How to Have a Safe & Healthy International Experience

By the end of this session you will…

  1. Be prepared to complete your Health and Safety materials with GEO
  2. Understand travel safety and health tips
  3. Be able to access travel resources

Global Lobos- A Glimpse at Where We've Gone

Faculty-led groups are programs where leaders coordinate a program with a special interest/purpose. They are typically 1 week-2 months long.
Exchange programs are for students who study aboard for a semester or academic year.
Travel Health

Travel Health: COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

What do I need to know about Covid-19?

The novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) is causing adjustments and restrictions in travel. For up-to-date information check out the links below.
Get Going with GEO Health and Safety Materials

GEO Health and Safety

How do I start/complete Health and Safety Materials?

It will look something like this....

All participants are responsible for completing the GEO health and safety materials. A completed application will have every box checked off. The health and safety materials includes purchasing travel health insurance, registering with STEP, uploading flight itinerary/passport/visa/other faculty requested documents, paying the Health and Safety fee, and signature documents (as seen above). *Requirements may be altered depending on the program/department/faculty leader.

This module is designed to help you complete your GEO Health and Safety materials. Click on the buttons to direct you to the sites you need!

Travel Health Insurance

International Health Insurance

I already have insurance. Do I need to purchase additional international health insurance?

YES! We recommend CISI to get a special rate.

Most US insurances will NOT cover you abroad. Accidents and illnesses can happen ANYWHERE. ******Use the Code: "UNM" for special rates: $22.50: Up to two weeks; $11.25 Weekly after 2 weeks; ***Optional: add a spouse and/or children. **Alternative coverage policies must meet the minimum requirements listed.
Travel Health Consultation

UNM SHAC International Travel Health Clinic

I'm healthy. Do I still need to see a travel health doctor?

YES! We recommend UNM Student Health and Counseling.

International Travel Health Consultations include a Health Check, Country-Specific Report, Immunizations and Immunization Records, Preventive Prescriptions, Insect Born Diseases/Infectious Diseases Report, Long term prescriptions, and Counseling services (pre-departure). *Schedule at least 6-8 weeks before travel for the low cost of $15 for students; $50 staff/faculty.
Register with STEP

Smart Traveler Enrollment Program Registration

Do I have to register with the U.S. Department of State?

YES! It is quick and easy. You will receive important updates and information pertinent to your travel.

Registering for STEP ensures that, should a crisis occur in the country when you are there, the government will be able to better inform and assist you.
Travel Health: Preparations

Preparation is key to Staying Healthy

What else should I be doing now to help ensure I stay healthy abroad?

Don't forget:

  • Pack extra Medications/Eyeglass prescriptions
  • Keep all medication stored in prescription bottles
  • Take more medication than required in case the trip is extended


  • Discussing pre-existing conditions with your program leader or peer
  • Providing group leader/peer extra medication/prescriptions
Preparing Yourself

How can I prepare my body and mind for travel?

Tips to be the Best You!

  • Exercise (REMEMBER, you may walking more, living in a new climate, or just under more stress. Prepare your body!)
  • Review First Aid and CPR
  • Practice swimming and other life preservation skills
  • Plan your self-care for both physical and mental health
  • Learn about health and safety risks in your region of travel by reviewing:
Travel Documents

Travel Documents

What documentation must I have to travel?

  1. Passport. Verify your passport is valid at least 6 months past your return date
  2. Visa. Check visa requirements are different country to country
  3. Flight Itinerary/Boarding Passes. (Beware of discount flight rules)
  4. Copies of important documents like passport, international insurance information, vaccination card, and flight itinerary. Take a set and leave a set of your documents with family or a trusted friend
Money Matters

What should I do about accessing money abroad?

Consider the following when planning your budget:

  • Know the exchange rates. Consider exchanging a small amount of money before you go
  • Advise your bank and Credit Card companies of where you're traveling
  • You can use most ATMs to withdraw local currency (check with your bank for foreign transaction fees. Use ATM’s located inside banks
  • Bring 1-2 major credit cards instead of carrying large amounts of cash
  • Carry some cash on you, in multiple places (I carry some in my shoe for emergencies)
  • Beware counterfeit currency

Is there funding available to support my travel?

YES! Check it out at the GEO scholarship webpage.

