Health Planning & Risks

Students on international programs should be aware that attitudes toward medical conditions, disabilities, and psychological conditions vary by country. These differences may impact the level of treatment and accommodation available abroad. Students should give serious consideration to their health and personal circumstances when accepting a place in a program.

Important Considerations

  • We encourage you to disclose your medical conditions and or accommodation requests at the time of acceptance and no later than four weeks prior to the beginning of the program abroad. With this information, Guarini Institute staff and your faculty director can work with you to ensure that appropriate support is in place to meet your needs throughout the program. Students with medical conditions should also consult with their families and personal physicians for ways to manage their conditions while overseas.
  • The information you provide is considered confidential and will be shared only with those individuals who will need to know.
  • The Guarini Institute will work to assure reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities (e.g. physical, learning, psychiatric, visual or hearing conditions). If you presently require such arrangements, please let us know so that we can work towards making suitable arrangements while you are abroad.
  • If you choose not to request an accommodation, the Guarini Institute may not be able to provide you with arrangements after the start of the program.

General Travel Health and Travel Clinics

As soon as you know the location(s) to which you will be traveling, go to your student Banner page and schedule a Travel Clinic Consult with Dick's House or your personal doctor to discuss any health concerns you may have before going abroad. Plan to do this early, because you may choose to have immunizations that need to be administered several weeks before you leave in order to be effective. Depending on the vaccinations administered, costs can range from $0-$300. Depending on insurance coverage, some or all of the cost of needed vaccincations or medications may be covered by your health insurance plan. Please check with your insurer about coverage prior to receiving services. It is your responsibility to obtain the proper vaccinations.

Physical and Psychological Considerations

Studying abroad can be stressful. Physical or psychological disorders under control at home can become serious under the additional stresses of adjusting to a new culture. If you have a physical or psychological issue that requires ongoing treatment or surveillance by a doctor, you should consult with your physician about the prospect of studying abroad and the consequences of cultural adjustment and different medical practices. If you are concerned about these issues, you are encouraged to speak to your Undergraduate Dean. Undergraduate Deans can advise students about personal matters, mental health concerns, academic policy issues and assist with personal emergencies.

If you have had psychological difficulties currently or in the past, talk with someone at the Counseling Center at Dick's House before embarking on your off-campus program. Consultation with the Counseling Center is confidential, unless you specifically ask that the Guarini Institute be informed. Finally, please notify your faculty director or on-site staff of any illness/medical condition so that they are informed and can help you in case of an emergency.

Alcohol and Drugs Abroad

When traveling internationally, you are subject to the laws of the country you are traveling to. Alcohol and other drug laws will likely depending on where you study abroad. A good resource for learning about local laws and policies in various countries is the US Department of State website.

As you know, even though you are not in Hanover, you are still expected to uphold the Dartmouth Alcohol & Drug Policy at all times while you are away.

Some things to consider when drinking alcohol abroad:

  • Consider how laws regarding alcohol and other drug use vary by country and may be more severe than in the US.
  • Alcohol concentrations might be stronger in some countries. For example, one beer made in Ireland might have a stronger effect on you than the same brand of beer made in the US.

Whether you choose to drink or not, it is important that you stay safe and look out for one another. At Dartmouth we have a culture of taking care of one another. It is important to continue that culture at each of our abroad programs. Be sure to stick together and don’t be afraid to say something to your friend or the local program staff if your friend is engaging in harmful behavior. More information about bystander interventions is available on the Dartmouth Bystander Initiative (DBI) website.

Prescription Drugs

  • Fill all your prescriptions before you leave and make sure you bring a sufficient supply to last during your time overseas plus a few extra days (should you experience travel delays), along with a doctor’s note or the original prescription to avoid problems with customs. 
  • Consider carrying some or all of your prescription medication with you in your carry-on luggage. 
  • Discuss this in advance with your doctor and insurance provider before you go.
  • In most instances, you cannot have prescription medications mailed to you overseas.
  • Be sure to take a copy of the full prescription drug name with you in your hand luggage in case your medication is lost, stolen, or expires.
  • See the website of the embassy for your program location for common prescriptions that are banned from your program location.

Contraception & Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

If you intend to be sexually active overseas, please bring your own supply of contraceptives. Condoms, diaphragms, and other contraceptive devices may be difficult to obtain in certain locations overseas.

Lack of adequate protection in situations where you could contract a sexually transmitted disease can lead to serious complications. If you think that you may have contracted an STD while abroad, please see a doctor immediately. Do not put this visit off because you are unsure or because you are embarrassed.

Medic Alert

If you have specific allergies which are debilitating or life-threatening, or have a medical condition that is not immediately apparent or easily identifiable (such as diabetes, allergies to drugs, epilepsy, etc.), consider wearing a Medic Alert bracelet:

Medic Alert Foundation
2323 Colorado Ave.
Turlock, CA 95382-2018
(800) 432-5378

Also, notify the director of your program, the on-site staff, and friends traveling with you.