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Health and Safety


Health Safety
Student Health Overseas Safety and Security Abroad
Medical Insurance Crime and Violence
Medications and Glasses Common Sense Precautions
International SOS  



Since a student’s physical and mental well-being is a fundamental component of a successful and happy stay abroad, students should plan ahead and schedule check-ups with their physician, dentist, and eye-care specialist before departure. Even mild physical or psychological disorders can become serious under the stresses of life while studying abroad and away from regular support systems. We encourage all students to consider what they need to do before they depart in order to stay healthy while overseas. Students who have a pre-existing condition should discuss their treatment plan with their physician and their family to ensure that they can stay healthy while away from home.

If a student has a physical or mental health concern, the student should talk to the program director or someone on the program staff immediately. Staff on site are usually in the best position to help a student resolve any issues. Occasionally, students will first contact their parents but not speak to someone on site. Parents will then contact Education Abroad in Philadelphia, who then will contact the staff overseas. This extra step delays resolution of the problem.

For up-to-date information on health conditions in the study abroad destination, refer to the Centers for Disease Control's Travelers' Health website at: http://www.cdc.gov/.

Immunizations may be required for travelers to certain countries. In some cases, students may need to receive multiple immunizations, which can be costly and time-consuming. Students can research recommendations for specific countries also on the CDC's website.

Students should contact Education Abroad with any questions or concerns about availability of medical care on any of Temple's study abroad programs.



All students participating in a Temple University study abroad program are required to have health insurance with international coverage, which must be purchased in the United States. This insurance must be valid for the duration of the student’s studies abroad. For this reason, all Temple study abroad program participants are required to purchase the International Student Identity Card (ISIC), which carries an emergency sickness/accident insurance policy.

The benefits of this policy include:

$100 Travel delay

$500 Administrative fees to reissue travel documents

$100 Baggage Delay
$25,000 Medical or Dental Expense
$5,000 Air Flight Accident
$1,000 Accidental death and dismemberment
$300,000 Emergency Assistance (Emergency Medical Transportation)

There are some exclusions in the above ISIC coverage. For coverage questions or to request a claim form, contact the insurance provider (CSA) directly at (866) 922-0278. Please refer to the Travel Documents section for information on how to obtain an ISIC.

While Temple University requires that students participating in its study abroad programs maintain ISIC coverage at a minimum, the University highly recommends that students purchase additional insurance and discuss this issue with their family. Before you purchase additional insurance, check with your current insurance carrier to determine whether coverage will extend overseas. The following is a list of companies that offer short-term travel health insurance. Temple University is not endorsing a specific company and encourages each student to determine which policy serves the student’s specific needs best.

CMI Insurance: www.studyabroadinsurance.com  (800) 677-7887
Gateway: www.gatewayplans.com (800) 282-4495
HTH Worldwide: www.hthworldwide.com (610) 254-8700
ISIS Health: www.isis-travelinsurance.com  (800) 247-5575
STA Travel: www.statravel.com  (800) 777-0112
Wallach (HealthCare Global): www.wallach.com  (800) 237-6615

For further information concerning insurance, you might also want to refer to the State Department's recommendations for U.S. citizens traveling abroad.

Currently, students studying at Temple Rome are required by the required by the Italian government to purchase an Italian Health Insurance policy that is limited to emergency care at public Italian hospitals and would not cover you for emergencies outside of Italy or non-emergency medical care in Italy. For this reason, you should not take this insurance policy into account when determining your health insurance needs while abroad. The cost of the insurance (currently $150/semester, $85/summer) will be added to the student’s bill, and Temple Rome staff will obtain the insurance for students.

Also, all non-Japanese students studying at Temple Japan on student visas are required to join the Japanese national health insurance program. The potential benefits for this insurance are high. When students visit a doctor or dentist in the national health care system, and show their national health insurance certificate, they will receive an automatic 70% discount. Insurance benefits apply to medical and dental treatments, and prescriptions. Students will receive instructions on how to purchase the insurance (currently $32 for four months) during on-site orientation in Tokyo.

Some other programs require additional insurance in order to obtain a visa. Information is provided to accepted students.

