Your Health

You are here

Your Health

Health Information Form

All participants of UMD study abroad programs are required to complete the Health Information Form. We use this information to assist program leaders and host university staff in making any necessary preparations and addressing specific health issues.

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

If you are participating in a cosponsored or affiliate program, (e.g. API, ISA, CEA et al.), expect for them to have similar requirements.

As a reminder, by signing the Release & Waiver you have authorized UMD Study Abroad or its agents to release medical information in 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 is 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 will be traveling:

  • 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. Therefore, 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 the 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 Consular Information Sheets for country-specific information. If your medication is legal but unavailable in your host country, ask your health-care provider to write a letter on office stationery stating the medication has been prescribed for you.

  • In most cases, it is not legal or feasible to mail prescriptions overseas from the U.S. Plan to bring enough in 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) it is often helpful to call the insurance company and ask for an exception. A copy of your acceptance letter or confirmation from UMD Study Abroad or 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 CISI policy for contact information.

  • 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 is also helpful to learn relative vocabulary words in your host language so you can communicate any issues effectively. Inform the UMD Study Abroad 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 major 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 ear 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.

Mental Health

The “Health Information Form” prompts you to disclose any past or current mental health issues and prescription medications you have taken. It is imperative that the UMD Study Abroad office knows this information before you study abroad. Previous or current treatment for psychiatric and mental health conditions will not necessarily prevent you from studying abroad. With this information, we can help you prepare for your experience. Study abroad can be challenging for all students and may present some additional challenges for students with mental health conditions.


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

Health Information Resources