Health & Safety

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Your Personal Health

Students MUST take responsibility for their own health, well-being and disability accommodation requests. If you have a medical condition, our insurance provider 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 and have your documentation ready so that it can be sent to your program. We are unable to guarantee that your Iowa State accommodations will be honored abroad, but we will do all we can to advocate for you.

Health Resources


Always review your routine (childhood) vaccination record.

If you are going to Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Antarctica - No special vaccinations are typically 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
  • Vaccinations
  • First aid kits


If possible, take enough medication to last the entire program duration. 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 controlled substance, 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 information with you at all times. Students on ISU programs will have On Call International insurance automatically. Students on Affiliate Programs will have insurance through their program providers. 


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.

While Abroad

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.