Your student is responsible for obtaining health information about the country where he or she will study. One of the best resources for up-to-date information on general health issues, necessary vaccinations and other health-related matters is the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention's web site.
The Study Abroad Office suggests that students obtain a physical examination from their physician prior to their departure. Students need to be in good physical and mental health in order to participate on any extended internatioanl experience. Students shold also discuss with their physician any perscription medicines they plan to bring with them on their study abroad program, as well as any on-going health concerns.
It is vital that you and your student discuss his or her current health insurance policy and make certain that you have a plan for paying for medical treatment overseas. UMBC and the Study Abroad Office requires that all study abroad participants demonstrate that they have adequate health insurance that will cover them while they are studying abroad. If you determine that this level of coverage is insufficient, you and your student may wish to purchase additional insurance coverage for the time that he or she plans to study abroad.
It is also strongly recommended that you or your student purchase medical evacuation and repatriation insurance prior to his or her departure. In case of serious illness overseas, medical evacuation insurance can cover the cost of flying him or her back to the United States. There are several providers of this insurance geared specifically for study abroad students; have your student ask for more information at the Study Abroad Office.
Safety abroad is of paramount concern to UMBC and specifically the Study Abroad Office. Our role is to monitor conditions at our program sites before and during students’ time abroad and to provide students with safety information they will need to know while abroad, including that provided by the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. In informing students about safety abroad, our practice is to repeat the information early and often. Safety issues are addressed in the program-specific orientation meetings held before students leave campus, reiterated during orientation when students first arrive on site, and discussed in students’ program manuals. Directors and other on-site staff also meet with students periodically and, when conditions warrant, during their time abroad.
Even more important than educating students about safety abroad is emphasizing to them that the biggest risks abroad are the same risks they face in Baltimore—alcohol- and traffic-related accidents and injuries. Laws and customs relating to alcohol consumption and driving can be significantly different abroad and students need to be prudent and cautious. The Study Abroad Office strongly discourages students from renting cars or similar transport, and we would be grateful for your reinforcement of this message. Public transportation, such as trains and buses, is far more reliable in most countries—and even superior to what is found in the U.S. Similarly, although we cannot regulate or prohibit students’ consumption of alcohol, we urge them to observe local customs of alcohol use. In most countries drunkenness, in public or private, is frowned upon. We also emphasize that their judgment is impaired while intoxicated and that they may be ill-equipped to evaluate the risks of dangerous situations.