Study abroad is an exciting experience with memories that will stay with you for the rest of your life.   Before you head off for your adventure, it is important to take the time to assess your physical and mental health.   While study abroad is an exciting cultural experience, traveling to a different culture where you will confront new foods, environment, lifestyle, and people  can be stressful to your system.?  It is therefore important for you to make sure that you are both physically and mentally prepared for your study abroad experience.  This module reviews guidelines to help you prepare for your experience so you are able to enjoy your study abroad program to the fullest.

Personal Health Information/Health Insurance

Utah State University has contracted with private medical insurance provider and International SOS (SOS) to provide medical and/or travel assistance services for the university community traveling abroad on university business or sponsored activities. The private medical company provides standard medical insurance coverage while abroad and SOS provides security and medical evacuation services, and a variety of online health, safety, and security resources. (NOTE: ISEP, AustraLearn and ISA students will be covered under their program insurance, instead of the USU medical insurance provider/SOS plan).

YOU ARE REQUIRED to activate an emergency record at the SOS site www.internationalsos.comUSU group log in page (USU Log in 11BYSG000002)  While abroad, if an emergency arises, the SOS Philadelphia Center (1-800-523-6586 or 1-215-942-8226) is your primary contact, but any of the 24/7 SOS Alarm Centers can assist you immediately during an emergency and will notify USU of your situation.

Membership cards should be carried at all times. Plastic membership cards will be issued by Study Abroad. To printmore copies, go to the SOS-USU group page. For additional information or to extend coverage for personal travelbefore or after study abroad program dates, contact USU Risk Management, Joe Dulin 155 Old Main, call (435) 797-1844. More information about the insurance coverage is also available on the Risk Management web site (  Please be aware that some of SOS's services carry additional charges.  If you request a service which has an additional charge, SOS will inform you in advance and will require a credit card number in order to activate the service.?

Access USU Risk Management site here for program benefits and to access SOS through the USU risk management web page:


Pre-Departure Doctor/Dentist Visit, Immunizations

Please schedule a doctor and dentist visit for an examination prior to departure.  Starting your study abroad experience healthy can help you stay healthy throughout your experience.  Ask your doctor, or contact a health care professional to discuss any immunizations, medications, and health practices recommended or required for your host country. SOS and Center for Disease Control ( have up-to- date information on their websites.?

Confirm that your routine immunizations are up-to-date when you have your physical exam. Hepatitis A and B vaccinations are usually recommended for all travelers going abroad and completion of the series provide lifetime immunity.  If you are traveling anywhere outside Western Europe, you will most likely need additional vaccinations. The Centers for Disease Control, SOS and your local Health Center can help you figure out what immunizations you need.? 

 Identify your needs

Understand—and communicate—any health requirements you have before finalizing your abroad program and or housing arrangements. This means allergies, psychological therapy, dietary requirements, disabilities, and any other medical or educational assistance. Disabled students study abroad successfully all the time, though resources and services for people with special needs vary widely by country and region. If you have been using services here at home to address those needs, make sure you understand ahead of time exactly what assistance can or will be available. In some cases, your needs may determine which program is suitable for you.?

Ask questions, get answers

It is important to educate yourself on health-related things about your host country.  For example, what is the closest modern medical facility with English speaking staff?  Is the tap water safe to drink?  Should I be concerned with food safety?  What are the host countries laws concerning importing medications and prescription drugs?  To find the answer to these questions, you can check out the following links. (Click on the link for International SOS)??