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Physical and Mental Health

When studying abroad, it is important to recognize that your health may be affected in unexpected ways. Due to changes in your environmentincluding time zone, climate, food, and water even well-managed conditions can be more challenging abroad. Studying abroad, like any transition, can bring about an onset, return, or increase in symptoms. 

ØWe strongly recommend that you have a medical examination before you embark on your study abroad experience, especially if you receive treatment for a pre-existing condition. Talk with your primary care physician about specific steps to maintain your healthcare plan and to assess if any special accommodations might be needed abroad.


We also encourage you to speak with your study abroad program in advance. Disclosing a physical and/or mental health condition to your program staff will allow them to have a plan to assist you in managing your health.

It is especially useful to let your program know if you:

  • Need specific accommodations abroad (physical or academic)
  • Are currently taking prescription medication
  • Are being treated for a current mental health or physical condition
  • Have severe allergies


Bear in mind that approaches to, and systems of, health care may be different than what you are accustomed to at home.

Bring with you abroad any pertinent health documentation such as immunization records, prescriptions, or eye glass or contact prescriptions.


Prescription Medication

Make yourself aware of customs regulations regarding medicines brought into your host country. Some medications that are routinely prescribed in the U.S. may be much more heavily regulated in other countries.

  • Any medication you bring into your host country should be kept in its original, well-marked container and be accompanied by a physician's note describing your condition and the necessity of the medication.
  • Your physician should also include the generic name of the drug, as specific brand names may not be available elsewhere in the world. In the event that you cannot bring a supply of medication that will last the entire duration of your program, plan in advance how you can obtain the medication in your host country. Bear in mind that medications cannot be sent by mail.

For more information, talk to your physician and your study abroad program.



Your primary care physician can advise you about any immunizations, inoculations, or other medical support that you might need before and while you are abroad. Please be aware that some inoculations need to be spaced out in order to be effective, so early planning is essential. Be sure to schedule appointments as soon as possible once you have chosen your study abroad destination. During this appointment, consider not only your study abroad location, but any other countries where you might travel.

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