You should be familiar with all circumstances in your host country that could affect your health. This will require you to have an understanding of medical facilities, required immunizations, pharmaceutical availability, unique altitude or pollution issues and more. Most importantly you should verify that your current health insurance will cover you while you are abroad by calling them directly and asking for proof in writing. If you will not be covered, you will need to buy your own temporary international health insurance.
Country Specific Health Information
- World Health Organization - the United Nations' health summary from each country
- Center for Disease Control - get a recommendation of what vaccines you may need depending on the country, what health/disease risks may be present and how to protect yourself
- State Department - Travelers’ Health - information from the U.S. State Department on vaccines, prescriptions, insurance, and finding medical help abroad
General Traveler Health & Safety
- State Department- Health Information - what to do in case of a medical emergency
- Center for Global Education - Health & Safety - information on basic health and safety for students abroad
- Traveling with Medication - provides some guidelines to follow
- Traveling with Medication - another helpful article
- How To Prepare & Deal With An Emergency Abroad - article from GoAbroad.com
- Emergency Phone Numbers Abroad - resource to find the 911 equivilent in your host country
- Fire Safety Abroad - fire safety standards may vary in other countries - this guide will outline some fire safety tips when traveling abroad
Your Personal Health & Wellness While Abroad
Study Abroad, as with any major life change, (regardless of length of time, location, etc.) has the potential to exacerbate pre-existing medical, mental health or personal issues or contribute to new ones. Local culture, custom and practices may not have/provide the support systems you might be accustomed to here.
When you are selecting an overseas program or preparing for your departure, here are some things you should consider regarding your health and wellness:
- Medications (Over-the-counter vs. Prescription, Refills, etc.): Are my current medications legal in the countries I’m traveling to? Will I be able to bring enough to cover my full stay or get something similar/equivalent in country?
- Allergies (Peanuts, shellfish, bee stings, etc.): Will I be exposed to potential serious allergens? How will I work to reduce my chances of or treat an exposure?
- Meal Restrictions (Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten Free, etc.): Will I be able to identify and obtain alternative meal substitutions? How will I communicate my meal needs in the host culture?
- Mental health (ex. Stress, Depression, Anxiety, etc.): How is my mental health condition viewed in the host culture? What kinds of resources and support will I have available to help me manage?
- Physical health and mobility (Asthma, Diabetes, Walking aids, etc.): What kind of environment will I be living and studying in and what kind of activities will I be participating in that might be affected by my physical health and mobility? What sort of accommodations or support would I need to participate successfully?
- Sexual health (Public Displays of Affection, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, etc.): What are the values and customs regarding romantic relationships in my host culture? What sexual health risks should I be aware of and how do I protect myself?
- Drugs/Alcohol: (Tainted drinks, synthetic drugs, drinking age, etc.) What are the values and customs regarding drugs and alcohol in my host culture? What health and legal risks should I be aware of?
- Learning disabilities (Dyslexia, ADHD, tutoring, etc.): How are my learning disabilities perceived in the host culture? What sort of accommodations or support would I need to participate successfully?
- Environment of Program (Climate, Altitude, etc.): How will the weather and terrain of my host country affect my health and wellness?
- Interpersonal relationships (Roommate issues, significant other back home, homesickness, etc.): Will you be studying, living and traveling with the same small group or will you be completely alone on your program? How might you cope with these situations and what communication resources will you need to be successful?
Below is a list of RIT health and wellness related resources available on campus to assist you before, during and after your experience abroad. It is your responsibility to reach out to these organizations and take advantage of the support services they provide.
- Academic Support Center
- NTID Counseling and Academic Advising Services
- Office for Diversity and Inclusion
- Multicultural Center for Academic Success
- Counseling and Psychological Services
- Student Health Center
- Center for Women and Gender
- Center for Religious Life
- Q Center
- Disability Services Office
- Access Services Office
- Center of Global Education – Adjustments and Culture Shock
- How to Deal with Culture Shock - traveler's tips for surviving culture shock
Tourist & Traveler Risks
- Center of Global Education - Strategies to Reduce Risk - avoid being a crime target when you're abroad
- How to Spot Tourist Scams - keep an eye out for these scams when traveling abroad
Medical Care & Insurance
The resources below provide information on purchasing international health insurance if international coverage is not provided by your current health insurance provider.
- U.S. State Department - Overseas Insurance - explains the different types of insurance, what they cover and lists providers
- Center of Global Education - Medical Care and Insurance - how to get medical insurance in the country you are traveling to
- RIT Student Accident & Sickness Insurance Program - RIT student insurance with international coverage
- STA Travel ISIC Explorer Card - purchase of card includes international medical insurance
- Cultural Insurance Services International - international medical insurance
You may want to consider purchasing additional insurance such as travel insurance or personal property insurance.