Travelers should carefully consider potential health and safety risks when traveling abroad, especially when they will be immersed in an unfamiliar culture and away from their everyday support systems. These resources can assist travelers in making informed pre-departure plans, mitigating risks, and taking ownership of their wellness.
U-M Division of Public Safety and Security (DPSS):
+1 734-763-1131 (Ann Arbor)
+1 313-593-5333 (Dearborn)
+1 810-762-0006 (Flint)
Let the DPSS emergency responder know that you are a U-M traveler abroad. DPSS will transfer you to a U-M emergency responder.
An emergency situation is one that has impacted, or is likely to impact, the health and safety of the traveler. Examples may include: major crime, serious accident, major physical or mental health situation (including family emergency, such as death or hospitalization), being a victim of sexual assault / misconduct, detention or arrest, lost person, kidnapping, civil unrest, or natural disaster.
A non-emergency situation does not immediately impact the health and safety of the traveler, yet may still require assistance. Non-emergencies may include: lost passport, wallet, luggage, etc., visa assistance, canceled or delayed flight, minor illness or injury, etc. For non-emergency situations, travelers should follow the non-emergency protocols of the on-site contact or the sponsoring U-M department, which may include contact via email or calling the contact during business hours. When in doubt, treat health, safety, and security situations as an emergency and follow emergency protocols.
General Emergency Protocols for U-M International Travelers
Upon arrival to the host-site, travelers should learn about the local emergency procedures from the program leader, on-site contact, or host institution. Below are general protocols for addressing an on-site emergency that may supplement on-site emergency protocols. For emergencies, please:
- Tend to your immediate safety and/or medical needs
- Make appropriate local contacts
- Contact the University of Michigan to update your status and to discuss next steps
Please read the following for a more detailed protocol for addressing on-site emergencies:
Tend to Your Immediate Safety and/or Medical Needs
- Get somewhere you feel safe, either by going to a safe location or by sheltering in place.
- Contact local police in the case of feeling physically threatened or you are a victim of crime.
- If you need emergency medical care, go to the nearest medical facility.
- When you have time, contact an HTH/GeoBlue Travel Abroad Health Insurance Advisor at +1-610-254-8771 to arrange for direct payment (where possible) so you do not have to pay out of pocket. If you do not have time to contact an HTH/GeoBlue Advisor, save your receipts for a reimbursement claim.
- Under certain circumstances, HTH/GeoBlue insurance is able to provide resources for travelers who may need to return to the United States early. Please contact U-M DPSS at +1 734-763-1131 and ask for a U-M emergency responder for international travelers to explore such options since this service needs pre-authorization through HTH/GeoBlue.
Make Appropriate Local Contacts
- Contact your U-M department administrator, program leader, on-site partner, or on-site contact who can provide emergency support or suggestions.
- Reach out to local people you trust to see how they can be of assistance.
- Contact the US Embassy or embassy for your country of citizenship in the event you need legal assistance or need to replace your passport.
Contact the University of Michigan
- Contact your U-M department contact or the office sponsoring your travel to provide an update and to seek emergency advice / support as necessary.
- In the event your U-M departmental contact is unavailable, call the U-M Division of Public Safety and Security (DPSS) at +1 734-763-1131 (Ann Arbor), +1 313-593-5333 (Dearborn), or +1 810-762-0006 (Flint). Let the DPSS emergency responder know that you are a U-M traveler (student, faculty, or staff) abroad. DPSS will transfer you to a U-M emergency responder for international travelers (Either Patrick Morgan or other emergency responder). The emergency responder can provide you with immediate next steps, put you in touch with your U-M advisor, can contact HTH on your behalf, and put you in touch with other support resources.
- SAPAC’s 24/7 sexual assault hotline is available to travelers abroad for confidential consultation at (734) 936-3333. Visit http://sapac.umich.edu/ for details and to utilize SAPAC’s Advocate Chat service.
Students from all U-M campuses who travel abroad on University of Michigan Related Travel (UMRT) must have U-M Travel Abroad Health Insurance. UMRT may include (but is not limited to) study, research, internships, service, conferences, presentations, teaching, performances or athletic competitions. Student insurance is managed by HTH Worldwide GeoBlue (Educational Plan). Students may purchase travel abroad health insurance individually, but can also check with their advisor to see whether their program or department is purchasing the insurance on their behalf.
Faculty and staff traveling internationally for UMRT are covered under the University’s blanket travel abroad health insurance policy with HTH Worldwide GeoBlue (Business Plan).
For international personal/leisure travel, all students, faculty and staff can individually purchase HTH Worldwide GeoBlue (Leisure Plan).
Find full information about HTH Worldwide/GeoBlue coverage benefits and enrollment instructions on the U-M Travel Abroad Health Insurance site, managed by University Health Service.
The University of Michigan safety plan process is designed to help international travelers develop mitigation strategies for health, safety, and security risks. For travel to Travel Warning and Travel Restriction Destinations, safety plan proposals must be submitted for review and approval at least 3 weeks prior to departure.
