Your trip to the United States will be one of the most exciting adventures of your life. As your program sponsor, we also want to ensure that your experience is a safe one. Your health, well-being and safety is a priority. It’s important that you exercise safety precautions, use good judgement and obey local laws.

You are the person responsible for your own safety and will ultimately have to deal with any negative consequences of unwise choices or behavior. We offer these suggestions to help you have an enjoyable experience and avoid getting into trouble while in the United States.

The issue of your well-being is a very serious matter and we recommend that you pay careful attention to these safety and security suggestions.

General Safety

BE AWARE: It is important that you stay vigilant about your personal safety at all times. Use good judgement about your personal recreation, physical surroundings, people that you associate with at work and outside of work. Like any other place, there are dangers and hazards and it’s up to you to avoid them by using common sense and avoiding anything that could cause you physical harm. The program insurance will not cover many medical expenses that result from dangerous or risky activity. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

OBEY LAWS: Breaking a law in the United States is a serious matter that could have very serious consequences for you. Illegal drugs, shoplifting, underage drinking of alcoholic beverages and driving under the influence of alcohol or illegal substances are offenses that can lead to an arrest, an immediate departure from the country and/or a significant amount of money in fines and legal bills. AAG will not be able to assist you if you are arrested and sent to jail.

CONSEQUENCES FOR STEALING OR SHOPLIFTING: Stealing is against the law and can lead to your arrest. Most establishments have surveillance cameras that monitor for theft and other crimes. Incidents of theft is a problem that we face every year with participants who ignore the law and take property that does not belong to them.

RELATIONSHIPS: Many companies have a policy that prohibits relationships between workers and it is highly recommended that you refrain from these types of relationships while on the job. If you have questions, reference the employee handbook or ask a supervisor. AAG highly recommends you do not engage in any activity that has potentially harmful effects. Unsafe sexual activity may result in unwanted pregnancies and infectious disease. The program insurance excludes coverage from the hazards of unsafe sexual activity.

As a U.S. Department of State designated J-1 visa sponsor organization, it is our foremost responsibility to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all international exchange program participants. During your time in the U.S., Alliance Abroad is required to provide 24/7 support and act as your advocate, ensuring that your rights and safety are protected at all times.

Alliance Abroad is staffed by highly trained individuals with a high degree of intercultural competency, who themselves have lived, worked, or studied abroad.

AAG is fully committed to the complete and comprehensive protection of our exchange program participants. We prescreen and vet all Host Organizations and Overseas Recruiting Partner Agencies, and work with each of our Exchange Visitors, every step of the way on their exchange programs, to ensure that their programs are the positive, safe, and life-changing experiences that they deserve.

If you or anyone you know is mistreated, contact us free at +1 (866) 622-7623  immediately or call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888, text “HELP” TO 233733, or email [email protected].

Personal Safety

  • Always keep your valuables in a safe, locked or concealed place.
  • Avoid traveling alone at night or in any unsafe areas.
  • 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 at all times.
  • Avoid disclosing personal information on social media. Never post photos of your personal identification, Social Security Card and/or paychecks on social media.
  • Never post inappropriate photos on social media.
  • Never invite strangers to your housing or accept invitations from people you do not know.

Financial Safety

  • Make sure to bring enough money to cover your initial expenses
    • Summer Work Travel Participants: It is advisable to have at least $1000, plus any additional funds to cover your housing fees.
    • Intern/Trainee/Teach Program Participants: It is recommended that you have at least $1500, plus any additional funds to cover your housing fees.
  • Do not carry large amounts of cash and do not expose it in crowded places.
  • Do not use ATM machines in the dark, especially if you are alone.
  • Make sure to budget your expenses for the month accordingly, to make sure all your bills and utilities are paid in full and on time.
  • Be careful when making purchases online from unknown sellers.
  • If there are unauthorized charges posted to your account, please work with your Bank/Credit Card company to dispute the charges.

