What to Do While Abroad

We hope you are enjoying yourself! 

Please keep in mind your safety, priorities, and responsibilities while abroad. Check this page for updates and announcements that may affect you.


Questions? We’re here for you. Please reach out.

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  • Emergencies

    UCR Faculty Led Education Abroad Program (FLEAP)

    • Summer education abroad faculty and teaching assistants are the first line of emergency support for students. For medical referrals, evacuation, or other services, students should report to them immediately, then contact the Director of Education Abroad at +1 (951) 206-8350. Additional assistance can also be provided through the University of California Incident hotline: +1 (866) 837-1752 or +1 (443) 569-4162.
    • Find your closest U.S. embassy:

    For complete information on emergency procedures, please check out our Health & Safety handbook.


    UC Education Abroad Program (UCEAP)

    Emergency Contact Number: +1-805-893-4762

    • If seriously injured or sick, get medical treatment at the closest medical facility and contact the local UCEAP representative.
    • If medical service is not available, call Europ Assistance collect +1-202-828-5896 or call the UCEAP 24-hour emergency contact number +1-805-893-4762.
    • Find your closest U.S. embassy:


    Other UC and Non-UC Programs (OAP)

    Depending on the circumstances, do one of the following:

    • Contact local emergency services.
    • Contact your local abroad program in-country support staff immediately.
    • Notify the UCR Education Abroad office: +1-951-827-4113.
    • Find your closest U.S. embassy:


  • General Advice

    What to Do When You Arrive

    • Call home! Buy a cheap international phone card and let everyone know that you're okay.
    • Find a bank ATM at the airport and withdraw some cash to make sure you can pay for goods and services.
    • For Opportunities Abroad Programs (OAP) and UC Education Abroad Programs (UCEAP): Check in with the Study Center or International Office at your host university. Introduce yourself and find out about orientation, any host university recommendations, and anything else you need to know.
    • Opportunities Abroad Programs (OAP) and UC Education Abroad Programs (UCEAP): Introduce yourself to your lecturers. Let them know you're from overseas, find out about assessments, exams, and anything else that may affect your studies.
    • Find your closest U.S. embassy.
    • Be aware of culture shock. It's not unusual to feel tired, anxious, or apprehensive when you're in a new place. Talk to your new friends, call home, or write to us!
    • Be safety conscious in the first few weeks, especially as you get used to your new environment and culture.


    Throughout Your Stay

    • Keep in touch.
      • Make sure we have your overseas contact information.
      • Check R’Mail regularly. This will be the official way that UCR corresponds with you.
      • Keep in touch with your family. We will pass information along to worried friends and parents if you let us, but we know they’d prefer to hear from you.
    • Verify enrollment. Complete and send us  your Enrollment Verification.
    • Complete Academic Add/Drop Form (if applicable). If you change your courses while abroad, please submit the Add/Drop Form to have the courses approved.
    • Save your class documentation, especially for Opportunities Abroad Programs (OAP) and UC Education Abroad Programs (UCEAP). Keep all records from your classes, including e-mails, letters, notes, syllabi, and tests. If you have academic questions while you’re abroad, contact your UCR advisor or academic department for help. This will help show the work you’ve done to receive credits.


    Before You Come Home

    • Opportunities Abroad Programs (OAP) and UC Education Abroad Programs (UCEAP): Get your transcripts. Ask the other UC or non-UC program provider to send your transcripts to UC Riverside, Admissions Office, Attn: OAP, 900 University Avenue, Riverside, CA 92521.
    • Register for classes at UCR. You can still do this using R’Web.
  • Money

    Many places take credit or debit cards, but always keep some cash on hand just in case.

    We recommend using bank or debit cards at bank ATMs to get local currency rather than currency converter services. Make sure to use bank ATMs only to avoid compromising your information.

    Figure out if it’s customary to tip and, if so, what amount.

    Check currency conversion rates here or download the Oanda app.

  • Travel Tips

    Travel Tips

    • Enjoy! It’s easy to get caught up in the stress of a new place and academic program. Take a breather and make the most of your time abroad!
    • Behave, respect your host culture, and know your limits. Remember that you’re here to make great memories and friendships, not regret decisions. Sometimes too much fun can be a bad thing, especially as a tourist. Stay aware of your surroundings and keep local customs in mind.
    • Avoid tourist traps. Every city seems to have restaurants and one or two attractions that get all the hype but offer none of the payoff. After months of watching your spending and saving up vacation time, you deserve more. Be adventurous but smart, get acquainted with your city and know the local hot spots. You also might just make a new friend or two.
    • Take advantage of hostels if spending time away from your regular accommodations. Hostels not only give you an inexpensive bed to sleep in, but may also provide a continental breakfast or a kitchen you can use. When you need advice on where and how to explore, hostel staff and crew are a great source of knowledge.
    • Seek out student services in your host university or trip organizer if traveling with Opportunities Abroad Programs (OAP) and UC Education Abroad Programs (UCEAP). They’re invested in your success and are a great resource for advice and support. In addition, food venues on campuses are often a great value and university staff can point you to places that give student discounts.
    • Try local cuisine. You probably won’t regret tasting recipes people have been perfecting for millennia. Find recommendations for authentic food through other travelers, online reviews, and locals. At the very least, asking local folks the question, “Where do you eat?” is usually a great way to start a conversation.
    • Plan local travel in advance. Get local transportation passes like rail cards and try to pre-book any taxi or car hire if you’re going to do a lot of commuting within your city or any excursions beyond. Taxi drivers can sometimes take advantage of travelers and costs can add up quickly. Check to see if there are student discounts to stretch your budget.
    • Keep an external battery for your phone with you. You’ll need it for all the pictures you’ll be taking.
    • Make a lot of good memories.
    • Take a lot of pictures and write down what you did – it’ll help those memories last longer.
    • Lastly, share some of those photos and stories with us. We’ll work with you to polish them up and post them to our site. It’ll be a great resume builder for you and may inspire another student to go abroad too.
  • Health and Safety

    At UCR, your health and safety are our top priorities. We hope they’re yours too! 

    We want you to have an experience you’ll never forget for all the right reasons... and none of the wrong ones. Maximizing the safety and well-being of students who travel abroad is our highest concern. This involves monitoring student activity, mitigating risk, and defining best practices for health and safety. We:

    • provide orientation workshops for students,
    • create protocols to identify, prepare for, and avoid incidents,
    • and respond quickly and efficiently to incidents in the event they do occur.


    Thousands of students go abroad and come back without incident every year, but it’s always important to be aware and have a plan. Remember, as you prepare to go and while you’re abroad, it’s up to you to make the right choices and do the right things to ensure a healthy and safe experience. Please read and follow the guidelines outlined in this section.


    Communicable Diseases

    Check the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for disease advisories. Be careful to follow any precautions you are advised to take.


    Sexual Behavior

    • Be safe. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)— gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes and hepatitis B—continue to be big health risks for travelers in just about every country. The only way to prevent an STI is to always use a condom during sexual contact. This applies to both men and women. The HIV virus, which is responsible for AIDS, as well as hepatitis, and other diseases are not only transmitted sexually but also through contaminated hypodermic needles and infected blood supplies (see Prescriptions, Medication, and Drugs below).


    Prescriptions, Medication, and Drugs

    In other countries, using or carrying mind-altering, non-prescription, and even some prescription drugs can pose significant risks—not just to our overall health but also legally and culturally. If you’re caught abusing or carrying illegal substances while abroad, you may face fines and prosecution, may be dismissed from your program and UCR, and may be also reported to Student Conduct.

    Keep in mind:

    • While abroad, you not only represent UCR but also the U.S.
    • If traveling to additional countries while abroad, research what you can and cannot bring with you, even if it’s a prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medication. Different countries have different rules about what substances are considered legal and illegal. For example, Japan has very strict laws regarding pseudoephedrine – a common ingredient in some over-the-counter cold medication.
    • Never accept drugs from anyone, including friends.
    • Never agree to transport packages for anyone while traveling abroad. This is a common way to move illicit substances internationally and is also known as drug trafficking. Penalties vary from country to country and can include prison or the death penalty, even if you did not know you were transporting a substance. Drug trafficking is a serious international offense and the U.S. government may not be able to help you if you’re in the custody foreign authorities for this crime.
    • Don’t use illicit or recreational drugs!
    • Don’t share hypodermic needles, syringes, or other similar disposable equipment for any reason. This is a major source of HIV and many other diseases. In some countries, it is common for healthcare facilities to reuse such disposable equipment. Don’t use, or allow the use of, contaminated, unsterilized syringes or needles for any reason.