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Staying Healthy

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Prepare to Go: Staying Healthy

Review the following steps you need to take before you leave to stay as healthy as possible while you are abroad.

 

Especially if you are taking prescription medication or are in regular treatment, we strongly recommend that you have a medical examination before you leave. To maximize the effectiveness of your appointment, take a copy of your program information as well as a printout of the CDC requirements for your program location. An illness could negatively affect your experience abroad, so it’s best to take care of health conditions before you go.

Local pharmacies should be available if you need to purchase medication while abroad. However, if you need specific prescription medication, you may not be able to find it at a local pharmacy, or you may need a prescription from a local doctor.

If you are currently taking prescription medication, the best solution is to make sure you bring an adequate supply of the prescribed medication that you will need for the duration of the program. 

Put your medications in your carry on and make sure to keep them in the original prescription bottle. The name on the bottle should match the name in your passport and on your prescriptions.  You may need a note or a letter from your healthcare provider. 

Also, it is recommended that you bring your own basic medicines for headaches, colds, coughs, stomach aches, hay fever, diarrhea, and so on.

The following links have guidance on traveling with medications abroad:

Education Abroad staff will not contact you regarding any required immunizations. 

It is your responsibility to : 

  • Ensure that your routine immunizations are up-to-date;
  • To ask your healthcare provider if there are recommended and/or required immunizations or medications for the country/countries you will visit (including any countries that are not part of your study abroad program's itinerary); 
  • To review educational resources relevant to your personal health and safety.

The best resource for researching required and recommended immunizations and medication for all overseas destinations is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Travelers’ Health page.

At some point during your time abroad, you may get sick- just like you may during your semesters at UW. It may be something simple, like a cold, or something more serious. It is essential that you know how to access health services, both for non-emergency, routine care and emergencies before the need arises. 

If you need assistance finding medical care, you can ask your program directors, on-site staff or the faculty member(s) on your trip, for help contacting an appropriate physician or other services when attention is required. 

If you do need to seek medical treatment while abroad, make sure to request and keep any medical records and receipts for the treatment, as you may need to submit them for reimbursement.

If you are currently seeking professional help with emotional or mental health concerns, talk about your plans to study abroad with your care provider before making the final decision to go. 

The challenges of adjusting to a new environment coupled with the absence of a familiar support systems may exacerbate existing problems. Above all, if you think you are in need of assistance while on the program, let your on-site staff and Education Abroad know as soon as possible. 

If you need mental health support abroad, please consider using the Now Matters Now site as a resource. 

Please see the Self-Care & Mental Wellness page for more information regarding practicing self-care and maintaining mental wellness while abroad.

Cultural adjustment, or “culture shock”, is a normal developmental phase of adjustment to a new cultural environment. It occurs when one’s values and typical ways of viewing the world clash with the values and viewpoints of the new culture. 

To read more about cultural adjustment, please see the Cultural Adjustment page.

An important part of maintaining your health while abroad is eating and drinking properly – stay hydrated! Remember that in addition to the cultural and emotional adjustments you’ll be making, your body will be adjusting to a new climate, new time zone, new food, etc. and eating right, exercising and getting rest will help ease that adjustment.

There will most likely be differences in the way people relate to one another in your host country. Think about how you will communicate your boundaries. If you feel uncomfortable, don't hesitate to leave the situation. 

There are different cultural perceptions of sex, gender and relationships. Spend some time researching these norms in the country you are traveling to. Prepare for them to be different than life in Laramie!

STIs are the last souvenir you want to bring home from your study abroad program. Bring condoms if having sex is a possibility. It can be difficult to find them in some countries.

Be careful and use common sense when using online dating apps such as Tinder, Grindr, Hinge, or Bumble. Remember, you are meeting and interacting with strangers! 

Also note that while feminine supplies are widely available abroad, if you have a preferred brand, you may wish to bring some with you.

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