Before you Travel
Most immunizations are not mandatory, but provide valuable protection; therefore, it is highly recommended that students remain up-to-date in their immunizations prior to departure for study abroad.
GENERAL IMMUNIZATION RECOMMENDATIONS
from the K Health Center Travel Clinic
The Student Health Center only bills the “K” Student Health Insurance directly. For all other insurances, we will offer you an insurance-ready receipt at the time of service.
Some countries and Kalamazoo Partner programs require a combination of a date sensitive physical examination, certificate of good health, laboratory tests, and/or vaccinations as part of the study abroad application, to apply for a student visa, or for certain residency permits.
Please be advised that consulates and partner institutions can and frequently do make spontaneous changes in their student visa requirements and application process. Consult with the appropriate consulate or the CIP regarding the most recent requirements.
All students participating in study abroad are required to have hospitalization and medical insurance that is valid outside the United States.
Please note, many programs require in-country student insurance for participants.
PRE-EXISTING MEDICAL CONDITIONS
Any student who will be on medication regularly, has a chronic medical condition, or may need medical services or doctors while abroad, should make an appointment to see the Associate Provost or Associate Director of the Center for International Programs. Please schedule this appointment before the end of the second week of the quarter preceding the study abroad experience so that appropriate arrangements can be made with the program abroad.
If participants have a chronic medical condition, please see a medical provider soon after arriving in country to “establish care.” This establishes a relationship prior to the participant’s potential need for healthcare, and allows a more prompt appointment when one needs it.
Participants should know how to express allergies in the native language and make sure that travel companions are aware of any severe allergies. If any cause anaphylaxis, carry an EpiPen (be sure it doesn’t expire while abroad).
Students who take prescription medications, including anti-malarial medication, should carry an adequate supply for the duration abroad in the original container with his/her name on it. The CIP staff cannot deliver medication to students abroad. Family members will be unable to mail medication to participants abroad. Mailed mediation (even if sent by a private carrier such as FedEx or DHL), may be confiscated by customs officials. Please carry a card, tag, or bracelet that identifies any physical condition that may require emergency care.
Students who may not be able to obtain enough medication to take them for their study abroad program may have a health care provider give a summary of the conditions and treatments (including the medications prescribed) for the condition. Participants are still encouraged to carry at least three month’s worth of medication.
For participants currently taking a controlled substance, such as any form of Ritalin or Adderal, please bring a letter from the prescribing Doctor indicating the current medication, dosage and medical indication for taking the medication.
- Raw food and unfiltered water and ice
- Undercooked meat
- Live poultry around homes and/or markets
- Piercing and tattooing
- Mosquitoes, ticks, stray animals including dogs, cats and monkeys
- Swimming in freshwater
- Excess alcohol intake
It is not uncommon for students to report feeling dehydrated. Most participants do not drink enough water or liquids while on study abroad. Alcohol and caffeine increase fluid loss. To avoid dehydration, drink half your body weight of water in fluid ounces per day.
Signs and symptoms of dehydration:
- Rapid heart beat
- Lightheaded when changing position
- Dry mouth
- Deep breathing
- Reduction in urine output, increase in yellow color
- Cool and mottled extremities
If you have these symptoms, find an area out of the sun, drink fluids and rest. If you do not feel better, seek medical care.
Most students report getting sick during their time abroad.
What students eat and drink will affect their health.
In the case of accidents or injury, students should inform the Resident Director as soon as possible.
Whether you are currently being treated for mental health concerns or if you see them as something in your past, you should know that preparing for and participating in this new experience can bring about a return or increase in symptoms. Since it is always easier to prevent or respond to difficulties if they have been anticipated ahead of time, use this guide from the K College Counseling Center to prepare for mental health considerations and services abroad. .
Additional Health Resources
ONLINE HEALTH RESOURCES
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Finding a doctor or hospital abroad – U.S. Department of State
- World Health Organization (WHO) – info on disease outbreaks
- K College Counseling Center
- Mental Health Abroad Information
- K College Student Health Center
- Overeaters Anonymous
- National Association of Anorexia Nervosa
- Alcoholics Anonymous
LEVEL OF SECURITY
If you are concerned about — or just interested in— the level of safety and security in any part of the world, the U.S. Department of State maintains a comprehensive international travel website for each country. There you can find information on crime, safety, medical facilities, entry/exit requirements, and much more, including safety bulletins as soon as they are issued.
Safety bulletins (also known as travel warnings) are issued when events or threats in a city, country, or region lead the U.S. Department of State to warn traveling U.S. citizens about possible safety or security concerns. The Center for International Programs recommends that parents and students pay attention to the travel warnings issued by the Department of State prior to departure and while the student is abroad.
CIP SAFETY AND SECURITY MONITORING
The Center for International Programs’ staff carefully monitors current events in every study abroad site through international media and through our contacts and staff abroad. The CIP also receives regular updates from the U.S. embassies closest to our sites. If there is any concern about the safety of our students abroad, the CIP maintains close contact with parents, students, and our contacts abroad to resolve any problems.
ADDITIONAL TRAVEL SAFETY RESOURCES
- U.S. Embassy/Consulate Travel Registration – we urge you to register online! It’s easy, and registration allows you to record information about your upcoming trip abroad that the U.S. Department of State can use to assist you in case of an emergency. Americans residing abroad can also get routine information from the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate
- “Game of Pawns” – a precautionary movie about how to avoid being pulled into spy scams (Source: FBI)
- Students Abroad – Ready to buckle up, put on your headphones, peruse your in-flight magazine, and begin your travel adventure? Not so fast! Check out this site first!
- Culture of Safety – A practical guide to studying abroad
- Center for Global Education Study Abroad Student Handbook
- Websites of U.S. Embassies, Consulates, and Diplomatic Missions – from the U.S. Department of State
- SAFTI Project Website – resources to support study abroad, emphasizing health and safety issues and resources for U.S. colleges and universities supporting study abroad.
- Know Before You Go – Customs info from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website
EMERGENCY EVACUATION INFORMATION
The College has purchased insurance that offers all Kalamazoo College students, faculty, and staff international travel services:
- Travel Assistance
- Travel Medical Assistance
- Security Assistance
Included in this coverage is insurance coverage for medical, political, or natural disaster evacuation services. It is also possible to receive security reports on countries and general information on cities around the world. Students, faculty, and staff can also receive assistance with such things as lost baggage, lost travel documents, or referrals to the local embassy or consulate.
Contact the CIP for more information
- For Study Abroad Emergencies during Office Hours – please call the CIP office at 269. 337.7133 or contact a CIP staff member
- For After-Hours Study Abroad Emergencies please call Campus Security at 269.337.7321. If you can, provide security with the name of your site’s Program Manager. That would be either Margaret Wiedenhoeft, Alayna Lewis, Tony Nelson, or Tonal Simmons depending on the site. Security will then call that manager or another appropriate manager who will assess and address the emergency.
- The Counseling Center Emergency phone number is 269. 598.6907