Health and Safety

At SU Abroad, the health, wellness, and safety of our students are our highest priorities. Our pre-departure orientations include extensive health and safety information to help students maintain their health and well-being throughout their term of study. Your World Partner will also address health and safety during your on-site orientation. The SU Abroad Assistant Director, Student Services, Bridget Hughes is dedicated to supporting students and their families, in the event that they have to manage medical or psychological crises, life traumas, and other concerns or barriers that impede their success while studying abroad. She can be reached at 315-443-3471 or brhughes@syr.edu.


Health Preparations

To ensure that you maintain your health while abroad, we want to remind you to be prepared for your travels. Please complete the Medical History questionnaire, which is a post-acceptance item you’ll complete online after you are accepted.

If you have any general health inquiries as you prepare for your semester abroad, you may contact SU Health Services at (315) 443-9005. If it is after hours, you may speak to the on-call provider by calling that same number.

Medications: 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. Obtain a generic breakdown (not just a generic name) of your prescription from your physician. You should contact ISOS www.internationalsos.com  for information and rules governing the transportation of medication in the countries where you will be traveling. The Syracuse University membership number is 11BCPA000177. (See more about ISOS below.)

Immunizations/Vaccinations: All students studying at United States colleges or universities are required to have all their immunizations and vaccinations up to date. Travel to certain parts of the world may require vaccinations. For additional information regarding recommended immunizations, please contact the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel ; ISOS at 215-942-8478; or your local county health department, physician, or student health services for additional information.  

Medical Conditions: If you have any medical conditions that require special accommodations or the care of a doctor, please inform SU Abroad’s Assistant Director, Student Services, Bridget Hughes at brhughes@syr.edu or 315-443-3471 so arrangements can be made.


Medical Insurance Abroad

We ask students and their families/guardians to carefully review their personal medical and insurance situation, as well as resources described below that are made available by SU Abroad and prepare accordingly.

NOTE: Students and their parents/guardians are responsible for any costs and expenses that medical insurance does not cover.

Personal/Family Insurance: It is important that you and your family/guardians assess your personal medical situation, and decide what level of insurance protection best meets your individual needs while studying abroad. Begin by contacting your current insurance company to ask about obtaining medical care overseas. You or your parents/guardians may already have coverage through an HMO, PPO, or similar plan, and it may be possible to add a rider to that policy that would also cover some overseas care.

Excess Insurance Coverage with the International Student Identification Card (ISIC): The ISIC, supplied to you by SU Abroad and included in your program fee, provides medical insurance, including medical evacuation and repatriation. The ISIC Premium Plan is designed as an excess form of insurance coverage: any claim is first submitted to the primary insurance company and then unpaid bills are submitted to ISIC. For students whose primary insurance does not provide coverage overseas (e.g., Medicaid and similar plans), there is the option to submit the claim directly to ISIC for review, along with a signed affidavit available on the ISIC website. In such cases, ISIC will review and consider processing as the primary rather than secondary insurer. Please review the coverage details of the ISIC Premium Plan, by visiting www.myisic.com/ . Be advised that if a visit to a medical professional is necessary, you will be expected to pay up front for the cost of the initial visit.

Personal Property Insurance: ISIC does have limited coverage for loss of personal property. However, many students bring valuable equipment such as laptop computers and cameras overseas, and the limited benefits provided by ISIC may not be adequate to cover these items. To protect your possessions against fire, theft, vandalism, or other casualty, you may want to consult your parents’/guardians’ homeowners insurance as you may already have coverage available. If not, you may want to explore the possibility of obtaining additional coverage to protect the value of your possessions. We advise you to review the insurance coverage outlined on the ISIC website: www.myisic.com/ , to determine whether the ISIC coverage will be adequate for your purposes.

World Partner Staff Support: You should consult World Partner staff about medical referrals, to local clinics, hospitals, and specialists. In the case of an emergency, you should contact the World Partner and SU Abroad as soon as possible.

Filing a Claim While Abroad: Carry your primary insurance card as well as your International Student Identification Card (ISIC) and International SOS (ISOS) cards with you, as they will be helpful in the case of an emergency. Most foreign hospitals do not recognize US insurance and will not bill your insurance company directly. Therefore, in most cases you will have to pay for services upfront and then file a claim for reimbursement:

  • Make sure you know how to file a claim with your insurance company and know where to find copies of any required forms that you may need to file a claim.
  • Keep copies of all medical bills and have them translated to English.
  • Keep your receipts for any payments you make.
  • You are responsible for follow-up on any insurance claims, both with your primary insurance provider and the ISIC insurance provider.

Contact the ISIC insurance provider 24/7, by calling 305.455.1571 from outside the U.S.; 855.743.6739 from the U.S.; or via email at claims@apriltravelprotection.com.


