Health & Safety
The health and safety of UTA students is of the greatest importance to us. The pre-departure orientation, mandatory for all students studying abroad, will cover health and safety topics in depth. Whether you are studying abroad on a faculty-led program, through an affiliate, or on an exchange program - the person with the most responsibility for your health and safety is yourself. While you may not be able to control everything about your environment, there are ways to mitigate risks.
Before you leave, take the time to research your host country. Make sure you are aware of the political landscape and current events. Familiarize yourself with customs and cultural norms that may be significantly different than what you are used to. If you are studying abroad with an affiliate program, take advantage of the resources available to you through your program provider. Read news articles, and see if there are any online videos with information about your host country. Don't rely only on American media outlets - make sure you are accessing local and international news sources.
US State Department Travel Advisories
Overseas Advisory Council (OSAC)
It's important to keep track of your mental and physical health when studying abroad. While the study abroad office does not require any medical treatment or vaccines before studying abroad, we do strongly encourage you to consult with your physician to determine how your decision to study abroad may impact your health. Certain countries do have recommended immunizations, which you can discuss with your doctor.
It's also important to consider your mental health needs while studying abroad. Living and learning in another country is an amazing and fun experience, but it is also challenging and stressful at times. Make sure to take care of yourself, and reach out if you need help. In addition to the study abroad health insurance, UTA's Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is available to you while abroad and has an online guide, Therapy Assistance Online (TAO).
All students studying abroad are required to purchase Study Abroad Health Insurance, which provided medical care abroad including seeing a physician or counselor.
World Health Organization (WHO)
Traveler's Health - Center for Disease Control (CDC)
Crime & Safety
While crime can happen anywhere, you may be particularly vulnerable as a foreigner. You may stand out in your new environment, and in the beginning you may be unfamiliar with your surroundings. This can put you at an increased risk of being a target; however, there are things you can do to protect yourself.
- Be Aware - take stock of what is happening around you at all times. Is anyone paying particular attention to you, or what you are doing? Is there a public event or protest going on nearby?
- Trust Your Gut - if you feel unsafe or uncomfortable, remove yourself from the situation. You are under no obligation to remain in a situation in which you do not feel safe. Your safety should be your top priority.
- Make Good Decisions - this might seem obvious, but it's important to avoid situations that might increase your risk of being a victim of a crime. Avoid overindulgence of alcohol, and never do drugs while abroad. Avoid getting into cars with strangers, going out alone, or giving too much information on where you are staying.
US State Department - International Travel
US State Department - Country Information
Culture of Safety
The University of Texas at Austin International Office has a "Culture of Safety" video that provides general information for students studying abroad.
Know Before You Go
In 1996, Sara Schewe, a student from Georgetown University, was killed in a bus accident in India while on a study abroad program. Since then, Sara's family founded Sara's Wish Foundation to bring awareness on how to minimize safety issues while traveling and studying abroad. The Know Before You Go video on their website was created to provide students and their families valuable information to help prepare for a safe time abroad.
Center for Global Education
The Center for Global Education is a great resource for students, as well as parents of students, preparing to study abroad. Along with the information provided in the UTA Study Abroad Handbook, it is highly recommended that all students review and familiarize themselves with the Center for Global Education's Study Abroad Handbook, especially their section on health and safety abroad.