Health and Safety
PHYSICAL EXAMS AND VACCINATIONS
UW-Platteville Education Abroad policy does require students who have been accepted into an education abroad program to have a physical exam before going abroad, and it also may be required for certain countries and/or visas. Students can make an appointment with their primary physician or on-campus physician to complete the necessary steps and should discuss any concerns prior to departure including physical and mental health.
Students should also consult with their physician about any vaccinations that are necessary before leaving for the countries in which the student will be studying or visiting. It is ultimately the student's responsibility to have all the necessary shots prior to departure.
Students who take prescription medicine regularly, or expect to take any while abroad, need to bring a sufficient supply upon departure or consult their physician about the availability of their 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. Students are also advised to carry a letter from their physician stating why the prescription medication is needed, and students should pack a copy of all current prescriptions, including eyeglasses. 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 students healthy:
-Avoid uncooked food purchased from street vendors
-Be careful with dairy products that are not refrigerated or pasteurized.
-Do not drink water unless students are sure that it is safe to drink; bottled water is recommended.
-Avoid ice cubes in soft drinks unless students know that the water is safe to drink.
Once students are more comfortable with the country's culture and food, they may decide to be more liberal in their 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 (CISI)
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 students with all the coverage and security needed while traveling abroad, including the following:
24-hour emergency crisis support with multilingual representatives
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 in mandatory and students are advised to remain on the insurance plan they 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. Learn more about CISI here
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 takes necessary precautions to remain 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. Visit their website
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 allow travelers to enter information about upcoming education abroad so that the Department of State can better assist in an emergency. Travelers can register here
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 here
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. Students can visit the CDC website
for important health and safety information.
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, students should stay in regular contact with their on-site staff and monitor the U.S. State Department website themselves.
Most large cities as well as remote areas, both in the U.S. and abroad, suffer from common crimes. Students should use the same precautions abroad that they 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 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.
- Participants may want to consider having insurance to cover damage or theft of personal property, which they take with them abroad. 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 the student's own renter's insurance policy is enough to provide limited coverage. In other cases, a special policy must be purchased.
SAFETY AND WELFARE OF PARTICIPANTS
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.
-cannot monitor or control all of the daily personal decisions, choices, and activities of individual participants.
-cannot assure that U.S. standards of due process apply in overseas legal proceedings or provide or pay for legal representation for participants.
-cannot 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.
-cannot 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 can be found here
We are committed to supporting study abroad for all students including students managing various mental health concerns. Just as cultures differ, so does the degree of access to counseling and mental health services in the countries and communities a student may consider for their study abroad experience. Certain medications that are legal in the United States may be considered illegal in other countries. 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.
-Talk to your support system that 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 also wish to do this before you select which program you will go on. 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 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. See more details below.
-Review this website
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 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