Managing Personal Security

Basic principles of security.

There are basic principles of safety that, when applied sensibly, may reduce the risk of exposure to violence. These principles are applicable in any environment, but are often most relevant in situations when violent crime, terrorism or conflict prevails.


Thorough preparation is the most important habit or behavior that reduces your risk of exposure to crime or violence. You can substantially reduce risks by:

  • Being aware of the threats in the countries you are travelling to.
  • Staying alert to the prevailing situation.
  • Observing simple precautions.
  • Your security is ultimately your responsibility, regardless of the support you have. Be conscious of your own vulnerabilities and take action to mitigate the risks. Make an effort to understand the environment that you will be operating in.  You may contact International SOS at any time while abroad to review risks in your destinations and seek advice to mitigate identified threats.


    Be alert to the fact that, even when you take precautions, residual risks exist. Make security awareness a habit by incorporation the following steps in your daily routine:

  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Before leaving your housing, decide on the route you will take.  In certain locations it may be necessary to review several safe routing options.
  • When using public transportation, be aware of your personal belongings.
  • Always look out for strangers waiting by your house and office, strangers and / or cars following you as well as other unusual incidents.
  • Do not use ATMs at night, even when it seems no one is around.
  • Avoid any situations where you may become isolated and at risk. Use local knowledge and guidance for high-risk locations and activities. Use such advice in conjunction with your own independent assessment.

    Low Profile

  • Criminals normally target an individual because that person has come to their attention for some reason. It is fundamental that individuals should attract as little attention to themselves as possible. These are some simple rules:

  • Do not walk about distracted by your personal electronic devices.
  • Personal equipment such as laptops, cameras and telephones should be carried in bags/backpacks and not exposed to others.
  • Avoid accessories that can identify you as student traveler from another country such as branded backpacks.  Purchase locally available and commonly used items to better blend in.  Don’t carry anything you cannot replace or should have fully backed up in order to recover any lost data.
  • Avoid overt signs of wealth, such as expensive watches, jewelry, iPhones, tablets, etc.
  • Don’t carry too much cash.
  • Do not discuss details of your work or itinerary with individuals not known to you.  Do not discuss them publically.
  • Ensure, as far as possible, that personal information is properly safeguarded


Remember that you can call or Live Chat with ISOS 24/7 for support and assistance and if you need to use MIT's Travel insurance


In an event of an incident, your safety may depend upon how effectively you are able to maintain communications with your support elements. Make sure you:

Always test your cell phone; keep it fully charged, and consider

  • carrying an extra charger with you.

  • Carry a hard copy of your emergency contact details.

    Layers of Protection

  • There is no single measure which guarantees security. Apply several layers

    of protection, these include:

  • Adopt appropriate security measures and maintain them.
  • Acknowledge the dangers associated with creating a routine within normal life.
  • Always remain alert.

    Lost or Stolen Passport

  • If your passport is lost or stolen, go to your local embassy to begin the process of obtaining a new one. Call International SOS for advice on where to go.  ISOS cannot set up an appointment but can contact MIT in case you do not have access to emergency cash to get you through the situation safely.  MIT will notify the International Student Office if your passport with its US re-entry visa is lost.  Bring identification such as a driver’s license and a photocopy of your passport and visa (if applicable).