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Health and Safety

Health and Safety

Keeping safe is the single most important part of traveling abroad. That is why we encourage our students to follow the steps listed below as to be prepared and to know what to do in case of an emergency.

The University of New Orleans Division of International Education does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy or effectiveness of the following information. This information is presented only as suggestions for a safe trip and is intended generally to help students and their families in planning their international travel and education experiences.

Health Insurance

UNO requires that all students carry special study abroad health insurance while studying abroad. All students must be covered by the insurance policy chosen by the UNO Division of International Education. The cost of this program is $180 per semester, and payment in full is due prior to departure (once you are registered as an exchange student and the ISEP office knows the start and end dates of your program, a $180 per semester fee will be added to your UNO student account). Please click here for a copy of the current health insurance brochure for study abroad and academic exchange.

Some Important Steps Before Departure:

  1. Fill out your Medical History Report online. 
  2. Make sure you know the in-country laws regarding any medications you take regularly, and prepare how you will travel with your medications.
  3. The US Department of State has a web site with excellent resources for US Citizens studying abroad
  4. From that site, you can register with the S.T.E.P. "Smart Traveler Enrollment Program:" this registers you with the U.S. Embassy in the country you are going to, and is an important way for the US government to help you in case of extreme emergency. 
  5. Have the contact information of the Consulate or U.S Embassy that is closest to you. Please find a list of Embassies/Consulates here.
  6. In case of BIG EMERGENCIES, it is also important to have the 24-hour US Dept. of State telephone number programmed into your phone. Do it now. Their number is (+1) 202-647-4000.
  7. Carry your Insurance Card and a list of local emergency numbers in your wallet. This includes the local numbers of the place you are in, as well as the State Dept. number. If you haven't received a list of local numbers yet, ask for it at your host institution!
  8. If you encounter a health related issue while abroad and need to contact your insurance, please dial +1-770-427-2461 for T.W. Lord & Assoc. or +1-202-331-1596 for Worldwide Assistance. Please keep these numbers with you at all times. The claim form can be downloaded by clicking here.

Tips to help you prevent and overcome JETLAG:

  • Get a good night’s sleep for several nights before your departure. Go to bed a little earlier and get up a little earlier than usual to help prepare your internal clock for the time change.
  • Drink lots of water on the plane. Buy a big bottle of water after you get through security. Drink 2-3 liters of water on a travel day. Avoid caffeine, soft drinks, and alcohol (they dehydrate you).
  • On arrival day, do not take a nap. Exercise and natural light help overcome jetlag.
  • Power through the day and go to sleep at about 10:00 pm.
  • Don’t drink alcohol! Re-hydrate from the long flight with lots of water.

Travel Advisories:

You should realize that anytime you travel abroad there is potential for danger due to crime, political unrest, unforeseen "Acts of God," strikes that will delay your travel plans, etc. Therefore, we recommend that, if you have any concerns about traveling to a particular place, check the US Government Travel Advisory. This can be found on the Internet at: http://www.state.gov. You should also register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP): https://step.state.gov/step/.

General Safety recommendations:

  1.  Familiarize yourself with the State Department’s travel site and recommendations: travel.state.gov.
  2.  Make sure you have a working cell phone for your entire time abroad and share your number with the program administration.
  3.  Beware of becoming intoxicated and do not get involved in drugs.
  4.  Buddy system – stay together, travel in SMALL groups.
  5.  Be cautious when you meet new people and NEVER bring them into your accommodations - even while travelling on holidays.
  6.  Blend in: Be mindful of appearance and behavior. Don’t be loud and obnoxious. Avoid expensive accessories when traveling.  Don’t flash money/passport.
  7.  Be aware of your surroundings: “If you see something suspicious, say something.”
  8.  Know the local emergency numbers.
  9.  Remain up-to-date on current events – at your destination and at home.
  10.  Photocopy important travel documents – leave a copy at home.
  11.  Report any unusual activity or suspicious persons to the home institution administration.
  12.  Be aware of the political situation wherever you are. Stay away from places that are experiencing political unrest.
  13.  Keep away from areas known to have large concentrations of residents aligned with interests unfriendly to the United States.
  14.  Avoid events with large crowds, such as concerts, sporting matches, or demonstrations of any sort.
  15.  Avoid the media and don't feel like you have to comment or give an interview.

