Health & Safety
The health and safety of our participants is of the utmost concern to the BSU Study Abroad Office. Every effort is made to ensure that our students, faculty, and staff traveling abroad have the resources and information they need for a successful study abroad experience. Though absolute safety cannot be guaranteed abroad, just as it cannot be guaranteed in the United States, BSU is committed to taking the necessary steps to maximize student safety at every program site.
We have protocols and guidelines in place to minimize risk for our participants:
- We monitor U.S. Government advisories, both those issued by in-country embassies and consulates and by the U.S. Department of State in Washington, DC
- Our staff is in contact with all students abroad, and students are kept updated on travel warnings or potential threats in their area
- We maintain an emergency telephone number for students abroad. The phone line is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- Students attend mandatory pre-departure orientation sessions where health and safety issues are covered in depth
All study abroad participants are required to have mandatory comprehensive insurance for their time overseas. Most affiliate providers will include international health insurance in their program fee. If you are participating on a BSU Travel Course, BSU Exchange, or an International Student Teaching program, medical insurance will either be included or billed to you directly. The Study Abroad Office uses UnitedHealthcare Global.
If you want or need to purchase your own plan or supplemental coverage, please contact us for more information.
Health, Physical, or Learning Disabilities
If you have any health, physical or learning difficulties which would require special assistance you should contact your health care provider, your study abroad advisor, and, as appropriate, Disability Resources at BSU. You must inform the Study Abroad Office in writing at least 60 days before your program departure date about any health, physical, or learning difficulties for which you may need an accommodation. While we will work with you and other relevant parties (faculty, on-site staff, etc. as necessary) to make appropriate accommodations, we cannot guarantee that a request can be accommodated. If special assistance requests are not received by the Study Abroad Office at least 60 days prior to the program departure date, the request may not be accommodated.
While You Are Abroad
The first thing you should do when you arrive is contact your family and/or friends to let them know you've reached your destination. We have frantic parents calling our office every semester, winter and summer to find out this exact information!
One great benefit of many of our programs is the opportunity to travel to other destinations in your free time. However, if you plan to do any extra traveling, ask your faculty leader/program/on-site director about travel procedures. Your faculty leader/program/on-site director may want to know where you are going, where you are staying and when you are returning.
If you are required to take medications for medial or psychological conditions, please be sure that you have adequate supplies of these items for your program. Brand names and measurements differ abroad and you may have difficulty finding your specific medication. Prescription medication must be labeled with your name, your physician's name and the name of the medication. We encourage students with medical conditions to wear a medical alert bracelet or pendant. Study abroad is also NOT the time to discontinue taking any medications. This should be done with the supervision of a medical professional.
Students participating in all BSU study abroad programs are required to follow the laws of the country in which they are traveling, including laws relating to traffic, trespassing, alcohol, and carrying weapons. Students are also subject to the BSU Student Code of Conduct while on programs. While participating in BSU study abroad programs, students are representing both BSU and the United States, and should conduct themselves well within the applicable laws and policies as well as with respect for cultural expectations for the countries in which they are traveling.
- Don't flaunt wallets, purses, or cameras; wear a money belt concealed under clothing
- Have phone numbers of program contacts handy at all times (both programmed into your phone as well as written down and stored away from your wallet or purse)
- Dress in clothing that is common or typical for the area; avoid looking like a tourist
- Be extra cautious of your surroundings at night
- Have sufficient funds or a credit card on hand for emergencies
- Leave expensive or expensive-looking jewelry at home
- In case your wallet or backpack is lost or stolen, keep a copy of your passport, airplane tickets, health insurance card, driver's license, student ID, etc. in a safe place within your accommodations
- Use alcohol sparingly and be aware that drinking even a small amount could increase your vulnerability to crime. Drink responsibly!
- Tell someone where you are going, especially if traveling alone (but really try to stay with a group)
- Avoid political demonstrations, large crowds and gatherings
- Arrange to have a physical (and dental) check-up before you go abroad.
- If you take prescription medications regularly, bring a supply to last throughout your time abroad, if you can. If you need a letter from our office verifying your enrollment in study abroad and program dates for insurance purposes, please email us to let us know
- Some countries will require immunizations to enter. It is important to determine the requirements of your host country.
- While your stomach is still adjusting to foreign meals, you may wish to include some familiar foods in your diet.
- Find out before you go whether the local tap water is drinkable. (In most Western European countries, it is.) If it isn't, drink bottled water.
- If you drink alcohol, drink wisely and responsibly.
- In some countries, HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is a widespread health problem. Take the same steps to avoid this disease as you would at home.
SAFETI Clearinghouse (Safety Abroad First Educational Travel Information)
U.S. Dept. of State International Travel Information
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention