Understand—and communicate—any health requirements you have before finalizing your abroad program plans and/or housing arrangements. This means allergies, dietary requirements, disabilities, and any other medical or educational assistance. If you have been using services here at home to address those needs, make sure you understand exactly what assistance can or will be available.
In some cases, your needs may determine which program is suitable for you. Make an appointment with a study abroad advisor if you have any questions regarding medical or educational assistance.
Educate yourself about health care in 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 country’s laws concerning importing medications and prescription drugs? To find the answer to these questions, you can check out the below links:
U.S. Department of State Country Information
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
If you take medications or will be undergoing treatment while abroad, we strongly encourage you to discuss with your physician:
- The quality of medical care in your host country.
- If travel affects your treatment plan.
- Will language be a barrier if you need treatment?
- Access to required medications in your host country.
- The effect of required program activities on your treatment plan.
- Potential physical and emotional stress as a result of being in a foreign environment.
- An emergency plan in case of a medical issue.
To ensure you make appropriate preparation regarding your medication prior to departure, we recommend these steps:
- Confirm that your medication is allowed in your host country and find out how much you can bring with you. Some countries do not allow certain medications, and some may allow the medications but restrict the amount you can bring. Contact your destination's embassy or consulate to find out more information.
- Talk with your physician about your travel and your medication. These are times you should discuss:
- Do you need an extra supply of medication for the whole duration of your program, or can you get the medication while abroad?
- What is the generic version of your prescription in case the brand is not available in your destination? Are there other alternate or substitute prescriptions that you can take in case your medication is not available overseas?
- Get a copy of your prescription(s) and a letter from your doctor regarding your medication needs to take abroad with you. You may need to present this when going through customs before entering your host country.
- Contact your insurance provider to inform them that you are going abroad and to ask what resources are available in your program destination. You can ask for a "vacation override" to buy your prescriptions in bulk at your normal monthly rate if you need more supply to take abroad.
- Fill your prescription early to ensure you have it prior to departure. Once you have started your study abroad, always carry your medication in its orignial officially labeled container from the pharmacy.
Be sure to plan ahead so that you have everything you need before you go. We recommend talking with your doctor at least two to three months before you depart.
If you need to make a request for reasonable accommodation on your study abroad program, please contact USU’s Disability Resource Center (DRC). Please copy your study abroad advisor on your request to the DRC.
There are also mental health considerations when studying abroad due to the potential physical and emotional stress as a result of being in a foreign environment. Please let us know if you anticipate any issues with regard to mental health while you are studying abroad. If you feel that you would like to consult with a professional before going abroad, please contact USU’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).