Before you participate on your off-campus study program, it's important to make sure you have a plan for staying health and safe while off-campus.
Students should meet with a doctor to verify general health and update all routine vaccinations. Students should discuss any chronic health concerns, and discuss treatment/health maintenance abroad. Make an appointment for a travel health screening at Appel Health Services as early as possible, especially if you require vaccinations given in a series.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) maintains a comprehensive website with health information for travelers, including information about recommended or required vaccines for different parts of the world (http://www.cdc.gov/travel/). The US State Department also provides detailed information on international medical requirements.
Check with your off-campus study program about any restrictions on specific medications in your host country. You should plan to bring a supply of your regular medications with you for the entire time you will be off-campus. It may be necessary for you to carry proof of prescriptions with you (as required by Customs).
Many off-campus study programs will require you to purchase international health insurance as a part of your program fees. You may also have your own personal health insurance that may be vaild internationally. Please review your insurance policies to understand your coverage while off-campus and how to submit claims.
Mental health concerns and issues related to mental and physical disabilities are also important to address before going off-campus. Be sure to share your plans with your counselor or doctor, and consult the Office of International Programs for help with identifying resources in your country of destination. Mobility International USA/National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange provides information on proactively addressing mental health and disabilities in planning for off-campus study.
Should you have any special needs, contact your off-campus study program to discuss the accommodations you may need on site. The Office of International Programs staff is also happy to support you in researching this aspect of off-campus study programs. After you have applied and been accepted to a program, be sure to complete any health inventory forms, noting special needs.
Be sure to read about the current situation in your country of destination. The U.S. State Department Travel Information pages are a good place to start. Reading local and international news and speaking to students or community members who have traveled to your destination recently can also give you a good idea of the conditions on the ground.
Read a travel guide, speak to a native of the country, or consult a faculty member who has conducted research in the region to find out more about gender roles, religious customs, social norms and family structures. Preparing yourself for these differences will help you to interpret situations when they arise.
Research national and local laws and abide by them. You are subject to the law of your host country while you are there.