Health & Safety Abroad (for STUDENTS)
- If you're a UA student, as part of the Study Abroad application you will be required to visit the UA Campus Health Services Travel Clinic Visit before going abroad. The CHS travel nurse will give you information on health concerns for many international destinations as well as recommendations for vaccinations. The UA Travel Clinic is a great resource for all of your general travel health questions. If you are not in Tucson, please visit your local travel clinic before going abroad.
- Learn about your new environment. Is tap water potable? What are common illnesses? Country-specific guidebooks such as Lonely Planet or Let’s Go are a great way to prepare for the unique context of your destination. International health information is also available through the Centers for Disease Control.
- Frequently wash your hands with soap and water or carry hand sanitizer if soap is not available.
- Research local clinics and hospitals. Know where you will go in case of an emergency before you leave the U.S. You may need to find an English-speaking doctor if you do not speak the local language well.
- Bring all presecription medications in their original bottles and know the generic names in case you need to request refills while abroad. See the Overseas Security Advisory Council advice for traveling with medications.
- Learn about your new environment. What kind of crime is most common? What other safety hazards do you need to be aware of? Again, country-specific guidebooks are great resources. Also, refer to our pre-departure handbook for helpful information about health and safety abroad.
- Blend in while in public. By not calling attention to yourself you are more likely to stay safe. See what the locals do and adapt their behaviors. Clothing and behaviors common in the U.S. may be offensive in some foreign cultures. While physically it may not be possible to blend in, modifying your behaviors shows respect for local customs.
- Before travelling internationally, be aware of Department of State travel warnings and Department of State travel resources. Consider registering your trip with the State Department's Smart Traveler Program (STEP). The Department of State recently released its new iPhone App Smart Traveler, which provides official country information, travel alerts and travel warnings, U.S. embassy locations and more.
- Start conservatively. You will be in a new environment with its own unique traffic rules, social protocols, and crime rates. You should spend your first few weeks abroad observing the behaviors of others. Watch when and how locals cross the street. Ask someone you respect where it is okay to walk late at night and where it is not. Once you gain an understanding for your new home, you can then make educated decisions to keep yourself safe.
Managing Health and Safety Incidents
- Having done your research in advance, you should know of local resources available to you.
- Utilize your local support network. All UA Study Abroad programs provide some form of local support. Contact your on-site exchange coordinator, on-site study abroad director, UA faculty member or UA Study Abroad Coordinator and let them know what is happening. We can help to refer you to appropriate resources.
In the case of extreme emergencies, the UA can be reached 24 hours a day by calling the University of Arizona Police Department (UAPD). Although most emergencies are better managed by working with local authorities, UAPD can be contacted in extreme emergencies requiring the UA’s involvement. UAPD can be reached by calling +1 (520) 621 – 8273.
UA Study Abroad’s Commitment to Health & Safety
UA Study Abroad has implemented a number of policies to keep UA study abroad students as healthy and safe as possible. We monitor Department of State travel warnings to ensure that students are traveling to safe locations. If students are already studying abroad when a travel warning is announced, those students may need to leave the country.
UA study abroad students are required to submit proof of medical insurance and a health information form as part of their applications. The health information form requires a health practitioner's signature. It is an opportunity for a medical professional to discuss medical issues relevant to studying abroad. Proof of medical insurance allows UA Study Abroad to know that students will be covered in case of a medical emergency abroad. Proof of medical insurance is sometimes waived if the study abroad program automatically provides medical insurance to participants.
PLEASE NOTE: Students participating in UA Faculty-led programs, direct enroll and exchange programs are automatically enrolled by our office into GeoBlue insurance for the dates of their program. Once enrolled, you will receive an email confirmation with your ID card and plan information to your UA email. It is possible to extend your coverage if you plan to travel outside of your study abroad programs dates, for more information please call (520) 626-9211.
UA Study Abroad has established two emergency response plans for study abroad students. The first, a handbook for UA faculty, guides faculty through responding to health and safety emergencies abroad. The second allows for study abroad students to contact the UA at any time through the University of Arizona Police Department.
