Living and studying in another country can be one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have. It may also be one of the most challenging experiences as you adjust to the jet lag, culture shock, a new environment, different customs, food, health practices and other ways of life. There are also some risks involved in international travel, just as there are risks involved in living at home where you also might be the victim of an accident, crime, illness or other unpleasant circumstance. It is critical that you understand YOUR OWN ROLE in increasing the odds for a safe and healthy stay abroad. To this end, we ask that you read the following guidelines carefully and that you request clarification of any material you do not understand PRIOR to departing from the U.S.
Health, Safety, and Wellbeing
Students going on the Ithaca College London Center program, an exchange program, or a short-term program, as well as certain affiliated programs will be required to purchase the Ithaca College Study Abroad Insurance Plan. This is very comprehensive insurance and should be sufficient for your time abroad. Those not required to purchase the Ithaca College Study Abroad Insurance Plan should review your medical insurance policy/policies. We suggest you make a list of the insurance coverage you have (i.e., Ithaca College Student Plan and/or private carrier, the International Student I.D. and any coverage provided by your study abroad program). Make sure you fully understand how expenses accrued abroad will be covered. When checking on your insurance a few important points to be sure you understand are:
- Does the insurance cover students engaged in international education while outside their home country?
- What is the maximum sickness and injury benefit?
- Are pre-existing conditions covered?
- What is the maximum coverage for accidental death?
- What is the maximum coverage for accidental dismemberment?
- Does the policy cover Emergency Medical Transportation/Evacuation and if so, what is the maximum payable?
- Does the policy cover Repatriation of remains and if so what is the maximum payable?
- Will the policy pay directly to health care providers abroad (and if so, are there limits), or will you need to file for reimbursement?
All students have different medical needs and health care services vary from one country to another. If you have a medical condition, bring along a health record that includes your health care provider's name, address and telephone number and a summary of your medical history. Bring an adequate supply of any medications and a list of the medications' generic names in case you need to have a prescription filled. It is strongly recommended that you inform the Study Abroad Office or the on-site director of an existing health problem. In an emergency situation it is crucial that this information be available.
Before leaving the U.S. have a complete physical examination with your personal health care provider. Inform your health care provider of your travel plans before the appointment so that he/she can provide you with current health care information and medication recommendations for your destination. Have your teeth cleaned, examined, and if necessary, repaired before your departure. If you wear eyeglasses and/or contact lenses take along an extra pair. If your contact lenses require a specific cleaning and care regimen you should take along enough solution to last the length of your visit.
- Do not leave your bags or belongings unattended at any time.
- Be aware of the laws of the country you are in. You must abide by or be prepared to be prosecuted in accordance with the laws of that country.
- Never keep all your documents and money in one place.
- Do not carry large amounts of cash.
- Register your overseas address and phone number with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate immediately.
- Keep on-site director(s) informed of your whereabouts - especially when traveling.
- Use caution especially when traveling alone. Travel with a friend or a small group when possible.
- Do not participate in any political activities in the countries you visit. Avoid angry groups or demonstrations. If you come across any situation that seems potentially. hazardous, leave the area immediately.
- Remember a general rule: Don't stand out as a group or individual. Try to blend with the surroundings; be invisible. Traveling as an identifiable American group will likely create a greater element of risk than protection.
- Follow the cultural norms regarding dress and clothing wherever you are, to the greatest extent possible. You may become the target of unwanted attention of your attire seems immodest or otherwise inappropriate according to local custom.
Health & Wellness
- The Travel Medicine Clinic at Ithaca College’s Hammond Health Center provides care for students planning any type of international travel. Based on your travel itinerary and health history, they will give you up-to-date, comprehensive information for traveling any where.
- Meaningful Travel Tips and Tales: Health and Chronic Illness (GoAbroad.com, 2016)
- Meaningful Travel Tips and Tales: Mental Health and Self Care (GoAbroad.com, 2016)
Taking Medications Abroad
- Meaningful Travel Tips and Tales: Sexual Violence and Harassment (GoAbroad.com, 2017)
- Staying Safe and Healthy Abroad (Ithaca College, 2019)