Health & Safety Information
The Office of Global Opportunities (OGO) and Ohio University consider your safety to be one of the most important aspects of your global experience. This page has comprehensive information about OGO’s processes and procedures.
To support you on your program, OGO:
- Requires you to have a cell phone capable of making and receiving international calls while abroad.
- Requires you to attend OGO’s Bobcats Abroad Orientation, including a mandatory Health & Safety presentation.
- Maintains a 24-hour emergency line with a staff member on-call at all times.
- Monitors security information, International SOS updates, and U.S. Department of State advisories daily.
- Facilitates the OHIO Study Abroad Risk Assessment Committee, which reviews sites, incidents, and travel risks.
- Requires OHIO program directors to file an Emergency Plan prior to departure, which includes the program itinerary and local addresses of housing, hospitals, police, fire, and additional emergency contacts.
- Distributes an International SOS card to you (see below for more information).
- Requires U.S. citizens to register in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) through the U.S. Department of State and encourages international students to seek similar support from their home countries.
- Enrolls you in mandatory international health insurance for the duration of your time abroad.
Preparing for your program
There will always be risks associated with travel, even within the United States. To minimize risk, learn about your host destination and have a plan of action if an incident occurs. Consider the following as you prepare for your program.
Before you go:
- Research your program’s location by visiting travel.state.gov and using the International SOS website for information on security, entry/exit requirements, and potential risk factors.
- Research recommendations for health, including vaccinations and immunizations in your host country at cdc.gov/travel. If needed, visit the Campus Care Travel Clinic for a travel consultation to review and obtain necessary immunizations, prophylactic medications (such as malaria medications), and information on appropriate health and safety concerns prior to traveling abroad. Make sure you’re up to date on routine vaccinations as well.
- Ensure you have enough of any prescriptions for the length of your program. Use International SOS to check the legality of any prescriptions in your host country. Bring copies of your written prescriptions abroad.
- U.S. citizens should follow the instructions in your application to enroll in Smart Travel Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP registers your travel with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your host country, so that they can be a resource if needed. Non-U.S. citizens should contact the embassy of their home country to find out about services offered.
- Attend the mandatory Bobcats Abroad Conference sessions and any other pre-departure orientations for your program. Research international cell phone plans to ensure you meet OHIO’s cell phone requirements. Options include adding an international plan to your current line, purchasing a local phone or SIM card, or renting a phone. Consult your program director or provider to determine the recommended option.
- Maintain your health. Being in a new culture or place can be tiring, so it is important to take care of yourself! Do what you would do at home to stay mentally and physically healthy such as exercising, journaling, and taking prescribed medications. Be familiar with symptoms of culture shock and seek help if you are experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety (engaging in risky behavior, personality changes, more or less sleep than usual, lack of personal hygiene, excess fatigue, recurring and overwhelming feelings of sadness and hopelessness). In an emergency, you can also contact OHIO Counseling and Psychological Services at ohio.edu/student-affairs/counseling or +1 740-593-1616.
In Case of Emergency
During an emergency, contact local resources such as your program director, onsite support staff or local emergency services. If you need to reach the Office of Global Opportunities during an emergency, please call +1 740 593 4583. To reach International SOS during an emergency, call +1 215-942-8478.
- International SOS is a premier global services provider. OHIO contracts with International SOS to provide assistance with a medical emergency, personal, travel, legal, and/or security issues. One phone call connects you to a network of multilingual staff, including security analysts, doctors, nurses and mental health professionals. Services range from telephone advice and referrals to full-scale medical evacuations.
- Visit www.internationalsos.com before you depart and enter OHIO membership number 11BTTA887908 to sign up for security email alerts and updates for your host destination(s). Additionally, we strongly recommend you download the “ISOS Assistance App” to your smart phone.
- International SOS works with OGO’s international health insurance. If you need to seek non-emergency medical attention, call International SOS first through the “ISOS Assistance App” or at +1 215-942-8478. International SOS will check what providers are available and arrange for guarantee of payment when possible. In most cases, this means that you will not need to pay for services out-of-pocket. In some instances when a provider will not accept International SOS’ guarantee of payment, you may have to pay for services up front and seek reimbursement at a later date (OGO can support this process). Other services include medical advice and referrals to full-scale medical evacuations by private air ambulance. In case of medical emergency, dial the local equivalent to 911 or travel to a hospital immediately.
International health insurance is offered through Gallagher (Chubb Insurance). The program is mandatory and all OHIO students participating in an international experience are required to be registered for this international insurance policy. The policy provides comprehensive coverage, including emergency health insurance, medical repatriation, medical and security evacuation, and more.
- The cost of this policy is covered by OHIO. There is no additional charge to students traveling on OHIO’s international programs.
- Please see the Gallagher brochure for OHIO travel here.
- This coverage is for international travel and study only and does not cover you while in the U.S. It does not replace your domestic health insurance plan such as the Ohio University Injury and Sickness Insurance Plan.
- Student Accessibility Services (SAS) and OGO may be able to help you find a program that suits your health and safety needs. Disclose any accessibility needs early using the Office of Global Opportunities Accessibility Accommodation Request Form (contact OGO for support).
- WellTrack: a self-guided interactive online therapy program. WellTrack is free and confidential to Ohio University students. Details regarding WellTrack can be found: https://www.ohio.edu/student-affairs/counseling/welltrack
- Travel Care Clinic: Campus Care works with students traveling abroad for school related study, business, or pleasure to prepare students for a safe, healthy travel experience. A travel consultation allows for reviewing and providing necessary immunizations, prophylactic medications, and educating the student on appropriate health and safety concerns prior to traveling abroad. More information can be found at: https://www.ohio.edu/medicine/community-health/campus-care/travel.cfm
- U.S. Department of State Travel Information
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention: Travelers Health
Bobcats Abroad pre-departure orientation
OGO addresses health and safety in a mandatory session at the Bobcats Abroad Conference, a required pre-departure orientation for all students participating in global programs. This conference provides students with valuable information about international travel, safety, student conduct guidelines, and perceptions of Americans abroad. The Bobcats Abroad Conference includes other sessions on culture and identity, tips for travelers, and more. Information presented is not site- specific. The program director or provider will conduct site/program-specific orientation(s). Please contact your program director or provider if you have specific health and safety concerns.