Health and Safety Abroad

If you are abroad and experiencing an emergency during office hours (8am-5pm MST), please call the UA Study Abroad front desk at 001-520-626-9211. After hours, please call the UA Police Department at 001-520-621-8273.



  • As part of any Study Abroad application you will be required to visit the UA Campus Health Services (CHS) Travel Clinic before going abroad. The CHS travel nurse will give you information on health concerns for your international destinations as well as recommendations for vaccinations. They generally have any recommended vaccinations available there in the clinic. The UA Travel Clinic is a great resource for all of your general travel health questions. If you are not in Tucson, please visit your local travel clinic before going abroad. See the CDC’s Find a Clinic website for a clinic near you.
  • Learn about your new environment. Is tap water potable? What are common illnesses? You can find International health information through the Centers for Disease Control.
  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and water or carry hand sanitizer if soap is not available.
  • Research local clinics and hospitals. Know where you will go in case of an emergency before you leave the U.S. You may need to find an English-speaking doctor if you do not speak the local language well. Once you have been enrolled (a week or two before you leave for your program) and register for Geo Blue emergency medical insurance, you can access their Destination Dashboard to find the closest medical facilities abroad.
  • Bring all prescription medications in their original bottles and know the generic names in case you need to request refills while abroad. See the Overseas Security Advisory Council advice for traveling with medications.


  • Learn about your new environment. What kind of crime is most common? What other safety hazards do you need to be aware of? See the State Department’s Before You Go website for safety and security information in your destination.
  • Try to blend in as much as possible while in public. By not calling attention to yourself you are more likely to stay safe. See what the locals do and adapt their behaviors. Clothing and behaviors common in the U.S. may be offensive or call too much attention to you in some foreign cultures. While physically it may not be possible to blend in, modifying your behaviors shows respect for local customs.
  • Before travelling internationally, be aware of Department of State travel advisories and Department of State travel resources. Please also register your trip with the State Department's Smart Traveler Program (STEP). Download the Smart Traveler app for iPhone or Android, which provides official country information, travel alerts and travel warnings, U.S. embassy locations and more.
  • Start conservatively. You will be in a new environment with its own unique traffic rules, social protocols, and crime rates. You should spend your first few weeks abroad observing the behaviors of others. Watch when and how locals cross the street. Ask someone you respect where it is okay to walk late at night and where it is not (never alone – always use the buddy system). Once you gain an understanding for your new home, you can then make educated decisions to keep yourself safe.

Managing Health and Safety Incidents

  • Having done your research in advance, you should know of local resources available to you. Do not hesitate to tap into these resources if you are in an emergency.
  • Utilize your local support network. All UA Study Abroad programs provide some form of local support. Contact your on-site exchange coordinator, on-site study abroad director, or UA program lead and let them know what is happening. We can help to refer you to appropriate resources.
  • In the case of extreme emergencies, you should call the local equivalent of 911 if you urgently need to contact someone at the UA, you can call or text Crisis24 24 hours a day Call: +44 1202 937 401 Text: +44 7766 556 078 or the UAPD at +1 (520) 621 – 8273.

UA Study Abroad’s Commitment to Health & Safety

UA Study Abroad has implemented a number of policies to keep UA study abroad students as healthy and safe as possible. We monitor Department of State Travel Advisories as well as our closed-source, private security partner to ensure that students are traveling to safe locations. If students are already studying abroad when a travel warning is announced, those students may need to leave the country.

PLEASE NOTE: Students participating in UA programs are automatically enrolled by our office into GeoBlue emergency medical insurance for the dates of their program. Once enrolled, you will receive an email confirmation with your ID card and plan information to your UA email. It is possible to extend your coverage if you plan to travel outside of your study abroad programs dates, for more information please call (520) 626-9211.

UA Study Abroad has established emergency response plans for study abroad students. We prepare all program leads in a mandatory Health & Safety session each year and provide a handbook for UA program leads that helps guide them through responding to health and safety emergencies abroad. Study Abroad students can also always contact the UA at any time through Crisis24 or the University of Arizona Police Department (see numbers above).

Basic Questions

What steps should I take to protect my health while I'm abroad?

All students participating in a UA study abroad program are invited to complete the optional Study Abroad Health Information Form, which is provided in the online application once you are accepted to your program. This way, program staff will have knowledge of any medical conditions that you wish to disclose to them and they will be better prepared to assist you in an emergency.

Below are some steps that will help you protect your health while you're abroad:

Educate yourself about current health issues where you will be going and regarding available medical services. Please search for information on the country/countries you will be traveling to using the following websites.

Keep a copy of the Health Information Form to take abroad to give to your Resident Director or homestay provider so that they will have this information in the case of an emergency.

If you are a student with a disability requesting accommodations for your study abroad experience, you will need to register with the sponsoring institution's disability resources. If you are attending a UA-sponsored program, please contact Disability Resources at 520-621-3268,

Do I need special vaccinations for my study abroad program?

Consult with Campus Health Service Travel Clinic which will advise you regarding the need for immunizations based on your study abroad destination.

I take special medications. How do I get medicine while I am abroad?

If you require special prescription drugs you must take an adequate supply with you and know how to administer them. You should also carry a copy of the prescriptions, including the generic names for the drugs, and written instructions from your physician in case of emergency. It may also be useful to have a translation of your prescription in the local language. If a medication is unusual, contains narcotics, or is considered a controlled substance, carry a letter from your doctor attesting to your need to take the drug. If you have any doubt about the legality of carrying a certain drug into a country, consult the embassy or consulate of that country first. Pack medications in your carry-on luggage, not your checked bags. It is appropriate to notify your on-site coordinator of any medications you are taking or any special health concerns.

Being properly prepared will make a medical emergency abroad much easier to manage. What is important is understanding your new environment so that you can quickly and effectively manage a medical emergency. The following points will help ensure that you are prepared:

While settling in to your new home abroad, make sure to research contact information for local clinics, hospitals, and emergency services. Keep a card in your wallet filled out with all local and international medical and support service contact information.

If you have any medical conditions, wear a medical bracelet detailing your conditions in the local language.

Your study abroad program will have on-site staff that you can contact in case of questions. In the case of a medical emergency, it may be helpful to contact your on-site staff for their recommendations.

Please see emergency numbers above to request help in a true emergency or contact local staff any time day or night if you need urgent assistance.

U.S. embassies abroad can direct U.S. citizens to medical care in a foreign country. U.S. embassies may also provide additional assistance in cases of severe emergencies.

Does The University of Arizona Code of Conduct apply to me while I am away from campus on a UA study abroad program?

Yes. Although you will be abroad, you are still a University of Arizona student, and as such, you must abide by the UA Code of Conduct. There can be very real consequences for not abiding by the UA Code of Conduct, even when you are traveling independently. Remember that you are an ambassador and representative of the University of Arizona!

Part of the thrill of going abroad is being immersed in a new culture. Every culture has its own cultural norms and social protocols. As you go abroad and your socio-cultural environment changes, your conduct should change as well. Make the effort to adjust to your new environment and adapt many of the behavioral norms of your new home.

Your new home will have its own unique set of laws. Be aware of what is legally acceptable abroad and remember that all UA study abroad students are subject to the laws of their host country. In addition to abiding by the UA Code of Conduct, students must also abide by the UA Code of Academic Integrity. Please remember that the UA Dean of Students Office can take disciplinary action against students who violate the Code while abroad.

If you are traveling with students, always fill out an Incident Report form after an emergency or during a minor incident. If you do not receive a prompt reply to an urgent incident, call the Study Abroad office during business hours. If it is after hours and the incident is life-threatening or involves a student arrest, call or text Crisis24 after hours; Call: +44 1202 937 401 Text: +44 7766 556 078 or the UAPD at +1 (520) 621-8273 (UAPD).

Emergency Planning

Each Program Lead should review the Program Risk Assessment Questionnaire and create an emergency plan with the following information:

Health Care

Prior to departure, work with Geo Blue, UA Study Abroad or U.S. Embassy in country to locate and identify nearest and reputable:

  • Hospitals
  • Clinics

Encourage students who need the following services to talk to their UA Study Abroad coordinator and/or use the Geo Blue Destination Dashboard to locate:

  • Mental Health Professionals (English speaking), and
  • Specialists for specific disclosed medical conditions, (English speaking).