Safety recommendations while you are travelling (The general recommendations are still in effect!):

  1.  Let program administrators and your family know where you are going.
  2.  Make sure your cell phone is working while you are travelling (charger, credit, not airplane mode).
  3.  Avoid events with large crowds, such as concerts, sporting matches, or demonstrations of any sort.
  4.  Keep your passport safe! Don’t keep all your travel documents and money in one place.
  5.  Inform yourself about the local U.S. embassies and consulates.
  6.  Don’t leave your bags or belongings unattended at any time.
  7.  Don’t let anyone give you anything to carry when traveling.
  8.  Have sufficient funds and/or a credit card on hand to purchase emergency items such as transportation tickets.
  9.  Don’t flash your money and be discreet when showing your passport.

These are just a few general rules you should be aware of. Most often, common sense will tell you what to do. Therefore, it is imperative that you avoid a situation in which common sense does not prevail--being intoxicated and using drugs.

Suggested Guidelines to Ensure a Safe Trip

In study abroad, as in other settings, participants can have a major impact on their own health and safety through the decisions they make before and during their program and by their day-to-day choices and behaviors.

Participants Should:

  1. Assume responsibility for all the elements necessary for their personal preparation for the program and participate fully in orientations.
  2. Read and carefully consider all materials issued by the sponsor that relate to safety, health, legal, environmental, political, cultural, and religious conditions in the host country(ies).
  3. Conduct their own research on the country(ies) they plan to visit with particular emphasis on health and safety concerns, as well as the social, cultural, and political situations.
  4. Consider their physical and mental health, and other personal circumstances when applying for or accepting a place in a program, and make available to the sponsor accurate and complete physical and mental health information and any other personal data that is necessary in planning for a safe and healthy study abroad experience.
  5. Obtain and maintain appropriate insurance coverage and abide by any conditions imposed by the carriers.
  6. Inform parents/guardians/families and any others who may need to know about their participation in the study abroad program, provide them with emergency contact information, and keep them informed of their whereabouts and activities.
  7. Understand and comply with the terms of participation, codes of conduct, and emergency procedures of the program.
  8. Be aware of local conditions and customs that may present health or safety risks when making daily choices and decisions. Promptly express any health and safety concerns to the program staff or other appropriate individuals before and/or during the program.
  9. Accept responsibility for their own decisions and actions.
  10. Obey host-country laws.
  11. Behave in a manner that is respectful of the rights and well-being of others, and encourage others to behave in a similar manner.
  12. Avoid illegal drugs and excessive or irresponsible consumption of alcohol.
  13. Follow the program policies for keeping program staff informed of their whereabouts and well-being.
  14. Become familiar with the procedures for obtaining emergency health and legal system services in the host country.


In study abroad, as in other settings, parents, guardians, and families can play an important role in the health and safety of participants by helping them make decisions and by influencing their behavior overseas:

Parents/guardians/families should:

  1. Be informed about and involved in the decision of the participant to enroll in a particular program.
  2. Obtain and carefully evaluate participant program materials, as well as related health, safety, and security information.
  3. Discuss with the participant any of his/her travel plans and activities that may be independent of the study abroad program.
  4. Engage the participant in a thorough discussion of safety and behavior issues, insurance needs, and emergency procedures related to living abroad.
  5. Be responsive to requests from the program sponsor for information regarding the participant.
  6. Keep in touch with the participant.
  7. Be aware that the participant rather than the program administration may most appropriately provide some information.