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Health and Safety Abroad Recommendations

Your health and safety are Texas State’s top priority while you participate in an Education Abroad program. Whether you are participating in a Texas State Faculty-led,  International Exchange ,  Affiliated Program, or a non-affiliated Education Abroad program, you will find important information below concerning your health and safety while abroad.

Before You Go

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  • If you are participating in an Education Abroad program  be sure to attend the pre-departure orientation sessions, which will provide you with extensive information about your specific program. If you are participating in an affiliate program or independently, take advantage of all additional orientation opportunities available. The more information you have prior to departure, the greater your chances for a successful and less stressful experience.

  • Some Education Abroad programs and travel can be physically and medically rigorous, so Texas State Education Abroad strongly advises that you have a physical examination to receive assurance from your doctor that you are able to travel abroad. Ask your doctor whether they recommend that you receive any inoculations prior to your trip. Also check the Center for Disease Control Web site to determine what inoculations are recommended or required, and refer to the following section.

    Students can choose to set up a Travel Health appointment  with the Texas State Student Health Center. 

  • Some countries and regions of the world require that visitors, especially visitors who stay for an extended period, receive certain vaccinations prior to arrival, so double-check on the requirements of your destination country. If you are traveling to a location where rabies is possible, or if you plan to spend a lot of time outdoors, consider whether you need to receive a rabies vaccination before your departure.

    If you have allergies or other medical conditions, check with your doctor to ensure your medical or health needs can be addressed during your travels.

    Students can choose to set up a Travel Health appointment  with the Texas State Student Health Center. 

  • If you are taking any prescription or non-prescription medications, be sure you have an adequate supply for the duration of your time away from home. Some insurance providers can secure prescription medications for you while you are abroad, but this service can be costly, and you must have subscribed to a company that provides the service. Sometimes medications easily found in the United States may not be available abroad or in the dosages that your doctor prescribed. All medications, including over-the-counter medications, must be clearly labeled and in the original containers, since they are liable to inspection by immigration officials. Also, be aware that some substances considered legal in the United States may not be considered legal in your destination or countries you visit in transit, so you may want to do further research regarding your specific medications. See the U.S. State Department Web site, view the YouTube video Health and Safety Abroad: Prescription Drugs, and consult with your doctor for more information on bringing your medications abroad.

  • If you are participating in a Texas State Faculty-led Education Abroad Program or in a Texas State International Exchange Program, you have health insurance and travel assistance coverage through International SOS. Become familiar with International SOS services prior to departure, and determine if the medical services are sufficient to meet your needs. If you determine that the services are insufficient, you may need to take out an additional policy so that you have adequate coverage while abroad.

    Please visit our International Health Insurance page for more information. 

    If you are going abroad independently, Texas State Education Abroad strongly advises you to make sure that you have sufficient health and accident insurance for the entire period of your trip. Some insurance providers are listed below.

  • While you are abroad, local law and judicial systems will apply to your actions. These systems can be quite different from our own and may not provide the same rights that we often take for granted in the United States. There is little that the University or U.S. State Department can do on your behalf if difficulties arise; moreover, the costs can be high, and the process can be complicated if you are arrested.

    Be aware that the University’s Code of Student Conduct is expressly enforced during Texas State Education Abroad Programs. Though discipline problems have been at a minimum in the past, students occasionally have been dismissed from programs because of misconduct. If you are dismissed, you will lose credits, there will be no refund, your discipline records at Texas State may be affected, and your continued stay—should you choose to stay—as well as your return home will be at your own expense. You will not be allowed to remain at the program’s location or to participate in the program in any way.

  • For each Education Abroad student, Texas State Education Abroad encourages a parent, family member, or loved one to have a current passport; a critical situation may occur during your time abroad, in which you may need the support of a loved one at your location abroad.  

