Health & Safety
Your Personal Health
Students MUST take responsibility for their own health, well-being and disability accommodation requests. If you have a medical condition, CISI can help you find health resources at your destination. We also encourage you to share information with your program coordinator/director.
If you are on a faculty/staff-led ISU group program, it is particularly important for you to reveal all medical conditions to your program director
ISU Student Disability Resources Office
Do you currently work with this office on campus? Do you have special accommodations? Make sure these details are known by your program coordinator/director.
Always review your routine (childhood) vaccination record.
If you are going to Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Antarctica - No vaccinations are needed.
If you have an existing medical condition, see your regular doctor to plan for your time abroad.
If you are going to the Caribbean, Mexico, Central or South America, Africa, Asia - You may need to consult with ISU Thielen Student Health Center.
Call at least 8 weeks ahead of departure
These services are available:
- Travel clinic
- First aid kits
If possible, take enough refills to last the entire trip. Take an original written prescription, preferably written for a generic version of your medication. Prescription medications MUST remain in the original containers with your name on it. If you wear glasses or contacts, take along a spare pair and take your lens prescription with you. If you take a narcotic, take more than two medications, or take a medication by injection, take a letter from your physician that describes your medical condition and the need to carry these items with you. Check with the local embassy to make sure that your medication is legal to carry into the country.
Carry your insurance card with you at all times. Students on ISU programs will have CISI insurance automatically. Students on Affiliate Programs will have insurance through their program providers. CISI coverage extends 3 days before and after the program dates. If you are traveling outside of that time, you can easily add coverage by logging into CISI. It is only $1.22 per day.
You MUST take all prescriptions in your carry-on bag. Bring basic health/medical supplies in your checked bags (condoms, feminine supplies, etc.) Consider using compression socks for your flight. Avoid alcohol and caffeine. Be prepared for jet lag.
Continue to take any medications that you are currently on. Be aware of the consequences of combining alcohol and your medication. Research drinking water and the regulations for food preparation in your country. Watch for symptoms of culture shock. Avoid making big decisions until you have a chance to settle in. Get assistance if you are feeling depressed or withdrawn.
ISU Study Abroad Statement on Safety and Security
The safety and well-being of students, faculty, and staff who are participating in ISU programs abroad is of the highest importance. The Study Abroad Center (SAC) has established policies and procedures designed to safeguard the safety and well-being of study abroad participants. ISU will not operate Undergraduate International Travel and Study Abroad Programs in countries where the U.S. State Department has issued a Travel Warning unless approval is granted after a special review process. ISU not only cancels ISU programs, but also withdraws sponsorship and student financial aid for Affiliate and Non-ISU programs in locations under a Travel Warning.
The SAC encourages students to take responsibility for their own safety and well-being by carefully reading the information, advice, and resources provided, including the following websites:
Students should also do the following:
- Blend in
- Use the buddy system
- Use a neck pouch or money belt
- Carry your CISI insurance card
- Know the local equivalent of 911 for your location
- Store an ICE (In Case of Emergency) number on your cell phone so that emergency/medical personnel can contact your family
- Register with the U.S. State Department through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program
- List current emergency contact information in ISUAbroad
Special Safety Note:
The major cause of student injury or death in overseas programs is traffic accidents. According to the U.S. State Department, road travel is the greatest risk to healthy Americans abroad. This does not refer to driving but as a pedestrian. Learn as much as you can about road signs, customs, and driving behaviors in all locations you plan to travel to. Most importantly, be very aware of all traffic around you at all times (including mopeds!).
Student behavior abroad is governed by:
- ISU Student Disciplinary Regulations (Code of Conduct)
- ISU Study Abroad Conduct Code
- Host institution’s conduct code
- Host country’s laws
Study Abroad Conduct Code
An Iowa State University (ISU) study abroad program provides the student involved with an opportunity to pursue academic study for credit outside the United States. Students are expected to take advantage of the cultural opportunities involved and are responsible for their behavior during the program. The Study Abroad Center (SAC) has developed the following Study Abroad Conduct Code that all students are required to follow while studying abroad:
Student Conduct and Disciplinary Procedure, General
A student participating in an ISU study abroad program assumes a dual status as an ISU student and a student of the host institution and/or host country. ISU students abroad are subject to, and should be familiar with, ISU student conduct policies as well as the laws of their host country and the academic and disciplinary regulations of the host institution or residential housing program. Students should note that SAC policies for students studying abroad are more strict than ISU campus disciplinary policies because of the broader consequences of student conduct when abroad; e.g., student conduct may affect ISU's relations with the host institution and local community or arouse anti-American sentiments. In addition, students should note that SAC disciplinary procedures are more compressed than campus procedures due to the short duration of many ISU programs, the need to address disciplinary matters more quickly while traveling abroad, and the limited resources that are available in the host country to resolve disciplinary issues.
Student Conduct, Conditions of Participation
Before departure, ISU students studying abroad sign the Conditions of Participation form acknowledging their understanding of SAC policies governing study abroad. The Conditions of Participation state:
- I understand and agree that, as a participant in an International Travel or Study Abroad Program (“Program”), I am subject to the following: a) the ISU Student Conduct Code (ISU Student Disciplinary Regulations), b) the ISU Study Abroad Conduct Code (Study Abroad Student Handbook), c) host institution conduct codes, and d) host country laws.
- I understand that behavior that is not in accord with these Conditions of Participation may result in disciplinary actions, which could include dismissal from the Program and being returned to the United States. I further agree, if dismissed from the Program, to be responsible for all expenses incurred in returning to the United States and that I may need to return all or part of my financial aid.
- I understand that I may be dismissed from the Program if: a) I engage in actions endangering others or myself or b) my conduct is considered to be detrimental to or incompatible with the best interest and welfare of the Program.
- I fully understand that the procedures to be used at ISU in the event of my violation of any of the respective conduct regulations are the Study Abroad Disciplinary Procedures contained in the Study Abroad Conduct Code and that these procedures are in addition to procedures associated with any of the above-mentioned codes and laws.
- I understand that I am subject to the laws of my host country (and any other country in which I travel) and agree to abide by those laws. I further understand that ISU and the United States government will be limited in its ability to provide assistance in the event of my arrest or detainment. ISU may also institute disciplinary proceedings concerning my violation of the laws of a foreign country.
- I understand that in certain countries promoting religious, political, or personal agendas can be deemed illegal and as such could place me in legal jeopardy or imprisonment. I agree that I will not participate in such activities and behaviors.
- I understand that Program Directors may establish additional conditions of participation or requirements for a Program and that I am subject to all policies and requirements of a Program.
Misconduct by ISU students studying abroad can lead to removal from the study abroad program and may, in addition, result in a decision by ISU to impose further sanctions, such as suspension or dismissal from ISU. Misconduct abroad refers to student actions that, in the judgment of the Program Director and/or officials of the SAC, jeopardize the student's own welfare or that of fellow students and/or the integrity of the program. Such actions include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Academic dishonesty
- Obstruction or disruption of teaching or other university activities
- Unauthorized absence from class and/or other organized program activities
- Use of, or threats of, physical violence
- Violating the laws of the country in which the student is traveling or living
- Violating the academic or disciplinary regulations of the host university or residential housing program where the student is studying
- Openly abusing the customs and mores of the host community
- Damage to, or destruction of, property of others
- Alcohol or substance abuse
- Eviction from one's lodging.
ISU Student Disciplinary Regulations (Code of Conduct) also apply to students in study abroad programs. A complete list of conduct and behavior that are subject to disciplinary sanctions by the ISU Dean of Students can be found in Section 4.2 of the ISU Student Disciplinary Regulations (Code of Conduct). http://policy.iastate.edu/policy/SDR
Special Note on Substance Abuse: Student use or possession of controlled substances may be punishable by severe penalties. Students caught with illegal drugs are subject to local laws of the country in which the student is traveling or living. In addition, personal involvement or association with others involved with drugs of any kind may be considered misconduct abroad and a violation of the Conditions of Participation.
