation program
• Referral for prosecution
• Termination of employment
• Other actions the Resident Director, Office of Off-Campus Study, and/or College deem appropriate.
4. Given that students on Colby programs overseas are legally able to consume alcohol at the age of eighteen, Colby’s policy with respect to program-sponsored activities at the Colby Centers, faculty apartments, public restaurants, student housing, or university facilities, is as follows:
• Non-alcoholic beverages and food will be available, visible and readily accessible, in quantity appropriate to the number of people attending.
• Any alcohol will be limited to beer and wine in quantity appropriate to the number of individuals attending the event.
• Any advertising or gatherings must not emphasize the presence of alcohol.
• Alcohol cannot be used as a prize for any event, contest or game.
• Drinking games and/or the active encouragement of people to drink is prohibited.
• If an event participant becomes visibly intoxicated it is expected that all attendees, including students and staff, will acknowledge responsibility to ensure that the individual stops drinking and arrives home safely.
• Event sponsors and/or hosts may be held responsible for damages and/or medical expenses should an intoxicated attendee cause damages or injury to a third party, property, or to him/herself, either on the premises or after having left the premises.
• The Resident Director or program staff on-site must remain sober and in attendance at any Colby sponsored events until the event has ended and all attendees have departed.
• If a student or staff member becomes intoxicated and non-responsive to physical or verbal stimuli, emergency medical services will be sought immediately.
• Events should preferably be scheduled on evenings preceding non-class days.