*The Regents' Grant is for undergraduate students studying abroad. **The Passport to Success is for graduate students studying abroad.

How do I manage my Gidgets, Gadgets, and Gizmos?


  • Leave your laptop at home, unless critical to your trip
  • Back up data before leaving home. Only take data you need
  • Ensure antivirus software is current and working properly
  • Work with Industrial UNM Security Office to encrypt and/or password-protect data
  • If you put your thumb drive in someone else’s PC, use virus checker on that drive before reconnecting to a larger network
  • Do not use passwords or install software updates using public Wifi

Cell Phones:

  • Contact your provider for data and service options
  • Try to only use secured Wi-Fi or data
  • Make sure GEO has your cell phone #, and enable the SMS feature in your study abroad account
  • Download google maps to use off-line
  • Look into social media options like Sype, What’s App, etc.
  • Adjust privacy settings on social media while traveling (If your car or home/apartment is burglarized while you are away and your insurance company determines you posted publicly that you were traveling, they may not file your claim)

Keeping in touch with GEO

  • Connect with GEO via Facebook + Instagram @unmstudyabroad
  • Enter to win the Photo Contest
  • Don’t forget to check your EMAIL

What should I (not) pack?

Pack light.

You'll thank us later.

  • Do not take expensive items with you, like jewelry.
  • Remove unneeded items from wallet, purse, and backpacks.
  • Pack a map or use google maps
  • Fill out and carry the orange GEO Emergency Card (Your Program Leader will give this to you before the program)
  • Carry a pocket dictionary or key phrases in case of emergency

Entering the Country:

What should I expect?

Airport Security

  • Know restrictions for carry on items (ex. tech, food, etc.) and country restrictions for checked bags (ex. pepper spray in Germany)
  • If you are stopped/questions, comply with security personnel

Airport Customs

  • You may receive a customs form on the plane or use an automated system at the airport
  • Know the address of where you are staying
  • When you arrive at the airport follow the signs to customs
  • Keep your valuable in a safe location such as a travel pouch
  • Present your customs form, passport, and travel documents
  • Comply with all security personnel
  • You may be interviewed or questioned, this is okay! If needed, contact GEO for assistance

Staying Safe Abroad

How does UNM determine safety/risk?

UNM monitors the following to determine health and safety risks for study abroad programs:

  • US State Department
  • Travel Advisories
  • STEP Registration
  • Insurance briefings

If there is an emergency, we will reach out to contact your group leader and/or you. Respond ASAP. We may contact your Emergency Contact if we don’t hear from you.

If we have not contacted you about a crisis in your region, please reach out to us. Especially, if the emergency is at a local level.

In-Country Hazards

How can I minimize risk in country so I stay safe?

Personal Safety

Remember: CRIMES can happen anywhere1

  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Memorize the number for emergency help (like 911) in your host country
  • Make sure someone knows where you are going and when you should return
  • Avoid going out alone or staying behind with someone you just met
  • Do not leave food or drink unattended
  • Know the address of your destination and how far away you are traveling
  • Respect local customs of dress and behavior
  • Be aware of how photography is viewed in the culture (Avoid photographing individuals, government buildings, military personnel, or holy sites without permission)

If you have a personal emergency or issue, communicate with your faculty program leader AND/OR reach out so that we can:

  • Help you find care/resources
  • Provide support
  • Offer advice and/or documentation

Be Aware and Prepare:

Accidents: The MOST COMMON causes of injury abroad are ACCIDENTS! Especially, when alcohol is involved!

Elements: Prepare for the weather, climate, and season in your destination! Do not fall prey to exposure, hypothermia, sun stroke, frost bite, altitude sickness, etc.

Local Critters: Be aware that dogs, bats, monkeys, and other mammals may carry rabies and other diseases. Learn about dangerous local species, especially insects and snakes.

Natural Hazards: Be aware of natural hazards such as earthquakes, mudslides, floods, fires, tornados, etc. Review local precautions in your school, dorm or apartment

Terrorism: Terrorism can happen anywhere. Weigh risk versus reward of situations. Report any suspicious behavior to local authorities and avoid unpredictable or dangerous situations and areas (such as protests, military areas, border crossings, red light districts, etc.)

Water and Food Safety

Is it safe to eat and drink the food and water abroad?