You should be aware that most insurance companies (and hospitals and physicians overseas) will require students to pay medical expenses out of pocket, submit claim forms and receipts, and then be reimbursed. This may not pose problems for doctors' visits, but if a student needs to be hospitalized for any reason, many hospitals overseas require payment before the student can be admitted. This can amount to several hundred dollars or more, so please plan accordingly.

Please be aware that if insurance coverage is purchased specifically for the period a student is abroad, most policies will not cover treatment for pre-existing conditions. If a student has a condition that will require treatment while he/she is abroad, be sure that the policy that currently covers him/her will extend overseas. Finally, students should take claims forms and a copy of their insurance policy with them overseas.



If there is a medication that you must take, bring an adequate supply for your stay. If you take medications with you, be sure to have copies of the prescriptions and leave the medication in the original container. You may be asked to show the prescription at customs in order to prove that the medication is a prescribed drug. The prescription should be written in terms of the chemical composition or generic name rather than brand name, and should include dosage, instructions, and reason for prescribing the drug. Do not plan on having U.S. prescriptions filled abroad; certain U.S. medications may be unavailable in the destination country. If you wear glasses or contact lenses, take along an extra pair. Also, be sure to have the lens prescription with you in case you need it later.

Note that it is illegal to bring some common over-the-counter medications from the U.S. into certain countries. Please refer to the U.S. State Department's Consular Information Sheet on the country where you will be studying: www.travel.state.gov



In the event of a medical emergency overseas, all students on a Temple University study abroad program also have access to 24-hour assistance through International SOS. International SOS services help students with medical, personal, travel, and security information when away from home. Please see the document below for a description of ISOS, a list of program benefits and frequently asked questions.

Using International SOS (PDF)



We recognize that parents may worry when they send their son or daughter overseas. However, we can assure you that the safety of our students is a primary concern. Below we explain the safety precautions taken by Education Abroad and our on-site staff. We also make recommendations to help both parents and students become as informed and prepared as possible.

In response to recent world events, the staffs at our Rome, Tokyo and Oviedo locations have reviewed safety procedures, are in regular contact with U.S. Embassy officials, and have extensive local contacts. Students are routinely briefed by the staff on personal safety, and any U.S. State Department communiqués are shared with students as they are received.

For our summer programs, Education Abroad consults the announcements from the U.S. State Department as well as the faculty directors and on-site contacts to assess the safety and security of the program sites. During the pre-departure and on-site orientations for all programs, students are informed of potential risks as well as of precautions they can take to reduce these risks.

We recommend that all students and their parents consult the U.S. State Department travel web site before and during their period abroad (www.travel.state.gov). The State Department issues several types of announcements: Country Specific Information Sheets, Travel Alerts, Worldwide Caution, and Travel Warnings. Country Specific Information Sheets are available for every country of the world. They describe entry requirements, currency regulations, unusual health conditions, the crime and security situation, political disturbances, areas of disturbances, as well as emergency telephone numbers for U.S. consulates and embassies. Travel Alerts provide information about relatively short-term and/or transnational conditions posing significant risks to the security of American travelers. They are issued when there is a perceived threat, even if it does not involve Americans as a particular target group. Worldwide Caution Announcements have been issued by the State Department since September 11, 2001, and provide updated information on the continuing threat of terrorist actions and violence against Americans and interests throughout the world. The most serious announcement is the Travel Warning. In some dangerous situations, the U.S. State Department issues a Travel Warning, recommending that Americans defer travel to a country or to a particular region within a country.

We encourage parents as well as students to become as informed as possible about the study abroad destination, as well as to stay informed about world events. If students are concerned about their personal or group safety due to something they witnessed or experienced first-hand, they should contact the program director or someone on the on-site staff immediately.



(The following two sections are adapted from www.studyabroad.com/handbook, written by Bill Hoffa)

Most countries in the world have less street crime and personal violence than is potentially present in urban and suburban America. Indeed, in many countries U.S. students report when they return that they had never felt safer in their lives. This does not mean that there is no crime and that your safety is assured--because of, or in spite of, the fact that you carry a U.S. passport in a perhaps statistically more peaceful local environment.

The simple fact of your being a foreigner and not knowing quite what is and isn't safe behavior--not being certain where and where not to go or how to act--increases, at least somewhat, the possibility that you can be victimized by petty crime, such as fraud, robbery, theft, or even physical attack. Further, in certain places and at certain times, it is very possible to get caught in the midst of forms of political strife which may not be directed at you personally or even at you as an American, but nevertheless can be very dangerous.

