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Health and Safety

El SalvadorSpecial Needs
Health is probably one of the most important considerations when deciding to apply for study away. Students have to be honest with themselves when it comes to their health and choosing what study away program or course best suits them.  Here are some questions to ask:
  • Do you have allergies that could demand immediate treatment?
  • Are you a regular member of a health program—a self-help or therapeutic group, perhaps?
  • How much risk are you willing and able to deal with in a given day?
  • Do you like being by yourself or in a small town?  Or do you prefer a city with lots of activity, noise, and people?  
  • Will you be comfortable with the daily physical challenges of some locations, like hiking a mountain or crossing a body of water by boat or adjusting to high altitudes?  For many, the most commonly faced challenge will be the amount of walking, far more than in the U.S.
  • If you have a disability, does it have health-related implications that can be affected by access to medical supplies or health facilities, and schedule or climate changes abroad?
  • Are you in an on-going counseling program that will continue while abroad?  Some countries provide less access to counseling than others.
As you read the program information and materials, make a list of all the questions and concerns you have and share them with a staff member in the Office of Global Engagement.  These conversations are confidential (the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, FERPA, only allows information sharing from such conversations on a “need-to-know” basis) so don’t hesitate to voice any fears or worries about your health.
 
It’s best for everyone, you, your family, fellow students, and those planning the program, that you be open and honest about your health and special needs.  This information won’t exclude you; it will help you decide if this program is the right fit for you and to make sure those who are overseeing the program can provide you with what you need.  Verify at the very start of the process that adequate facilities and personnel are in place so that your needs can be met during your study away experience. The Office of Global Engagement and faculty leaders will work with the program providers to meet the needs of students with disabilities, accommodating them as fully as possible as they prepare to study away.

Resources:
Mobility USA
Emerging Horizons
Global Access News

 
Physicals and Immunizations
Some long-term programs require a health examination before you depart.  Take advantage of that appointment and speak to your doctor about any concerns or questions you have regarding your health and destination especially if immunizations are recommended or required.  
 
The LaGrange College short-term faculty-led programs do not require a health examination, but we do follow the health recommendations set forth by the Center for Disease Control.  The CDC lists health alerts as well as vaccines, medicines, and advice for each country.  If you have any questions about these health recommendations or requirements by the CDC, please speak to your personal physician regarding your plans and ask for their guidance on what steps to take based on your personal health, the activities you’ll be participating in, and the time of year you’ll be traveling.  Don't put this off till the last minute:  remember that some immunizations are administered in a series or require a specific time frame for inoculation.  
Insurance
Travel and health insurance is required for all LaGrange College students while studying away:
  • Short-Term Faculty-led:  If students are traveling on a LaGrange College sponsored course, health insurance coverage is included in the cost of the program and provided by the college’s insurance provider, Patriot Group Travel Medical Insurance.  Travel insurance is optional if the student wishes to purchase it.  If students have additional insurance through their family, they will need to verify that it will cover them while abroad.
  • Semester or Academic Year Away:  All students traveling abroad on a LaGrange College pre-approved program must be enrolled in an overseas insurance program.  Some travel providers offer their own policies or students may purchase a policy through International Student Insurance.

Smart Traveler Enrollment Program  (STEP)
Every LaGrange College student who is a U.S. citizen and studying abroad is required to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the U.S. Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.   By registering with this program, a student's presence and whereabouts will be known should it be necessary to contact them in an emergency.  The Office of Global Engagement will also register all Interim and May-Away travel courses as a group.
Orientations
All students studying away are required to attend an Office of Global Engagement orientation on health, College travel policies, cultural and ethnic sensitivity, and safety and security issues.  
 
Students traveling on an Interim or May-Away course are also required to attend a program specific orientation led by the faculty leader focusing on the country or region you will be visiting.  They will be covering topics which include regional specific health issues, safe travel tips, and understanding political and cultural situations. Students are also reminded that they remain held to the LaGrange College Social Code, further encouraging safe and responsible actions while studying away.

Below is a video, Culture of Safety, produced by the University of Texas in Austin that will help students prepare for their study away experience:

 
 
 
Resources:
SAFETI (Safety Abroad First--Educational Travel Information


Some of the information above was taken from the brochure, Easy Planning Guide for Good Health Abroad by Joan Elias Gore, NAFSA, the Association of International Educators.  Please contact the Office of Global Engagement if you would like a copy.