Your well-being is the most important factor to consider while you are abroad. It is important to evaluate your health needs as you research programs and destinations of interest to you. Investigate the host culture and the climate in the area of the program you are considering keeping in mind any conditions such as asthma and allergies. Even if a health issue is currently under control, symptoms may reappear while studying abroad. Make sure to visit your health care providers and have a conversation before you go.
CDC Country Health Profiles
The CDC provides general traveler health guidance, as well as Destination Specific information on its website. This includes tips on what to pack, information about vaccines and medications, and travel notices about current health issues related to specific countries.
Consult with Medical Practitioners
In order to be medically prepared to participate in your study abroad program, consult with your health care providers. Visit a physician, your counselor, or a travel clinic. Make sure you have the recommended vaccinations and have researched the availability of health services in the host country. If you take any regular medications, consult with your physician and insurance company and check customs policies on prescription medication in your destination to ensure that you have access to an adequate supply for the duration of the program.
Washington University Student Health Services offers care to students who are traveling abroad, including physical exams, advice, and immunizations as needed. Before you travel, schedule a travel medicine appointment to make sure you are prepared for your trip.
GeoBlue Health Insurance
To best meet the medical needs of those who study abroad, Washington University requires that all WUSTL-approved study abroad students have health insurance from GeoBlue, a leading provider of international health insurance. Refer to the GeoBlue Student Member Guide 2021-2022.
Semester | Students studying abroad in academic year or semester programs will be automatically enrolled.
Summer | Students participating in WUSTL-approved summer programs will be required to enroll themselves and provide documentation of enrollment. Students participating in Washington University Faculty-led programs will be automatically enrolled. Students should refer to specific instructions provided through the study abroad application portal.
The GeoBlue Study Abroad Basic Accident and Sickness Insurance Plan is a comprehensive insurance plan providing $250,000 in medical coverage with no deductibles. Please note, however, that GeoBlue coverage is a supplement to the student’s existing health insurance plan. It is not valid within the United States and does not meet the University’s requirements for student health insurance. Students are encouraged to research potential health needs prior to departure through GeoBlue's Student Portal. The portal provides lists of contracted hospitals, doctors, dentists, pharmacies and translations services by location.
The safety and well-being of students studying abroad is of paramount importance. While we cannot guarantee students’ safety and security abroad, Overseas Programs takes all reasonable steps to help students be safe during their program. We monitor international events, are in contact with coordinators and staff in the host countries, and evaluate and respond to each situation or incident on a case-by-case basis. We are able and willing to close or cancel a program, but our experience has been that this is seldom necessary.
It is important to remember that students play the most important part in ensuring their own safety while abroad. Take every precaution necessary to stay safe and happy during your study abroad program. Start by reading the Overseas Program Handbook for tips on staying safe while abroad. Before you leave the United States, you should also make use of the following resources to prepare:
Department of State Country Profiles
Become familiar with and check routinely the U.S. State Department website for students abroad and the Study Abroad Department of State website. The Department of State also provides information on every country in the world in their Country Profiles. For each country, you will find information including the location of the U.S. embassy and any consular offices, visa information, crime and security information, health and medical conditions, drug penalties, and localized hot spots. This is a good place to start learning about where you are going.
Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)
Sign up for the U.S. Department of State Smart Travler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive travel safety advisories and enter information about your upcoming trip abroad. This is a free service provided to U.S. citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country and will enable the Department of State to better assist you in case of an emergency in the United States or host country.
International SOS Emergency Assistance Plan and MyTrips
All WUSTL students are covered at no extra cost by an International SOS Emergency Service Plan which provides international security and travel assistance. Please note this is an assistance program, NOT health insurance, and is meant to be used in tandem with existing health insurance. Students may access ISOS resources by logging into the ISOS Website using WUSTL's membership number 11BSGC000032. Additionally, all university-related travel outside the U.S. is required to be registered in MyTrips. The registry allows us to better assist students in emergencies or times of crisis while abroad.
See the Overseas Programs Study Abroad Handbook for more information on International SOS and safety precautions.