There are many things to consider and accomplish prior to international travel. The following are a few of the most important related to your health, safety and security.
- Complete your health disclosure form
- Consult with your medical professional(s) about any medical needs
- Visit a travel clinic
- Review general and country specific information
- Register your travel with the US Embassy
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.
Clinics Specializing in Travel Medicine:
The university values student health and safety abroad. Review additional tips and resources at health abroad.
Because the health and safety of study abroad participants is 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.
All Participants Should:
- 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.
- Consider their health and other personal circumstances when applying for or accepting a place in a program.
- 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.
- Assume responsibility for all the elements necessary for their personal preparation for the program and participate fully in orientations.
- 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.
- 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.
- Understand and comply with the terms of participation, codes of conduct, and emergency procedures of the program, and obey host-country laws.
- 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.
- Behave in a manner that is respectful of the rights and well-being of others and encourage others to behave in a similar manner.
- Accept responsibility for their own decisions and actions.
- Become familiar with the procedures for obtaining emergency health and law enforcement services in the host country.
- Follow the program policies for keeping program staff informed of their whereabouts and well-being.
Boynton Health Services: UofM medical office providing primary care, mental health, and other health services
Boynton International Travel Clinic: UofM clinic providing travel consultation, immunizations, and more
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Find country-specific health information and recommendations
Health abroad: Info from GPS Alliance
Student Counseling Services: UofM office providing counseling, academic support, groups, and workshops
State Department Travel Advisories: Lists of current travel alerts, warnings, and consular messages
Before You Go: US State Department pre-travel resources