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Health & Wellness

The health and safety of students on study abroad programs is Davidson’s top priority, and students should prepare in advance to know what to do in case of emergencies. All travel poses some degree of risk. Therefore, the College requires all students to complete pre-departure materials that are included in the online application portal as well as attend a pre-departure session hosted by the Office of Education Abroad or their partner program. Please review the information below carefully to learn more about maintaining your well-being while abroad.
If you need a physical or immunizations, schedule appointments months before departure.

Transitions may disrupt your typical wellness routine, so make a point to stay hydrated, allow yourself time to rest, and eat healthy meals.
If you have a documented apparent or nonapparent disability, please disclose this information to your program director well in advance of your program start date so they can help you arrange for accommodations. Any information you share will be kept confidential.

If you have a health condition such as Celiac disease, food or environmental allergies, diabetes, or epilepsy, it is a good idea to print and carry cards with a translation of your condition, dietary needs, and other care instructions in the host language. You may be able to find these online, or you can contact EIIA, Davidson's international emergency travel assistance insurance (see details below). Be sure to let your program director know about your condition(s) and find out how they can help you in an emergency.

Research hospitals and specialists in your host city ahead of time. Some insurance companies can provide you with recommended doctors and hospitals. You can also ask your program director or the U.S. Embassy in your host country for a list.

Women may want to bring feminine hygiene products from home as your preferred items may not be available in your host country. The section on packing includes additional recommendations.

If you are using mental health counseling services on or off campus, it is important that you share your study abroad plans with your therapist(s) at the start of the application process and inform your program well in advance of your arrival if you need to access regular counseling or other health-maintenance services abroad. Functioning within unfamiliar cultures and environments can be stressful. For some individuals, this may exacerbate or trigger issues affecting both emotional and physical health. Consider not only your techniques for self-care but also the kinds of support you rely on at home and on campus, and make a plan for accessing similar resources in your new environment that will help you stay healthy.

Prior to departure, make sure you are as healthy as you can be. Plan to take with you any birth control, condoms, or medications you might need or want during the entire time you will be abroad. These products may not readily available or of similar quality in your host country, and you may need to ask your doctor or the Center for Student Health and Well-Being to override your insurance so that you can obtain the quantity you need. See below for more information on medications.

If testing for sexually transmitted infection is needed while you are abroad, options will vary by country, but a local doctor is a good starting place. Emergency contraception or Plan B may be needed for unprotected intercourse. Local pharmacies may carry it over the counter. Program leaders and staff will be familiar with the local resources.

It is important to maintain your medications while you are studying abroad. Take a supply of your prescribed medications to last the duration of your program, and carry your medications in their original, labeled container. Do not plan to have medicine shipped to you, as it may be seized at customs, and you may not be able to acquire the same medicine abroad. Carry a letter from your doctor stating your prescription including the brand and generic names, your dosage, what it looks like, and its purpose. If your insurance will not allow you to obtain the amount to cover your entire time abroad, ask your physician if they can recommend an alternative. Relatedly, some medications which are legal in the United States are illegal in other countries – you should research this ahead of time and ask for an alternative if necessary.

Know the generic name of any medication you normally take. Brand names may differ overseas (e.g. Acetaminophen vs. Tylenol, which is a brand name in the United States only).

If your medication is time-sensitive, be sure to speak with your doctor about how best to adjust your dosage during your overseas flight and new time zone.
All students are covered by Davidson's international emergency travel assistance insurance EIIA for the duration of their program. There is no additional cost for this coverage. If you are participating on a partner program, the partner program’s insurance coverage will serve as primary, and Davidson’s EIIA policy will serve as secondary coverage. Detailed information regarding the EIIA policy will be sent to your Davidson email address before the end of the term prior to your departure. Be sure to review all health insurance information with your family or guardians.

You should contact your U.S. health insurance company to see if they also will provide coverage abroad. DO NOT cancel your U.S. insurance policy while you’re abroad. In case you need to return to the U.S. for medical reasons, this will become your primary insurance. Also, if you have any pre-existing conditions, it is to your benefit not to cancel your insurance. If you have health insurance through the College, it will cover you abroad. You will need to contact Business Services to let them know you would like to continue the coverage for the term(s) you are abroad as you will not automatically be billed or enrolled.

If you need to seek medical treatment abroad, you should be prepared to pay out-of-pocket for the services you receive and then submit a claim form to EIIA for reimbursement. Please see the EIIA Medical Reimbursement Claim Form or the EIIA Trip Cancelation or Interruption Claim Form for a step-by-step guide to submitting a claim.
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