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Health Abroad

You should take the following steps to stay as healthy as possible while you are abroad.

BEFORE DEPARTURE

International health insurance
All students traveling on UW-Stout sponsored study abroad programs are covered by the UW System mandatory health insurance policy through Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI). The cost of this coverage is $35/month and is included in the study abroad program fee. Students who wish to extend their travel time before or after their study abroad program dates, can purchase additional coverage directly through CISI. Read the CISI Policy Brochure for detailed coverage information.

Get a medical examination before departure
Before a travel abroad experience, students should have a general physical done by their primary care provider, especially if you are taking prescription medication or are in regular treatment. The UW-Stout Student Health Center can perform physicals, administer or write prescriptions for vaccines and/or medications that are recommended for traveling abroad. This is especially important for those who have a chronic health condition such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or asthma. In addition, some countries may be exposed to certain health risks. Meeting with a physician 4-6 weeks before departure can ensure that you have vaccinations, medicines, and information on safety. 

It is your responsibility to ensure that your routine immunizations are up-to-date; to ask your healthcare provider if there are recommended and/or required immunizations or medications for the country/countries you will visit; and to review educational resources relevant to your personal health and safety. We encourage you to check with your physician or UW-Stout Health Services to see if there are any recommended travel vaccinations or if you have questions regarding your medication abroad. A great resource for travelers' health is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. 

Disclose and plan for health conditions
It’s important to disclose any health conditions as well as past or current treatment or medications on your Medical and Disability Self Assessment Form on your study abroad application. If you have a health condition, we strongly encourage you to develop a medical management plan with your physician, Health Services or the Counseling Center because changes in air quality, elevation, diet, climate and geography/topography as well as stress factors related to culture and language, can exacerbate symptoms. 

Read about travel stress and shock
Travel stress or “culture shock” is a normal developmental phase of adjustment to a new cultural environment. It occurs when one’s values and typical ways of viewing the world clash with the values and viewpoints of the new culture.

Also, be familiar with the symptoms of cultural adjustment so that you can identify problem signs and can seek help if needed. Sometimes students find that the stress of adjusting to another country can make it more difficult to manage a mental health problem that was well managed in the U.S. Other students may experience an onset of a mental health issue for the first time while abroad. If you find that problems are becoming more severe rather than getting better, ask for help immediately. 


WHILE ABROAD

Know your local health services
Know how to access health services, both for non-emergency routine care and emergencies. If you do need to seek medical treatment while abroad, make sure to request and keep any medical records and receipts for the treatment, as you may need to submit them for reimbursement. 

Do not use drugs and use good judgment if you consume alcohol
Alcohol and drug use carries serious health, cultural and legal risks for all travelers. Drugs are illegal in most countries in the world, with very severe penalties. Alcohol may be legal in your host country, but it is important to consume it safely. In addition to these issues, alcohol and drug use can lead to disciplinary actions with the Dean of Students Office. Please review and be aware of the University of Wisconsin System Administrative Code/Policies:
UWS Chapter 14—Academic Misconduct (GPA standards, plagiarism, etc.).
UWS Chapter 17—Non-academic Misconduct (illegal drug use and alcohol, dangerous conduct or violation of university rules and criminal law). 

Stay healthy - mentally and physically
An important part of maintaining your health while abroad is eating and drinking properly – stay hydrated!  Remember that in addition to the cultural and emotional adjustments you’ll be making, your body will be adjusting to a new climate, new time zone, new food, etc. and eating right, exercising and getting rest will help ease that adjustment.

Engage in healthy relationships
The “rules” of dating vary from culture to culture. It is important that you consider your behavior and inform yourself as best as possible about how dating and relationships generally function in your host culture. In addition, HIV and other STIs are prevalent everywhere in the world. To protect yourself, do not have unprotected sex. We encourage students to be cautious about their sexual activity while abroad.