Health & Safety

Your health and safety while abroad are incredibly important. Read through the tips below to help ensure you have a successful study abroad experience.

Before Departure

  1. Immunizations: Verify if you need any immunizations to stay healthy in your host country. Some will be recommended, others required. Information can be found on the Center for Disease Control Website
  2. General Health: Schedule a general wellness check at the Wellness Center or with your doctor. Tell them you will be studying abroad and discuss any concerns you may have.
  3. Mental Health If you see a mental health professional schedule an appointment with them. Tell them you will be studying abroad and discuss any concerns you may have. Ask them to assist you in creating a mental health plan for your time off-campus.
  4. Prescriptions: Verify the legality of any prescription(s) or medications(s) in your host destination(s) and request an ample supply from you doctor. If you cannot bring your prescription medication into your host country, let your program provider know as soon as possible. They can help get you an equivalent medication when you arrive.
  5. Health, Safety, and Security Risks: Research your destination. Knowing things like cultural norms, local laws, health and safety risks, and food and water safety will go a long way in keeping you safe and healthy. A good place to start is the U.S. State Department’s Country Information website.
  6. Pre-Existing Conditions: Inform your program provider and the Global Engagement Office of medical conditions, dietary restrictions, allergies, or accommodations that you need. This is a mandatory part of your study abroad applicaiton.
  7. 9-1-1: Not every country uses 9-1-1 as their emergency call number, and some countries have a different number for fire and for the police. Make sure you know the emergency numbers for your host country(ies).


Most program providers will enroll you in an insurance plan that will cover routine medical services in your host country as well as medical or security evacuation and repatriation of remains benefits. We recommend that you stay enrolled in your primary insurance that you use in the U.S. or your home country while you are studying abroad.

If your program does not offer insurance, please contact GEO staff, and we will enroll you in our health and evacuation insurance plan through GeoBlue. Take a look at the GeoBlue Student Member Guide to learn more. (Note: All participants on TREK or Wooster Exchange Programs will be enrolled in GeoBlue.)

Please note: Some students view their study abroad experience as an opportunity to engage in higher risk activities such as bungy jumping or ziplining. Often these activities are not covered by insurance. Scuba diving is another activity that may not be covered. Before you engage in these sorts of activities, read your insurance brochure to see if it will be covered.

Smart Traveler Enrollment Program

The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Enrolling is free, quick, and easy, and it can keep you up to date in what’s going on in your host country.

Enroll in STEP before you go!

Situational Awareness

Personal safety should always be a top concern, no matter where you are in the world.

Here are some Dos to stay safe:

  • Maintain an awareness of your surroundings
  • Avoid high risk activities.
  • Travel and walk in groups.
  • Heed posted signs and precautions.
  • Ask the locals if there are parts of town or establishments that you should avoid.
  • Keep your money, credit cards, and important documents hidden.
  • Beware of pickpockets.

And Don’ts:

  • Don’t draw unwanted attention to yourself.
  • Don’t carry large amounts of money.
  • Don’t wear conspicuous clothing or expensive jewelry.

Motor vehicle and pedestrian accidents and drowning are among the top causes for injury or death for travelers.