Safety Tips

At Alliance Abroad Group, your health, well-being and safety are our utmost priority.  However, you are the person responsible to ensure that you make good judgments, follow the laws and stay safe during your time in the United States. Here are some safety tips for you to consider.

  • STAY SAFE: Stay out of lonely and dark areas, don’t take big risks.
  • STAY LEGAL: know the laws of the U.S. Drugs, shoplifting, drinking under the age of 21, and driving under the influence of alcohol can all get you arrested, fired, and will definitely get you sent home! If you are arrested, you could go to jail, which is not fun. If you go to jail, it will ruin your program, and cost you a lot of money. AAG cannot get you out of jail!
  • NO SHOPLIFTING! There are cameras watching you at all times in most stores. If you take something that is not yours, you WILL GET CAUGHT.
  • SEXUAL RELATIONSHIPS: While on this program, AAG highly recommends you do not engage in sexual activity. If you do, be careful in sexual activities to prevent you from having any unwanted pregnancies or infections. It’s important to understand your Host Company’s policy on sexual relationships with coworkers – please reference their handbook.
  • ONLINE SAFETY:  Web sites like Craigslist.org can be very helpful, but use common sense to avoid being scammed.

  • Though many Americans are friendly, open, and willing to help, be aware that there are some people who may want to take advantage of visitors. Be cau­tious and use common sense during your stay and trust your instincts. If some­thing or someone makes you uneasy, avoid the person or leave.
    • In crowded areas like airports and bus and train stations, always keep your property close to you or in a concealed place.
    • Do not carry large amounts of cash and do not expose it in crowded places.
    • Travel and go out with a friend as much as possible.
    • Do not use ATM machines in the dark, especially if you are alone.
    • Make sure to have copies of all your important  documents with you, and keep your originals in a safe place.
    • Be aware of your surroundings. Do not behave in ways which may bring at­tention to thieves or someone who might try and take advantage of you.

    On Foot:

    • Whenever possible, walk with a friend.
    • Stay on well-traveled, well-lit streets. Avoid shortcuts through dark or wood­ed areas, parking lots, or alleys.
    • If you think someone is following you, change direction or cross the street. Walk toward an open store, restaurant, or lighted house. If you are scared, yell for help. If you have to work late, make sure there are others in the workplace with you and ask someone (a colleague or security guard) to walk you to your car or transit stop.

    On Buses and Subways:

    • Use well-lit, busy bus stops and stations.
    • Stay alert! Don’t sleep or daydream.
    • If someone harasses you, don’t be embarrassed. Loudly say “Leave me alone!”
    • If that doesn’t work, use the emergency device (alarm).
    • Watch those who exit with you. If you feel uneasy, walk to a place where there are other people.

    If Someone tries to rob you:

    • Don’t resist.
    • Give up your property; don’t give up your life.
    • Report the crime to the police. Try to describe the attacker accurately. Your actions can help prevent others from becoming victims.

    Trouble Spots:

    • Stairwells and out-of-the-way corridors: don’t use the stairs alone. Talk to the building manager about improving poorly lit corridors and stairways.
    • Elevators: don’t get into elevators with people who look out of place or behave in a strange or threatening manner. If you find yourself in an elevator with someone who makes you nervous, get off as soon as possible.
    • Restrooms (toilets): attackers can hide in toilet stalls and corners. Make sure restrooms are locked and only employees have keys. Be extra cautious when using restrooms that are isolated or poorly lit.
    • Late Night: don’t work late at night alone. Create a buddy system for walking to parking lots or public transportation or ask the security guard to escort you. Use caution in bars and clubs; do not trust strangers.

  • Many participants bike to/from work and training.  Please make sure to be a safe and responsible rider!

    Biking Safety Tips:

    • Always inspect your bike before getting on it.  Make sure that the breaks are working
    • Always wear a helmet
    • Wear bright reflective clothing, so you are visible to the car drivers on the road
    • Wear appropriate shoes (no flip flops!)
    • Make sure that your bike has proper reflectors so the car traffic can see you
    • Follow the rules of the road
    • Always look both ways before crossing a street.

