Medical and Health Information
Ensuring that you have a safe and healthy experience abroad depends both on advance
preparation and common sense while abroad. As part of your pre-departure research,
check the website for the Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov) for comments on health issues specific to your program location, including current
information on disease outbreaks and immunization requirements.
You should also discuss studying abroad with your health care provider(s). They should
be apprised of where you are going and for how long, and you can talk with them at
the same time about any prescriptions you are currently taking.
All IWU students studying abroad are required to complete the Medical Information
Form. The information you provide will not affect your eligibility to study abroad,
but it will, in the case of emergencies, allow IWU, the International Office, and
our partners abroad to better respond to you needs.
Students participating in study abroad at IWU are automatically covered the university’s
International Travel insurance for the duration of the program. The International
Travel policy provided by Illinois Wesleyan is offered by Educational & Institutional
Insurance Administrators (EIIA) and underwritten by Starr Indemnity & Liability Company. There
is no additional charge for this insurance, and students are provided with details
on coverage as part of the pre-departure orientation.
In addition, students who purchase the Student Health Plan through IWU are also covered
by that policy year-round and worldwide. If you have waived the IWU Student Health
Plan and are covered by another program, be sure that the policy offers comparable
coverage and make sure that you have the necessary information before departing.
TheIWU Student Health Plan does not make direct payments to health care providers
outside the US. It will be your responsibility to make arrangements for payment (or
credit until the claim is handled). Your health plan identification card has the address
and phone number of the Student Health Plan Office at Illinois Wesleyan. Providers
can contact that office directly in order to verify coverage and policy provisions.
Some programs require students to purchase additional health insurance; others require
or provide an International Student Identity Card (ISIC), which provides some health coverage. Regardless of program requirements,
you should make sure you have health insurance while abroad and that you understand
precisely what your policy covers (and, more importantly, what it doesn’t).
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If you take prescription medications regularly, consult with your physician before
you depart. You should, if practical, bring a supply to last throughout your time
abroad -- and leave them in their original prescription containers. You should also
bring a copy of your written prescription and possibly a letter from you physician
describing the condition being treated and offering additional information on the
medication (ask that the letter use generic rather than brand names) and dosages.
Carry both the medication and any documentation, such as the written prescription
and physician’s letter, with you in your carry-on luggage and be prepared to present
them to customs officials if asked.
Do not plan to have family or friends ship medicines or vitamins to you while you
are abroad. At best, they may be held up in customs; but many countries have much
more stringent drug laws, so shipping medications may lead to legal trouble.
The stresses of study abroad can exacerbate or lead to recurrence of anxiety, depression,
eating disorders. If you are currently on prescription medication for these or similar
conditions, now is not the time to go off your medication.
If you are diabetic or have another medical condition that requires the use of a syringe,
look into bringing a supply of disposable syringes, which may not be available in
your host country. Some countries, however, restrict the importation of syringes --
as well as of certain medications and contraceptives. Before departure, research the
policies of your host country as they pertain to any medications you take regularly.
If you are prescribed narcotic or other habit-forming medication, discuss this with
the study abroad advisor prior to your departure. Plan to bring a physician’s letter
with you, and register the prescription information with the local U.S. Embassy at
Use of non-prescription narcotic substances is strictly prohibited and cause for summary
dismissal from your program. Moreover, you will be subject to local laws governing
and penalties for the use, transportation, and/or possession of controlled substances.
International drug penalties are generally more severe than those in the United States:
In some countries, simple acquisition of prohibited drugs, including marijuana and
other controlled substances, can result in heavy fines, deportation, and prison sentences
ranging from months to years -- and in some countries, these acts are considered a
Take an extra pair of eyeglasses and/or contact lenses if you wear them, and bring
a copy of the prescription, as well. If you wear contacts, consider bringing extra
contact lens solution.
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