Health & Safety

When you study abroad, you embark on one of the great adventures of your life. With some forethought and a little planning, you can help ensure that your study abroad experience will deliver the adventure and education you want.

Before you go…

  • Consider your preparedness for life in another country
  • Assess your physical and mental health
  • See your health care practitioners
  • Know the demands and resources of the program
  • Know your insurance

Be prepared, though: life abroad is different from life at home—that’s one of the reasons why you’re doing it. Travel and living in foreign cultures can be demanding emotionally, intellectually, and physically.

Some people believe that travel to other countries will allow them to leave their worries behind and start with a clean slate. We believe firmly that study abroad is a transformative experience. But we also know from our own experience that you do not leave your whole self behind when you go abroad.

You should ask yourself whether you are truly ready for the emotional work involved in an extended stay in another country. 
Do not expect to solve problems or deal with personal issues by leaving them behind. If you have any doubts about this, or if you have had emotional or psychological problems, it is very important that you consult with a mental health professional before studying abroad to discuss the potential stress of life overseas.

Boston University does not employ health care professionals at our sites abroad and cannot guarantee access to the level of mental health treatment you expect at home.

Similarly, if you suffer from a chronic physical condition, you should consult with your physician before making the decision to study abroad. We cannot guarantee access to the same kind of medical care or medications you are used to at home.

Please make the program staff aware of any medical issues or disabilities, so that we may better make any necessary arrangements and advise you regarding conditions and resources abroad.

In addition, check your health insurance policy, whether it is provided by your school or by your parents, to see what coverage it provides while you are outside the United States. In most cases, you will be expected to pay in cash for any medical services provided while abroad and seek reimbursement later from your insurance company.