Kenya – Jeannie Schumpert Dias (2009)

Jeannie Schumpert Dias is a recent medical school graduate and an officer/physician in the US Army. Jeannie’s $1000 scholarship from Sara’s Wish Foundation supported her work in Kenya during March when she provided medical attention and education primarily to impoverished women.

Here are Jeannie’s travel safety tips:

Never travel at night! The roads in most 3rd world countries are treacherous!

If you are traveling to another country alone, request to be placed with another student through the organization so that you are not traveling alone throughout the area.

Definitely try to learn the language before traveling to an area that doesn’t speak English. I ran into situations where I was in danger and couldn’t speak the language. I felt that the people who I was talking to understood me, but they acted like they didn’t to gain money from the situation.

Have a working phone! It doesn’t matter the cost, it is worth it and could save your life.

Place your valuables and your passport in your pockets at all times. Do not carry these things in your hands or they may be grabbed and stolen.

Speaking from a female’s standpoint, it is wise to always travel in pairs, NEVER alone. Also, do not get too comfortable in situations even when they seem routine. Keep your guard up and maintain an edge, it could save your life.

DO not take ‘NO’ for an answer when working with an organization and being placed with another student. This will change the whole experience. It is too scary and dangerous to travel alone when you are a target in an area. There is absolutely safety in numbers.

ALWAYS take your country’s embassy phone number, address, and emergency phone numbers with you when you travel internationally. You never know when you may need it! If you are in trouble, call your embassy first. If they cannot help you, they can at least guide you where to go for help.