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Health & Safety
The health and safety of WKU students, faculty and staff while they are studying or teaching abroad are of the utmost importance for everyone at WKU. In order for study abroad programs to be successful in this regard, certain steps must be taken prior to departure and while abroad to maintain both the health and safety of everyone involved.
Academic Health Plans (AHP) study abroad medical insurance is mandatory for WKU students studying abroad on a WKU program.
AHP study abroad medical insurance will be in effect ONLY while you are outside the U.S., during your approved program dates. If you plan to travel before or after the approved dates, you will need to notify SAGL and make arrangements for additional health insurance coverage.
The Study Abroad Office will determine the method of payment and amount
based upon the duration of your program. If the cost of insurance is not included
in your program cost, SAGL will post a charge to your TOPNET account.
- Academic Health Plans - premiums and brochure
Strategies on Reducing Risks
All activities, whether around the corner or around the globe, inherently involves risk. Traveling abroad involves higher levels of risk do to many factors. Preparing strategies to reduce risk is the responsibility of everyone involved; WKU, your instructors and program leaders, your family, and of course you ... the student. You will be the one to make the decision that will help keep you safe and make your study abroad program a worthwhile adventure. This link provide information on recognizing and reducing risks. While not the only source, it does bring together many perspectives and proven practices on staying safe.
- The Center for Global Education - Study Abroad Manual
Getting ready to go!
WKU's Health Services has a travel clinic designed to prepare you for travel outside the U.S. The immunization clinic is designed to assist travelers in receiving the correct immunizations before leaving the country. The clinic provides health tips for international travelers and answers health related travel questions.
Here are some tips on health matters for studying abroad:
• Consult with your physician about any recommended inoculations or medications. The CDC's website is very helpful for information on traveler's health.
• Inform the program director or professor about all medical conditions. You may think that it is irrelevant to your study abroad program, but traveling abroad can affect people in different ways. If you happen to need medical attention, it is important that your program director/professor can tell the medical personnel the information that they need to know.
• If you regularly take medication, it is recommended that you carry a sufficient amount with you in their original containers when you travel abroad. Medications may be different from or difficult to find in other countries. However, please check with the embassy or consulate of the country you will be visiting to make sure that the drugs you will be taking are not considered illegal in that country.
• Pack vitamins, a first aid kit and stomach relief medicine. If the water source is questionable, drink bottled water and avoid ice in other drinks.
WKU is committed to the safety of students, faculty and staff who are participating in WKU study abroad programs. Should an emergency occur, we have procedures that we will follow to make sure our response is immediate and appropriate. All participants should attend a study abroad orientation prior to departure for more detailed information regarding emergency contacts and procedures. Below are some tips for making a study abroad experience a safe one.
• Make copies of your passport, entry visa (if applicable), credit cards, insurance claim forms (if applicable), travel itinerary and plane tickets (if you have paper tickets) and leave them with a responsible person at home. Keep another copy with you but separate from the originals in case they are lost or stolen.
• Carry emergency contact information with you when possible.
• Be vigilant with your bags and belongings. Keep them close in public spaces.
• Put money in a zippered or buttoned pocket if possible. Consider purchasing a money belt to carry documents and money underneath clothing.
• Avoid traveling alone. If you must travel alone, make sure that someone knows where you are going and when you will arrive at your destination or return.
• Dress to fit in with the locals if possible. Avoid standing out or wearing expensive jewelry.