All students should be prepared to focus on their wellness while they study abroad. Study abroad comes with a variety of emotions, and while many like to focus on the positive and all the new people, places, experiences, it is important to be prepared for times when you may feel lonely, sad, anxious, or depressed. This is relevant for students who have ongoing mental health concerns as well as those who may experience new mental health concerns for the first time while they are abroad. Keep in mind, when you study abroad, your usual support network may be less available due to distance, time zones, and laws for mental health professionals. 

These resources are meant to provide you with mental wellness support while you are abroad, but also in the weeks and months leading up to your international experience.

TAO Self-Help

TAO is an online platform of tools and educational modules to help you learn about and change how you think and feel. TAO has over 150 brief educational sessions covering over 50 common topics and skills related to mental health, wellness, and substance use issues. 

TAO Website

OnCall International Insurance

All Iowa State study abroad students are enrolled in international travel insurance.  This insurance provides coverage for care needed for physical or mental health needs that occur while studying abroad.  In addition to coverage, OnCall International can help you locate appropriate medical providers and assist in setting up appointments.  TeleHealth options are also available which sometimes is a more effective way of getting expedient care.  Note that there are some limitations for pre-existing conditions, however, OnCall International can still help setting up appointments. (Students attending AIFS, CEA, ISA, or TEAN programs will be covered by comparable insurance through their program.)  

On Call International Insurance Information

Your Health Care Coverage

While OnCall is a valuable resource for finding providers while studying abroad, coverage for pre-existing conditions and current prescriptions is limited.  Therefore, you will need to utilize existing health care coverage that you have while studying in Ames.  It would be good for you to familiarize yourself with your coverage and how to access it while abroad.

Medications Abroad

Medications help many people maintain healthy mental and physical wellness.  However, not all medications that are available in the US are available internationally.  A first option is to take enough of your prescription with you, if possible.  If this is not possible, OnCall International can help you develop a plan to refill your prescription overseas.  However, if a medication is restricted in the country you are travelling to you may need to switch medications.  Please consult OnCall International regarding the ability to possess or refill prescriptions. Of note are many medications for ADHD, which are not available or legal to possess in some countries; OnCall is a great resource to develop a proactive plan.

On-Site Study Abroad Personnel

The study abroad personnel that are at your location are a great source of information to help you access care that you may need.  If you are on an ISU travel course, you can ask your study abroad program leader.  If you are on a semester program, contact the study abroad staff at the host location for assistance. 

Virtual Care Group

If you are in a crisis situation, another resource is the Telecounseling Services resources available to ISU students through Virtual Care Group.  While this is a great resource, they can only assist if there is a crisis situation due to regulations.  

Local Equivalent to 911

While 911 is common in the US, other countries have a different emergency number.  Be proactive, and learn the emergency number in the locations you will be traveling to so you can reach assistance for any emergency.