Health and Safety Abroad
Gallaudet University considers the health and safety of its students a top priority. When Gallaudet students travel abroad to enhance their educational experience, they are strongly urged to follow a set of policies and procedures (below) developed by the University to help ensure a safe and personally enriching experience.
When applying for an education abroad opportunity, Gallaudet students must sign an Education Abroad Behavior Contract that outlines that responsibilities of the student and the behavior expected of the student before, during, and after their time abroad. They must also have international health insurance coverage provided by the University. You should verify that your current health insurance will cover you while you are abroad by calling your insurer directly and asking for proof in writing. Additionally, it is required to buy travel insurance through the Education Abroad office.
Study abroad, as with any major life change, has the potential to exacerbate pre-existing medical, mental health or personal issues or contribute to new ones. Local culture, custom and practices may not have/provide the support systems you might be accustomed to in the U.S.
When you are selecting an overseas program or preparing for your departure, you should consider how medication, allergies, meal restrictions, mental health, physical health, sexual health, drugs, alcohol, learning disabilities and interpersonal relationships may affect you while abroad and utilize Gallaudet’s resources available to you before you embark on your trip. Consider the following regarding your health and wellness:
- Medications (over-the-counter vs. prescriptions, prescription refills, etc.): Are my current medications legal in the countries I’m traveling to? Will I be able to bring enough medications to cover my full stay or can I get something similar/equivalent during my travels?
- Allergies (peanuts, shellfish, bee stings, etc.): Will I be exposed to potential serious allergens? How can reduce my exposure to these risks?
- Dietary restrictions (vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, etc.): Will I be able to identify and obtain food that is safe for me to eat? How will I communicate my dietary needs in the host culture?
- Mental health (stress, depression, anxiety, etc.): How is my mental health condition viewed in the host culture? What kinds of resources and support are available to help me cope?
- Physical health and mobility (asthma, diabetes, transportation aids, etc.): What kind of environment will I be living and studying in and how will my physical health and mobility affect what kind of activities I can engage in? What sort of accommodations or support would I need to participate?
- Sexual health (public displays of affection, sexually transmitted diseases, etc.): What are the values and customs regarding romantic relationships in my host culture? What sexual health risks should I be aware of and how do I protect myself?
- Drugs/alcohol (tainted drinks, synthetic drugs, drinking age, etc.): What are the values and customs regarding drugs and alcohol in my host culture? What health and legal risks should I be aware of?
- Learning disabilities (dyslexia, ADHD, tutoring, etc.): How are my learning disabilities perceived in the host culture? What sort of accommodations or support would I need to participate?
- Environment of program (climate, altitude, etc.): How will the weather and terrain of my host country affect my health and wellness?
- Interpersonal relationships (roommate issues, significant others back home, homesickness, etc.): Will you be studying, living, and traveling with the same group or will you be alone on your program? How might you cope with these situations and what communication resources will you need to be successful?