Driving Safety

  • Make sure that you have a valid driver’s license to operate a car in the United States.
  • Make sure that you have appropriate car insurance.
  • Always wear a seat belt.  It’s not just a safety precaution; it is the law.
  • Never text while driving; it is illegal in most states.
  • Never drive while under the influence of any amount of alcohol.
  • Never accept a ride from a driver who has been drinking or who is intoxicated.

Biking Safety

Riding your bike can be a great way to exercise and get around. Biking also has risks because you are sharing the road with motorized traffic.

  • Always inspect your bike and make sure the breaks are working properly.
  • Follow the rules of the road! In most states you should ride with the flow of traffic and yield when entering a roadway.
  • Make sure that your bike has lights and proper reflectors.
  • Wear appropriate clothing and shoes. Chose bright, reflective clothing so that you are visible to drivers on the road and appropriate footwear ( sandals or flip-flops are NOT appropriate footwear and are not recommended).
  • Always secure your bike with a lock.
  • Take extra precaution in bad weather (rain, snow, high heat, extreme cold).

Walking Safety

Many participants walk as a primary means of transportation, so it’s important that you are careful and mindful of motor vehicles, traffic signals and pay attention while walking.

  • Follow pedestrian guidelines using crosswalks and obeying crossing signals.
  • Walk against traffic, so you can see oncoming vehicles and traffic.
  • Use crosswalks and sidewalks whenever possible.
  • Pay attention and avoid use of the phone for calls or texting.
  • Look both ways when crossing the street.
  • Wear bright, reflective clothing in the dark to ensure you are visible at all times
  • Wear appropriate clothing and prepare for inclement weather (rain, snow, high heat, extreme cold).

Skiing Safety

  • Wear a helmet, use safe ski equipment and wear appropriate protective clothing.
  • Never ski alone. Ski with friends or instructors.
  • Follow the rules of the trails.
  • Take breaks. Rest for a while to reduce risk of injury due to exhaustion.
  • Respect your limits. Do not ski on trails that are above your skill level
  • Injuries sustained under the following conditions will not be covered by your ski insurance:
  • Injuries sustained while snowboarding
  • Injuries sustained while skiing under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Injuries sustained while skiing off official trails
  • Injuries sustained while performing jumps, stunts, aerials, half-pipes, moguls, racing or operating outside of any designated boundaries

Swimming Safety

Swimming is fun and great exercise, but it can also be dangerous.
Here are a few tips to keep you safe:

  • If you cannot swim, do attempt to go into water over your head or into rough ocean water.
  • Never swim alone.
  • Never dive head first into shallow or water where you cannot see the bottom.
  • Never swim under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Make sure there are lifeguards on duty.
  • Read and follow posted beach or pool signs and rules.
  • Follow lifeguard instructions.

Obey U.S. Laws

Please remember that you are a GUEST in the United States and you are expected to follow U.S. Laws during your stay.

  • Never drink if you are under the legal drinking age of 21.
  • Never purchase alcohol for anyone under the 21.
  • Never drink in public places.
  • Never use or possess illegal drugs.
  • Marijuana is an ILLEGAL substance in most states.
  • Workplace Drug Testing is common and can be conducted at random.
  • Never threaten another person or touch them in an inappropriate way.
  • Never engage in violence of any kind or provoke or participate in a fight.(Disorderly conduct)
  • Never damage property.
  • Never disturb the peace.

Never shoplift or steal.

AAG Zero Tolerance Policy

Alliance Abroad Group has a “Zero Tolerance” policy in regards to certain types of behavior. If we receive documentation that you have done any of the following, we will end your program and request that you return home immediately.

PHYSICAL ALTERCATION (Getting into fights with colleagues, roommates, etc.)
BULLYING (Intimidating others in efforts to get them to do what you want)
THEFT (Taking items that do not belong to you)
THREATS made public of any kind that involve harm to other people:

  • Verbally
  • In Social Media
  • In Email/Text/Voicemail

Please remember you are in the United States representing your country, and you should behave appropriately.

Questions? Contact Us