While an abroad experience can be exciting it also brings new and different challenges. We recommend that students have a physical examination prior to traveling abroad. Students should discuss any health concerns and ensure they are up to date with recommended immunizations. Whether you are participating on a program with an existing health concern or one pops up while on location, you should prioritize your own health by becoming informed of the resources available to better plan and prepare for your time abroad.
Health and wellness should be a priority before going abroad. It is important to also research the city/country you will be studying abroad in to inform yourself of any health concerns and how to mitigate risks. The Global Education Office provides students with health insurance for the duration of their program through AIG Insurance. Insurance information is available to students on their MU Study Abroad Portal once they have been accepted into their program. Before boarding your plane please make sure you've checked off the following items.
- Visit your primary care physician(PCP) and discuss your plans to go abroad. Let them know your location and the duration of the program. If you plan on doing any additional traveling let them know of these plans as well. Travel can exacerbate symptoms of any pre-existing conditions. However, discussing your health and creating a treatment plan can help you in planning to mitigate any complications while abroad. Examples of what you can discuss with your health care professional(s) are:
- Current/previous health issues (i.e. allergies, asthma, depression, diabetes, migraine, etc.)
- Current medications
- Dietary Restrictions
- Plan for your medication for your time abroad. You will want to secure medication for the entire program and some more for safety purposes. Be mindful that some over-the counter medications, herbal supplements, and other forms of medicine that may be legal in the US may be illegal in your destination(s). If you are taking any medication discuss this with your PCP. For each medicine you will take abroad with you keep them in their original packaging, make a copy of the prescription if it is a prescription drug, and have your PCP write a note on letterhead describing the medication and why you need it.
Your health and wellness may be influenced by the success of adaptation to your host city/country. If you're struggling with health issues you may be less involved in your academic work, excursions, and the over all local community.
- Alert Traveler is an app available to all study abroad students 90 days prior to their departure abroad. We highly encourage all students to sign up and register for the app as it alerts students regarding any local emergencies ranging from train systems being down for maintenance to natural disasters in the local area. The app also provides students with the local numbers of emergency services based on their geo-location.
- Jet lag can be a problem for those who are crossing various time zones. While the condition is not serious, it can make it hard for you to enjoy your host location during the first couple of days. However, you can mitigate jet lag by:
- Staying hydrated, sleeping, and stretching periodically on long haul flights (4hours+)
- Staying awake until the local bedtime. No naps longer than 20-30mins.
- If you are feeling unwell contact your host institution, faculty-leader, or the Global Education Office. There will be on the ground staff to help aid you in getting medical services if required.
- Most unfortunate incidents while abroad occur when students were involved with an intoxicating substance such as alcohol or drugs. Impairment in an unfamiliar environment will increase your risk for an incident as you are more likely to make decisions that may put yourself and others in danger. Avoid intoxication of any sort while abroad and remember to follow the student code of conduct while abroad.
After traveling back home you may return with air-travel related illnesses that are typically mild such as an upset stomach, seasonal allergies, or a head cold. Should you feel any sort of illness upon your return it is always best to check-in with your PCP so that you may rule out any serious conditions. Other difficulties students may show upon returning home is adjustment to life back in the US. Just as students can expect a cultural transition when they go abroad they can experience it when they return home. You may have adjusted to a different pace of life, learning style, or living arrangement. Please see the resources linked below for help on transitioning back into the US educational culture from your study abroad program.
- Coming Home from Abroad
- Tips for Dealing with Reverse Culture Shock When You Return Home by Diversity Abroad
- Re-Entry and Reverse Culture Shock by American Councils for International Education
- Stages of Transition & 10 Re-Entry Challenges by IES Abroad
We recommend that students who have mental health concerns consult a therapist/counselor before going abroad and have a plan for staying healthy, including the administration of any medication. Students should be aware that mental health conditions may become exacerbated due to the stress of studying abroad. It would be helpful for students to inform the study abroad program of any special needs or requirements that they have and to find out what services will be available at their host institution. Services available abroad may not match the support services offered on Monmouth University’s home campus. The Monmouth University Counseling and Prevention Services does not conduct ongoing therapy via phone or videoconferencing. If necessary, counselors are available for telephone consultations with students studying abroad to develop a plan of action to secure needed services. In the case of an emergency, students should consult with the appropriate local resources in their host programs and countries.
Students with Disabilities
While Monmouth University makes reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities who are otherwise qualified to participate in its activities and programs, it is important to understand that The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 do not govern accessibility standards in other countries. While the laws in other countries regarding legal requirements and standards for accessibility and the provision of reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities may not mirror those of the United States, Monmouth University through its Department of Disability Services, will attempt to facilitate equivalent access in such programs. However, Monmouth University cannot assure accessibility in international locations or guarantee that accommodations will be available. For assistance with accommodations for a program, please contact the Department of Disability Services prior to the program to discuss the accommodations needed and develop strategies to address them overseas. While Monmouth University will try and assist students in arranging accommodations, students with disabilities must understand that some international experiences may not be available or appropriate for them.