SAFETY

At Star Service & Study Abroad, participants' safety is our primary concern.  It is critical that all participants review and abide by our safety guidelines. These guidelines have been informed by the Center for Disease Control, Ghana Health Services, our local partners, expert travelers and the United States Embassy.
Socializing

■  Use discretion when divulging information about yourself.
■  If possible, travel with companions at all times.
■  Keep your cellphone fully charged and by your side at all times. 
■  Know your limits and do not drink too much. 
■  Don't do drugs - this includes marijuana which is NOT legal in Ghana. 
■  Make wise decisions and avoid engaging in sexual intercourse

Ghanaian people are very friendly and will likely talk to you and be curious about where you are from and what you are doing in Ghana. We encourage participants to immerse themselves in the culture and socialize with friendly locals. Greetings and introductions are a great opportunity practice your Twi, engage with people in the area and make the most of your time abroad. However, we do advise students to be mindful and use discretion when engaging with individuals outside of the program.

Housing

For the majority of the program, we will be staying in a gated hostel in Kasoa that has round-the-clock security staff. On weekend trips outside of Kasoa, we will stay in similar housing arrangements. All SSSA staff and participants are housed on the same premises for the duration of the program. Participants are to abide by our safety recommendations as to not put themselves, their classmates or SSSA staff at risk. Our housing safety recommendations are as follows:
 

■ Do not invite anyone outside of the program to our lodging facilities. No guests are allowed 
■  Do not disclose information about where you are staying to people who are not associated with SSSA. 
■ Report to responsible authorities any suspicious persons loitering around your residence or instructional facilities.
■  There will be security on the premises 24/7. Respect their authority. They are there to help. 
■  Always keep hotel doors locked, and store valuables in secure areas.

Money

Participants will be given a stipend in the form of cash at the start of every week. This money is to cover their daily meals as well as their travels to and from their internships. It is likely that participants will not need much pocket cash beyond what is already given to them. It is expected that participants will keep the majority of their funds on a credit or debit card. Our recommendations regarding managing money while abroad are as follows:
 

■ Don't carry large amounts of cash with you.
■  Only keep as much money as you need for the day on you.
■  Keep any excess cash locked in a safe place in your room.
■  Store the international number to your bank and your account number
so that you can report your account information in the unlikely event of theft.

Accidents

Star Service & Study Abroad limits the types of non-educational, recreational, and physical activities participants may engage in. Extreme sports of any kind are prohibited as well as solo swimming and operating any form of motorized vehicle. We have created these strict guidelines based on data and statistics related to injury and accidents of students abroad. These guidelines are intended to ensure our participants safety. Please review our Rules & Safety Agreement for more details. Our recommendations on preventing accidents and injury are as follows:
 

■  Abide by all terms outlined in the Rules & Safety Agreement.
■  Limit alcohol consumption and use wise decision-making skills at all time.
■  Do not operate a motor vehicle at any time, for any reason.
■  If you go swimming, make sure that there is someone with you.
■  Make sure to heed all warning signs or flags, especially for riptides.
■  Never swim alone or intoxicated, and be clear with others about your swimming abilities.
■  Do not engage in any extreme sports or water activities, such as surfing or dirt biking.

Health

Star Service & Study Abroad abides by the Center for Disease Control's health recommendations for travel to Ghana.
All SSSA participants are required to get vaccinated prior to traveling. Please see our Vaccinations page for
more information on what vaccines to get and when. Additionally, participants are strongly encouraged to view
the CDC's website for more information regarding health and disease prevention while abroad.  
 

Insect Bites
■  Avoid scratching bug bites.
■  Cover exposed skin to limit contact from insects.
■  Stay and sleep in air-conditioned or screened rooms.
■ Use an appropriate insect repellent and use it as directed. 
■ Apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to reduce itching.
■  Check your entire body for ticks after outdoor activity. Be sure to remove ticks properly. 
■ Wear long-sleeve shirts and long pants, especially in the evening and when it rains. 
■  Use a bed net if the area where you are sleeping is exposed to the outdoors.
 

