Study Abroad Smarts for Today’s Student Travelers

Study Abroad Smarts for Today’s Student Travelers


Jul 13, 2017 | by Aon


Participation in study abroad programs has tripled in the last two decades, largely because the millennial generation has explored these programs in higher numbers than any generation before them, according to a 2015 Open Doors report by the Institute for International Education. The ability to learn lessons about globalism, international relations and cultural differences are just a few of the reasons the number of U.S. students abroad is at a record high.

Studying abroad can be the highlight of a student’s school career, but it also can become complicated if things don’t go quite as planned. Here are six tips to help students be safe, smart travelers who can maximize their educational experience:

  1. Get registered – Students should register with the U.S. State Department Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) before arriving in their host country. This free service helps inform and better assist students in case of an emergency while abroad. The TravelGov Facebook and Twitter accounts also offer regular safety and security information for travelers.
  2. Stay connected – Students studying abroad should plan times and channels to check in with family and friends to let them know things are okay, whether it be by phone, text, email or social media. Consider getting an international cell phone plan to make it easier to communicate any time.
  3. Know how to reach the U.S. embassy – Passports do get lost or stolen, so student travelers should always carry the address and phone number of the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate, in English and the local language.
  4. Have insurance for the unexpected – Travel, medical or evacuation emergencies can cost thousands of dollars and cut plans short. Additional insurance coverage designed for travelers can address many common concerns and is affordable and easy to access.
  5. Mind your cues – Body language and behaviors say a lot and can be interpreted differently than intended. Smiling while saying “no” can send a mixed signal, for example. Travel in small groups whenever possible and skip obvious tourist behaviors, such as studying an enormous map on a busy street corner. Students should observe local behaviors and norms and adjust accordingly.
  6. Research hazards – A student’s host country may have common crimes, unfamiliar traffic laws or dangerous local plants and animals that locals know to avoid. Students should do their research in advance and talk to their host family to learn how to handle things they may encounter during their stay.

If you elect to comment or engage with our content via third-party social media websites, you authorize Aon to have access to certain social media profile information. Please click here to learn more about information that may be collected when using these tools on

More Blog Posts