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Safety and Medical Insurance

The Center for Community Engagement and Service strives to make our Alternative Breaks programs the safest, most rewarding experiences possible. All travel involves a certain level of risk. However, our staff is here to support each group, from the student leaders and participants to the faculty and staff advisors.

Our department advises student leaders in creating safe, educational and service learning-oriented itineraries and curricula for their programs. Each program partners with organizations on the ground to ensure we are aware of the most up-to-date travel information and have the necessary precautions taken for each destination.

Below you'll find a list of our specific safety precautions along with recommendations for medical and insurance advice. Whether you're a parent or student, we're here to support you and ensure that your experience is a positive learning experience in the world classroom.


  • The Alternative Break coordinator monitors daily country reports from around the globe.
  • Read US State Department Travel Warnings and Consular Information Sheets.
  • Students are encouraged to read the US State Department Students Abroad safety website.
  • For international programs, students are registered with the US Embassy in destination country.
  • All programs have staff/faculty advisors who accompany the group at all time in case of an emergency.
  • Programs follow AU policies to deal with personal, national or international emergencies.
  • All program leaders are provided with an international GSM cellphone in order to be in contact with AU staff on-call 24 hours a day.
  • Parents can contact American University Public Safety in the case of emergency:
  • Participants will be provided detailed emergency contact information in their program itinerary prior to departure.


  • Students are advised to research the vaccinations and health precautions they should take while traveling internationally. The Center for Disease Control website will provide you with travel health guidelines.
  • To receive vaccinations, students should Make an appointment at an international travel clinic. Foxhall Internists is on New Mexico Ave. NW, only a couple minutes walk from American University.