Health, Mental Health, and Safety Abroad

Information for managing your health and well-being while abroad.


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General Health Resources

Prescription Medications

The University recommends that travelers who will be abroad for an extended period have a routine check-up with their primary care physician before going abroad to discuss continuation of care plan, including prescription medications.

  • Be sure to bring enough prescription medication for the duration of your time abroad in original bottles with the prescription (translated into the local language, if possible) in your carry-on luggage. If your U.S. health insurance only allows a few months of prescription to be filled at a time and this isn't enough for your time abroad, it is often helpful to call the insurance company and ask for an exception. For students, a copy of your acceptance or confirmation from your education abroad office will often assist with your request.
  • Some prescription medications available in the U.S. are illegal in other countries, including common medications for the treatment of ADHD and anxiety/depression. Check the U.S. Department of State's Country Information pages for the country(s) you intend to visit or consult your international health insurance company. If your medication is legal, ask your health-care provider to write a letter on office stationery stating the medication has been prescribed for you and for what purpose. If it is not legal, you should work with your health-care provider to prescribe an alternative, legal medication several months prior to departure.
  • If you have a medical condition that is not easily identified (diabetes, epilepsy, severe allergies), obtain and wear a medic alert bracelet while you are abroad and consider translation. Inform your education abroad office, emergency contact, traveling companions, and/or onsite staff or colleagues so they can be prepared in case of an emergency. Be sure to discuss a plan with your health-care provider before you leave home.
  • See additional information on medications when traveling abroad from Mobility International USA.

International Travel Clinics

All international travelers should visit a local travel clinic, in addition to meeting with their primary care physician and any relevant mental health professionals, prior to departure. A travel clinic specialist is trained to consider your health history, current medications, drug allergies, required immunizations, and travel plans when recommending shots and other medications.

Make an appointment at a travel clinic as soon as possible so that you can get a scheduled appointment in time to complete any recommended immunization series. Many travel clinics often book far in advance (especially around the holidays), and some immunizations need to be started months in advance of your departure. Thus, you should call to make your appointment at least three months before your travel date.

Find a travel clinic:

  • Boynton Health Services International Travel Clinic is located on the Twin Cities campus and is open to all UMN students, staff, faculty, and dependents who are 12 years and older. Student services fees cover consults at the clinic; however, prescriptions and immunizations are an additional cost.
  • Travelers can also contact their private U.S. health insurance provider to identify a travel clinic and fully understand their insurance coverage.
  • The Minnesota Department of Health also provides a list of international travel health clinics serving Minnesota residents.
  • The International Society of Travel Medicine (ISTM) provides a listing of its member clinics by state.

International Health Insurance

All students and certain faculty and staff traveling for University purposes are required to obtain international health, security, medical, and evacuation insurance approved by the University’s Office of Risk Management. For more information, visit the Insurance Requirements page.

Faculty and staff covered by the University's Basic Life Insurance plan receive automatic enrollment in Redpoint, a travel-related emergency assistance program. Compare your coverage options.

Mental Health

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Mental Health

UMN Resources

  • Laura Dupont-Jarrett, Assistant Director for Education Abroad Mental Health, is available for faculty and staff training, resources, and consultations on student mental health during education abroad.
  • Mental health resources from the Learning Abroad Center

Resources for Education Abroad Program Leaders

As a program leader, it’s important to attend to student mental health as well as the program content and intercultural learning. Toward that goal, here are several resources that might be helpful to you:

  • Attending to student wellness during study abroad: When you take students abroad, remember that if their basic physiological needs aren’t met, it’ll be difficult for them to attend to their more advanced educational and intercultural goals. Here are some practical ways you can attend to their basic needs.
  • Quick self-care activities: It can be helpful to remind students, when they have a few minutes of free time, to engage in self-care. This can help them regulate their emotional state. This document lists some quick self-care activities.
  • My Self-Care Plan: It’s valuable for students to think deeply about how they’ll take care of themselves emotionally while studying abroad. You might consider asking them to engage in this in-depth planning activity before departure. A new "web app" format allows students to access the information easily on their phones.


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General Resources

Sexual Harassment and Assault

Safety and Education Abroad

Consult the Safety and Education Abroad page for information and resources, including relevant University units, best practices in the field, University policy, and relevant federal and state regulations.