Natural Disasters or Political Instability

Even though we would prefer not to think about them, disasters, acts of terrorism, and political instability can interrupt your foreign travel at anytime. Being prepared will really help in case of a problem.

Ways you can prepare:

  • Make sure that you know how to dial the US from the country you are visiting.
  • Make sure that you take copies the phone numbers of the WSU Department of Public Safety (so that you can contact the Office of Study Abroad during non-business hours), a close friend or relative at home who can provide assistance, and the numbers of the airline office in the country you are visiting, the nearest US embassy or consulate and your hotel/residence.
  • Register your itinerary with the US Department of State (https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ui/) so that they can assist you in case of an emergency. If you are participating in a faculty-led program, this will be done for you. However, if you are deviating or going on an exchange program or [JCMU/Xalapa, etc.], you should do this on your own.
  • Make sure that you take your insurance card with you.
  • Fill out the emergency contact information page of your passport.
  • Take copies of your passport, credit cards, flight information, hotel/residence information, and health insurance information with you and keep them in a location that is separate from your originals. Also leave a copy with a close friend or relative at home.
  • Carry extra cash just for emergencies.


If you are in one of these situations, consider the following:

  • Stay in or return to your hotel as soon as possible.
  • Get to a safe location out of immediate danger.
  • If the situation is severe, go to the closest US Embassy or Consulate as soon as possible.
  • If you can't reach the embassy, contact local law enforcement or the Red Cross.
  • Contact the US Department of State at 001-202-501-4444 for additional help.
  • Contact the Office of Study Abroad and Global Programs at 001-313-577-3207 or 001-313-577-2222 (Public Safety) as soon as possible to let us know of your whereabouts and communicate anything you may need to know.
  • If you are in the area of any type of political demonstration, walk the other way. Even if things don't become violent, the authorities may come to stop the demonstration. They often will take anyone in the area, and as one of our former students did, you may "spend a night in jail with a bunch of angry French men."