With Star Service & Study Abroad, participants' safety is our primary concern. 
Thus, it is crucial that participants review and abide by our safety guidelines.


SOCIALIZING

We advise participants to use the same common sense that they would use in any social situation whether in the U.S. or abroad. Our recommendations for socializing while abroad are as follows:

  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 (use protection in such instances). 
  Ghanaian people are very friendly and will likely talk to you and be curious about where you are from,
what you are doing etc. As with all places in the world, all people do not have honest intentions and we
advise students to use discretion when engaging with strangers and avoid uncomfortable situations.
With that said, don't be afraid to immerse yourself in the culture and socialize with friendly locals when it
feels right. Be polite, say hello, practice your Twi and engage. Make the most of your time abroad! 


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 we will stay in similar housing arrangements in Accra and Cape Coast. Participants are to abide by our safety recommendations as to not put themselves, their classmates or SSSA staff at risk (we will all be staying on the same premises for the duration of the program). Our recommendations for socializing while abroad are as follows:

 Do not invite anyone outside of the program to the hostel. No guests!
  Do not disclose information about where you (we) 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
(whether on a cell phone, laptop or written on paper) 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 participate in. Extreme sports of any kind are prohibited as well as solo swimming and operating any form of motorized vehicle. We understand that traffic accidents and drowning are the leading causes of death for American students abroad and have created these strict guidelines to ensure our participants safety. Please review our Rules & Safety Agreement for more details. Our recommendations on preventing accidents 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.
  Always stop and think about potential risks before agreeing to any activity or excursion.


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, participantsare 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.


Getting Around

SSSA arranges private transportation with trusted drivers for our group transportation needs, including weekend excursions and airport pickups. As stated in the Accidents section, participants are prohibited from operating a motor vehicle, so when not traveling as a group with the program, participants will often have to 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, increasing the risk for crashes. When traveling independently (whether running errands and/or traveling to and from their internship sites), participants should abide by the following recommendations: 

  Familiarize yourself with your surroundings and refrain from 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.
Choose newer vehicles when you can as they may have more safety features (e.g. airbags). 
Choose larger vehicles as they may provide more protection in the case of a collision.


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 sexual or other forms of physical 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 Contacts page for more emergency contact numbers