If you are on regular medications, please contact your prescribing physician to ensure you have enough to get you through the duration of your time overseas. Your parents should not mail prescription medication to you. It can be confiscated by officials, followed by expensive fines to get them out of customs. Obtain a generic breakdown (not just a generic name) of your prescription from your physician. You should contact ISOS for information and rules governing the transportation of medication in the country(ies) where you will be traveling.
As with all prescribed medicines you should:
- Bring your medication in the original containers
- Bring a prescription from your physician which provides the generic breakdown and dosages
- Pack your medication in your carry-on luggage
- Do not mail prescription medication
A special note for Florence students with ADD/ADHD: Medications used to treat ADHD (Ritalin, Adderall, and Concerta) are illegal in Italy. This means that they cannot be purchased in Italy. If you use one of these medications, you must bring enough with you for the whole semester.
Accommodations for Medical and Health Requirements
If you have chronic or temporary medical conditions that require special consideration or a doctor’s attention, please indicate this on your Medical History post-decision questionnaire. The SU Abroad Assistant Director, Student Services can work with you directly on ensuring you are adequately prepared prior to departure.
It is a good idea to wear a medic alert bracelet (in English and French) if you have a medical condition or drug allergies that might affect your treatment in the case of an emergency.
If you regularly receive allergy shots and must continue treatment while you are overseas, please contact our local staff upon arrival. The center staff will help you select a local doctor and will arrange to refrigerate your serum, if necessary. If possible, bring enough serum for your entire semester abroad.
Allergy Shots (England)
Most general practitioners within the British National Health System will not administer allergy shots. You may be able to receive allergy shots from a private practitioner, provided you bring your serum and the necessary medical documentation from your personal physician, such as your prescription and case notes.
Private care in Britain can be quite expensive. In the past, students on our London program have had to pay as much as 70 pounds per injection plus the cost of a private consultation, easily as much as 100 pounds. If you must take allergy shots while in London, please follow these guidelines:
- Bring your medication in its original containers and a copy of your physician’s prescription
- Bring a reference letter from your physician and a copy of your medical file, or at least the case notes pertaining to your allergy medication
- Budget for the extra cost of private medical care
- Contact our staff at the London Centre for the names and addresses of private practitioners who will administer allergy shots
- Check with your medical insurance provider regarding coverage and reimbursement for allergy shots and private care
It’s a good idea to have a dental check-up before you leave for abroad. In an emergency, SU Abroad center staff abroad can provide a list of dentists that students have used in the past.
Finding a Doctor Abroad
During orientation, you will receive information about medical services in your host city. If you get sick or injure yourself, you should contact our local staff immediately; they will help you obtain the medical care you need. SU Abroad centers have a list of English-speaking doctors who have provided services to our students in the past. In Florence, an English-speaking doctor visits the center regularly for student consultations.
Overseas Center Staff Support
If you are studying at one of SU Abroad’s eight overseas centers, you should consult SU Abroad staff about medical referrals to local clinics, hospitals, and specialists. In the case of an emergency, you should contact SU Abroad staff as soon as possible (calling the center’s emergency phone number, if after hours). Once you receive medical attention, you should be able to call your parents/guardians. If you can’t get to a phone, staff can contact your guardians on your behalf. For more information on filing a claim abroad, please refer to our insurance page.
Glasses and Contact Lenses
If you wear glasses or contact lenses, take along an extra pair and bring a copy of your prescription. Contact lenses can be expensive to replace overseas. You might consider bringing a supply of wetting and cleaning solutions, just in case your favorite brand may not be available overseas. It may be possible to use another brand of solution instead; check with your ophthalmologist. If you use an electrical disinfecting unit for soft contacts, you may want to switch to chemicals, since even with a converter the unit may not function well on electrical current in other countries.
Never pack your lenses in checked luggage! If a suitcase goes astray, you don’t want your lenses to be lost as well.