Communication Procedures

Develop clear protocol that maps out program staff responsibilities before program begins. Answer questions such as the following:

  • If a student is hospitalized and the group must travel who will stay with him or her and who will proceed with the group?
    • The highest ranking UA representative (usually the Program Lead) needs to stay with the student in the most vulnerable situation with very few exceptions.
  • In the case of a disciplinary issue, the Program Lead should address the issue with the student and the University.

Fire Considerations

Many countries do not mandate fire alarms or fire suppression systems. Be sure to verify their availability and plan accordingly. Are fire escapes available and accessible? In many cases it’s best to arrange for lodging in lower floors where there accessible exits. Take into consideration any mobility or other disability-related needs when arranging housing. Always memorize where the closest exits are for any building in which you and the students live, study or enter.

Determine Points of Rendezvous

In the case that technology (cell phones, internet) fail, pre-determine where a group will meet up in case of an emergency (in housing, on excursions, et cetera).

Travel with Student Information

Be sure to have hard copies with you, for each participant:

  • Geo Blue insurance information
  • Passport information (in UAbroad)
  • Health Information Form (if the student has submitted one)

Pre-departure & In-country Briefings

Students must complete an online pre-departure orientation. All programs must also hold an in-person pre-departure session, followed by an in-country session. Specific program expectations and policies should be presented both prior to departure and upon arrival. We recommend the following topics:

  • Emergency procedures and rendezvous points
  • In-country support, how to get a hold of you after hours, or who they should contact if you are incapacitated
  • General safety with money and valuables
  • General and unique safety concerns (e.g. fire safety, political demonstrations, or climatic conditions)
  • Unique cultural aspects of the program country or countries
  • Social media concerns – we recommend reminding students not to post their whereabouts on social media and never to share information about ongoing emergencies
  • Avoiding and handling sexual harassment (noting social and gender norms)
  • STEP registration
  • Contact information for all support staff, local emergency services, et cetera (enter important numbers into phones)

UA Code of Conduct

Students are still bound by the UA Student Code of Conduct while on UA Study Abroad Programs. Please be sure to review the manual, found at this link: UA Student Code of Conduct.

Remind students of this during pre-departure and in-country information sessions.


Alcohol and Drugs

Leads should never provide alcohol or drugs to students, promote the consumption of either or become intoxicated while traveling with students regardless of student presence in the immediate vicinity. If you suspect students are abusing alcohol or drugs, address the behavioral issues immediately according to the UA Student Code of Conduct and reach out immediately to Study Abroad and/or the Dean of Students.

Missing Student

If there are any concerns that a student is missing, follow Incident/Emergency Response Steps distributed at the Health & Safety sessions and begin immediate notification procedures. While local authorities may require a waiting period, you do not need to wait 24 hours to contact UA Study Abroad if you suspect a student is missing.

Medical and Mental Health

Students may have concerns about discrimination and stigmas associated with mental or medical illness. Always use discretion but encourage open disclosure to provide adequate support and preparation for the student in the program. Please maintain confidentiality within the student group.

Prior to departure, invite students to complete a Health Information form found in UAbroad and distributed at Health & Safety sessions.

Advise students traveling with medications to:

  • Memorize their medications and dosages;
  • Travel with a written prescription for the generic name;
  • Have medications translated into the appropriate language(s);
  • Verify that the medication is legal and available in the destination;
  • Travel with medications in original prescription bottles, with name; and
  • Bring extra medication to allow for delays of up to a week

Any disclosed medical/mental health conditions, diagnoses, and/or concerns must be addressed in pre-departure planning. Discuss and review any medical and mental health considerations and planning with the UA Study Abroad coordinator assigned to your program.

