All SDSU travelers should review the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) “International Travel to and from the United States” and SDSU Student Health Services homepages for updated travel health guidelines. Travelers should research and verify the travel entry requirements and health recommendations for the specific country(ies) they are visiting to learn about and prevent health emergencies caused by prevalent diseases/viruses in the foreign country.
All students are required to follow these health and safety policies prior to and during their study abroad program:
- Attend a pre-departure orientation conducted by the Global Education Office.
- Maintain adequate health insurance coverage at all times while abroad.
- Register in the U.S. Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
- Follow the official SDSU student code of conduct.
The U.S. State Department has created a website tailored for study abroad students. It includes current information on health and safety concerns, including tips for what to do in an emergency, safety for student travelers (women, LGBTQ, and students with disabilites), and more.
SDSU Student Health Services provides Travel Medical Consult services to help you plan a safe and healthy trip whenever you travel outside the U.S., whether for vacation or study abroad. We recommend that you schedule a consult 6 to 8 weeks prior to your departure, to help you plan for a safe and healthy international experience.
This 30-minute consultation with qualified medical staff will:
- Identify current immunizations and medications you need for the country you plan to visit.
- Provide you with health recommendations specific to your travel plans.
- Provide you with current U.S. State Department travel advisories for your planned destination.
- Give you an opportunity to discuss any health concerns with a physician or nurse practitioner.
How to schedule your travel medical consult
- Schedule your 30-minute appointment at least 6 to 8 weeks in advance of your travel departure. (This will permit some of the vaccines to build immunity, and allow required paperwork to be processed in time).
- To schedule, call Student Health Services at (619) 594-4325.
- Visit the Student Health Services website to learn more.
(Note: Students can also contact their private U.S. health insurance provider to identify a nearby travel clinic)
Proof of vaccination
Some countries require foreign visitors to carry an International Certificate of Vaccination (aka yellow card) or other proof that they have had certain inoculations or medical tests before entering the country.
Your travel medical consult will advise you of current requirements for the country/countries you plan to visit, and whether or not you need an International Certificate of Vaccination, as well as other travel health precautions for your trip abroad.
CDC Traveler’s Health Report
Your Travel Medical Consult will provide you with health information about the region where you will be studying. For additional information, visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website. You’ll find a list of resource materials as well as information on Outbreaks, Diseases, Vaccinations, Food and Water Safety, Traveling with Children, Special Needs Travelers and Air Travel.
Malaria and other immunizations
Recommendations for immunizations and malaria prevention medication are available by making an appointment for a Travel Medical Consult.
Most students experience some degree of emotional adjustment and "culture shock" when they arrive in their host country, no matter what their previous travel experience, psychological disposition, maturity, or knowledge of the host country may be. A period of mild disappointment or depression is a normal part of the study abroad experience and one that passes quickly for most students. Additionally, upon return home from their foreign travel experience, some students may experience "reverse culture shock" and should consult with SDSU Counseling and Psychological Services.
If your period of adjustment lingers and you feel you would benefit from counseling while abroad, you can talk with an SDSU therapist by phone. Link to the Counseling and Psychological Services (C&PS) website for more information. You can also take an online assessment if you have concerns about anxiety, depression, stress, or other issues.
Homesick while abroad?
Avoid sleeping too many hours or cocooning in your room too much. Withdrawing will make your transition that much tougher. The sooner you get involved and establish your routine, the sooner you’ll begin to feel comfortable in your new envirronment.
It helps to stay in touch. Learn about communicating with family and friends while you’re abroad via WhatsApp, Skype, Google Talk, Viber and by phone.
Important: If you are on psychoactive medication such as anti-depressants, be aware that some countries prohibit you from taking them with you (Japan, for instance). You should speak with your primary physician about the medication you are currently prescribed and the implications in studying abroad and possibly in specific destinations.
As you are planning to study abroad, it’s important to consider whether you will need to take with you any prescriptions or other medications. Also, keep in mind that consequences and penalties regarding alcohol and non-prescription drug use may differ in foreign countries.
Here are some guidelines to consider:
- If you take certain medications, check to make sure that the country you plan to visit allows them.
- Pack enough to last your entire trip, including some extra in case you spend more time abroad than originally planned.
- Carry all medications in their original labeled containers. Pack them in your carry-on baggage, because checked baggage can sometimes arrive late or get lost.
- Get a letter from your doctor in case you are questioned about your carry-on medications. Some countries have restrictions on bringing medications, prescription or otherwise, into the country without proper authorization.
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist for the generic equivalent name of all of your medications, in case you need to buy additional medications while abroad.
Alchohol & Non-Prescription Drugs
While in a foreign country, you are subject to its local laws, even if you are a U.S. Citizen. It is very important to know what's legal and what's not. Simply drinking in public may be considered a criminal activity by local authorities, and this can carry unknown penalties.
If you break local laws while abroad, your U.S. passport will not help you to avoid arrest or prosecution, and the U.S. Embassy cannot get you out of jail.
SDSU Code of Conduct applies abroad
Additionally, according to the SDSU Code of Student Conduct, you are expected to conform to campus policy, even when you are away from campus, and even if you are in a different country. Review Standards for Student Conduct.
"Students are expected to adhere to the Student Conduct Code. They are expected to be good citizens and to engage in responsible behaviors that reflect well upon their university, to be civil to one another and to others in the campus and surrounding communities, and to contribute positively to student and university life. This includes upholding all published university policies, rules, regulations, or presidential orders.”
Travel Health Resources:
- Travelers’ Health Web Page: The page provides current health information by destination and travel health notices and allows users to register via email to receive the latest updates from CDC’s travelers’ health.
- Travel Health Kit.
- Travel Health Tips for Students Studying Abroad.
- Country-Specific Travel Health Notices.
- Yellow Book section, Study Abroad and Other International Student Travel. CDC Yellow Book 2020: Health Information for International Travel is published every two years as a resource for health professionals providing care to international travelers. The fully revised and updated CDC Yellow Book 2020 compiles the US government’s most current travel health guidelines, including pre-travel vaccine recommendations, destination-specific health advice, and easy-to-reference maps, tables, and charts.
Collects raw data from different agencies to provide a comprehensive view of worldwide health risks. May serve as an early alert system for disease outbreaks before they get reported by traditional news outlets. Link here.
Provides real-time information on the state of the pandemic worldwide. Link here.