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Study Abroad Office

Destinations of Risk

Your well-being is our first priority. If you are interested in traveling to a country or region deemed a destination of risk, you will need to submit a petition to gain university support. 

Destination of Risk Petition Process

If you are traveling abroad for University-related purposes to a country subject to a University Travel Warning, you must adhere to the following procedures in order to gain USC approval to do so. This is to ensure that you are made aware of the safety and/or health risks associated with travel to such areas, that you are able to adequately prepare for travel to such areas and that you fully understand that you do so voluntarily. This process also allows the University to better manage risk and prepare for emergencies.

  1. Contact the Study Abroad Office to set up an appointment with an advisor to discuss travel to a country currently subject to a University Travel Warning. This includes countries on the US State Department Travel Warning list, as well as other countries deemed high risk by the university. 
  2. In advance of the appointment, thoroughly research the region in question, including all associated travel warnings. 
  3. In advance of the appointment, submit to the advisor a petition detailing: 
    1. The name of the organization sponsoring the program or opportunity, the name of the program and/or host institution abroad, and the location (city and country) of the program.
    2. The term/period you intend to go abroad.
    3. Why you want to go abroad through this program, in this country specifically.
    4. Why no other program or opportunity in a different country would provide a similar experience.
    5. A description of the comprehensive student support services provided by the program or otherwise available to the student (e.g. is there an on-site director, and other on-site staff? Is an on-site orientation provided? Is there a 24/7 U.S. emergency number, and if so what is it? Is there a 24/7 emergency number abroad, and if so what is it?).
    6. Your understanding of the safety and/or health situation in that country/region.
    7. Your personal safety plan when in-country.
    8. Your ability to speak the local language, if not English.
    9. Your prior travel experience abroad, if any.
    10. A description of your in-country contacts, if any.
    11. The program’s website.
    12. Any other pertinent info.
    13. For undergraduate students only, a parent signature (with date) indicating support of the student’s travel to the region in question.
  4. During the appointment, the advisor will review the petition with you, as well as the U.S. State Department Travel Warning for that country/region, the Consular Information Sheet for that country/region, and any other related information for the country/region in question.
  5. If you have not completely addressed each point above, the advisor will ask you to further research the program in question, then revise and resubmit the petition.
  6. Your petition is forwarded to the Student International Travel Oversight Committee (SITOC) for official review. 
  7. If your petition is approved, you will complete the Destination of Risk waiver with a study abroad advisor. USC can withdraw approval of the experience if the situation in the region changes drastically prior to departure. If the situation changes after you have arrived in the country, it will be handled on a case by case basis.