Chapter 2: Health & Safety

Chapter 2


Your personal safety while you are away from home is very important us.  Most study abroad professionals believe that living in most foreign countries is no more dangerous than living in the United States. There are still some risks that are unique to living abroad.

Tips for Living and Traveling Abroad Safely

  • Use Common Sense: Above all else just use your common sense and street smarts.  Use the precautions that are customary in any major city in the world today and travel with a friend.
  • Be informed: Read current newspapers and listen to TV or radio news; know what is going on in the world.  The insight of international students and program alumni from the places you intend to visit is also very helpful.
  • Watch and learn from the locals: See what is normal behavior for people who live in your host country and act accordingly.
  • Pack wisely: Take only as much luggage as you can carry.  People in other countries generally have fewer clothes than most Americans.
  • Copy documents: Before leaving, make two copies of all important documents like your passport, visa, and travel itinerary.

Travel Warnings and Consular Information Sheets:


Health Abroad


Students are advised to determine whether any immunizations are required of their host country early in the process of preparing to study abroad. Typically, it is developing countries that most likely to require proof of immunization. Information on illnesses and immunizations such as malaria, yellow fever, and cholera may be easily obtained by visiting the Center for Disease Control’s website at

Medical Record

In the event of an accident or illness, it is wise to have a brief medical record with you, in order to help a physician give the best possible care.

Prescription and Non-Prescription Drugs

If you currently take any prescription medication and will continue to do so while abroad, contact your physical to receive a sufficient supply for your entire stay. Also, take along a written, signed prescription from your physician including the reason for taking the drug, the generic name, and the instructions and dosage.

If you wear glasses, or contact lenses, consider taking along an extra pair, as well as your prescription.

You will probably be able to locate most American-made non-prescription items in major foreign countries; however, if there is any doubt in your mind or a substitute brand will not do, be sure to take along an adequate supply (i.e. vitamins, contact solution).