All students participating in a Learning Abroad Center program are required to complete the Health Information Form. This information is used to advise learning abroad staff of health issues and assist in making any necessary preparations. If you are participating on an affiliated program, the affiliate will have a similar requirement.
By signing the Release and Waiver you have authorized Learning Abroad Center staff or its agents to release medical information contained in the Learning Abroad Center files to health care providers and to secure medical treatment on your behalf in the event of emergency medical illness or injury. You have also agreed to accept financial responsibility for the treatment.
Learning abroad can be both fulfilling and challenging for all students and can present some additional challenges for students with mental health conditions. Even if you have no history of a mental health condition, it is possible that the impact of cultural adjustment or being in a foreign environment can influence your well-being.
The Health Information Form requires you to disclose any past and current mental health issues, family history of mental health, indications of mental health concerns, and current prescription medicines. It is imperative for Learning Abroad Center staff to have this information before you study abroad in order to best support you and provide reasonable accommodations.
Past or current treatment for psychiatric and mental health conditions does not preclude you from studying abroad. However, if a healthcare professional recommends no travel or travel under certain conditions that cannot be met at a certain study location, you may be encouraged to focus on your health first and postpone program participation until a later time.
The following steps for managing mental health are important, regardless of where you will be traveling:
Discuss a realistic communication plan for your time abroad with your support networks (i.e. family and friends).
Understand that ups and downs are normal during study abroad. Check in with yourself often and seek support if you are feeling ups and downs that are more intense than to be expected.
Connect with a LAC staff member prior to departure to set up onsite care with a mental health care professional, should you require this support.
Plan to bring sufficient amounts of prescriptions with you for the entire duration of your program. Work with LAC staff to be sure you can safely bring all necessary prescriptions abroad.
Health abroad: Info from GPS Alliance
Maintaining Strong Mental & Emotional Health: Info on the intersection of mental health and traveling abroad from the Center for Global Education
Mobility International: Testimonials by study abroad students with mental health concerns
Before you depart for studying abroad, understand the health conditions in your host country and obtain information about appropriate precautionary measures. The following steps are important, regardless of where you will be traveling:
Program Health & Safety information is available at global.umn.edu/gosafe