Instructions for submitting travel safety plans for review:
- Launch an INDIVIDUAL Safety Plan or GROUP Safety Plan in M-Compass.
- An account will be created for you in M-Compass, where you may complete your Safety Plan. Submitted plans will be automatically forwarded to ITOC for review. You do not need to email plans to ITOC.
- Need help? Download M-Compass Help – Submit a Safety Plan for International Travel
The following Example Safety Plan is for reference and can help you gather the information needed to complete the Safety Plan in M-Compass. All Safety Plan proposals for Travel Warning / Restriction destinations must be completed in M-Compass. Please note that Safety Plans for Group Travel have similar questions.
International travelers may encounter challenges that vary by academic discipline, level of education, local context and the nature of on-site activities. Resilient Travel – Managing Stress and Enhancing your Experience Abroad is a unique U-M web resource that helps travelers think proactively about personal challenges and build skills to successfully cope with difficult situations. The Resilient Traveling toolkit includes common problems, videos of authentic student stories, practice exercises and a confidential self- assessment that provides recommendations for support resources and coping strategies.
- Counseling and Psychological Services: Before departure, U-M students are encouraged to visit their counselor or campus’ Counseling and Psychological Services (Ann Arbor, Dearborn, and Flint) to discuss strategies to reduce the impact of culture shock and to manage mental health needs abroad and after returning to the United States.
- Faculty and Staff Assistance Program: Faculty and staff may receive counseling services from the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FASAP).
- UHS Travel Health Service: All travelers are encouraged to make appointments with their primary care physicians or University Health Service (UHS) for a physical before departure. UHS can also provide immunizations, prescriptions, and advice tailored to specific destinations and health conditions.
- UHS Travel Health Education Program: Travelers can explore the Travel Health Education Program to learn about health self-care and preventative strategies for travelers diarrhea, malaria, and more.
- UMHS Overseas Travel Clinic: The University of Michigan Health System (UMHS) Overseas Travel Clinic is available by appointment for individuals who need immunizations or health advice before travel.
- ASIRT Country Road Travel Reports: Road travel reports from the Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT) detail country specific urban and rural road conditions, provide an overview of local traffic laws, and provide accident statistics. The U-M Library is hosting this resource so reports are available to the U-M community.
- Global Library Services: The University Library maintains a collection of Global Information Resources, staffed by librarians with diverse international specializations. This broad collection includes country profiles, scholarly databases, culture and language learning resources and worldwide NGO directories.
- SAFETI Alcohol Awareness Resources: Students can view the SAFETI Alcohol Awareness video from the Center for Global Education to explore the implications of alcohol consumption abroad and better understand student safety in the international context. There are also companion guides for students viewing the video individually and for faculty/staff utilizing the video during orientation sessions or advising.
- Pre-Departure Checklist for Individual Travel: This checklist identifies key tasks that you will need to complete before departure, from host country research to travel documents and packing.
- U-M Travel Health Preparation Guide: This tool helps students identify and plan for health care needs during international travel. Travelers are encouraged to answer the questions in the guide and consult with a health care provider, UHS, and / or CAPS where appropriate.
- Organization Evaluation Guide: Students choosing their own, non-U-M sponsored international experience (academic experiences, Internships, Service Projects / Volunteer Experiences, Fieldwork) are encouraged to research the following questions in this guide before confirming their participation in a program to determine if the organization is reputable.
- U-M Student Travel Guide: This travel guide provides general travel information for students from all U-M campuses.
- CDC Advice for Students: Prepare for a safe and healthy study abroad experience by following CDC’s travel health tips for students.
- CDC Travelers’ Health: Travelers are encouraged to visit the CDC’s Traveler’s Health website to research the suggested vaccinations for their travel destination/s.
- OSAC: The Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) provides country specific crime and safety reports, daily news, and U.S. consulate alerts and warnings. Click here to download the Crime and Safety Report for University Travel Warning or Travel Restriction destinations.
- Smart Traveler Enrollment: Enrollment with STEP will enable U.S. citizens to receive information from the Embassy regarding new or updated State Department Travel Warnings and/or Alerts, as well as security and informational messages. In addition, the Embassy can reach out to travelers in the event of an emergency in country, and facilitate communication with the traveler should their family need to reach them in an emergency. Travelers who are not U.S. citizens should enroll in her or his country’s STEP equivalent.
- Students Abroad – U.S. Department of State: A user-friendly tool that consolidates multiple U.S. Department of State resources to assist travelers in learning about proper visas, Travel Warnings, recent embassy message, important contact information, general safety and security advice, and more.
- Travel Warnings and Alerts: To gain a better, holistic understanding of the travel risks in your intended travel destination, please view more than one government’s travel warning and alert information. A few to explore may include: United States Department of State, Australian Government Smart Traveller, Canada Country Travel Advice, and the United Kingdom Foreign Travel Advice.
U-M’s International Institute houses 17 centers and programs focused on world regions and global themes
More than 65 languages are taught at U-M