Living in a different country 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 frustration. As a result, you may experience unanticipated stress and mood shifts. Be sure to take proper care of yourself with a similar self-care routine around rest, relaxation, and activities that you are used to maintaining at home. This could include reading, exercising, meditating, and journaling. Be sure to also try and keep a regular sleep schedule, to help you best adjust to your new surroundings abroad.

Health Self-Assessment

Before you go abroad, you should take inventory of all items related to your health and wellbeing. If applying to a GEO-sponsored program, you will be prompted to complete the following self-assessment in your GEO Portal after you have been accepted to participate.

  1. Are you currently being treated for a physical health condition, injury or disease?
    If yes, have you made arrangements for continued care while you are on your program? We encourage you to let your physician or healthcare provider know about your plans to travel. If you will need to see a physician while abroad, we encourage you to work with the insurance provider to identify a healthcare provider in your host country before you depart.

    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), carefully consider how this may affect your experience on the program, as not all environments or program conditions may be suitable for all people.

  2. Are you currently being treated for a behavioral and/or mental health condition?
    If yes, have you made arrangements for your continued care while you are on your program? We encourage you to let your mental health provider or counselor know about your plans to travel and work with them to create a self-care plan. Please note all students will have access to the My SSP app where you can access confidential resources 24/7 including counselors, self-assessments, podcasts, fitness videos, and more.
  3. Are you currently taking any medications?
    Have you made arrangements to ensure you have enough medication while on your program? We encourage you to let your physician or healthcare provider know about your plans to travel. It is generally illegal to ship medications overseas from the US, and it can be challenging to fill prescriptions abroad.

    Please note that some prescription medications used in the US are heavily regulated or are not legal in some countries. Your host country's closest consulate can provide more information about your specific prescription medication and anything you should know about bringing it with you. For more information, please see the section on Medications.
  4. Do you have any life-threatening allergies or allergies to medication?
    If yes, please indicate this in your housing form (if applicable) and be sure to inform your program leader or on-site program staff upon arrival. Students who may experience anaphylactic reactions are strongly encouraged to travel with EpiPens and inform local staff of this. Please note EpiPens are not always available in every location.
  5. Do you have a health condition or disability that requires reasonable accommodations?
    If yes, please consult the Accessible Education Center as soon as possible about your accommodation needs and let them know about your plans to travel. Students are responsible for requesting any reasonable accommodations required for any disability in an appropriate timeframe prior to departure and providing any necessary documentation to GEO. Note that some services or accommodations might not be available at all destinations due to varying standards abroad and requirements of accommodation in some countries.
  6. Do you have any dietary preferences or restrictions that may impact your participation?
    If yes, please clearly indicate your preferences or requirements in your housing form (if applicable) and remind your program leader and on-site staff upon arrival. Be aware that some locations may pose challenges to those with restricted diets or food allergies.

If you are not sure if you will require any accommodations or have questions about the above, please be in touch with your health care provider and GEO Coordinator as soon as possible. It is important for GEO staff to know as early as possible about any accommodations that might be necessary to see if they can be arranged and so staff can work with you to best prepare yourself for your time abroad. You are also encouraged to disclose any allergies, dietary restrictions, and any other conditions to your faculty leader or staff when you arrive at your program location.

For more information on how to stay healthy abroad, please visit the Staying Healthy Abroad section.

Meeting with a Health Care Provider

Most students traveling to Europe and Oceania will not be required to meet with a health care provider prior to studying abroad. However, if you have any questions or concerns about your health status, you should meet with your doctor to discuss and determine if this is the best time for you to study abroad. 

Students traveling to most countries outside of Europe and Oceania may be required to complete a Travel Clinic Certificate. If you will be studying in a location that federal authorities have designated as having a potential higher health risk, you will be prompted to complete a Travel Clinic Certificate. This will involve completing the Health Ducks Abroad course on Canvas as visiting the University Health Services (UHS) Travel Clinic the term prior to departure. UHS will review your individual health history and needs as well as provide you with recommendations around immunizations and prevention of illness while traveling.