Health and Safety Abroad
The safety of our program participants is always our primary concern.
- We closely monitor U.S. Department of State messages and other news sites in countries where we operate to stay informed of all potential international crises situations that might affect our students abroad
- We enroll all students traveling abroad on SHU programs in HTH medical and accident insurance
- Register any travel with the U.S. State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program and record the emergency number for the US Embassy. Students can receive travel and security updates about the destination, and it will help the Embassy contact them in an emergency.
- Be proactive about your safety. Be vigilant and take notice of your surroundings (note emergency exits in case the main entrance is blocked), and report any suspicious object, package, person or activity to police immediately. Ask questions about the local area - what are the safe/less safe areas of town?
- Avoid large gatherings of people, such as demonstrations. When you go out in the evening, always go with friends or in groups and let people know where you are.
- Students and parents should develop a family communication plan for regular telephone or e-mail contact, with contingencies for emergency situations, as the media may magnify reports and create unnecessary worry. With this in place, in times of heightened political tension, natural disaster or other difficulty, interested parties will be able to communicate with each other directly about safety and well-being.
- The U.S. government daily monitors the political conditions in every country of the world. Students and parents with concerns about crime and security threats in a given country are urged to take advantage of U.S. State Department Travel Advisories, which are available to the public free of charge. Travel Warnings are issued when the State Department decides, based on all relevant information, to recommend that Americans avoid travel to a certain country.
- Consular Information Sheets are available for every country of the world, and include such information as location of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, unusual immigration practices, health conditions, minor political disturbances, unusual currency and entry regulations, crime and security information and drug penalties. If an unstable situation exists which is not severe enough to warrant a travel warning, this is duly noted.
High Risk Activities
You should be aware of guidelines and repercussions to your status of engaging in dangerous activities (the definition of which is highly subjective). Because of the vagaries of medical and insurance services in a foreign country and general unfamiliarity with the risks you may face there it's a good idea to avoid obviously risky undertakings. What this means depends on where you are. In some countries it may be that a ride in a taxi is just as dangerous as skydiving is in another.
It is up to you to find out what risks are associated with the things you want to do while abroad. As a minimum, medical insurance should be obtained and understood before you depart for your program. You must take responsibility for finding out all you can about these and decide whether you can deal with any dangers they might present to you. No one wants to impede your enjoyment of your time overseas, but accidents and injuries can and do happen. The important thing is to be informed, prepared, and able to say no to activities you feel are too dangerous.
Questions to ask yourself before partaking in potentially high-risk activities:
- Am I covered by my insurance for the activities that I wish to partake in while abroad? Are there any restrictions on my activities in the program's guidelines?
- What kinds of activity might I participate in that may be considered high-risk activities? (e.g. contact sports, bungee jumping, skydiving, driving, moped riding, skiing, etc.)
If possible, you should bring enough medication for your entire trip. If this is not possible, consult your doctor on how to plan ahead. You should keep all medications in their original containers. Also, bring copies of the prescriptions with the generic name and a signed note from the prescribing physician.
You should research your medication before you go abroad to learn if it is available and legal in your host country. Remember the laws of your host country apply. For more information and tips go to the U.S. Department of State website. For information regarding the translations of prescription drugs and their availability overseas, please consult the HTH Worldwide website. If you have further questions about the legality and availability of prescription medication please contact HTH Worldwide well in advance of your departure. Some countries have specific forms that must be completed prior to departure for certain medications.
Remember to also bring a copy of your eye glasses prescription, enough contacts lens and contact solution for the entire trip and a pair of eye glasses. If you only wear eye glasses, bring an extra pair in case of loss or damage.
If you have any allergies or known medical conditions consider wearing a multilingual medical bracelet or necklace.