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Health & Safety


Crime, particularly crime that targets foreigners, has been on the rise in major cities. The safety of our participants is an important concern and, thus, all participants receive ample information in the Participant Handbook, as well as at pre-departure orientation, on how to avoid potentially dangerous situations and what to do if participants should find themselves in such a situation. American Councils staff is available 24-7 in the case of an emergency and all participants will receive a laminated Emergency Contact Card with a list of pertinent phone numbers at orientation. Participants, staff and Resident Directors have submitted the following safety tips for participants:

  • Always be aware of your surroundings.
  • Do not try to call attention to yourself as an American (i.e. do not speak English loudly in public areas).
  • Use the buddy system when traveling, travel in small groups. Never walk alone at night. Always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.
  • Observe traffic lights and regulations. Drivers in Eurasia are generally aggressive and occasionally erratic.
  • When asking directions, approach older women first.
  • Do not ride in unmarked taxis. Only use reliable, commercial taxi services.
  • Keep an eye on your purse, bag or wallet, especially in crowded public areas.
  • Be wary of large groups of people, especially public gatherings that could potentially get out of control.
  • Avoid consuming large quantities of alcohol, particularly with people you do not know well in public places. Drinking in public is illegal in many Eurasian countries.
  • You must carry your documents on you at all times.
  • Avoid carrying large sums of money.
  • Ask your Resident Director how to handle encounters with police.
  • Do not eat food prepared/sold on the street!
  • Be sure to wash hands frequently (carry hand sanitizer).
  • Avoid stray dogs
  • Avoid drinking from unmarked or pre-opened bottles. Be especially aware of and avoid homemade alcohols.

Insurance & Medical Facilities
Today, western-style clinics operate in most major cities of Eurasia, and American Councils overseas staff are available at all times to assist participants in receiving the best medical care available. All participants are automatically enrolled in a Cultural Insurance Services International plan that provides medical coverage of up to $250,000 per accident or illness. The CISI plan also provides full coverage for emergency medical evacuation.