ISOS Member Services: Referrals and Medical Information Services

SU Abroad will send an International SOS (ISOS) membership card to you before your semester abroad begins. Please use the SU membership number on the front of the card to access the ISOS website before you go abroad. You should carry the card with you at all times. Parents/guardians should record the membership number (the SU membership number is 11BCPA000177) and website address (http://www.internationalsos.com ) so they also have access.

As a member, you have access to ISOS information services at no charge. These information services range from the website information provided (including country risk ratings, State Department postings, medical travel recommendations, and immunization requirements) to access to medical doctors via phone consultation, referrals to English-speaking doctors, to phone assessment and phone translation services in case of hospitalization.

The ISOS 24-hour information services and smart phone application are especially valuable when you are traveling during breaks, or visiting destinations where you have no local contacts and find yourself needing medical advice. Please download the smart phone app, and register your travel information on the MyTrips portal, located on the ISOS website.

NOTE: Use of actual medical services (beyond information services) is not free. While you have access to ISOS clinics and doctors around the world, you will be responsible for the cost of such services if not covered by your health insurance policy or the ISIC insurance policy. The ISOS program is not a health insurance plan.


Accommodations for Medical & Health Requirements

We frequently have students in our program with specific health and medical requirements. To properly accommodate medical and dietary needs, we request advance notice. The health information and housing questionnaires included in the online application are voluntary and invite students to tell us about any specific conditions.

Bear in mind that managing conditions can become more challenging in new and unfamiliar environments, so the more preparation SU Abroad can help you do in advance, the better. Students may not need the extra help, but all in all, it is better to be prepared.

Diets and Allergies: To provide for a successful housing placement abroad, please let your World Partner know about any dietary or health-related restrictions that may affect your living arrangements. For example, disclose allergies to foods, pets, or cigarette smoke, or special dietary needs such as salt-free, vegetarian, etc. Though not all needs can always fully be met, the World Partner can make an effort to accommodate them when possible.

Medical Conditions: Being informed about medical conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy, eating disorders, or psychiatric conditions helps SU Abroad and your World Partner prepare to assist you in the event of an emergency. Please consult with your physician and/or psychiatrist before traveling abroad if you have any medical or psychological concerns, and be sure that SU Abroad and your World Partner have received all the necessary information.

It is not possible for programs abroad to provide the full range of counseling services that are available on your home campus. Please be aware that adjusting to an overseas lifestyle may cause some stress. Often students, parents, or guardians believe physical or mental needs are negligible and most likely will improve when abroad. Our experience is that the information that you provide, no matter how minor, will save time in the midst of an emergency should one occur.

Disabilities: Syracuse University is committed to full compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 to the extent that those federal statutes, which protect the rights of students with disabilities, apply to the University’s study abroad programs. You are not required to inform us of a disability; however, doing so will help us assess your needs as a student and improve our ability to provide accommodations abroad. Many accommodations require early planning, so requests for accommodations should be made as early as possible.

If you have a learning disability, you may need some extra support abroad. Students who wish to inform us of their learning disabilities and request accommodations should complete the Accommodations for Students with Disabilities questionnaire, is included with other post-acceptance items online. We ask you to document your disability and let us know well in advance where you may need accommodation.

Please note that your accommodations information is NOT automatically transferred from the Office of Disability Services (ODS) to SU Abroad, so unless you disclose it by using the accommodations questionnaire, staff and faculty will be unaware of your possible need for support. We also recommend that you speak to Bridget Hughes (brhughes@syr.edu), the SU Abroad Assistant Director, Student Services, before you depart, as she can coordinate needed accommodations for students.

In order to receive disability-related academic accommodations, students must first be registered with ODS at Syracuse University. Students who require disability-related accommodations must have a current Accommodations Authorization Letter from ODS to provide to the instructor at the beginning of the semester. Accommodations, such as exam administration, are not provided retroactively; therefore, planning for accommodations prior to the beginning of the semester is necessary.

For more information about university services to assist students with learning disabilities, contact the director of the Office of Disability Services at 315-443-4498 (voice) or 315-443-1371 (TDD/TTY).


SU Community Abroad

Syracuse University prohibits harassment or discrimination related to any protected category including creed, ethnic or national origin, gender, pregnancy, disability, marital status, political or social affiliation, age, race, color, veteran status, military status, religion, sexual orientation, domestic violence status, gender identity, gender expression, or perceived gender. Any complaint of discrimination or harassment related to any of these protected bases will be reported to the University’s Chief Equal Opportunity, Inclusion, and Resolution Services Officer by the SU Abroad Assistant Director, Student Services. Compliance efforts under various laws including Titles VI, IX and Section 504 or the Rehabilitation Act will be coordinated.

If you feel that your safety is being threatened in any way, support is available to you abroad and on main campus in three ways. Call the local 24-hour emergency number provided to you during orientation. Reach out to staff abroad for assistance. To access confidential and privileged resources, contact the 24-hour phone number of the Sexual and Relationship Violence Response Team, available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week at 315-443-4715.