Study Abroad Disciplinary Procedure
- Reporting Misconduct: The person who has observed or is aware of alleged student study abroad misconduct should contact the Program Director and report the misconduct and alleged violation.
- Investigation and Conduct Meeting: The Program Director is responsible for carrying out the initial investigation of all alleged student violations of the Study Abroad Conduct Code and ISU Student Disciplinary Regulations (Code of Conduct). Normally, this investigation should consist of interviews with the reporting party and any witnesses and a review of any written materials related to the misconduct. The person alleged to have violated the regulation or standard of conduct shall have the opportunity to explain what occurred at a conduct meeting with the Program Director. When the person alleged to have violated a regulation or standard of conduct is interviewed, he/she must be informed of the nature of the allegation, the regulations or policy allegedly violated, his/her right to respond, and the procedures to be followed.
- Verbal Warning: Program Directors or instructors are empowered to issue a verbal warning if they observe or have determined that a student’s behavior is not in accord with the Study Abroad Conduct Code.
• Verbal Warning: An official, although oral, warning to the student that his/her conduct is in violation of the Study Abroad Conduct Code.
- Written Warning: If, after the investigation and conduct meeting where the student involved has the opportunity to discuss the alleged misconduct violation, the Program Director believes that disciplinary action is appropriate, the Program Director may issue a Written Warning.
• Written Warning: An official written notice to the student of the study abroad misconduct violations and that failure to meet expected behavior or repeated violations may result in dismissal from the study abroad program. Written Warnings, whenever possible, shall be faxed or otherwise communicated to the SAC within 48 hours of the occurrence. The SAC may distribute the information to other campus units as appropriate.
- Dismissal from the Study Abroad Program: This sanction removes the student from a study abroad program. It is permitted when a student either fails to meet the conditions of a prior Written Warning or commits such a serious violation that it is contrary to paragraph #3 of the Conditions of Participation. Certain behaviors may lead to dismissal from a study abroad program. These include but are not limited to academic misconduct, eviction from housing on grounds of inappropriate conduct, exceeding the number of unexcused absences from class allowed for the program, willful destruction of property, posing a safety hazard to oneself or others, and criminal conduct. If, after an investigation and conduct meeting where the student involved has the opportunity to discuss the alleged misconduct violation, the Program Director believes that dismissal is appropriate, the Program Director will contact the SAC. All dismissal decisions shall be rendered in consultation with the SAC. The SAC may conduct an independent investigation of the incident and may request additional information. If a decision to dismiss the student from the program is made, the Program Director shall issue a Dismissal Notice to the student.
• Dismissal Notice: An official written notice to the student stating the study abroad misconduct violation(s) and the terms of the student’s dismissal from the study abroad program. Completed Dismissal Notices, with the student signature whenever possible, shall be faxed to the SAC within 48 hours. The SAC may distribute the information to other campus units as appropriate. Although dismissal from a study abroad program does not constitute dismissal from ISU, ISU may elect to impose sanctions in addition to those imposed by the study abroad program. If a student from another institution is attending an ISU study abroad program and is subject to disciplinary action while in the ISU study abroad program, the student's home institution may also be notified.
- Appeal: A student may exercise his/her right to appeal a dismissal decision. This does not alter the student’s obligation to absent him/herself from all premises used by the program for the duration of the program and return to the United States. The appeal must be in the form of a letter to the ISU Dean of Students. This letter may include any relevant documents and testimonials that the student wishes to enter into the record. The Dean of Students or his/her designee shall either concur with or overturn the dismissal decision of the Program Director and the SAC. He/she will inform the student in writing of the decision. This decision will also be communicated to the SAC Director, Program Director, and host institution, if appropriate. The SAC will be responsible to inform any other appropriate campus offices or officials. If a student from another institution is attending an ISU Study Abroad Program and is subject to disciplinary action while in the ISU study abroad program, the student's home institution will also be notified. ISU Student Disciplinary Regulations If the student's conduct is also in violation of the ISU Student Disciplinary Regulations (Code of Conduct), the ISU Office of Judicial Affairs may undertake disciplinary action, including imposing sanctions of suspension or expulsion from ISU. Such actions are pursuant to proceedings under Section 5.6 of the ISU Student Disciplinary Regulations (Code of Conduct).
