Your Health

Health Information Form

All participants of UMD study abroad programs are required to complete the Study Abroad Health Information form. The information is used to assist program leaders and host university staff in making any necessary preparations and addressing specific health issues.

If there is additional information that should be known regarding your health, contact your program coordinator at the UMD Study Abroad office. Your information will remain confidential and only shared with program staff, faculty, or the appropriate professional if your well-being is at risk.

Affiliate programs, (API, ISA, CEA, etc.), may have similar requirements.

As a reminder, signing the Release & Waiver authorizes UMD Study Abroad, or its agents, to release medical information from our files to health care providers and secure medical treatment on your behalf. You have also agreed to accept financial responsibility for the treatment.

Health Issues & Illnesses While Abroad

It’s your responsibility to review and understand the health conditions in your host country and obtain information about appropriate precautionary measures before you leave. A couple of tips are especially important no matter where you travel:

  • Eat and drink lightly for several days after arrival until your body has had a chance to adjust to changes in climate, elevation, and food. Adjusting to a new environment often causes mild intestinal upsets or diarrhea. We recommend you bring anti-diarrhea medicine. We also advise you to check on other health issues, such as whether it is safe to drink local tap water. Prior to departure, ask your doctor about preventive medication for the common illnesses that may result. If you are very ill in-country, see a doctor.
  • Some drugs available by prescription in the U.S. are illegal in other countries. Check the U.S. Department of State Country Information for country-specific information and the CDC Traveling Abroad with Medicine for helpful details. If your medication is legal but unavailable in your host country, ask your healthcare provider to write a letter, on office stationery, stating the medication has been prescribed for you.
  • In most cases, it’s not legal or feasible to mail prescriptions overseas from the U.S. Plan to bring enough in their original bottles with prescription labels for the length of your program or make a plan with your doctor prior to departure.
  • If your insurance only allows a few months of a prescription at a time (and it is not enough for the length of your program), call the insurance company and ask for an exception. A copy of your acceptance letter or confirmation from UMD Study Abroad or an affiliate provider will often assist your appeal. If this is unsuccessful, the UMN international insurance provider may be able to provide assistance. View the current UMN policy for contact information on our insurance page.
  • Vaccination: International Programs & Services strongly recommends but does not require, that you get fully vaccinated (including boosters) for COVID-19 before your program unless otherwise directed by a healthcare professional. Students must carefully monitor the requirements of their host country and ensure they comply with entry and exit restrictions. Vaccinated students should bring their original CDC COVID-19 vaccination record card with them when going abroad. COVID-19 vaccine requirements may be instituted by specific countries, airlines, host institutions, and/or affiliate study abroad providers without advance notice. Being fully vaccinated with a booster gives you the best chance for participation in a program and will keep the most travel options open.NOTE: The inability to participate in a program because you are unvaccinated, but are eligible, will not be considered a valid reason for a refund. 
  • If you have a medical condition that is not easily identified, (diabetes, epilepsy, severe allergies), we suggest you wear a medic alert bracelet while abroad. It’s also helpful to learn relative vocabulary words in your host language so you can communicate any issues effectively. Inform our office, traveling companions, and the on-site staff of your condition so that they can be prepared in case of an emergency. Be sure to discuss a plan with your physician before you leave home.
  • HIV/AIDS is a concern in some locations. While abroad, avoid injections and blood transfusions. If an injection is required, make sure that the syringe comes directly from a sealed package. Diabetics are encouraged to bring a sufficient supply of needles and syringes with a prescription or doctor’s authorization. Keep in mind piercing and tattooing can transmit AIDS. Always use protection when engaging in sexual activities. 
  • We hope that you never experience an incident of sexual assault, but there are a number of recourses for confidential help and support: UMD Resources: Sexual Assault Resources for responding to sexual assault, WRAC (Women's Resource & Action Center), PAVSA (Program for Aid to Victims of Sexual Assault). Please feel free to contact our office for additional assistance.

Traveling While Abroad

Travel is not permitted to locations that have been designated by the US Department of State with a Level 3 or 4 travel advisory.

If you choose to travel to a Level 1 or 2 country during your program, be aware of any entry requirements for the country you'll visit, as well as reentry requirements for your host country.  If the country you are visiting increases to Level 3 or 4, you must make plans to immediately return to your host country.

All personal travel, even within your host country, (overnight or longer) must be submitted to UMD Study Abroad. Details on how to do this will be provided to all participants.

Mental Health

The required Study Abroad Health Information form prompts you to disclose any past or current mental health illness, concerns, treatment, and prescription medications. It is imperative that our office knows this information before you study abroad. With this information, we can help you prepare for your experience. We want to ensure that your program and location are a good fit and can support your mental health needs. Study abroad can be challenging for all students. It may present some additional challenges for students with mental health illnesses, especially if the care and resources you count on are unavailable while abroad. 


Before you travel, contact your doctor, clinic, or state health department regarding country-specific immunizations at least 3 months prior to departure.