Know Your Health Status

Living and learning in a different environment places additional demands on your mind and body. The emotional effects of adjusting to a new environment and culture can sometimes lead to confusion, anxiety, and discouragement. As a result, you may experience mood shifts that can be stressful. Be sure to take proper care of yourself with the same rest, relaxation, and activities that typically work for you at home, such as reading or exercising, to help you best adjust to your new surroundings abroad.

When you complete your health evaluation as part of your preparation to study abroad, make sure that you understand your health status, allergies, disabilities, mental health needs, dietary requirements, and medical needs so that appropriate arrangements can be made. If you have a delicate medical condition, you should also inform your study abroad program staff so that they can be prepared in case of an emergency. If you have a medical condition that could be aggravated by traveling to a different environment (such as asthma in a high altitude city or heat sensitivity in a desert climate), consider carefully how you will take care of yourself and discuss it with your doctor.

Schedule medical appointments with your doctor well in advance to ensure that you are in good health before you leave and to complete all necessary immunizations. Request copies of important records and prescriptions for medications to go with you.

If you expect to need medical care while abroad, take a letter from your primary physician at home, providing details of your medical conditions, care, and specific needs. You will need a physician’s prescription for medication and medical supplies to pass through customs. It is also important to keep medications in their original containers.

If you have questions about required or recommended immunizations, vaccinations, or preventative care for your host country, please visit www.cdc.gov/travel/travel.htm.