  • The following resources will provide you with additional and current information about international health and safety issues:

  • Minimize unexpected difficulties during your program by making some simple preparations:

    • Before departure, learn how to make a phone call from your Education Abroad destination to the United States and within the country. Investigate calling card and cell phone options for your destination. There are several Web sites that provide instructions for calling internationally.
    • Always travel with some emergency cash and credit cards, and secure this currency—for example, in a hidden pocket in your clothing, or in a neck pouch under clothing—to guard against theft. Often in emergency situations, cash payment is required prior to receiving treatment. 
    • Pack an extra change of clothes, your medications, and essentials in carry-on luggage. In the event of lost luggage or travel delays, you will have your essentials. Be sure those items meet Transportation Security Administration (TSA) standards; visit the TSA Web site and read “What to Know Before You Go.”
    • Always carry a list of emergency contacts—including your loved ones, your Academic Program Director (APD) or program representative, your health insurance provider, local police if appropriate for your location, the Texas State University Police Department (UPD), Texas State Education Abroad, the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate, and the U.S. State Department emergency number—with you. Do not rely solely on numbers in your cell phone, since your cell phone may become disabled.
    • Sign up to receive flight status updates from your airline, and confirm your flight information before you depart for the airport. Report any changes in your itinerary to your APD or program representative, to your loved ones, and to any websites where you submitted your itinerary.


  • Wherever you go, Texas State University wants to help ensure your health and safety. If you are planning to participate in a study abroad program, you have access to the International SOS program, which provides medical and security services. This service is a great benefit in the event you need help while traveling.

    Before your departure, take advantage of International SOS' pre-trip planning services. Check on the latest travel and safety alerts, including health risks and other important news. Sign in to receive health alerts, security alerts, and more. Download the Assistance App, which provides health and security updates. Click on the below link to access Texas State’s membership number in order to log in.

    During your trip, if you experience an issue while traveling abroad, call International SOS for assistance. This service can help you find a doctor or hospital, access prescription drugs, and more. In extreme instances, International SOS can even arrange to have you evacuated. Plus, you'll receive assistance with other issues, such as access to money, legal service referrals, and language and communications assistance.

    For more information, visit International SOS and enter your membership number. While in the US, you can reach International SOS at (215) 942-8226. If outside the US, see your International SOS membership card for the appropriate phone number.

    Should you have any questions regarding foreign travel insurance, please contact Education Abroad at (512) 245-1967.

  • It is important to realize that most U.S. insurance coverage is not recognized abroad. Therefore, Texas State Education Abroad strongly recommends that you acquire sufficient health and accident insurance for the entire period of your trip. Ask your study abroad program provider if you will have insurance coverage while participating in the program; if so, request a detailed description of this policy. The following insurance companies provide health insurance to study abroad students (these options are presented as a reference, and it is not the intention of Texas State Education Abroad to recommend any of these companies):

Emergency and Non-Emergency Situations

  • During your Education Abroad program, you may encounter non-emergency situations that are not critical but with which you still require assistance.

    What Are Non-Emergency Situations?
    Examples of non-emergency situations are minor illnesses or injuries, difficulties with roommates or housing, or problems with program coursework.

    Assistance with Non-Emergency Situations
    If you are participating in a faculty-led program, your faculty leader, the Academic Program Director (APD), will normally be able to assist you. In other cases, your program may be with a third-party provider that may also have on-site staff to assist you. If you need non-emergency medical assistance, you can contact International SOS or your medical insurance company for help in locating a health care provider in your location.

  • What is an emergency?
    An emergency is an urgent, usually unanticipated situation or occurrence that threatens your health or safety and requires immediate action.

    Examples of emergencies include the following:

    • Severe illness or injury
    • Crime victim
    • Arrest
    • Civil unrest or natural disaster in the host country

    Whom to Contact in an Emergency
    In case of an emergency, your Academic Program Director (APD) or on-site program support staff will normally be able to assist you.

    If you are unable to reach either the APD or the on-site support staff at the moment of your need, for all medical emergencies, you normally should first contact International SOS or your medical insurance provider. Be prepared for an emergency situation by becoming familiar with the emergency services your insurance and travel assistance providers offer for your location.

    For non-medical emergencies or in cases in which you cannot contact program or insurance representatives, you may contact the following:

    • International SOS: +1(215) 354-5000
    • Texas State University Police Department: 512.245.2805
    • Texas State Education Abroad: 512.245.1967
    • The U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country you are visiting

    When making an emergency phone call, always first state the phone number where you can be reached and your location, in case you become disconnected or your call is interrupted.