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
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 through GeoBlue is included in the program cost for all students participating in BU Study Abroad overseas programs. For most programs, the GeoBlue policy provides primary coverage to a limit of $250,000 for most medical costs, with no deductibles or copayments.
There is specialized GeoBlue coverage (with varying coverage limits) for students studying in Australia, Spain, Switzerland and New Zealand, in accordance with those countries’ laws.
Coverage normally begins one day before the program’s official start date and ends one day after the program’s official end date.
BU Study Abroad encourages you to obtain personal property insurance to protect your belongings in case of theft or damage (e.g. laptops, phones, cameras); some students may already have coverage through family property or rental insurance. Students are free to choose their own insurance carrier for personal property coverage.
Safety Information and Planning
With over 40 years’ experience running Study Abroad programs, you and your families can feel secure that Boston University has 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.
24/7 Emergency Monitoring
International SOS (ISOS) is a travel assistance company that provides pre-departure medical and security advice, extends medical and security assistance during travel, monitors potential hazards throughout the world, and provides location-specific hazard notifications.
Students will be registered for International SOS approximately two weeks prior to the start of their program.
Students and parents may call the International SOS Assistance Center for 24/7 overseas emergency response and support at 215-942-8478; you can also reach them via the International SOS Assistance App. Students also receive in-country emergency contact information for their program prior to departure and during the onsite orientation.
We recommend that students download the International SOS Assistance App before departure; if you will use a different number once overseas, you will need to update it. The app provides quick access to the above information, allows students to receive alerts from BU staff, and allows students to add or edit travel information throughout the semester. More information about how and when to access Int. SOS will be provided by email and by on site staff.
Apple IOS: Download here
Google Play: Download here
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 International SOS. The Boston staff includes two full-time health, safety, and security officers.
- Boston and resident staff members monitor announcements from the U.S. Department of State and other sources daily and receive all Travel Warnings and Advisories from the US Department of State, International SOS 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 U.S. Embassy or local U.S. 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 traveling outside the United States should register with the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) (non-U.S. passport holders should leave the passport section blank). When registered, you will receive more efficient assistance in case of a lost U.S. passport or other emergency. In addition, enrollment will make it easier for U.S. 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/.
- The International SOS Member Site (Member #: 398GDA956456) provides location specific health, safety and security information, access to the International SOS assistance app, access to the International SOS digital learning library of travel related microlearning courses, and allows BU travelers to sign up for location specific email 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 U.S. Department of State information specifically for students abroad, including links to U.S. 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.
- EqualDex is a website that provides current information on gender and identity related travel information for specific countries including legal rights and public opinion information.