Health & Safety
It is very important to continue medications that you are taking at home when you travel abroad even if you are feeling better.
Speak to your Medical/Mental Health professional(s) before making changes to your medications and make sure you have enough medication to last for the duration of your program plus 2-4 weeks beyond your program dates.
- If you take medications on a schedule, speak to your doctor or pharmacist about adapting to a new time zone.
- If you take over-the-counter medications routinely, bring these medications with you in their original labeled bottles.
- Research to find out if your medication is legally permitted in your program country. In some cases, you may need documentation to carry a particular medication abroad.
- Take copies of all your prescriptions in your carry-on luggage.
If you struggle with depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues on a daily basis, or you have moments or periods of emotional distress, you may wish to schedule an appointment with a Mental Health Professional to discuss your study abroad plans and any needed resources while abroad. Many universities have counseling centers which provide free mental health screenings or appointments with a counselor for a minimal charge.
Sample Topics to Discuss with a Mental Health Professional:
- Types of support needed before, during and after study abroad
- Prescription medication(s)
- Anxiety/panic attack warning signs
- Coping techniques (Mindfulness, Meditation, Behavioral Activation, Journaling, etc.)
- Visit the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website to research any health risks or required immunizations for your host country.
- Plan a visit with your Medical/Mental Health professional(s) to discuss your study abroad travels and get any medications or immunizations.
- Research your host country to understand their customs and culture. Note: each KIIS program has a handbook with important cultural and safety guidelines.
- Increase your fitness activity if you do not currently exercise on a regular basis. Many KIIS programs involve walking 2-5 miles (5000-10,000 steps) per day.
- Gradually change your sleep patterns to avoid jetlag. If you are traveling east, try to go to bed a little earlier each night. If travelling west, try to go to bed a little later each night.
- Eat lightly
- Stay hydrated by drinking water. Avoid coffee, soda and alcohol.
- Avoid blood clots by taking short walks hourly. When sitting, flex your ankles often and avoid crossing your legs.
- Eat nutritiously to avoid getting ill. Budget travelers often eat more carbs than protein. Proteins are needed to help resist infection and rebuild muscle.
- Decrease your exposure to germs by washing your hands often. Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth. If you become ill, speak with your KIIS Program Director.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Always keep an eye on your belongings to avoid theft. Avoid walking alone and stay on sidewalks and well lit areas.
- Travel Plans. Always inform your Program Director of your independent travel plans and provide contact information for any overnight accommodations.
“They told me that the first week in our month long journey would be the hardest, and they were right; but, it only becomes easier when you get out of your comfort zone and “dive in.”
-Andrew, Merida Mexico