International Safety

Providing safety support when you’re working and studying abroad

Preparedness Beyond the Boston Campus

Northeastern is a growing global university system with six locations—in Boston, Charlotte, London, the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, and Toronto.

NUPD established the International Safety Office to ensure students are safe even when they go beyond the Boston campus. The ISO includes two full-time administrators, who specialize in predeparture training, global event monitoring, and emergency response, while working to mitigate risks faced by students, faculty, and staff traveling abroad.

Emergency Contacts In the event of a life-threatening emergency overseas, contact local authorities for immediate assistance.

If you need assistance with a medical or security incident abroad, contact WorldAware (+1.312.470.3108) and/or the Northeastern Police Department (+1.312.470.3108).

High-Risk Travel The university recognizes that on rare occasions, there might be compelling reasons to consider allowing activity in a “high-risk” location to proceed. Students planning on traveling to high-risk countries or regions must seek the approval of the International Safety and Security Advisory Council prior to departure. In order to comply with Northeastern University’s International Travel Policy, if you’re proposing university-sponsored travel to high-risk locations, you’ll be required to submit a policy exception petition to the ISSAC.

Predeparture Training This information will help you make decisions as you prepare to depart on your trip. We also recommend you book an appointment with your program, advisor, and the International Safety Office prior to your departure.

The university’s international travel policy requires all students, and staff and faculty who are traveling with students, to register their travel itineraries on My Travel Plans. We also encourage all faculty members to register. The university has a robust set of services in place to support travelers, but we can help only if your location is known and your itinerary is registered.

In addition, we recommend all travelers sign up for our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at step.state.gov. You can obtain travel and security updates about your destination, and it will help the U.S. embassy or consulate contact you in an emergency. International students can also register with STEP and should look into similar services provided by their country of origin.

International Travel Tips

  • Read up on your destination at travel.state.gov, other governmental sites, and WorldAware (+1.312.470.3108).
  • Understand any Travel Warnings or Travel Alerts, which describe risks to you and may affect your travel plans. Also check the website of the U.S. embassy or consulate where you will be traveling for the latest security messages.
  • Learn about visa requirements, local laws, customs, and medical care in the countries you’re visiting. Some travelers, such as those with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ persons, may face additional challenges when abroad. Feel free to consult with your program or the International Safety Office.
  • Prepare to handle money overseas. Before you go, notify your bank and credit card company of your travel, and check exchange rates. For information about using cash, debit/credit cards, and ATMs, read about your destination on travel.state.gov or WorldAware.
  • Carry contact details with you in both English and the local language of your destination. The university recommends saving the following numbers and addresses:
  • Additional helpful tips for staying safe abroad can be found at the following sites:
    • International Travel Website
    • GEO
    • N.U.in (for site-specific information on each location)
    • BSIB

International Travel FAQ

Whom do I contact if I need urgent or emergency assistance while I’m abroad?

All travelers should know the local emergency numbers and understand the capabilities of the host nation’s response services. If you’re in a life-threatening situation, call the local emergency number.

If you’re on an organized trip (for example, Dialogue of Civilizations or Alternative Spring Break), contact your trip leader first. However, if you’re unable to reach your trip leader or you’re not part of a group trip and you’re in an emergency situation, call Northeastern Police. NUPD will then contact the other appropriate offices or organizations that can further assist you in managing the emergency.

What should I do if I’m the victim of a crime?

Contact NUPD, local law enforcement, WorldAware, and/or your embassy or consulate. When a traveler is the victim of a crime overseas, he or she may suffer from physical, emotional, or other injuries. These issues are compounded because the victim may be in unfamiliar surroundings and may not know the local language or customs. The university offers these resources and is available to assist 24/7.

NUPD
+1.617.373.3333 emergency
+1.617.373.2121 nonemergency

WorldAware Response Operations Center
+1.312.470.3108

U.S. Embassies may be found on the U.S. Embassy website.
Embassy information worldwide at embassy.goabroad.com.

What should I do if I’m arrested?

Immediately ask to speak to a consular officer at the nearest embassy or consulate of your country of citizenship. Keep asking politely if your request is denied. U.S. embassy consular officials can help you find legal representation and translation support; however, they cannot represent you in legal proceedings or pay your legal fees/expenses. If you need assistance, contact NUPD nonemergency line +1.617.373.2121 or the WorldAware Response Operations Center +1.312.470.3108.

Locations of U.S. embassies may be found on the U.S. Embassy website. Embassy information worldwide for all travelers may be found at embassy.goabroad.com.

NUPD
+1.617.373.2121 nonemergency

WorldAware Response Operations Center
+1.312.470.3108

U.S. Embassies may be found on the U.S. Embassy website: www.usembassy.gov
Embassy information worldwide at embassy.goabroad.com

What’s the best way to reduce the risk of becoming a victim?

Always learn about the area you’re visiting before you go. Before you leave for your destination, review the travel alerts and warnings on the State Department website, and read the security section on the WorldAware Country Risk Portal to learn about your planned location in advance of your trip. Schedule an appointment with the International Safety Office to review your trip if you have questions or concerns about your destination. In addition, keep in mind these safety tips:

  • When you arrive at your destination, make sure your accommodations are secure. If you don’t feel safe, ask to move your room or choose alternate housing.
  • Do not walk alone or distracted, especially at night.
  • Avoid shortcuts.
  • Use caution when at ATMs. Use ATMs inside banks or hotels and avoid ATMs on the streets.
  • Never leave your valuables unattended.
  • Always lock/secure your room and belongings.
  • Never enter your room if you believe it has been broken into.
  • Report suspicious persons/activity immediately to police.
  • Share any concerns about your experience with the International Safety Office or GEO when you return to campus.