The University of Wisconsin-Platteville Education Abroad office wants you to be healthy and safe on your education abroad trip.

To avoid having your trip interrupted by health concerns, plan ahead. Here are some health and safety requirements, facts you should know, and support resources.


Physical Exams and Vaccinations

UW-Platteville Education Abroad policy requires you to have a physical exam before going abroad, and it also may be required for entry into certain countries and/or visas. You can make an appointment with your primary physician or an on-campus physician to complete the necessary steps, and you should discuss any concerns prior to departure including physical and mental health.

You should also consult with your physician about any vaccinations that are necessary before leaving for the specific countries you will be visiting. It is ultimately the student's responsibility to have all the necessary shots prior to departure.


If you take prescription medicine regularly, or expect to take any while abroad, you need to bring a sufficient supply, or consult with your physician about the availability of your prescription abroad. Even if the prescription is available abroad, it may be easier to take an adequate supply from the U.S.

Be sure to keep all prescription medications in their original bottles to facilitate clearance through customs. You are also advised to carry a letter from your physician stating why the prescription medication is needed, and you should pack a copy of all current prescriptions, including your eyeglass prescription. In addition, all prescription medicine should be packed in carry-on luggage in case checked baggage is lost or delayed.

Food and Dietary Needs

Though food is safe in many countries, there are some basic tips to help keep you healthy:

  • Avoid uncooked food purchased from street vendors.
  • Be careful with dairy products that are not refrigerated or pasteurized.
  • Do not drink water unless you are sure that it is safe to drink; bottled water is recommended.
  • Avoid ice cubes in soft drinks unless you know that the water is safe to drink.

Once you are more comfortable with the country's culture and food, you may decide to be more liberal in your approach to food. Vegetarians or students on a special diet need to be aware that their dietary needs might not be easily met in some countries.

Cultural Insurance Services International

All students studying abroad through UW-Platteville Education Abroad are enrolled in the mandatory Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) health and medical evacuation insurance. CISI's comprehensive plan provides you with all the coverage and security needed while traveling abroad, including the following:

  • 24-hour emergency crisis support with multilingual representative
  • Medical evacuation and repatriation of remains
  • Payments in foreign currencies
  • Foreign hospital guarantees
  • Consulate letters for help in obtaining visas
  • Coverage for independent travel
  • Benefits payable at 100% of costs without co-payments

This insurance is mandatory, and you are advised to remain on the insurance plan you use in the U.S., as the CISI insurance will not cover any medical assistance that students may need upon any unexpected return to the U.S. for health reasons.

Safety and Security

The UW-Platteville Education Abroad Office is dedicated to maintaining the personal safety and security of each education abroad participant. The staff stays in close contact with the on-site staff abroad and works with them in case of an emergency.

  • U.S. State Department Travel Resources: The U.S. government provides accurate and timely information for travelers on passports, living abroad, emergencies, country specific information, and other helpful tips.

    Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP): STEP is a free service provided by the U.S. government to U.S. citizens who are traveling to or living in another country and allows travelers to enter information about upcoming education abroad so that the Department of State can better assist in an emergency.

    U.S. State Department Travel Warnings: Travel Warnings are issued by the State Department to recommend that Americans avoid travel to a certain country. It is strongly recommended that education abroad participants closely monitor travel warnings.

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): The CDC is a federal agency that works to protect public health and safety and to promote health through partnerships with state health departments and other organizations.

  • The UW-Platteville Education Abroad staff monitors the U.S. State Department's Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) reports and will contact on-site staff any time there is an update. In addition, you should stay in regular contact with your on-site staff and monitor the U.S. State Department website yourself.

    Most large cities as well as remote areas, both in the U.S. and abroad, suffer from common crimes. You should use the same precautions abroad that you would in any large metropolitan area. The following are some general safety precautions:

    • Know where you are going and research before traveling: read guidebooks, look at maps, check with local staff, etc.
    • Leave expensive or expensive-looking jewelry at home.
    • Do not carry valuables, even in a backpack or locked luggage, and do not leave computers, camera, phones, etc. unattended.
    • Do not flaunt wallets, purses, cell phones, or cameras.
    • Put valuables in a safe place such as a locked suitcase, or ask the on-site staff about storing valuables when possible.
    • Avoid unlit places and walking alone. Stick to well-traveled streets and walk in groups at night and be especially cautious when you are new to a city and know little about what parts of town may be less safe.
    • You may want to consider having insurance to cover damage or theft of personal property. Although occurrences are rare, students have encountered personal property loss due to a fire or other incidents in the local residence overseas. Insurance company policies vary widely on the circumstances and amount of coverage for personal property abroad. In some instances, a homeowner's policy or your own renter's insurance policy is enough to provide limited coverage. In other cases, a special policy must be purchased.
  • The UW-Platteville Education Abroad office will provide extensive information for program participants. However, UW-Platteville Education cannot:

    • Guarantee or assure the safety of participants or eliminate all risks from the study abroad environments
    • Monitor or control all of the daily personal decisions, choices, and activities of individual participants
    • Assure that U.S. standards of due process apply in overseas legal proceedings or provide or pay for legal representation for participants.
    • Assume responsibility for the actions of persons not employed or otherwise engaged by the program sponsor for events that are not part of the program or that are beyond the control of the sponsor, or for situations that may arise due to the failure of a participant to disclose pertinent information
    • Assure that home-country cultural values and norms will apply in the host country.

    Additional information about health and safety policies of the University of Wisconsin System are available.

Mental Health

We are committed to supporting study abroad for all students including students managing mental health concerns.

Just as cultures differ, so does the degree of access to counseling and mental health services in places you are considering for your study abroad experience.

Many students have successfully studied abroad with existing mental health conditions, but not every study abroad experience is a good fit for certain types of care.

Planning Ahead

  • Talk to members of the support system you have at home. Plan how you'll be able to get in touch with friends and family while abroad
  • Research cultural practices and mental health in your host country. You may wish to do this before you select your program. It is important to look into how mental health is generally viewed in the host country, and what types of care are available there.
  • Disclose concerns with your study abroad advisor if you feel comfortable doing so. They can tell you more information about opportunities for meeting others (host family, buddy program, other U.S. students, etc.) and also what kind of support or care options are available on your program.
  • Review information about medication and international travel if applicable. Remember some medications that are legal in the U.S. are not legal in other countries, and you may not be able to take them in the country or have them sent to you.
  • Contact your insurance company to get enough of your medication for your entire time abroad. You should not plan on getting prescriptions filled while abroad or having the medication mailed to you.
  • Work with CISI, the UW-System sponsored health insurance, to find names of English-speaking psychiatrists, psychologists, or counselors in your host country.
  • Preparations for Traveling with a Mental Health Condition

Contact Information

Education Abroad

0328 Warner Hall

Walk-in Hours via Zoom

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday
2–3:30 p.m.