Health and safety abroad
There are many resources available for you to be healthy and safe while you travel abroad. Be sure to talk to one of our professionals in our office for any concerns or questions. We have listed a few great resources below.
The Office of International Programs closely monitors Travel Warnings issued by the US Department of State, and the default position of The University of Akron is to prevent university-related student travel to locations subject to such warnings. However, programs to such countries may also be evaluated on an individual basis.
Students may view Department of State Travel Warnings at http://www.travel.state.gov
Other governments maintain similar travel advisories, which are good resources, as well.
From the Department of State website:
The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service provided by the U.S. Government to U.S. citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country. STEP allows you to enter information about your upcoming trip abroad so that the Department of State can better assist you in an emergency. STEP also allows Americans residing abroad to get routine information from the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
The Department of State also has a downloadable app for Apple and Android users. It’s available here: Free Smart Traveler App
Below are further resources from the US Department of State:
All participants in UA sponsored study abroad programs or international travel are required to purchase international health and emergency insurance through the Office of International Programs (OIP). UA has entered into an agreement with United Health Plans (UHP) to provide such coverage to participants for the duration of their programs abroad at low daily rate. In addition to health care coverage, the UHP policy provides seamless coordination with and coverage of services provided by International SOS (see below). Details of coverage are available here: Evidence of Benefits.
Participants in faculty-directed programs will purchase insurance through their faculty program director as part of the program fee. Individual students must purchase through the OIP website. Click on “Education Abroad Insurance Fee”, use the Insurance Calculator to determine the total insurance fee and complete the order form. Insurance must be purchased no later than one month prior to departure.
Once the purchase has been processed, participants will receive proof of coverage to take with them.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO) and other resources provide health information for international travelers. This includes required and/or recommended vaccinations, Travel Health Warnings, information on outbreaks and information on common travel ailments. Below is a list of such resources:
- CDC: Travelers’ Health
- CDC: Travelers' Diarrhea
- CDC: Sexual Violence Prevention
- Department of State: Health Issues
- International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers: Vaccinations
- WHO: Travel and Health
In instances of outbreaks of disease such as that of SARS in 2003 and H1N1 influenza (“swine flu”) in 2009, students should rely on information from the CDC and WHO, rather than general media, to determine travel safety. In such instances, the Office of International Programs and The University of Akron likewise will monitor this information and, when necessary, make determinations about continued viability and safety of a given education abroad program.
Students can obtain information on English-speaking or other appropriate health care providers from the US consular mission in the host country, and local partners should have it available, as well.