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Safety during study abroad

The safety of Tulane students is an integral part of the mission of the Office of Study Abroad. Tulane takes great care to select and continuously monitor the programs in our portfolio, using such resources as the U.S. State Department, the International SOS Traveler’s Assistance Program, various news outlets and the Tulane Office of Insurance and Risk Management. During the pre-departure orientation programming, OSA staff advises students on how to take responsibility for their safety while abroad by using these same resources to stay informed of the general security status of the host country, aware of their specific surroundings and attuned to situations that have the potential to be unsafe. All students register for the International SOS program, which provides up-to-date information about travel security conditions in locations around the world. Students are advised to pay close attention to unfamiliar surroundings, keep others informed of their plans and schedules, and to avoid risky behavior that may impair their awareness and ability to protect themselves. Just as students have access to a support system while in New Orleans, they will have access to staff in their host country who can assist them if necessary.

Potential instability or an extreme weather event in a study abroad location?

The Office of Study Abroad works closely with other offices on campus and with host staff abroad to act quickly and monitor carefully in the event of an emergency abroad. Every student is required to have International SOS, which provides medical, personal, travel and security advice and assistance. In the case of an emergency, International SOS may be contracted to provide emergency medical care or evacuation and security assistance, which includes evacuation in the event that it is determined that a student security is threatened by any political instability or civil unrest.

Health Insurance

Tulane students must demonstrate adequate health coverage both in the U.S. and in their host country while studying abroad. To demonstrate health coverage in the U.S. students must complete the same annual on-campus waiver process they complete every year they are enrolled at Tulane. For overseas insurance, students and families are urged to explore their options and understand fully how they are insured during the period they study abroad. Students must complete a declaration form indicating to the Office of Study Abroad indicating how they will be covered abroad. It is possible that the student’s domestic health insurance may cover them while abroad; the student can contact the provider to make that determination. In the case that they are not covered while abroad, Tulane works with HTH insurance to provide international coverage. Additionally, some program providers and host universities require a particular kind of insurance as a condition of enrollment. Because the method a student may secure health insurance while abroad varies, based on the program provider, the host institution or host country, students should research their options so that they can make an informed decision.

Preparing for study abroad with a medical condition

Most medical conditions are completely manageable while abroad and simply require a bit of preparation and planning so that they do not interfere with the student’s experience. If a student has a pre-existing medical condition, they should speak with their physician in order to develop a plan for their time abroad. Here is a list of questions to discuss with a health care provider prior to studying abroad:

  • How do you import prescription medication into the host country or identify the most suitable alternative that is available in the host country?
  • Can the physician consult with you over the phone or email if necessary?
  • Should you find a local physician to help monitor the condition regularly while abroad?
  • Are there local issues that may exacerbate the condition? Excessive sun? Allergens?
  • Does the potential host city have the resources and infrastructure so that you may find the necessary care while there?

If the student receives accommodations from the Center for Student Accessibility at Tulane, we will work with the student to identify a suitable program that can accommodate their needs.

Our approved programs have procedures in place to ensure that students have access to adequate healthcare, whether their medical condition is new or old. Furthermore, while it does not provide health insurance, International SOS can assist in finding local medical professionals (English-speaking, if necessary). The Office of Study Abroad recommends that students stay informed about health conditions and risks in their host country while taking necessary preventative measures to stay healthy.