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. Here are some considerations and resources to help ensure a safe and healthy adventure.
Before You Go
1. Assess your physical and mental health
Please make us aware of any medical issues or disabilities well in advance of the program, so that we may advise you regarding conditions and resources abroad as well as the process for requesting academic or disability accommodations, if applicable.
2. Know the demands and resources of the program
3. See your health care practitioners; ensure you have proper vaccinations
4. Know your insurance
Health Insurance and Evacuation Coverage
All students participating in a BU Study Abroad program must have comprehensive health insurance coverage valid at their destinations, as well as emergency travel assistance to cover medical and security evacuation. Students must retain their existing health insurance: study abroad insurance does NOT replace comprehensive, US-based health insurance as required by Massachusetts and US law. You may not participate in BU Study Abroad programs without certifying that you have US-based coverage or are purchasing the BU Student Health Plan.
Comprehensive health and evacuation coverage is automatically provided through GeoBlue for students participating in most programs. The GeoBlue policy provides primary coverage to a limit of $100,000 for most medical costs, with no deductibles or copayments.
The coverage provided by GeoBlue for students in Australia and Switzerland provides a medical coverage limit of $1,000,000, in accordance with those countries’ laws.
Students participating in fall and spring programs in Auckland, New Zealand have a host country insurance plan as required by law there. This plan is included in the program fee and has been determined to provide coverage comparable to plans sponsored by BU Study Abroad. In addition, students in the Auckland programs are also provided with a plan through GeoBlue which provides medical and security evacuation coverage, as well as limited medical coverage up to $10,000.
Coverage normally begins one day before the program’s official start date and ends one day after the program’s official end date.
Safety Information and Planning
With over 40 years’ experience running Study Abroad programs, you and your families can feel secure that Boston University has the plans, procedures, and expertise in place to handle daily safety and security needs as well as emergency situations.
Emergency Contact Information
Boston University Study Abroad staff members are always happy to talk to students and parents about health, safety, and security overseas. Once accepted into a program, you will receive local emergency contact information. Below are Boston contact numbers.
BU Study Abroad
9 a.m.–5 p.m. EST
617-594-3215 (after-hours emergency number)
Boston University Police
617-353-2121 (emergencies only)
Boston University Study Abroad health and safety protocols and procedures.
- Boston University Study Abroad’s Safety Management Team is in regular contact with the resident staff at each Study Abroad program site. Students and parents are also provided with 24-hour contact phone numbers for both resident staff and Boston staff. The Boston staff includes two full-time health, safety, and security officers.
- Boston and resident staff members monitor announcements from the US Department of State and other sources daily, and receive all Travel Warnings and Advisories from the US State Department, the British and Foreign Commonwealth Office, and other relevant official and private organizations.
- As the first in-country responders, resident staff members at each site are in regular contact with their respective US Embassy or local US Consulate, and with local authorities. These entities are provided with information about the BU Study Abroad program, staff, facilities, and students.
- Resident staff at each site have up-to-date local contingency plans that follow and complement the BU Study Abroad standard operating procedures. Staff members in Boston and at Study Abroad sites receive regular training in these plans. All students also receive information and instruction in emergency contact and procedures.
- When traveling, students should provide resident staff with contact information. When students travel to locations where Boston University Study Abroad maintains an office, students also have access to the 24-hour emergency numbers at those locations.
Register with the US State Department
All students should register with the US State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) (non-US passport holders should leave the passport section blank). When registered, you will receive safety and security updates regarding your host country, as well as more efficient assistance in case of a lost US passport or other emergency. In addition, enrollment will make it easier for US officials to contact students or their families in the event of an emergency. STEP registration and other useful information can be found at http://studentsabroad.state.gov/.
An app for the STEP program provides immediate access to your account and itineraries, as well as State Department country information and travel alerts.
- US Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs
The Bureau of Consular Affairs provides travel announcements and warnings for countries and regions around the world, along with a range of services to American citizens living and traveling overseas. Call 1-888-407-4747 (from overseas: 202-501-4444)Please also see US Department of State information specifically for students abroad, including links to US embassies and consulates abroad.
- The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provides information on health conditions, required inoculations, and other valuable information for students and other travelers.