Hospitalization of a Participant

Students should never be left in a hospital without a UA representative. In program planning and preparation determine who would stay in the hospital with the student and who would manage the student group. Generally, the highest-ranking UA representative should stay with the student and not support staff unless the student makes this request in writing. Do not plan on using student participants in either role. Consult with UA Study Abroad if there are any concerns.

Transportation and Road Safety

Due diligence is expected in procuring safe transportation for students while on study abroad programs. Always use reliable transportation providers and request seat belts. If seat belts or other safety features are unavailable, consult with the UA Study Abroad coordinator assigned to your program.

Always consider road safety when determining routes of travel. Travel during the day is generally safer than at night. Due to road conditions and safety precautions, you may need to confine travel to daylight hours in some locations. Review routes of travel to identify any roads that may have frequent accidents and hazards.


It is generally best to request accommodations closest to exits and on the lower floors. It is also important to consider risks of natural disasters, fires, and rates of crime in determining safety considerations with lodging. Discuss crime and safety concerns with your coordinator. Once at the lodging, verify that these exit points are accessible and not blocked off. Make sure students know where to exit the building and group rendezvous point.

While planning for accommodations, identify any possible deviations from general safety standards, including (but not limited to) smoke detectors, fire exits, good locks on doors and windows, et cetera.

Student Free Time

  • Program leads and/or TAs are expected to have a general knowledge of student whereabouts and activities at all times during the program. Have students fill out Emergency Contact and Independent Travel form if they will be traveling independently.
  • Encourage students to travel or go out in groups or at least pairs. Discourage students from leaving anyone behind, especially if they are consuming alcohol.
  • Leads should share with students and UA Study Abroad expectations of any travel restrictions to certain locations due to safety concerns, including activity related to political, weather, or crime patterns.
  • In locations of higher risk, it is a best to limit student free time. This can be done by filling the schedule with program-related events outside of formal class time, including evenings and weekends.


The following are best practices for both faculty and students:

  • Travel with extra cash, no less than $100, stashed in a safe place (not on their person unless you are traveling to a new location)
  • Keep emergency cash in fresh bills, in a variety of denominations
  • Review safety measures when withdrawing funds from ATMs
  • Always notify banks and credit cards of travel to prevent blocks on accounts
  • Travel with at least one extra credit card, in case an account becomes blocked or debit cards are not accepted (this is often the case in hospitals)
  • Create a “throw wallet” with a little cash and an old credit card to give to or throw at potential attackers
  • Separate your assets. Consider placing money, credit cards, passports, et cetera in different secure locations


Study Abroad Leads and TAs acting within reason and without negligence, consulting with UA Study Abroad, and following UA Study Abroad guidance, receive liability coverage.

Communication with Parents

Occasionally, if you have first-hand information and a student is not able to speak directly to their Emergency Contact or parent about an incident, you may need to communicate with them. However, whenever possible, defer communication with parents directly to student and UA Study Abroad. If you speak with a parent, obtain their contact information to relay to UA Study Abroad. Inform the parent that UA Study Abroad will get in touch with him/her.

Termination from the Program

Termination is always a last-resort. The program lead is expected to always contact UA Study Abroad for guidance and support prior to dismissal. If students are displaying problematic or worrisome behavior, UA Study Abroad will work with Leads to seek assistance from the Dean of Students, CAPS and/or in-country mental health resources.

Whenever possible, provide a verbal and written warning to student in the case of egregious behavior prior to dismissal.

Leads are able to immediately send a student home (without prior warning) if he/she poses an immediate danger to him/herself or others and refuses help. If a student displaying worrisome behavior refuses treatment and (s)he poses a danger to him/herself or others and/or it is advised by a mental health professional that the student is not able to continue in the program, the Program Lead should request the student leave the program. Program Leads are expected to assist students with appropriate arrangements to leave the country. If a student is terminated from a program and refuses to leave the country, they must not attend any programmatic activities or associate with other students remaining on the program. If a student refuses to voluntarily leave, Study Abroad will work with program leads, on the ground support and may contact local law enforcement as a last resort for support.

Have students directly contact their emergency contact to notify them of termination from a program. If this is not possible, coordinate with UA Study Abroad to determine who should contact the student’s emergency contact.

