Health and Safety Abroad
If you are abroad and experiencing an emergency during office hours (8am-5pm MST), please call the UA Study Abroad front desk at 001-520-626-9211. After hours, please call the UA Police Department at 001-520-621-8273.
- 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.
If you are traveling with students, always fill out an Incident Report form after an emergency or during a minor incident.
Each Program Lead should review the Program Risk Assessment Questionnaire and create an emergency plan with the following information:
Prior to departure, work with UA Study Abroad or U.S. Embassy in country to locate and identify nearest and reputable:
Encourage students who need the following services to talk to their UA Study Abroad coordinator and/or use the Geo Blue Destination Dashboard to locate:
- Mental Health Professionals (English speaking), and
- Specialists for specific disclosed medical conditions, (English speaking).
Develop clear protocol that maps out program staff responsibilities before program begins. Answer questions such as the following:
- If a student is hospitalized and the group must travel who will stay with him or her and who will proceed with the group?
- In the case of a disciplinary issue, who will address the problem with the student and institute consequences?
Many countries do not mandate fire alarms or fire suppression systems. Be sure to verify their availability and plan accordingly. Are fire escapes available and accessible? In many cases arranging for ground floor lodging with several exits is a good safety precaution.
Determine Points of Rendezvous
In the case that technology (cell phones, internet) fail, pre-determine where a group will meet up in case of an emergency (in housing, on excursions, etc.)
Travel with Student Information
Be sure to have hardcopies with you, for each participant:
- Geo Blue insurance information
- Passport information (in UAbroad)
- Health Information Form (if the student has submitted one)
Pre-departure & In-country Briefings
Students must complete an online pre-departure orientation. All programs must hold an in-person pre-departure session, followed by an in-country session. Specific program expectations and policies should be presented both prior to departure and upon arrival. We recommend the following topics:
- Emergency procedures and rendezvous points
- In-country support, should the lead be incapacitated
- General safety with money and valuables
- General and unique safety concerns (e.g. fire safety, political demonstrations, or climatic conditions)
- Unique cultural aspects of the program country or countries
- Social media concerns
- Avoiding and handling sexual harassment (noting social and gender norms)
- STEP registration
- Contact information (enter important numbers into phones)
UA Code of Conduct
Students are still bound by the UA Student Code of Conduct while on UA Study Abroad Programs. Please be sure to review the manual, found at this link- https://public.azregents.edu/Policy%20Manual/5-308-Student%20Code%20of%20Conduct.pdf
Remind students of this during pre-departure and in-country information sessions.
Leads should never provide alcohol or drugs to students, promote the consumption of either or become intoxicated while traveling with students regardless of student presence in the immediate vicinity. If you suspect students are abusing alcohol or drugs, address the behavioral issues immediately according to the UA Student Code of Conduct.
If there are any concerns that a student is missing, follow Incident/Emergency Response Steps distributed at the Health & Safety sessions and begin immediate notification procedures. While local authorities may require a waiting period, you do not need to wait 24 hours to contact UA Study Abroad if you suspect a student is missing.
Medical and Mental Health
Students may have concerns about discrimination and stigmas associated with mental or medical illness. Always encourage open disclosure to provide adequate support and preparation for the student in the program. Please maintain confidentiality within the student group.
Prior to departure, invite students to complete a Health Information form found in UAbroad and distributed at Health & Safety sessions.
Advise students traveling with medications to:
- Memorize their medications and dosages;
- Travel with a written prescription for the generic name;
- Have medications translated into the appropriate language(s);
- Verify that the medication is legal and available in the destination;
- Travel with medications in original prescription bottles, with name; and
- Bring extra medication to allow for delays of up to a week
- Any disclosed medical/mental health conditions, diagnoses, and/or concerns must be addressed in pre-departure planning. Discuss and review any medical and mental health considerations and planning with the UA Study Abroad coordinator assigned to your program.
