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Dietary Restrictions

Cuisine is a great way to bridge cultural gaps and a great opportunity to learn about a new aspect of your host nation, but if you have dietary restrictions, you may need to research and plan in advance of your travel to ensure you will be able to safely enjoy this aspect of your new culture.

THINGS TO CONSIDER (Adapted from Northwestern University)
  • Research how your need(s) can be accommodated in your destination. Since some dietary restrictions are uncommon in some locations, you may have to make an extra effort to obtain or avoid certain foods.
  • Consider your proposed living arrangement. Be forthcoming on your program’s housing questionnaire so that the program can place you in the best setting to meet your needs.
    • If you plan to live on campus in a residence hall, will you be expected to make your own meals? Will you share a kitchen? Will you be able to eat in university dining facilities?
    • If you will live with a host family, be prepared to communicate to them (in the local language) your specific needs. For example, can they prepare a shellfish dish for the family and provide something similar without shellfish for you, or must shellfish be omitted completely from their meal prep?
  • Learn key words in the local language so that you can accurately describe your needs, ask questions about dishes at restaurants, and read ingredients in items at the supermarket. You may need to find an outside market or religious-based food stores that stock specialty items. Consider bringing a card with information in the host language regarding allergy or dietary restrictions that you can use to convey information when dining out. Servers will then be able to advise on suitable menu items or consult the kitchen.
  • Talk to your physician about your plans to study abroad and inquire about advice or precautions. If you require medication, see the Medication section for additional information on preparing to travel abroad.
  • If you have or have had an eating disorder, we recommend that you discuss your study abroad plans with your physician and also disclose this information to your program director so that they may provide assistance in the event of an emergency.
Campus Resources:
  • Elizabeth Allred, Registered Dietitian - Center for Student Health and Well-Being
Additional Resources: