RESIDENT DIRECTOR'S MESSAGE
Seville, October 17, 2018
We live in a world where an individual is exposed on a daily basis to news of politics, tragedy, constant marketing schemes, social media, the end of the world paranoia, etc. I wouldn´t blame you for thinking: “I am never going to leave home, I am staying in my town forever”.
When actually today is the best moment to explore other countries and cultures, learn other languages and make new friends and ultimately challenge and prepare yourselves to make a difference in the world.
SAIIE as a program and Seville as a city offers you this chance. Your safety and wellbeing are always going to be our number one concern.
SAIIE provides all our students with a family atmosphere and personal attention. The SAIIE staff are prepared and available 24/7 to all students for safety and emergency situations.
SAIIE keeps in close touch with the US Consulate in Seville for any news regarding the STEP program, updates and passport issues.
Seville, one of the warmest, historical, safest, open-minded, family oriented cities in the world offers you this opportunity. Trust SAIIE to be your home away from home.
Looking forward to meeting you all very soon!
SAIIE Resident Director
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR STUDENTS
In study abroad, as in other settings, participants can have a major impact in their own health and safety through the decisions they make before and during the program and by their day-to-day choices and behaviors.
- Read and carefully consider all materials issued by the the study abroad office at UW-Platteville and SAIIE.
- Make available to the study abroad office at UW-Platteville accurate and complete physical and mental health information and any other personal data that is necessary in planning for a safe and healthy study-abroad experience.
- Assume responsibility for all the elements necessary for their personal preparation for the program and participate fully in on-site orientation.
- Obtain and maintain appropriate insurance coverage and abide by any conditions imposed by the carriers.
- Inform parents/guardians/families and any others who may need to know about their participation in the study abroad program, provide them with emergency contact information, and keep them informed on an ongoing basis.
- Understand and comply with the terms of participation, codes of conduct, and emergency procedures of the SAIIE program, and obey host country laws.
- Be aware of Spanish local conditions and customs that may present health or safety risks when making daily choices and decisions. Promptly express any health or safety concerns to the program staff or other appropriate individuals.
- Behave in a manner that is respectful of the rights and well being of others and encourage others to behave in a similar fashion.
- Accept responsibility for your own decisions and actions.
- Become familiar with the procedures for obtaining emergency health and law enforcement services in Spain.
- Follow the SAIIE program policies for keeping program staff informed of their whereabouts and well being.
If a country has a pattern of tourists being targeted by criminals on public transport, that information is mentioned in the Consular Information Sheets under the “Crime Information” section.
Spain is considered a very safe country and to travel within as well. However, it does not mean we do not have small crime. Pickpocketing is the most common one amongst tourist and foreign students that visit the Spanish country.
Taxis are safe in Spain and in Europe. However, from time to time they will try to make an extra penny, especially if they notice they are carrying someone not local. Fortunately, in Seville you will not need to use a cab as much as most places can be walked too. However, Uber and Cabify are other options for getting around the city. You will have to download the application, register in order to use their services.
This mean of transportation is definitely used by many students as it is an economical way to get around Europe. A popular option by many of our students is pruchasing a railway pass that allows you travel and stop in certain cities in different countries.
Buses are probably the cheapest way to travel around Spain and around Europe. Evidently, it will take longer to reach your destination, but if you are on a budget, there are many bus companies offering different destinations connecting Spain with the rest of Europe.
Please note that this is not the general case and trains and buses in Spain and in Europe are very safe but you never can be too cautious.
The following is a LIST OF TIPS SAIIE has come up over the years for you students to be aware of when walking on the streets:
- Don’t use narrow alleys or poorly lit streets during the late night. Try not to travel alone at night. Catch a cab if necessary.
- Avoid public demonstrations and other civil disturbances.
- Keep a low profile and avoid loud conversations or arguments. Do not discuss travel plans or other personal matters with strangers.
- Avoid scam artists. Beware of strangers who approach you, offering bargains or to be your guide.
- Beware of pickpockets. They often have an accomplice who will: jostle you, ask you for directions or the time, point to something spilled on your clothing, or distract you by creating a disturbance.
- A child or even a woman carrying a baby can be a pickpocket. Beware of groups of vagrant children who create a distraction while picking your pocket.
- Wear the shoulder strap of your bag across your chest and walk with the bag away from the curb to avoid driveby-purse-snatchers.
- Try to seem purposeful when you move about. Even if you are lost, act as if you know where you are going. When possible, ask directions only from individuals in authority.
- Learn a few phrases in the local language so you can signal your need for help, the police, or a doctor. Make a note of emergency telephone numbers you may need: police, fire, your home-stay, and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
- If you are confronted, don’t fight back. Give up your valuables. Your money and passport can be replaced, but you cannot.
Please take a few minutes to read all the following informationg from the website from the Department of State of the United States about Spain: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Spain.html
If you are ill or injured, contact the SAIIE staff who will assist you in locating physicians and medical facilities. If you are travelling at the time of an illness or injury, contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for a list of local physicians and medical facilities. Consular officers can help you find medical assistance from this list and, at your request, will inform your family or friends. If necessary, a consul can assist in the transfer of funds from family or friends in the United States. Payment of hospital and other medical expenses is your responsibility.
It is important to be aware of the range of services available to you at a U.S. embassy or consulate office. If you run out of money overseas and have no other options, consular officers can help you get in touch with your family, friends, bank or employer and inform them how to wire funds to you. Should you find yourself in legal difficulty, contact a consular officer immediately. Consular officers cannot serve as attorneys, give legal advice, or get you out of jail. What they can do is provide a list of local attorneys who speak English and who may have had experience in representing U.S. citizens. If you are arrested, consular officials will visit you, advise you of your rights under local laws and ensure that you are held under humane conditions and are treated fairly under local law. A consular officer will contact your family or friends if your desire. When necessary, consuls can transfer money from home for you and will try to get relief for you, including food and clothing in countries where this is a problem. If you are detained, remember that under international treaties and customary international law, you have the right to talk to the U.S. consul. If you are denied this right, be persistent. Try to have someone get in touch for you.
Comprehensive information about assistance is available to American citizens abroad can be found at the following web-site: http://travel.state.gov
Students are encouraged to know the location of the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate and to register.
Below you have the information to the American Consulate in Seville:
Plaza Nueva 8-8 Duplicado planta 2, 4
Mon-Fri 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
+34 954 218 751
If students are going to be in a country for more than a couple of weeks, they should register at the American Embassy or Consulate. This is helpful to students and their families, if there is need to locate family members in the event of an emergency.
What U.S. Consular Officers can and can not do to help U.S. citizens abroad
If students find themselves in trouble overseas, the Consular Officer at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate can provide certain assistance and advice. Consular Officers can also help in the event of illness, injury, natural catastrophe, evacuations, destitution, or death.
In the United States, the Office of Overseas Citizens Services (OCS) can also assist American students abroad and their families in the USA in emergency cases. OCS is open Monday-Friday, 8:15 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern time. The OCS toll-free hotline at 1-888-407-4747 is available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, Monday and Friday, except U.S. federal holidays. Callers who are unable to use toll-free numbers, such as those calling from overseas, may obtain information and assistance during these hours by calling 317-472-2328.
There are certain things that consular officers at American embassies CAN NOT do for American citizens abroad. For example, they cannot cash checks, lend money or serve as your attorney.
A SAIIE staff member is 24/7 available to the student in case of an emergency jeopardizing their health or safety. If it comes up during business hours, they are provided with a number to contact directly the Student Affairs Director. After hours, they must let their Landlady know immediately so she can contact Student Affairs right away. All Landladies are provided with a number to contact a SAIIE staff member 24/7 in case of an emergency jeopardizing the health and safety of a student.
PERSONAL SAFETY FOR FEMALE TRAVELERS
A female student may or may not have thought about what it might mean to live as a woman in the country in which she will be studying abroad, but we encourage each one to do so. While it is impossible to generalize about the experience of women traveling in all places in the world, they may experience some gender-specific challenges when living or traveling abroad. This is not to say that it is more dangerous to be a woman in countries other than the US. In fact, the incidence of violent crime against women is higher in the U.S. than in many other countries. Language and cultural differences however might mean that what a woman considers appropriate behavior in the U.S. will be interpreted much differently by the men-- and women--of her host country. This is further compounded by the fact that the people in some other countries may have distorted or stereotyped notions about American women, based on images acquired through American films and advertising. The very characteristics of U.S. women such as independence and strength may be perceived differently in other countries.
A smile, eye contact, certain clothing, or the way a woman carries herself can connote different things in different cultures. While we will supply your female student with what information we can, she is her own best resource. She should read travel guides or articles and talk to women who have been to the host country. The more familiar she is with the customs and traditions of the host country, the more understanding she will have for why they exist and the safer she will feel while abroad.
Some safety suggestions women on past programs have made include:
- Follow the example of women from your host country, in terms of culturally appropriate dress and demeanor.
- Trust your instincts. If you do not feel safe in a situation or someone's behavior is making you uncomfortable, get out of the situation immediately.
- Travel in groups of at least two, especially when you are unfamiliar with a city or town.
- Lock hotel rooms when traveling. Do not stay in hotels without adequate locks. It is not worth the savings to put yourself at risk.
- Walk with purpose and avoid eye contact with strangers.
- Firmly say "no" to any invitation you do not want and turn away. Ignore persistent overtures.
- Do not drink alcohol in excess.
Terrorist acts occur at random and unpredictably, making it impossible to protect yourself absolutely. The first and best protection is to avoid travel to unsafe areas where there has been a persistent record of terrorist attacks or kidnapping. The vast majority of foreign states have good records of maintaining public order and protecting residents and visitors within their borders from terrorism.
Most terrorist attacks are the result of long and careful planning. Just as a car thief will first be attracted to an unlocked car with the key in the ignition, terrorists are looking for defenseless, easily accessible targets that follow predictable patterns. The chances that a tourist, traveling with an unpublished program or itinerary, would be the victim of terrorism are slight. In addition, many terrorist groups, seeking publicity for political causes within their own country or region, may not be looking for American targets.
Nevertheless, the following pointers may help you avoid becoming a target of opportunity. They should be considered as adjuncts to the tips listed in the previous sections on how to protect yourself against the far greater likelihood of being a victim of crime. These precautions may provide some degree of protection, and can serve as practical and psychological deterrents to would-be terrorists.
Schedule direct flights if possible and avoid stops in high-risk airports or areas. Consider other options for travel, such as trains.
Be aware of what you discuss with strangers or what may be overheard by others.
Try to minimize the time spent in the public area of an airport, which is a less protected area. Move quickly from the check-in counter to the secured areas. On arrival, leave the airport as soon as possible.
As much as possible, avoid luggage tags, dress and behavior that may identify you as an American.
Keep an eye out for suspicious abandoned packages or briefcases. Report them to airport security or other authorities and leave the area promptly.
Avoid obvious terrorist targets such as places where Americans and Westerners are known to congregate.
(Extracted from Your Trip Abroad, Dept. of State Publ. 10542, Bureau of Consular Affairs)
DOCUMENTATION FOR MEDICATION
If you go abroad with preexisting medical problems, you should carry a letter from you doctor describing your condition, including information on any prescription medicines that you must take. You should also have the generic names of the drugs. Please leave medicines in their original, labeled containers. These precautions make customs processing easier. A doctor's certificate, however, may not suffice as authorization to transport all prescription drugs to all foreign countries. Travelers have innocently been arrested for drug violations when carrying items not considered to be narcotics in the United States. To ensure that you do not violate the drug laws of the countries that you visit, you may consult the embassy or consulate of those countries for precise information before you leave the United States.
If you have allergies, reactions to certain medicines, or other unique medical problems, you may consider wearing a medical alert bracelet or carrying a similar warning.
HOW TO APPLY FOR A NEW PASSPORT ?
You can apply for a new passport here: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports.html
PROTECT YOUR PASSPORT
Your passport is the most valuable document that you will carry abroad. It confirms your U.S. citizenship. Please guard it carefully. Do not use it as collateral for a loan or lend it to anyone. It is your best form of identification. You will need it when you pick up mail or check into hotels, embassies or consulates.
When entering some countries or registering at hotels, you may be asked to fill out a police card listing your name, passport number, destination, local address, and reason for travel. You may be required to leave your passport at the hotel reception desk overnight so that it may be checked by local police officials. These are normal procedures required by local laws. If your passport is not returned the following morning, immediately report the impoundment to local police authorities and to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
Law enforcement records show that U.S. passports are sometimes used for illegal entry into the United States, or by criminals abroad seeking to establish another identity. This can cause embarrassment to innocent U.S. citizens whose names become associated with illegal activities. To protect the integrity of the U.S. passport and the security of the person bearing it, consular officers overseas have found it necessary to take precautions in processing lost passport cases. These precautions may involve some delay before a new passport is issued.
LOOK AFTER YOUR PASSPORT
Carelessness is the main cause for losing a passport or having it stolen. You may find that you have to carry your passport with you because you need to show it when you are paying something with a credit card or the country that you are visiting requires you to carry it as an identity document. When you must carry your passport, keep it in a secure place where it won't accidently fall out. Do not leave it in a handbag or in an exposed pocket. Whenever possible, leave your passport in the hotel safe, not in an empty hotel room, and not packed in your luggage. However, while you are in Seville we recommend you to make a photo copy of your passport and use that as an ID form or your driver's license.