  • Embrace new flavors and foods!
  • Be aware of how new foods affect you. Carry Tums or Rolaids
  • In areas with high contamination rates (typically developing countries), avoid food that may have been washed with unsafe water (especially produce)
  • Avoid meats that are left out for long periods of time


  • Check if water in your destination is safe to drink for travelers. Water contaminants are different everywhere – you may find you are sensitive to the water in a new country for the first few weeks
  • In developing areas, make sure you use filtered water for all uses.
  • Avoid ice
  • Stay hydrated, especially if you become sick!

Public Transportation

Is it safe to use public transport?

Public transportation is a great way to integrate in a new place. To increase your safety, make sure you:

  • Learn the norms for bus/train/taxi rides (Some may charge a small fare and other may be free)
  • Ask someone at the front desk to call you a taxi
  • Verify license plate and the driver when using Uber/Lyft
  • Learn common pickpockets/scams in the area (tablets, smartphones, and passports are hot commodities)
  • Remain observant

Protect the Pack

How can I help ensure the safety of my peers?

Each of us, defines all of us...

"We are at our finest when we take care of one another." - Katherine Center

  • Learn about local gender roles, consent laws, and customs for dating, dress, and partying. Act accordingly and encourage peers to act accordingly, too.
  • Go out in a group, and “leave no (wo)man behind”
  • See something, say something

Harassment and sexual misconduct comes in many forms:

  • Verbal- Profanity, jokes, comments, whistling, grunts, terms of endearment, rumors
  • Non-verbal- Staring, gestures, printed materials, screen savers, email, social media, photos
  • Physical- Rape, groping, stroking, touching, hugging, cornering, blocking, back rubs
  • Quid pro Quo- Use position to get someone to engage in unwelcome sexual activity

*UNM code of conduct is still in effect while traveling abroad!

Always get consent:

  • Ask and receive a clear “yes”
  • Every step, Every time. Ask!

Watch this video to get a better understanding of consent:

When in doubt, report:

  • Email OEO at oeounm@unm.edu
  • Call OEO at (505) 277-5251
  • Contact Title IX Coordinator directly, acatena@unm.edu
  • Submit an online claim

You are not alone, there are people and resources available for you. For support contact:

  • LoboRESPECT Advocacy center
  • Women’s Resource Center
  • LGBTQ Resource Center
  • Vassar House (ARC and Advocacy Services)
  • Student Health & Counseling
  • Rape Crisis Center of Central New Mexico
  • Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE)

*UNM employees are mandatory reporters to Title IX OEO

Mental Health Abroad

How can I take care of my mental health abroad?

Mental health is just as important as your physical health! A balanced life and good habits lay a foundation for good mental health.

  • Eat well, sleep well, and get some exercise! Healthy bodies harbor healthy minds.
  • Keep in contact with your family and friends back home, they can be a great support system.
  • Engage in local life and reach out to locals to make friends!
  • Relax and go easy on yourself, it’s okay to have some “me time”.

LGBTQ+ Abroad

Is it safe to travel if I am LGBTQ+?

Some countries are accepting of LGBTQ+ people, but some are not. Here are some tips to stay safe in a different culture and society:

  1. Be aware that openly displaying affection for a same-sex partner can put you in danger
  2. Find out what kind of rights LGBTQ+ people have in your host country
  3. Be informed of the attitudes and customs of your host country
  4. Put your safety first

Politics Abroad

What do I do if someone wants to talk politics?

When you are abroad, you are a representative of your country and UNM. You may be asked about politics.

Here are some ideas on how to engage diplomatically:

  1. Stay informed about current events
  2. Use the opportunity to ask about current events/politics in the host country
  3. Be respectful and willing to talk and listen about things
  4. Remember that it’s okay to admit you don’t know the answer to everything

Emergency Situations

What do I do in an emergency situation?

  • Use any means necessary to get to safety and call local authorities.
  • If you are in a large-scale disaster or political event, call the US embassy for help or go to their location
  • Contact your program leader
  • Contact the GEO 24/7 Helpline
  • If necessary, call for medical attention through your travel insurance
  • Check in with your emergency contact, as well as your GEO advisor

Who can I contact in case of emergency?

