In order to properly prepare for your study abroad experience, we recommend that you do the following:
+ Before your departure, make sure that you are in good health, get any immunizations that are required and learn as much as you can about the health and safety conditions in your host country. A general physical and dental exam is recommended before leaving the United States, particularly for those with prior known conditions.
+ Be clear and honest about your health needs when applying for a study abroad program and when making your housing arrangements, as travel and stress can exacerbate existing conditions. This includes issues such as medical needs, allergies, psychological treatments, dietary requirements (including vegetarianism) and disabilities. If you have any kind of mental health problems or eating disorders (or if you have had in the past), think carefully about your decision to study abroad, and please discuss these issues with your physician and with your mental health practitioner.
If you have an ongoing medical problem, such as allergies or diabetes, or are taking medications, you must take special precautions in preparing for and managing your condition overseas. Be sure to inform your program directors of any medical condition you have or any medications you are taking and avoid not taking your medication while abroad as this might only worsen existing conditions.
Access to certain medications can be limited while abroad, especially in locations outside of Western Europe, so you should talk to your doctor about how to take care of all prescriptions before you leave.
+ Make sure all drugs are in the original pharmacy containers and are clearly labeled.
+ It is advisable to carry copies of your prescriptions as well as a letter from your doctor or pharmacist describing your medicines, their dosage and a generic name for them as well as the condition being treated. This letter could help avoid problems with Customs, and it could be helpful in cases of emergency.
+ Bring a copy of your vision prescription along with an extra pair of glasses/contact lenses, and a complete medical record.
+ During travel to your program site, put any prescription medication, eyeglasses and contact lenses in your carry-on bag. Don’t take the risk of these items being misrouted or lost with your checked luggage.
Check with health care providers to ensure that your immunizations are up-to-date. Certain additional vaccinations may be necessary before you travel to various countries. Please check with the consulates and your doctor concerning vaccinations or medications you may need throughout your time overseas.
World and Regional Health Conditions
For medical-related information about traveling abroad please check the following websites:
US Department of State
Travel Warnings and Consular Information Sheets list travel warnings for Americans and informs the public of conditions abroad that may affect their safety and security.
Tips for Students provides information on medical insurance and what consular officers can and cannot do to help U.S. citizens while abroad.
Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
Traveler’s Health includes vaccination recommendations and information on the latest outbreaks of diseases around the world, and provides health information on specific destinations.
Health Services Abroad
Study abroad programs can provide valuable information about the health-care system in the region to which you’re going. All study abroad programs have access to local doctors or other healthcare providers in the event of sickness or a medical emergency. Ask your program providers about illness-related resources, procedures and policies during your on-site orientation.
You are REQUIRED to have health insurance while studying abroad and to submit to ISAP a copy of your Insurance Card as well as an Immunization Record.
Please review your current health insurance plan as well as insurance provided by your study abroad program to make sure that it will provide adequate coverage while you are out of the U.S. A comprehensive protection plan is strongly recommended. It should provide benefits in the event of any accidents or illnesses that may occur, medical evacuation and repatriation of remains. The following important questions will help you assess your coverage and determine if you need a supplement:
• Does your current insurance provide coverage outside of the United States?
• If it does cover you abroad, how will you be reimbursed for expenses?
• Does your insurance cover non-emergencies, e.g., prescriptions and doctor visits?
• What does your current policy exclude from coverage (injuries received while driving an automobile, sporting injuries, etc.)?
• What is the maximum amount of coverage your insurance provides?
• Is emergency medical transportation/evacuation covered?
• Is repatriation of remains covered and if so, what is the maximum amount payable?
Most study abroad providers include insurance in program fees or offer health and medical insurance plans for those who might need them. Make sure to check what coverage your program provides in addition to what supplementary coverage you might need before securing additional coverage.
Please note that the ISIC card also provides supplemental health insurance coverage which, in the event of serious injury or death, covers emergency evacuation and the repatriation of remains as well as toll-free help line for assistance with medical, legal, or financial emergencies. In addition, you can use the card in the United States for special student discounts.
Do you need additional international health insurance coverage? Try these sites:
CISI: 1-800-303-8120 OR www.culturalinsurance.com
ISI: 1-888-247-1387 OR www.internationalstudentinsurance.com
STA: 1-800-781-4040 OR www.statravel.com
ISIC: 1-800-223-7986 OR www.isic.org