Hospitalization of a Participant
Students should never be left in a hospital without a UA representative. In program planning and preparation determine who would stay in the hospital with the student and who would manage the student group. Do not plan on using student participants in either role. Consult with UA Study Abroad if there are any concerns.
Transportation & Road Safety
Due diligence is expected in procuring safe transportation for students while on study abroad programs. Always use reliable transportation providers and request seat belts. If seat belts or other safety features are unavailable, consult with the UA Study Abroad coordinator assigned to your program.
Always consider road safety when determining routes of travel. Travel during the day is generally safer than at night. Due to road conditions and safety precautions, you may need to confine travel to daylight hours in some locations. Review routes of travel to identify any roads that may have frequent accidents and hazards.
It is generally best to request accommodations closest to exits and on the ground floor. It is also important to consider risks of natural disasters, fires, and rates of crime in determining safety considerations with lodging. Discuss crime and safety concerns with your coordinator. Once at the lodging, verify that these exit points are accessible and not blocked off. Make sure students know where to exit the building and group rendezvous point.
While planning for accommodations, identify any possible deviations from general safety standards, including (but not limited to) smoke detectors, fire exits, good locks on doors and windows, etc.
Student Free Time
- Program leads and/or TAs are expected to have a general knowledge of student whereabouts and activities at all times during the program. Have students fill out Emergency Contact and Independent Travel form if they will be traveling independently.
- Encourage students to travel or go out in groups or at least pairs. Discourage students from leaving anyone behind, especially if they are consuming alcohol.
- Leads should share with students and UA Study Abroad expectations of any travel restrictions to certain locations due to safety concerns, including activity related to political, weather, or crime patterns.
- In locations of higher risk, it is a best to limit student free time. This can be done by filling the schedule with program-related events outside of formal class time, including evenings and weekends.
The following are best practices for both faculty and students:
- Travel with extra cash, no less than $100
- Keep $100 in fresh bills, in a variety of denominations
- Review safety measures when withdrawing funds from ATMs
- Always notify banks and credit cards of travel to prevent blocks on accounts
- Travel with at least one extra credit card, in case an account becomes blocked or debit cards are not accepted (this is often the case in hospitals)
- Create a “throw wallet” with a little cash and an old credit card to give to or throw at potential attackers
- Separate your assets. Consider placing money, credit cards, passports, etc. in different secure locations.
Study Abroad Leads and TAs acting within reason and without negligence, consulting with UA Study Abroad, and following UA Study Abroad guidance, receive liability coverage.
Communication with Parents
Whenever possible, defer communication with parents directly to student and UA Study Abroad. If you speak with a parent, obtain their contact information to relay to UA Study Abroad. Inform the parent that UA Study Abroad will get in touch with him/her. Immediately contact UA Study Abroad to report and relay contact information.
Termination from the Program
Termination is always a last-resort. The program lead is expected to always contact UA Study Abroad for guidance and support prior to dismissal. If students are displaying problematic or worrisome behavior, UA Study Abroad will work with Leads to seek assistance from CAPS and/or in-country mental health resources.
Whenever possible, provide a verbal and written warning to student prior to dismissal.
Leads are able to immediately send a student home (without prior warning) if he/she poses an immediate danger to him/herself or others and refuses help. If a student displaying worrisome behavior refuses treatment and (s)he poses a danger to him/herself or others and/or it is advised by a mental health professional that the student is not able to continue in the program, the Program Lead should request the student leave the program. If a student refuses to voluntarily leave, the Program Lead may determine to terminate the student’s participation in the program.
Have students directly contact a family member or friend to notify them of termination from a program. If this is not possible, coordinate with UA Study Abroad to determine who should contact family member or friend.
Program Leads are expected to assist students with appropriate arrangements to leave the country. If a student is terminated from a program and refuses to leave the country, they must not attend any programmatic activities or associate with other students remaining on the program. Consult with UA Study Abroad and consider involving local law enforcement if a student refuses to disengage from program activities.