Consequences of Dismissal
Upon issuance of a Dismissal Notice, the student's participation in the study abroad program shall be concluded immediately. Dismissal of a student from the program shall not diminish or otherwise affect the student's obligation to make any and all payments to ISU. A student who is dismissed from a study abroad program may receive a grade of "F" in all course work in progress. In addition, the student will not be entitled to a refund of fees, may be required to reimburse ISU for financial aid received, and is responsible for all non-recoverable costs incurred by the host institution as well as personal financial obligations, e.g., utility bills, rent. A student's registration at ISU may be blocked pending the meeting of all such financial obligations and/or disciplinary action. Once a student has been dismissed from the program, he/she shall be required to absent him/herself from all premises used by the program for the duration of the program and return to the United States at his or her own expense.
The Study Abroad Center considers sexual harassment and sexual assault to be an issue of safety. Your safety is vital to having a positive, successful study abroad experience. Therefore, we share the following to inform and invite you to critically consider how you can reduce your risk of harassment or assault.
Misperceptions host nationals may have about North American women and men
People around the world watch movies. Without context, others can easily make assumptions that all women are sexually active and want sex. Relationships with men can be seen as a ticket to the United States. While not universally true, stereotypes and assumptions do exist and need to be talked about and understood, not just considered an elephant in the room. Unfortunately, we have had students who have been harassed or assaulted while studying abroad. Thankfully, it is not common, but we know that many situations are not reported to us. Harassment or assault experiences reported include: Catcalls or remarks from a distance while out in public. Some students have been approached on the street for conversation with suggestive comments. Physical groping in a crowded space, such as a bar or concert. Host family extended family member offering a ride and, instead, taking a student to a hotel, followed by rape. Student leaving a bar with a host national and allowing that person to return to the student's apartment or dorm, with unwanted and uninvited sexual consequences. Date rape drugs served by a bartender (paid off by someone) and waking up in a strange place hours later. We are talking about someone else’s behavior here, so if something DOES happen to you, remember: It is not your fault. That said, we offer some suggestions that we hope might reduce your risk of this happening to you.
Given that you will not be automatically aware of cultural cues or meanings, communication can be a challenge. Sending a clear message is impaired by use of a second or third language. Consider asking a classmate or host family sibling for clarification of social norms and dating behavior. If you find yourself in a situation in which you feel threatened or uncomfortable, speak firmly and clearly, even physically move away if the behavior continues. Some cultures consider catcalls and inappropriate touching as a recreational sport. While such behavior may not be condoned, it is not punished either. Ignore inappropriate remarks and walk away.
We hope you make good decisions, though we encourage you to consider abstaining from sex. If you do decide to engage in sex, be sure to use a condom. If you choose to drink, remember to: Watch while your drink is poured. Carry your drink with you, even when going to a restroom. Never overindulge. Make sure you are with friends (“buddy system”). See that everyone gets home safely. If you start to feel nauseated after taking a drink, tell a trusted friend immediately. DO NOT go anywhere with a stranger, as you may have been slipped a date rape drug.
Talk to us
We cannot stress enough how important it is to report these behaviors to a local program director or to the Study Abroad Center so that we can take appropriate measures to reduce the risk of something happening to other participants. Feelings of guilt after more serious events are common, but please let us know so we can help you get the support you need and deserve. Know before you go (and ask again when you arrive): Gender roles and stereotypes? Harassment issues? Places that are unsafe? Prevalence of date rape drugs? STDs, HIV, contraception: things I should know about my site?
Resources for dealing with sexual harassment are found on the ISU website at http://www.dso.iastate.edu/sexualmisconduct/