There are certain safety precautions that Americans students abroad can take, which we list in the following section.



Register with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where you will be living. Travelers are now able to do this on-line through the U.S. State Department web site:  http://www.travel.state.gov/travel/tips/travel_abroad/STEP/STEP_6121.htmlRegistration with a U.S. Embassy or Consulate makes your presence and whereabouts known in case it is necessary for a consular official to contact you in an emergency.

Keep a low profile and try not to make yourself conspicuous by dress, speech, or behavior, in ways that might identify you as a target. Do not draw attention to yourself either through expensive dress, personal accessories (cameras, laptop computers, jewelry, etc.) or careless behavior.

Avoid crowds, protest groups, or other potentially volatile situations, as well as restaurants and entertainment places where Americans are known to congregate.

Keep abreast of local news. Read local newspapers, magazines, etc. and speak with local officials to learn about any potential civil unrest. If there should be any political unrest, do not get involved.

Be wary of unexpected packages and stay clear of unattended luggage or parcels in airports, train stations, or other areas of uncontrolled public access.

Report to the responsible authority any suspicious persons loitering around residence or instructional facilities, or following you; keep your residence area locked; use common sense in divulging information to strangers about your study program and your fellow students.

If you travel to countries beyond your program site and expect to be there for more than a week, register upon arrival at the U.S. consulate or embassy having jurisdiction over the location.

If you are taking a weekend excursion on your own or with a few friends, make sure the program director, in addition to your family, always knows where you are going and how to contact you in an emergency, even if only overnight.

If staying in a hotel during your travels, be vigilant when checking in; keep all luggage in view. Keep the door to your room locked and use the chain / spy hole when receiving a visitor. Do not open the door, especially at night, until you have confirmed the visitor’s identity. Keep all valuables in the hotel safe.

Develop with your family a plan for regular telephone or e-mail contact, so that in times of heightened political tension, you will be able to communicate with your parents directly about your safety and well being.

The US government monitors the political conditions in every country around the world. For current information, advisories, or warnings contact the State Department in Washington DC (202- 647-4000) or the local US embassy or consulate where you are: www.usembassy.state.gov

Be aware of local health conditions abroad; especially if you are traveling to remote areas, you should be aware of any public health service recommendations or advisories. For current health conditions abroad contact local officials, or consult the Centers for Disease Control ( 404-639-3311 ), or www.cdc.gov/travel/.

Know local laws: laws and systems of justice are not universal and you will be subject to the laws of the host country. Do not assume that just because it is legal in the United States, that it is legal abroad.

Use banks to exchange your money: do not exchange your money on the black market (on the street). Do not carry on your person more money than you need for the day. Carry your credit cards, traveler's checks, etc. in a very safe place.

Be careful when using ATMs; ensure your pin number is secure and be wary of people loitering near machines. If in doubt, use ATMs inside the bank.

If you suspect that you are being followed, enter any busy public place and call for help.
In the event of being mugged, you should assume that the assailant is armed. Do not resist or do anything to antagonize the robber.

Do not impair your judgment due to excessive consumption of alcohol, and do not fall under the influence of drugs.

Always carry useful phone numbers for emergencies such as local contacts, hotel, embassy, and International SOS.

Female travelers are sometimes more likely to encounter harassment, but uncomfortable situations can usually be avoided by taking the following precautions: Dress conservatively. While short skirts and tank tops may be comfortable, they may also encourage unwanted attention. Avoid walking alone late at night or in questionable neighborhoods. Do not agree to meet a person whom you do not know in a non-public place. Be aware that some men from other countries tend to mistake the friendliness of American women for romantic interest.

Lock sleeping compartment doors on trains.

Make photocopies of documents and keep them in a safe place.

Do not carry your passport, except when traveling. Always carry a photocopy of your passport.

Use a security pouch for cash and credit card, and for your passport when traveling. If you choose not to use a security pouch, keep valuables in your front pockets, hold bags in front of you in crowded situations – on buses, metro, etc.

Take extra safety precautions if you visit other cities that are major destinations for traveling American students




  • Health & Safety