    • Make sure that you have a valid driver’s license to operate a car in the United States
    • Make sure that you have a car insurance
    • Always wear a seat belt.  It’s the law!
    • Never get behind a wheel if you have been drinking.
    • If you are a passenger, never get in a vehicle with a driver who is intoxicated (has been drinking)

  • Your J1 program health insurance will cover injuries sustained while skiing on official, marked trails, up to $5,000. It does not cover any injuries sustained while snowboarding. If you plan to snowboard, AAG recommends you purchase separate snowboarding insurance coverage.

    • Exercise in advance. You will have much more fun on the slopes if you’re in good shape. Work your way up to skiing by exercising year-round on a regular basis.
    • Use proper ski equipment. Don’t borrow equipment. Rent from a ski shop or the ski resort. When buying equipment, make sure your ski boots are fitted properly. In both cases, make sure your bindings are properly adjusted.
    • Wear a helmet. Wearing protective headgear while skiing makes good sense and protects you from head injuries.
    • Wear goggles. Wear ski goggles that fit properly around your helmet. If you wear eyeglasses, buy goggles that fit comfortably over your eyeglasses or consider prescription goggles
    • Prepare for the weather. Wear layers of clothes and wear a helmet liner, a hat, or a headband. Wear gloves or mittens. Bring an extra pair in case the first pair gets wet.
    • Get proper instruction. Sign up for ski lessons (either individual or group). Even experienced skiers polish up their skills with a lesson now and then.
    • Take a break. If you’re tired, take a break and rest for a while in the lodge. While you’re resting, make sure you eat and drink enough. Skiing burns a lot of energy! When it’s the end of the day, there’s no need to try and get in a last run, or two, if you are tired. It’s better to quit while you’re ahead and save your energy for next time.
    • Ski with a friend. It’s always safer to ski with a friend so he can watch out for you and vice versa. Prearrange a meeting place in case you get separated and use walkie-talkies to stay in touch.
    • Respect your limits. Do not ski trails that are above your skill level. Trails will be clearly marked (Green Circle, Blue Square, Black Diamond) as to what level skier they are appropriate for. On a similar note, stay in control of your skis and focus on the trail you are skiing. Accidents happen more readily when we are distracted.
    • Follow the rules. Do not go off-trail. Obey posted trail closure and other warning signs. They are there for a reason. Remember that skiers who are in front of you, and below you, on the trail have the right-of-way.
    • No Drugs or Alcohol. You should never ski under the influence of drugs or alco­hol. This is extremely dangerous!

    More Tips

  • You can greatly reduce the chances of you or your friends and family becoming drowning or near-drowning victims by following a few simple safety tips:

    • Keep an eye on friends and family. Drowning can occur in as little as 20 seconds for children and 60 seconds for an adult. Drowning is known as the “silent killer” because most victims slip beneath the water without a sound. Paying close attention to those around you can drastically reduce such accidents.
    • Learn to swim! The American Red Cross has swimming courses for people of any age and swimming ability.
    • Swim in designated swim areas. These areas are properly marked, and motor boats are prohibited.
    • Swim near the shore. Drowning most often occurs within about 10 feet of safety and usually within about 50 feet from shore.
    • Never swim alone.
    • Learn to help a drowning victim without entering the water. Practice the “Reach or Throw, Don’t Go” method.
    • Learn to perform CPR (or cardio-pulmonary resuscitation). Check Red Cross CPR training programs. In an emergency, always have someone call 911.
    • Wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket. See information on the different kinds of life jackets.
    • Remember that swimming and alcohol can be a deadly combination.
    • Swimming in a river, lake or pond always carries some risk of exposure. Unlike swimming pools, natural waters are not chlorinated or disinfected. The risk is higher after heavy rains when bacteria levels are elevated due to fecal matter washed into the lakes and streams. People who go into the water do so at their own risk.

    More Tips

  • To keep your valuables and documents safe, it is wise to keep them in a safety deposit box at a bank or in a small lockbox. To open a safety deposit box, you will need to have an account at a bank.  Please see information about opening a bank account in our
    J-1 Survival Guide. Lockboxes are sold at most major store (Kmart, Wallmart, Target, etc). Make sure to keep all important documents and valuables locked in your lockbox. Keep the key to your lockbox with you at all times and do not tell anyone where you keep your lockbox hidden.