Health & Safety Guidelines
HealthIn order to make the most of your time abroad, make sure you stay healthy! Make a doctor's appointment before you leave so you can talk to your doctor about where you'll be traveling to and any specific health concerns. This is a good opportunity to discuss how you might obtain prescription medications while abroad and whether or not you need any vaccinations before you go. Often, a doctor's note is required as part of a student visa application as well. Make sure you look into this before your appointment and bring any forms that may need to be signed. You should decide whether you'll buy prescription medication abroad or bring enough with you to last your entire program. Please note that medicines and vitamins cannot be mailed internationally; they will be held up in customs. Medicines should be stored in a drugstore bottle with a label showing the drug's name, generic name, dosage, and instructions for use.
Emotional Well-BeingEven under ideal conditions, adjusting to life in a different culture can be stressful. On occasion, this stress may trigger or aggravate more serious emotional conditions. Adjusting to another culture is higher risk for a student who is currently being treated for depression/anxiety, an eating disorder, or any other serious medical or mental health condition. In these cases, study abroad should be postponed or planned very carefully in conjunction with our staff and other healthcare professionals.
Typical reactions to cultural transitions may include homesickness, boredom or fatigue, physical complaints, feelings of depression or helplessness, and/or hostility toward the host culture. These reactions are usually short-lived, however, when students are encouraged to test new problem-solving methods that help them feel more comfortable in a new culture.
Above all, trust your instincts. If, after an initial transition period of two or three weeks, you are experiencing unusual or prolonged distress, you should consult with counseling services overseas and contact our office for additional resources.
SafetyPetty larceny is an issue for all travelers. Pickpockets in popular tourist destinations often single out foreigners as easy targets. We recommend body pouches as the safest way to carry passports and currency. While studying abroad (in any city), keeping your residence doors and windows locked at all times is also a necessary safety precaution.
Make copies of all important documents (including the first page of your passport, COVID-19 vaccination card, student visa, credit, debit, and insurance cards) and:
- Leave one set at home with a family member
- Keep one set in a separate location while traveling independently (e.g. in your backpack or luggage)
Health & Safety ResourcesExcellent, comprehensive information on safe travel is available through the State Department's website. The U.S. State Department posts current travel warnings, public announcements, and consular information sheets for any country on this website. We recommend that all students read this information and do personal research on safety in the country where they'll be studying abroad.
U.S. State Department: Travel Tips for Students
Consular Affairs Publications: Your Trip Abroad, A Safe Trip Abroad, Tips for Americans Residing Abroad