- Visit a travel clinic before going abroad. Travel clinics can give you information on health concerns for many international destinations. The UA Travel Clinic is a great resource.
- 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 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.
- 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.
- 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 conservative. 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 SASE 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 (520) 621 – 8273.
SASE’s Commitment to Health & Safety
SASE has implemented a number of policies to keep UA study abroad students as healthy and safe as possible. SASE monitors 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 SASE 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 are automatically covered by HTH Worldwide insurance for the dates of their programs. If you would would like to extend your coverage outside of these programs dates, you will need to contact HTH Worldwide. For students participating in any other UA study abroad program, you may purchase your insurance from HTH Worldwide or any other international travel insurance provider. Please see the insurance tab above for more information.
SASE 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.
UA Faculty-Led Study Abroad Programs
The University of Arizona has partnered with HTH Worldwide Insurance Services to provide a comprehensive insurance plan for all students participating in our UA faculty-led study abroad programs.*
The HTH Worldwide Blanket Student Accident and Sickness Insurance is a mandatory component of nearly all UA faculty-led study abroad programs. Faculty-led program fees will include the cost of this insurance coverage for student participants. Study Abroad will send the names of students and dates of coverage to HTH Worldwide, and HTH will email students about how to obtain their insurance card.
If you would like any additional information about HTH Worldwide insurance enrollment, please feel free to contact Renee Griggs, Associate Director & Coordinator of Student Services at (520) 626-9211 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Health and Safety Advice from HTH Insurance
All Other UA Study Abroad Programs
For students studying abroad on exchange, on a program that does not include insurance, or who would like to purchase additional insurance beyond the actual program dates of a faculty-led program, the regular HTH TravelGap insurance is a good option. This is not the exact insurance coverage as provided for the faculty-led programs, but it is very comprehensive and affordable. Visit the HTH Worldwide website for more information.
If you currently have the UA Student Health Insurance, we suggest that you explore purchasing a travel insurance policy and compare the coverage and pricing. An international travel plan may be less expensive and provide more comprehensive coverage abroad.
It's important to know that there are a number of insurance providers for study abroad students available. Make sure to research the available coverage options and prices to ensure that you have chosen an insurance plan that fits your needs. Here is a list of some of the insurance providers that UA students have used in the past:
*Students on the Cuba program will pay for Cuban insurance when they purchase their airfare through Miami.
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.