Global Education Office

  • Non-Emergency: +1 (505) 277-4032
  • Emergency: +1 (505) 277-4436 (4GEO)
  • Faculty-Led Program Coordinator, Annette Mares-Duran (amares2@unm.edu)
  • Director, Todd Karr (tmkarr@unm.edu)

CISI (Cultural Insurance Services International)

  • Non-Emergency :+1 (203) 399-5130 (toll free 800-303-8120).
  • Emergency: +1 (312) 935-1703 (collect calls accepted) or email medassist-usa@axa-assistance.us.

US Department of State

  • Contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate
  • From the U.S. & Canada: +1 (888) 407-4747
  • From Overseas: +1 (202) 501-4444

UNM SHAC Counseling Services

  • After-Hours On Call Service (regarding UNM Students Only) Call +1 (505) 277-3136. Select Option # 3.

LoboRESPECT Advocacy Center Hotline

For Emergencies and non-emergencies +1 (505) 277-2911

You can also Contact Other Important Offices but do so after reaching out to GEO:

  • Dean of Students Office: +1 (505) 277-3361
  • UNM Police (24 hours/day): +1 (505) 277-2241

I lost my passport. What do I do?

Report It!

  • From the U.S. & Canada 1-888-407-4747
  • From Overseas +1 202-501-4444

Additional Resources

Like checklists?

YES! Check out the UNM Travel Health and Safety Guide below:

This checklist was designed to help you prepare for a safe study abroad experience. A hard copy can be found in your GEO Learning Content section. Be sure to add to it if it is missing items.
If you have questions, comment, or concerns after completing this module, please reach out to Annette Mares (amares2@unm.edu) and/or (flip@unm.edu).

Annette Mares-Duran (amares2@unm.edu)

Faculty Led International Program Coordinator

Audriana Stark (flip@unm.edu)

Faculty-Led International Program Assistant


Created with images by Amy Humphries - "where to?" • CDC - "Produced by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), this highly magnified, digitally colorized transmission electron microscopic (TEM) image highlights the particle envelope of a single, spherical shaped, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) virion, through the process of immunolabeling, the envelope proteins, using rabbit HCoV-EMC/2012 primary antibody, and goat anti-rabbit 10nm gold particles." • CDC - "Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Quarantine Station staff, respond to reports of sick travelers at 18 United States international airports, and land ports of entry, where most international travelers arrive. Here, CDC Quarantine, Public Health Officer, Diana Lu, was assessing a sick traveler, who had just arrived at the Los Angeles International Airport from another country. She is trained to ask such questions as: “When did the fever start? Any other symptoms? " • Andrew Stutesman - "untitled image" • chuttersnap - "Golden equator" • Keyur Hardas - "The Voyager." • Gaelle Marcel - "untitled image" • Geronimo Giqueaux - "untitled image" • Omid Armin - "untitled image" • Fabian Grohs - "Saturday Mood" • Marvin Meyer - "untitled image" • Rahul Chakraborty - "A Trailer of the Future" • Erik Lucatero - "My Instagram is growing little by little :). i saw my last photo be used a tone so here is another one like it. …🙊follow me" • Cynthia del Río - "Traveling flatlay" • CDC - "This 2017 photograph depicted a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Quarantine Station, Public Health Officer, as she was conducting inspections of CDC-regulated items. This type of activity takes place at 18-United States international airports, and land ports of entry, where most international travelers arrive. In this image, captured at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, Enya, a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) dog, had sniffed out a possible banned item in baggage claim. " • Kylie Anderson - "untitled image" • Martin Sanchez - "untitled image" • Pop & Zebra - "Under construction" • Markus Winkler - "Danger! Red and white barrier tape in front of a natural background with Korean symbols" • Lisheng Chang - "untitled image" • mrjn Photography - "untitled image" • Alexander Schimmeck - "Guatemala - Colourful school buses" • Eva Blue - "untitled image" • Philipp Wüthrich - "untitled image" • Drew Jemmett - "A rich black tea from the Yunnan province in China with hints of Cacao" • Tom Pottiger - "Follow me @tompottiger" • Bekir Dönmez - "balance" • Teddy Österblom - "untitled image" • Farzad Mohsenvand - "Urban Cafe - کافه اربن" • Jason Leung - "untitled image" • Antoine Barrès - "Pick up the phone" • 🇨🇭 Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum - "untitled image" • Andrew Stutesman - "untitled image" • William Iven - "Crunching the numbers" • Analia Baggiano - "Happy Hand"