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Preparation & Planning

There are many things to consider and accomplish prior to your overseas travel. The following are a few of the most important related to your health, safety and security.

  1. Complete your health form and planning with your doctors as well as the Learning Abroad Center
  2. Visit a travel clinic
  3. Review general and country specific information
  4. Register your trip with the U. S. Embassy

Travel Clinic

Usually a family physician does not have the necessary background to provide travel information, since travel medicine is a unique specialty. A travel specialist is trained to consider your health history, current medications, drug allergies, and travel plans when recommending shots and other medications.

Find a travel clinic and make an appointment as soon as possible so that you can get a scheduled appointment in time to complete any recommended immunization series. Many travel clinics often book far in advance (especially around the holidays), and some immunizations need to be started months in advance of your departure. Thus, you should call to make your appointment at least 3 months before your travel date.

A good place to start in identifying a travel clinic is with your US health insurance. This allows you to fully understand coverage, if any, for the visit. Note: travel clinic treatments are often not covered in US insurance plans.

Minnesota Travel Clinics Specializing in Travel Medicine

The International Society of Travel Medicine (ISTM) provides a listing of its member clinics by state. For more information about ISTM or a listing of clinics and doctors in your area, contact:

You can also get more information from The Centers for Disease Control by calling 404.639.3311.

Resources

Health and Safety Guidelines

Because the health and safety of study abroad participants are the primary concern for all study abroad providers, the following guidelines have been developed to provide useful practical guidance to participants. Although no set of guidelines can guarantee the health and safety needs of each individual involved in a study abroad program, these guidelines address issues that merit attention and thoughtful judgment. (See the full set of guidelines on health and safety).

All Participants Should:

  1. Read and carefully consider all materials issued by the sponsor that relate to health, legal, environmental, political, cultural, and religious conditions in the host country.
  2. Consider their health and other personal circumstances when applying for or accepting a place in a program.
  3. Make available to the sponsor accurate and complete physical and mental health information and any other personal data that are necessary in planning for a safe and healthy study abroad experience.
  4. Assume responsibility for all the elements necessary for their personal preparation for the program and participate fully in orientations.
  5. Obtain and maintain appropriate insurance coverage and abide by any conditions imposed by the carriers.  In addition to international health insurance, the University of Minnesota requires students maintain their US health insurance whenever enrolled, including while learning abroad.  Learn more.
  6. Inform parents/guardians/families, and any others who may need to know about their participation in the study abroad program, provide them with emergency contact information, and keep them informed on an ongoing basis.
  7. Understand and comply with the terms of participation, codes of conduct, and emergency procedures of the program, and obey host-country laws.
  8. Be aware of local conditions and customs that may present health or safety risks when making daily choices and decisions. Promptly express any health or safety concerns to the program staff or other appropriate individuals.
  9. Behave in a manner that is respectful of the rights and well-being of others and encourage others to behave in a similar manner.
  10. Accept responsibility for their own decisions and actions.
  11. Become familiar with the procedures for obtaining emergency health and law enforcement services in the host country.
  12. Follow the program policies for keeping program staff informed of their whereabouts and well-being.

Health Resources

Center for Disease Control

Lonely Planet Travel Guides

Travel Health Online

Safety Resources

Lonely Planet Travel Guides

State Department Travel Warnings 

Safety issues abroad

Things you should know about foreign drug laws

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