Reporting Incidents and Emergencies

Arizona International will maintain procedures for international incident reporting and coordinate federal Clery Act Reporting with UAPD and discrimination or harassment incidents with appropriate UA units. Study Abroad or International Travel will initiate emergency notifications on campus and coordinate UA response.

An incident is a non-life-threatening occurrence, but that requires the involvement of local authorities or medical professionals, and/or is of a disciplinary nature. Program Leads are expected to report to Study Abroad any and all incidents, whether directly witnessed or reported to them by a third party. This should occur as soon as possible (within 24 hours), after an initial assessment of the situation and the situation is stabilized.

You are required to report all incidents online using the Incident Response Form and via email to International Travel and the appropriate Study Abroad coordinator. You may also call Study Abroad directly at (520) 626-9211. If impossible to directly report within 24 hours, maintain thorough documentation of events and provide the report to Study Abroad as soon as possible.

An emergency is a life-threatening or potentially life-threatening event that requires immediate response. Examples of emergencies are: life-threatening injury or illness (generally requiring hospitalization), death, kidnapping, extortion, involvement in a violent crime, arrest or detainment, missing student(s), civil unrest or natural disaster that requires evacuation, and/or life-threatening disease outbreak.

Responses to an emergency must occur swiftly. Your first priority is to quickly assess the situation, gathering as much information as possible and to stabilize the situation. Always remember to address the safety of those directly involved and then the rest of the group. Maintain calm and order by providing the group clear instructions.

As soon as possible contact Crisis24, the UA's private security provider at the following numbers:

  • Call: +44 1202 937 401
  • Text: +44 7766 556 078

If you do not have the Crisis24 numbers handy, please commit to memory the number of UA Police: (520) 621-8273(UAPD), who can reach Arizona International staff 24/7.

When calling about an emergency, always provide at least two ways to reach you, in case the call is dropped.

Reporting under the University's Nondiscrimination and Anti-harassment Policy and Clery Act

Reporting Discrimination and Harassment

The University Prohibits discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity and genetic information. In alignment with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the University of Arizona prohibits all forms of sex discrimination, including sexual harassment, sexual violence, such as sexual assault, interpersonal violence and stalking.

Faculty are responsible for promptly reporting any concerns regarding discrimination and harassment to the Office of Institutional Equity. Students should be advised of your reporting obligation, so they can determine the extent of the information they wish to disclose. If a student reports sexual violence, discrimination or harassment, inform them that you are non-confidential and must report the name of the alleged perpetrator(s), the student(s) affected, as well as the relevant facts, once they are disclosed to you. Inform the student that there are confidential reporting options including CAPS and Survivor Advocacy. Advise students that when a non-confidential report is made they will be contacted to be provided with resources, information and options, but it is their decision whether they want to file a complaint and/or utilize resources. All UA employees traveling with students are expected to provide support for any UA student victims and participate in any subsequent investigations.

All UA employees traveling with students are required to have completed mandatory Preventing Harassment and Discrimination training, available at this link,

Clery Act: Crime Reporting

The Department of Education requires that all U.S. universities request reports from local police jurisdictions regarding crimes perpetrated on any property rented to or contracted by a university for any purposes involving students for three days or longer. For this purpose, an email confirming reservations constitutes a “contract”. In order to comply with this federal regulation, you must fill out the Clery form when you know where you and the students will be housed and any other buildings where program activities will be held if the spaces are reserved by you or any other University employee. You may fill out this form before or after the program is over. When making your arrangements, as possible, specify in your reservations the dates and times of UA control.

If you are working with an approved vendor, you are not required to report this information. We recommend that you consult with either UA Study Abroad or International Travel for further details.

The properties described above include, but are not limited to: hotels, apartments, classrooms, or any other rented public or private spaces.

Health and Insurance

General Safety

U.S. Department of State resources

Traveling Abroad with Medications

* If you are a student with a disability requesting accommodations for your study abroad experience, you will need to register with the sponsoring institution's disability resources. If you are attending a UA-sponsored program, please contact the UA Disability Resource Center at 520-621-3268,

Diversity and Inclusion