Finally, service providers contracted by the state of Arizona can assist UA study abroad students. These services include travel assistance, secondary medical insurance, and evacuation assistance. For example, some medical costs incurred while traveling abroad as part of a UA program may be covered. Repatriation costs while studying abroad may be covered. Emergency cash advances and emergency translation services are additional examples of the variety of services provided. Details can be found at UA Risk Management.
All student's studying abroad must visit Campus Health Services on the UA campus to complete a travel clinic. During this appointment, students and a knowledgeable health professional go over any health concerns, immunizations, and dietary issues that students should be aware of before embarking on their journey. More information on the clinic can be found here.
More information on safety abroad can be found at these links:
Third Party Provider Programs
You will be covered by your third-party provider insurance policy. Please contact your provider for more information.
What steps should I take to protect my health while I'm abroad?
All students participating in a UA study abroad program must complete the Study Abroad Health Information Form, which is provided in the online application once you are accepted to your program.
Below are some steps that will help you protect your health while you're abroad:
Educate yourself about current health issues where you will be going and regarding available medical services. Please search for information on the country/countries you will be traveling to using the following websites.
Register your travels with the State Department Smart Travelers website so that the U.S. government will know your whereabouts abroad in case of an international emergency.
Keep a copy of the Health Information Form to take abroad to give to your Resident Director or homestay provider so that they will have this information in the case of an emergency.
If you are a student with a disability requesting accommodations for your study abroad experience, you will need to register with the sponsoring institution's disability resources. If you are attending a UA-sponsored program, please contact Disability Resources at 520-621-3268, email@example.com.
Do I need special vaccinations for my study abroad program?
Depending on the country, some study abroad programs will require that you get specific vaccinations. Talk to your study abroad coordinator for further information, and consult with Campus Health Service Travel Clinic which will advise you regarding the need for immunizations based on your study abroad destination.
I take special medications. How do I get medicine while I am abroad?
If you require special prescription drugs you must take an adequate supply with you and know how to administer them. You should also carry a copy of the prescriptions, including the generic names for the drugs, and written instructions from your physician in case of emergency. It may also be useful to have a translation of your prescription in the local language. If a medication is unusual or contains narcotics, carry a letter from your doctor attesting to your need to take the drug. If you have any doubt about the legality of carrying a certain drug into a country, consult the embassy or consulate of that country first. Pack medications in your carry-on luggage. It is appropriate to notify your on-site coordinator of any medications you are taking or any special health concerns.
Being properly prepared will make a medical emergency abroad much easier to manage. What is important is understanding your new environment so that you can quickly and effectively manage a medical emergency. The following points will help ensure that you are prepared:
While settling in to your new home abroad, make sure to research contact information for local clinics, hospitals, and emergency services. Keep a card in your wallet filled out with all local and international medical and support service contact information.
Your study abroad program will have on-site staff that you can contact in case of questions. In the case of a medical emergency, it may be helpful to contact your on-site staff for their recommendations.
Severe emergencies should be reported to the UA by calling the UA Study Abroad office at 520-626-9211. After-hours emergencies should be reported to the UA International Emergency Number 001-520-307-9576 and/or UAPD at 001-520-621-8273. While the UA is limited in managing medical emergencies abroad, you should contact the UA in extreme situations.
U.S. embassies abroad can direct U.S. citizens to medical care in a foreign country. U.S. embassies may also provide additional assistance in cases of severe emergencies.
Does The University of Arizona Code of Conduct apply to me while I am away from campus on a UA study abroad program?
Yes. Although you will be abroad, you are still a University of Arizona student, and as such, you must abide by the UA Code of Conduct. There can be very real consequences for not abiding by the UA Code of Conduct. Remember that you are an ambassador and representative of the University of Arizona!
Code of Conduct
Part of the thrill of going abroad is being immersed in a new culture. Every culture has its own cultural norms and social protocols. As you go abroad and your socio-cultural environment changes, your conduct should change as well. Make the effort to adjust to your new environment and adapt many of the behavioral norms of your new home.
Your new home will have its own unique set of laws. Be aware of what is legally acceptable abroad and remember that all UA study abroad students are subject to the laws of their host country. Additionally, all students abroad on UA programs are expected to abide by the UA Code of Conduct and the UA Code of Academic Integrity. Disciplinary action can be taken by the UA Dean of Students Office against students abroad.