Health & Safety

Safety, security, health, and well-being of Study Abroad program participants is of critical importance to Valparaiso University and the Office of Global Education. Global Education staff make every effort to stay on top of health and safety issues for all program sites and supports our students throughout the duration of their programs.

As part of the comprehensive pre-departure orientation, students are provided with detailed information and resources to prepare them to be proactive about their own health and safety abroad as well as procedures to follow in the event of an emergency. Please review the following information and feel free to contact us regarding any questions or concerns you may have.

Remember to consult:

  1. Center for Disease Control (CDC) information: cdc.gov/travel
  2. Department of State Country Specific Information: travel.state.gov; studentsabroad.state.gov
  3. Valparaiso University’s Student Health Center (valpo.edu/student-health-center/travel-abroad) and/or comparable travel clinic/physician

International Travel Health Insurance

Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) offers comprehensive insurance coverage for participants of institution-sponsored travel. It includes accident, health, medical evacuation, and repatriation.

Participants of institution-sponsored travel are automatically enrolled and covered by the insurance plan. There are no additional steps to enroll or use the benefits. Information and resources are shared with enrolled individuals including:

  • Detailed, complete coverage information
  • Viewing/printing an ID card
  • Locating a provider abroad
  • Additional travel-related information

Please note that for minor injuries/issues, individuals should expect to pay out of pocket, save receipts, and submit a claim for reimbursement. For major injuries/issues: If you are admitted to a hospital, you can contact the insurance provider (or we can contact them on your behalf) to open a case, and they will contact the hospital to arrange payment so you won’t have to pay out of pocket.

Regardless of the injury or issue, students are always urged to seek medical attention. If students are concerned in any way, they should contact Office of Global Education, who can work on their behalf to ensure they receive care.

International health insurance is meant to cover emergencies, not to supplement or replace regular insurance plans. Students are required to have their own comprehensive medical insurance coverage that would cover more routine issues for their duration of the study abroad program. Students should check to see whether their normal policy/family policy will cover them abroad. If not, the Office of Global Education can provide information on insurance policies that can supplement the international emergency coverage.

Medications Abroad

  • Bring enough for the duration of your program/stay abroad
  • Know the generic name of your medicine in case you need refills in the host country
  • Leave all medication in original containers (clearly labeled) and pack in carry-on luggage
  • Request a letter from a health professional (on clinic letterhead) that verifies your prescription
  • Verify the legality of your prescription or over-the-counter medication in your host country
  • Bring a first-aid kit and any self-care (over-the-counter) supplies as needed
  • Bring a second pair of glasses/additional contacts as well as your eye prescription, just in case

Safety

Unfortunately, the unpredictability and uncertainty of the world we live in means we can’t always predict what will happen in the places where we operate our programs, just as we can’t predict things that happen in the United States. When something does happen, we are positioned to respond and safeguard our students, faculty, and staff.

For all programs — regardless of location:

  • We carefully consider destinations for our programs, including overall risk profile.
  • When risk to students, faculty, and staff is too high, we work to either redesign the program or decide to cancel.
  • We closely monitor messages from the U.S. State Department, the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC), our international insurance provider, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and a variety of news sources both within the U.S. and in countries where we operate programs to stay informed of all potential international situations that may affect our students abroad. On-site staff and contacts also provide critical perspective on conditions in and around the program location.
  • All individuals on institution-sponsored travel are automatically enrolled in the international health insurance plan, which includes a security evacuation benefit.
  • We share and reinforce information about safety and security in pre-departure orientation and remind students to be aware of their surroundings and take safety precautions at all times.
  • We communicate expectations to our students and to our on-site staff about checking in immediately following any incident or emergency situation. Students will check in with on-site staff first, followed by families and the Office of Global Education at Valpo.
  • We ensure each student has emergency contact information, including a local 24/7 contact and any other relevant 24/7 emergency contact information. We also ensure that they have provided contact information for someone (usually a relative or friend) to serve as someone to be contact on their behalf in the event of an emergency.
  • We regularly review our programs relative to evolving information we receive and continue to review and assess our protocols and procedures.

Please understand that in these emergency situations our first priority is to those in closest proximity and most directly impacted by the emergency. As we move to account for our students, meet their needs, and offer our support, we will then begin to communicate more broadly. For those wishing to reach out, please contact the Office of Global Education at global.education@valpo.edu or call 219.464.5333.