Education Abroad Health & Safety

The health and safety of all students is of utmost priority to the Carlson Global Institute. We recognize that no organization or institute can guarantee the safety of its students and that personal responsibility is a key part of a student's successful and safe experience, both at home and abroad. Risks can be significantly reduced when staff, students, parents, faculty, and advisers work together. To that end, we begin preparation before students depart.

Specific health and safety information, as well as emergency procedures, are covered during the pre-departure orientation.

Students should be aware of important health and safety concerns during their travel abroad, and play an active role in the success of their own experience through the decisions they make before and during the program, and by their day-to-day choices and behaviors.

As you prepare to study abroad, it is important to read and carefully familiarize yourself with all materials issued by the sponsoring program office that relate to health, legal, environmental, political, cultural, and religious conditions in the host country. Be sure to:


  • Inform parents, guardians, families, and any others who may need to know about your participation in the study abroad program, provide them with emergency contact information, and keep them informed on an ongoing basis
  • Understand and comply with the terms of participation, codes of conduct, and emergency procedures of the program, and obey host-country laws
  • Behave in a manner that is respectful of the rights and well-being of others and encourage others to behave in a similar manner
  • Accept responsibility for your own decisions and actions
  • Follow program policies for keeping staff informed of your whereabouts and well-being

All students, faculty & staff traveling on Carlson Education Abroad programs are enrolled in comprehensive international health insurance through the University’s chosen provider. More information on this policy can be found on the University of Minnesota's GPS Alliance Website.

People on the world

Traveling abroad can be a truly exciting and life-changing experience. It can also bring unexpected challenges and stressors. Your mental health is as important as your physical health and it is something to pay close attention to, both as you prepare to go abroad and while in your destination country(ies). The following video presentations were created to prompt you to think proactively about managing your mental health throughout your study abroad journey.


As you are deciding what kind of program is right for you and what destination(s) you are most interested in, it is important to consider your physical and mental health conditions. Research: 

  • What is the availability of health care in your destination country(ies)?
    • Is mental health therapy available?
    • If you need care overseas, is it available? How easy is it to access?  
  • Can you continue to see your current provider or therapist virtually, while abroad? Or will you be hoping to meet with a provider or therapist while abroad? 
  • Are your medications legal and available in your destination country(ies)?
    • Example: Some medications, such as Adderall, are illegal in most European countries.
  • Strategies for getting answers to these questions: 
    • Consult your health care provider(s) and discuss your travel plans as well as your plan for caring for your mental and physical health
    • Consult your study abroad advisor to learn more about in-country resources
    • Reach out to partner universities you are considering to ask them these questions
    • Design a plan for staying in contact with supports at home (Time difference, connectivity, etc.)

For many students, this is the first time abroad so “you don’t know, what you don’t know.” Oftentimes  students who are successfully managing mental health conditions at home are significantly impacted by factors such as those below, and are unable to continue successfully managing their mental health abroad. 

  • Homesickness
    • Finding Balance with communicating with friends or family back home
    • How communicating with others at home impacts your emotions
  • Cultural Differences
    • Navigating an entirely new cultural context; food, schedule, communication style, physical space, transportation
  • Social Media
    • Feeling pressure re: how to portray the experience
    • What to share
    • How often to use it
  • Language
    • It's exhausting to function in a different language all day
    • Dialects & vocabulary differences
  • Identity
    • Microaggressions; bias & discrimination
  • Academic Differences & Pressures
    • Differing lecture styles, readings, assignments, grading systems
  • FOMO
    • Thinking about friends/family back home and what they are doing while student is abroad
  • Housing
    • Roommates, neighbors, location, host family dynamics

Thus, it's important to plan for your health abroad! Research the resources for your specific program, and be ready to ask for support once abroad by doing the following:

  • Complete the Health Information Form as honestly as possible and be sure to disclose any conditions you have been recently or are currently managing.
  • Review and complete the Self Care Plan so you are prepared with a plan of action before departure
  • Consult with your care provider(s) and discuss your plans 
    • Determining whether medications are accessible/legal abroad
  • Consider registering and working with the Disability Resource Center 
    • Over 90% of their work assists students with hidden disabilities like mental health conditions, learning impairments, and others
    • Accommodation Request Form - This form you complete with an Access Consultant 
  • Understand your University Insurance Plan prior to your time abroad. 
    • If you think you will want to continue therapy abroad, find and get set up with a local or virtual therapist through the insurance



While abroad, it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between the stress of a new cultural situation vs. the development or worsening of a health condition that needs professional treatment. Resilience is very important, but so too is recognizing when you need professional health care support. 

  • Take care of your overall health: Get sufficient rest, nutrition and hydration
  • Utilize your Self-Care Plan to 
Cartoon Graphic depicting the Self Care Plan document
  • Recognize stressors 
  • Realize when you need to increase your self care
  • Reach out for help
    • To host university/study center support staff (semester programs) or Program Leaders (short term programs) in your country
    • CGI Advisors 
    • Friends & Family 
  • Get professional help when you need it  

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