Theft and Property
Petty larceny is an issue for all travelers. Pickpockets in popular tourist destination often single out foreigners as easy targets. Body pouches are always the safest way to carry passports and currency. While studying abroad (in any city), keeping your residence doors and windows locked at all times is also a necessary safety precaution.
Students should make copies of all important documents and:
- Leave one set at home with a family member
- Keep one set in a separate location while traveling independently (e.g. in a backpack or luggage).
Each set should include a photocopy of the first page of their passport and the page with their visas, the numbers of their credit, ATM and insurance cards, bank accounts, traveler’s checks.
Health insurance is an important component of study abroad with Suffolk University. Every student is required to have proof of international health insurance. Students must submit a letter from their insurance provider stating their insurance coverage overseas and international travel, stating specifically what is covered (e.g. emergency visits only, doctor office visits, etc.). Also, students are required to provide a copy of their insurance card (front & back). These documents must be on file at the Office of Study Abroad Programs prior to their departure overseas.
If your provider does not cover international health insurance or you wish to purchase additional coverage, you can inquire with the below insurance companies who offer coverage for the duration of the study abroad program.
Gateway Premier – Premier Plan II
CMI Insurance Specialists
Marsh International Plans
Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI)
Students may find a higher percentage of smokers in their host countries and fewer (if any) designated non-smoking areas. If they feel strongly about second-hand smoke, students may encounter some adjustment problems.
If your student plans on taking any type of medicine or prescription drug while abroad, Suffolk University suggests that you:
- Consult with a physician prior to departure regarding any need for monitoring while abroad.
- Contact your home insurance provider well before the departure date to ensure that the cost of having a full semester of medication dispensed prior to departure will be covered.
If your student plans on purchasing medication while abroad, make certain that the medication is available in the host country. If it is not, ensure that your student brings enough medication to last the duration of the program. If your student does not have medication sufficient to last for this length of time, he or she will need to see a local physician to obtain a new prescription.
Do not mail medicines or vitamins; they will be held up in customs. Students should always carry a full supply (to last the duration of the program) of prescription drugs in a drug store bottle with a label showing their name, the generic name and dosage of the drug, and instructions for use.
Vaccinations requirements and suggestions vary by country. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta operates an International Traveler’s Hotline that provides up-to-date vaccination requirements for any region or country you select. The toll free number is 888.232.3228. You can also visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/travel. We urge students to research vaccinations and health precautions for all areas they plan to visit.
Health & Safety Resources
Excellent, comprehensive information on safe travel is available through the State Department’s website at www.state.gov/travel,cfm. The U.S. State Department posts current travel warnings, public announcements, and consular information sheets for any country on its website. We recommend that all students read this information. All students are expected to do personal research on safety in the country where their study abroad program is located.
U.S. State Department
U.S. State Department: Travel Tips for Students
Consular Affairs Publications: Your Trip Abroad, A Safe Trip Abroad, Tips for Americans Residing Abroad
Even under optimal conditions, adjusting to life in a different culture can be a stressful transition. On occasion, this stress may trigger or aggravate more serious emotional conditions. Adjusting to another culture is higher risk for a student who is currently under treatment for depression/anxiety, an eating disorder, or any other serious medical or mental health condition. In these cases study abroad should be postponed or planned very carefully in conjunction with our staff and other healthcare professionals.
Typical reactions to cultural transitions may include homesickness, boredom or fatigue, physical complaints, feelings of depression or helplessness, and/or hostility toward the host culture. However, these reactions are usually short-lived when students are encouraged to test new problem-solving methods that enhance their sense of mastery in dealing with a new culture.
Above all, trust your instincts. If, after an initial transition period of two or three weeks, your student demonstrates unusual or prolonged distress, you should refer him or her to the Counseling Services overseas and contact the Office of Study Abroad Programs.