UVM Study Abroad Pre-Departure Guidebook
Section 1 Before You Go:
Medical and Health Issues
- It is recommended that you check with your current health insurance provider to ensure coverage for any possible medical expenses incurred while traveling abroad.
- Be prepared to pay cash for medical services on-site. Your insurance may not be accepted by providers outside your home country. Contact your insurance company for reimbursement policies.
- While traveling, you should carry your insurance policy identity card as proof of insurance and a claim form.
Assess Your Health:
- Please remember that study abroad is not a magic cure for concerns and problems that you may be having at home.
- Emotional, psychological, and physical problems will follow you wherever you go.
- Travel does not minimize these problems; rather, it often can exacerbate them to the point of crisis if you are not careful.
- Be clear and honest about your health needs when applying for a study abroad program and when making your housing arrangements.
- This includes issues such as medical needs, allergies, psychological treatments, dietary requirements (including vegetarianism), and disabilities.
- Services for people with disabilities vary widely around the world;
- if you have questions or concerns about these issues, please feel free to discuss them with your study abroad advisor.
- If you have any kind of mental health problems or eating disorders (or if you have had in the past),
- think carefully about your decision to study abroad, and
- please discuss these issues with your physician and with your mental health practitioner.
- For additional support, visit the UVM Counseling Center website: http://www.uvm.edu/~chwb/psych/
Visit your health care practitioners:
- Before you go abroad, visit your family physician, dentist, gynecologist, and any other health care practitioners that you regularly see.
- Make sure your health records are up-to-date and that you discuss any medical issues you have that may affect your experience abroad.
- You should take copies of your medical records with you abroad, especially if you have specific medical conditions or if you expect to need medical care abroad.
- If you are taking any prescription drugs PLEASE visit your health care provider prior to leaving to discuss whether your medications are legal in your host country, what quantities you can carry with you in your host country, and how you will transport your medications abroad.
- Ask your health care provider and insurance company for guidance on how to secure a sufficient supply of medication to last through your stay.
- For safety reasons, it is best to carry your medication in their original, clearly labeled containers along with a copy of the original prescription.
- In order to pass through Customs,
- you will need a copy of the prescription (in both name brand and generic form) for medications and medical supplies.
- You will need to carry your medications in their original, clearly labeled containers. Otherwise, it may appear that you are attempting to smuggle illegal drugs into your host country.
- You should check with the foreign embassy of the country you are visiting to make sure any required medications are not considered to be illegal narcotics.
- If you have a history of significant medical problems, wearing a medical alert bracelet while on your trip is a good idea.
- Bring photocopies of necessary prescriptions (eyeglasses, medications, etc.).
- Some countries require specific immunizations in order to enter the country, and there are also immunizations recommended for travel to specific areas of the world. Be sure to check this out well in advance of your departure, as some immunizations require a series of inoculations starting many months before your scheduled travel.
- Check with health care providers or your own records to ensure that your immunizations (e.g., tetanus and polio) are up-to-date.
- Under the International Health Regulations adopted by the World Health Organization, a country may require International Certificates of Vaccination against yellow fever, and a cholera immunization may be required if you are traveling from an infected area.
- An increasing number of countries have established regulations regarding AIDS testing, particularly for long-term visitors. Check with the embassy or consulate of the country you plan to visit to verify if this is a requirement for entry.
- For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization’s website at http://www.who.int/en.
- Health information can be obtained
Birth Control/Sexually Transmitted Diseases:
- If you have unprotected sex, you put yourself at risk for contracting HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, B and a host of other diseases. You also put yourself at risk for an unwanted pregnancy.
- Do not be unprepared for sexual contact while you are abroad.
- Take condoms, dental dams, birth control pills, or other contraceptives with you.
- Don’t assume you can easily find these in your host country.
Don’t underestimate the importance of travelling with some basic medical supplies.
- You may want to include bandages, over-the-counter pain medications, antibiotic ointment, etc. to avoid having to rush off to a pharmacy for something minor.
- A statement about soap-less, anti-bacterial hand wash: Good hand hygiene is essential to good health on the road and helps in avoiding problems from diarrhea to a cold.
- For a list of first aid kit items, visit: www.cdc.gov/travel/ (Click on “Illness and Injury Abroad” and then “Travel Health Kits”)
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