Health and Safety Abroad
The health, wellness, and safety of our students is our highest priority. Individuals attending programs in different countries should be aware that their host countries may bring on different physical and mental health challenges. This may include culture shock as you adjust to your new environment which is completely normal.
The following resources are available for study abroad students to review and incorporate into their study abroad plans to ensure they have a healthy, safe, and memorable experience.
Emergency Abroad? Please contact the following:
- Faculty Led Program: Contact the Faculty Leader leading your group.
- Exchange or Third Party Program: Contact the emergency contact at your host program or university.
- OIP: You may always call our office during business at (973) 761-9072 or Public Safety outside of business hours at (973)761-9300 (ask to speak to OIP).
Studying and living within a new country will expose students to different physical conditions. It may take some time to get used to these new conditions and the stress that comes with being in a new environment. It is important for students to prepare ahead of time to ensure they know how to take care of themselves in case of an emergency or an illness.
Before going abroad, speak with your doctor about:
- Any required and recommended vaccinations for your destination
- The physical environment and the activities planned within your host country, and how that may impact any existing health conditions you may have (asthma, allergies, etc.)
- How to manage your health while in your host country. Note that movement within your host country may include exposure to varying temperatures, as well as prolonged walking on unlevel surfaces, such as cobblestone streets.
- How to keep track of any health concerns or warning signs that may appear
- What medications you may need while abroad for a prolonged period
- Your doctor may assist you in finding alternative medications to your usual prescription in case it is not available or permitted within your host country.
It is important to also obtain copies of your medical histories/records from your general practitioner to have accessible while living within your host country.
Visit our COVID-19 Announcements page to remain updated about the travel policies by country. Certain host countries may have different vaccination requirements than the United States.
All study abroad students must possess an international health insurance plan that covers the minimum requirements within the study abroad application. Third party programs often provide health insurance, so review the website of the program provider to familiarize yourself with the policy and obtain a new health insurance card.
International health insurance is included in the cost of all Seton Hall-run study abroad programs. If your non-Seton Hall program does not provide international health insurance, GeoBlue Insurance offers medical and emergency coverage abroad, with a discounted rate for Seton Hall students. Exchange and Third-Party students are required to register for GeoBlue Insurance if their programs do not provide insurance. This policy can be purchased for a rate of $2.50 a day and provides coverage for emergency medical costs and evacuation services in case of a medical emergency, political crises, and natural disasters. GeoBlue also provides global health and safety services. Click here to see the coverage details for GeoBlue.
Contact OIP for Group Access information and for any questions.
Study abroad students should keep in mind that the environment of their host country has different factors that may impact their mental health, including new living conditions that require a different routine, certain dietary changes, and interactions in another culture and language. Being distanced from your support network may heighten feelings of homesickness and stress.
Making a game plan to take care of yourself and your mental health ahead of time will help make the transition to your host country easier and enjoyable. Certain resources, such as check-in appointments and access to certain medications, may not be available while you are abroad. If you are currently receiving mental health treatment, it is recommended to discuss your plans and choice of host country with your health care practitioner. Counseling and Psychological Services at Seton Hall (CAPS) are also available to consult about your wellness preparations for your program.
Campus & International Resources
- Seton Hall offers multiple mental health counseling and crisis services that are accessible in the following ways:
- CAPS can be found in Mooney Hall Room 27. An on-call counselor can be reached at (973) 761-9500. Their office hours are Monday-Friday 8:45 a.m.-4:45 p.m.
- Seton Hall offers a Mental Health Crisis Hotline at (973) 275-HELP (4357). This hotline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- The CDC offers a further list of considerations for travelers to keep in mind before, during, and after their trip about maintaining their mental health.
- GeoBlue Travel Insurance, the international health insurance policy used for students studying abroad, offers telehealth and remote counseling services. Further information is available to students registered for GeoBlue.
- Global TeleMD is a smartphone app accessible to those registered with GeoBlue insurance, providing a global network of doctors available for virtual appointments and medical guidance.
- Global Wellness Assist is an international program accessible to students, faculty, and staff traveling around the world, offering confidential and free assistance regarding mental health issues.
Exploring your host country through your study abroad program will bring you more excitement and fun experiences beyond the classroom. However, it is important to remain vigilant during your travels. Remember that maintaining your safety is paramount to enjoying your time within your host country. Below are certain tips and basics you should remember throughout the stages of your program.
- Familiarize yourself with the United States Embassy within your host country and the State Department's information for student travelers.
- Leave copies of your documents with your family at home – scan your passport and have a digital copy for you and your family's records.
- Provide a copy of the study abroad program itinerary and your program’s contact information with your family so they know how to reach you and your program coordinator.
- Learn emergency contact information within your host country, including for ambulances, fire, and poison control.
- Become familiar with the health care system and the nearby pharmacies close to your local residence.
- Provide the address of your local residence to your family, study abroad program, the Office of International Programs, and the STEP program.
- Keep a copy of your passport and important information at your local address in case it is lost or stolen.
- If you plan to travel outside of your host city or country, update your family and study abroad program. Some programs may require you to notify them of any trips outside of the scheduled itinerary.
- Always travel with a working phone and charger.
- Always stay hydrated – drinking water will help you to maintain your physical and mental health, especially in new environments.
- Act with common sense, as you would at home – be aware of your surroundings and your belongings while travelling in crowded places (marketplaces, public transportation, tourist sites), and unfamiliar areas of cities.
- Avoid civil disturbances and public demonstrations.
- When traveling through unfamiliar areas, make sure to move in small groups.
- Take note of how locals dress to avoid drawing attention as a tourist.
- Do not leave your bag unattended or hanging on the back of a chair; keep your possessions in front of you and consider wearing a crossbody bag.
Living in a new country surrounded by a different culture brings new opportunities to learn and develop your perspective as a global citizen. However, as you transition into living in this new environment, you may experience "culture shock," or a feeling of dislocation and unease.
To help identify culture shock and recognize what you need in this coping stage, keep in mind the various symptoms you may experience, such as:
- Feelings of discomfort, self-doubt, irritation, and frustration, as well as a loss of humor.
- Withdrawing to spend time by yourself and avoiding interactions with others.
- A general negative perspective towards the local people and culture of your host country.
- A sudden change in eating and drinking habits, accompanied by a sense of boredom or fatigue.
Reaching the final adjustment period within your new surroundings will be easier if you identify what coping strategies may help you, such as the ones below:
- Recognize that this confusion and frustration is part of living within a new culture and location.
- Try to learn the new culture and language and explore the local sights.
- Develop new friendships and relationships, as well as stay in contact with your support network back home.
- Take part in a hobby or activity that reminds you of home.
Try to maintain an open mind during your program. These new changes and surroundings can be frustrating and exciting. Take advantage of the new opportunities and experiences available to you within your host country and city.
Seton Hall aims to provide a safe environment for all members of its community. Sexual assault, sexual harassment, or sexual misconduct are stringently against the mission of the University and its core values.
If you experience sexual misconduct while abroad, victims should first alert local law enforcement within their host country to report the crime and to seek medical attention. Seton Hall students are also advised to inform the Title IX office and to review its site concerning sexual misconduct policies and resources following this traumatic experience. Furthermore, students should reach out to Health Services, available here.
A guide developed by the Overseas Security Advisory Council provides directions for students on dealing with sexual misconduct and how to respond to an incident.