Belgium 2016 Safety Considerations

We are traveling to places you’ve likely never before visited.  Caution is important.

I require adherence to two important rules while on the program.  The first is that you must be present and on time for every single event.  Most of the program visits occur in the morning, so I will have the opportunity to see you bright and early.  (We will have a morning check-in time at breakfast in London and Paris.)  If you do not check in with me on time or miss an event, you will be sent home at your expense.  Seriously.  The second rule is: be polite.  Like it or not, as such a large group traveling, we’re representatives of our country, and I want every person to be courteous and respectful of others, both in and out of the program.  [NB: each of these rules are posted in the Safety portion of the blog…  I need to keep track of how you’re doing, and it’s also always best to not be the ugly tourist and attract attention to yourself as someone who is out of place.]

Petty theft is common in some of the places we’ll visit.  We’re tourists, and we’ll be visiting tourist areas a lot of the time.  Be aware of your surroundings, and keep careful watch on your things.  Better yet, leave valuables at home!  Or, if you have to travel to Europe with some valuables, hide them in your flat before going out for the day or weekend.

Last, personal safety is also a concern.  Be very aware of your surroundings and also realize that, though you’re aware, you are a foreigner and don’t necessarily understand the context of the area.  This is especially true if you’re incapacitated.  Always, always travel with at least one friend, and always be able to take care of yourself.

Ooops, one more last note: drug and weapons laws are both stricter and more strictly enforced where we’re traveling.  Don’t take either.  If you’re arrested, there’s nothing I nor UA could do for you other than to send the embassy and pay you a visit in jail (and I will lecture you during that visit).

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