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Study Abroad


Before You Study Abroad

Before you leave to study abroad, make sure you do these things:

Inform your program provider of any medical needs

Understand and communicate any health requirements you have when applying for a program and making housing arrangements. This includes pulmonary diseases, respiratory illnesses, allergies, psychological therapy, dietary requirements, disabilities and any other medical or special educational needs.

Emotional health

Assess and address your state of mind. If you are concerned about your physical or emotional health, including your use of alcohol or other controlled substances, address your situation honestly before going abroad. The SAU Counseling Center is available if you have any questions or concerns about transitioning to a new environment.

Visit your doctor

Take care of all your routine medical visits (family doctor, gynecologist, dentist, optometrist, etc.) at least four to six weeks prior to departure. Some program providers will require you to obtain medical clearance from your doctor or get a physical, so schedule your appointments accordingly. Be sure your regular vaccinations are updated and all prescriptions are filled. Discuss any additional vaccination medications or information you may need.


Students should have all their regular vaccinations up to date prior to going abroad. For country-specific information regarding additional vaccinations, please visit the Centers for Disease Control.

  • If you take any prescriptions, pack enough medication to last the entire duration of your study abroad program. Be sure to check expiration dates of all your medications.
  • Pack your prescriptions in their original labeled containers and keep a copy of all prescriptions on hand, including prescriptions for contacts/eyeglasses. Prescriptions should include the generic name of the drug because name-brand medications may be difficult to obtain in your host country. Check with your airline or TSA on guidelines on how to pack your medications.
  • Some American medicines, both prescription and non-prescription, are banned or illegal and may not enter or be purchased in certain countries. This also goes for medicines sent by mail. Your pharmacist should be able to advise you on legality issues and give you the names of alternative medicines. You should also check the embassy page for your host country for additional information.
  • Students with on-going medical conditions should consider bringing a copy of their medical records or a letter from their doctor detailing their condition and treatment.
Pack a health kit

Assemble a travel health kit containing basic first aid and medical supplies. Be sure to include an alcohol-based hand gel for hand hygiene. Other items to consider are a thermometer, Band-Aids, sunscreen and sunburn ointment, bug repellent, anti-diarrhea medication, gauze and adhesive tape, antibacterial ointment, pain reliever, over-the-counter cold medication, altitude or motion sickness pills, contraceptives, and feminine hygiene products.

Know when to stay home

Do not travel if you have a fever or other flu-like symptoms.