Disease
■ Avoid sharing bodily fluids.
■ Use latex condoms correctly if you choose to engage in sexual intercourse.
■ Do not share needles or any devices that can break the skin (tattoo, piercings or acupuncture).
■ If you receive medical or dental care, make sure the equipment is disinfected and properly sterilized.
■ Do not get tattooed or pierced during your time abroad (as outlined in our Rules & Safety Agreement).
■ Do not inject or consume drugs of any kind (see the drugs & alcohol section of our Rules & Safety Agreement). 
 

Food & Drink
■  Only eat food that is cooked and served hot. 
■ Do not eat "bushmeat" (bats, monkeys or other wild game).
■ Do not eat food that is raw (e.g. fish), or undercooked (e.g. rare meat and  runny eggs).
■ Do not eat unwashed or unpeeled fruits and vegetables (e.g. cucumbers and oranges).
■  Only eat raw fruits and vegetables that you have washed in clean water or peeled yourself.
■ Consider taking prescription or over-the-counter drugs with you in case you get sick
(e.g. Pepto-bismol and traveler's diarrhea medicine).
■ Only use ice made with bottled or disinfected water. 
■  Only consume pasteurized dairy products.
■  Do not eat food served at room temperature.

Transportation

SSSA arranges private transportation with trusted drivers for our group transportation needs, including weekend excursions and airport pickups. When not traveling as a group with the program, participants will rely on other forms of public transportation. In Ghana, as well as many parts of the world, cars, buses, large trucks, rickshaws, bikes, people on foot, and even animals share the same lanes of traffic. To ensure a smooth trip and safe arrival, participants are to abide by the following recommendations when commuting:
 

■  Familiarize yourself with your surroundings and avoid going out at night by yourself.
■ If possible, travel with companions at all times.
■ Travel during daylight hours, especially when in rural areas.
■ Select the safest form of transportation possible.
■ Choose official taxis and methods of public transportation (such as buses and trains).
■ Follow other pedestrian traffic patterns.
■ Remember pedestrians do not always have the right of way in other countries.
■ Avoid late night road travel in places with poor street lighting and/or mountainous terrain.
■ Be aware of seasonal conditions or local holidays that might effect travel.
■ As a pedestrian, make sure you are aware of the traffic patterns in your host country.
■ Always be alert at intersections.
■ Wear reflective clothing if jogging or walking at night.
■ Do not hitchhike in any way for any reason. If stranded call an SSSA/CHF staff member. 
■ As a passenger, make sure to never ride with a driver that appears intoxicated. 
■ Always ride in the back seat of a taxi.
■ Always wear a seatbelt when one is available to you.
■ Discuss and agree on payment with the driver before being taken anywhere.
■ Use sidewalks and marked crosswalks when possible. 
■ Pay attention to the traffic around you, especially in crowded areas.
■ Avoid overcrowded, overloaded, top-heavy buses and minivans.
■ When choosing a taxi, choose newer and larger vehicles when available 

Extra Precautions

■  Avoid demonstrations or other potentially volatile situations.
■ Stay especially alert in crowded environments.
■  Always let your classmates know where you are going and travel together.
■ Carry a copy of your passport (including your visa page) with you at all times.
■ Make sure that the resident director who is responsible for your welfare knows your whereabouts.
■ Keep ATM debit or credit cards & insurance cards (front and back) in a safe place in your residence.
■ Keep extra copies of any medical documentation or prescriptions.
■ Save SSSA staff & emergency contact numbers in your local cell phone.
■ Make sure that your phone is always on and fully charged.
■ Remain in regular contact with SSSA staff and students. 
■ Do not wear expensive clothing or flashy jewelry.
■ Try to keep as low of a profile as possible.
■ Try not to make yourself conspicuous by dress or loud or vulgar speech.
■ Dress modestly and casually as much as possible.

Assault

We have written these safety guidelines to inform participants as to how they can best avoid unfortunate and potentially dangerous situations. We hope that by following these guidelines participants will have a safe, healthy and enriching travel experience. Though, we do understand that there are some incidents that are beyond our control. In the unfortunate case of assault, participants are strongly advised to contact the police and their program administrator immediately. Please see below for local emergency contacts and visit our contacts page for more information. 

In case of emergency

Fire Department - dial 192
Ambulance Services - dial 193
Police Assistance - dial 191

Visit our Contact page for more emergency contact numbers

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