Addressing and Reporting Incidents
An incident is a non-life-threatening occurrence, but that requires the involvement of local authorities or medical professionals, and/or is of a disciplinary nature. Program Leads are expected to report to UA Study Abroad any and all incidents, whether directly witnessed or reported to them by a third party. This should occur as soon as possible (within 24 hours), after an initial assessment of the situation and the situation is stabilized.
You are required to report all incidents online at http://global.arizona.edu/study-abroad/incident-response-form and via email to the Assistant Director for Student Health & Safety and the appropriate regional coordinator. You may also call UA Study Abroad directly at (520) 626-9211. If impossible to directly report within 24 hours, maintain thorough documentation of events and provide the report to UA Study Abroad as soon as possible.
Addressing and Reporting Emergencies
An emergency is a life-threatening or potentially life-threatening event that requires immediate response. Examples of emergencies are: life-threatening injury or illness (generally requiring hospitalization), death, kidnapping, extortion, involvement in a violent crime, arrest or detainment, missing student(s), civil unrest, natural disaster, and/or disease outbreak.
Responses to an emergency must occur swiftly. Your first priority is to quickly assess the situation, gathering as much information as possible and to stabilize the situation. Always remember to address the safety of those directly involved and then the rest of the group. Maintain calm and order by providing the group clear instructions.
As soon as possible contact the UA International Emergency Line (520) 307-9576 or UA Police at (520) 621-UAPD (8273). First, provide at least two ways to reach you, in case the call is dropped. You may also text the International Emergency Line, but never assume a message is received unless there is a direct response to the text.
Title IX and Clery Act Mandates
Under Title IX, discrimination on the basis of sex can include sexual harassment or sexual violence, such as rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, and sexual coercion. All UA employees traveling with students are required to have completed mandatory Title IX training, available on this link, http://equity.arizona.edu/online-training. This includes reports of sexual misconduct harassment, and assault. All UA employees traveling with students are expected to provide support for any UA student victims and participate in any subsequent investigations per Title IX .
The Department of Education requires that all U.S. universities request reports from local police jurisdictions regarding crimes perpetrated on any property rented to or contracted by a university for any purposes involving students for three days or longer. For this purpose, an email confirming reservations constitutes a “contract”. In order to comply with this federal regulation, you must provide to either Study Abroad or the International Risk Analyst prior to departure the addresses as well as dates and times of use for all of these properties using our online Clery form. When making your arrangements, as possible, specify in your reservations the dates and times of UA control.
If you are working with an approved vendor, you are not required to report this information. We recommend that you consult with either UA Study Abroad or International Risk Analyst for further details.
The properties described above include, but are not limited to: hotels, apartments, classrooms, or any other rented public or private spaces.
Health and Insurance
- Geo Blue Student Services
- International Travel Insurance Program - for UA employees
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention
- UA Campus Health Services Travel Clinic
- Passport Health Clinic Tucson
- U.S. Travel Health Clinics\
- Traveling Abroad with Medication
- Hotel Safety Abroad
- Information for Women Travelers
- Traveling with a Disability - Mobility International*
- Photography Abroad
- Safe Trip Planning for LGBTQ Travelers
U.S. Department of State resources
- Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)
- Travel Alerts and Warnings
- Country Specific Information
- U.S. Embassies or Consulates
Traveling Abroad with Medications
- http://www.incb.org/incb/en/publications/Guidelines.html gives a listing of certain regulations from participating countries. You can also determine the availability of a drug in your host country by accessing the GeoBlue Member Hub.
- http://www.miusa.org/resource/tipsheet/medications includes a list of 10 things you should know when traveling with medications.
- Traveling with Medication - A Resource from the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC)
* 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 the UA Disability Resource Center at 520-621-3268, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Diversity and Inclusion
- UA Nondiscrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy
- Diversity Abroad Network - Guide to Study Abroad
- Travel Noire Making international travel more representative for explorers of color
- Information for Women Travelers https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel.html
- Traveling with a Disability - Mobility International http://www.miusa.org/
- Safe Trip Planning for LGBTQ Travelers