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Basic Health & Safety

Basic Health Tips

Consult your doctor and/or counselor for any health concerns you have before traveling. Consider scheduling a regular check-up for:
  • General wellness
  • Vision (Take extra pair of glasses/contacts)
  • Dental
  • Immunizations: Consider all travel plans and what may be needed. Example: Tetanus shot
  • Well-women visit
  • Continue any regular health interventions to the best of your ability
  • Take measures to reduce the risk of STIs (sexually transmitted infections) or unwanted pregnancy. 
Prepare for health considerations related to travel:
  • Jetlag is real and mostly unavoidable. To acclimate quickly, attempt to get on to the local schedule as soon as possible. That said, expect to be tired, have disrupted sleep, and feel a little out of sorts for the first few days.
  • Moderation is the key.  Don't run yourself into the ground by trying to do too much all at once.  Sickness occurs more frequently when you are tired and worn down.
Make yourself familiar with the health conditions of your host country and any other countries you plan to visit. Students should use the same precautions abroad that they would in any new location. 
  • Heed the advice your Program Leader, local host university, provider, or host family may give you about what to eat and where. They are speaking directly from experience!
  • Be informed! When you settle in, find out where health care facilities are located.​ Know where to get treatment or who to ask for more information. Check with your host university, provider, or host family for the name and location of local pharmacies, doctor's offices, or hospitals.
  • Depending on the climate, pack and wear weather-appropriate clothing, footwear, sunscreen, insect repellant, etc. 
  • Learn the local accessibility of hygiene products (ex. Deodorant)​
  • Women may want to pack feminine hygiene products if they are not sure of the type available where they are traveling, though familiar products are available in most foreign countries.

Basic Safety Tips

Make yourself familiar with the laws and safety conditions of your host country and any other countries you plan to visit. Most large cities as well as remote areas, in the U.S. and abroad, suffer from common crimes. Students should use the same precautions abroad that they would in any large metropolitan area. The Travel Safety Information for Students Abroad resources prepared by the U.S. Department of State has information which you might find useful. The website can give you information on local laws, safety and security, and on other topics such as health and transportation.
  • Do not travel alone!
  • Do not leave your belongings unattended at any time.
  • Leave jewelry and other valuable at home and avoid flaunting wallets, purses, cell phones or cameras.
  • Avoid traveling in poorly maintained vehicles. When taking a taxi, sit in the back seat.
  • Inform IPS, friends, family, on-site staff know of any traveling that you plan to do.
  • Have sufficient funds or a credit card on hand to purchase emergency items.
  • Examine your accommodations for safety measures (locks, lighting, access to exits, fire extinguishers), especially with temporary travel housing such as a hostel/AirBnB/ hotel, etc.
  • Note that taking pictures of airports, policemen/military can be illegal in some countries. 
Precautions in Times of Unrest/Conflict:
During times of political or social unrest in your host country or region, or when the U.S. becomes a party to a political conflict anywhere in the world, additional precautions are advisable:
  • Avoid participating or being near demonstrations and other political activities.
  • Keep informed about the current political situations.
  • Remains in close contact with the on-site staff and your Program Coordinator.
  • Keep away from areas known to have large concentrations of residents aligned with interests unfriendly to the U.S. and its allies. On-site staff will generally give advice for this.
  • When in large cities, avoid popular tourist destinations and U.S. consulates or embassies where demonstrations could be taking place.
  • Be as inconspicuous in dress and demeanor as possible. Do not agree to newspaper or other media interview regarding political conflicts, or make reference to your program group or school.