While off campus study remains a once in a life time opportunity for our students, recent international events remind us all of the volatility of today's world. Although OCS cannot guarantee the safety of the participants of any program, we can provide you with an overview of our safety precautions. We encourage you to contact our office at any point in the process with questions or concerns. 

What we do:

  • We provide students with an extensive mandatory pre-departure orientation that covers detailed information about health and safety abroad.
  • Affiliated programs are closely evaluated by our office and Gettysburg faculty not only for their academic fit and integrity, but also for their health and safety protocols.
  • We are in regular contact with the US and in-country based staffs of our Affiliated programs.
  • OCS staff members monitor announcements from the US Department of State and other sources regularly. These include the State Department's daily global security briefing and instant notification of all Travel Warnings and Advisories.
  • Gettysburg College has a mandatory medical evacuation/repatriation insurance policy that all students studying abroad must purchase to cover the costs of medical evacuation and repatriation in the event of such an emergency.  Information about this mandatory insurance is mailed to the home address of each student, and the cost of the insurance is billed directly to each student's account.  The cost is currently $36.00 per month. If you currently have Gettysburg College health insurance, this portion is covered under this policy and you will not be charged the additional $36.00 per month while abroad.
  • You can choose to opt out of this supplemental insurance if:

    1. Your study abroad program provides medical evacuation and repatriation coverage (please check your program materials).
    2. Your family health insurance policy includes supplemental medical evacuation and repatriation coverage.
    3. You currently have the general Gettysburg College Health Insurance Policy (Shared Services Insurance Group) since it includes supplemental Medical Evacuation and Repatriation Coverage.

    If you meet one of these exceptions to opt out so you will not be billed $36.00 per month, please print and complete this form and fax to Mary Ann Remaley at fax number: (717) 337-6624 at least one month prior to your departure date. Even students who have Gettysburg's Shared Service Insurance need to do this! For any other insurance questions, please contact Mary Ann Remaley at phone number (717) 337-6069.
  • We encourage students to disclose to us and to their program providers any health concerns they have before they go abroad so we and the student can be sure that he/she has the adequate support and resources while abroad.
  • We stress the importance of mature and responsible behavior as the key to a safe and successful term abroad.

In turn, this is what we expect of our students:

  • Before a student leaves, he or she should have a complete physical examination. Some countries require proof of good health in order to be granted a visa. 
  • Students need to inform themselves of the necessary vaccinations and the timeline for getting these vaccinations (some vaccinations must be given as much as 6 months in advance of the student's departure). 
  • All students should consult the Center for Disease Control's (CDC) website for further information about specific geographic health recommendations: http://www.cdc.gov/travel/ or toll-free at (877) FYI-TRIP.  
  • If a student needs treatment for an ongoing medical issue while abroad, they should work with their physician and their program provider to seek out medical support in their host country. For additional assistance contact our office as well as the Gettysburg College Health Center where students can find answers to questions they have about preparing for a healthy trip. 
  • Students should have their doctor in the U.S. write out any standard prescriptions for medication they take, citing the generic name and chemical composition.  This includes allergy medicine, gynecological prescriptions, etc. They also need to make sure they will have the necessary amount of medication for the duration of their time abroad or be able to get a prescription filled onsite.
  • Students who have medical problems which are not easily recognized (diabetes, allergic reactions to antibiotics or bee stings, heart conditions, epilepsy, etc.) might consider obtaining a medic alert identification tag.  This tag is internationally recognized.  Students should check with their doctor or hospital to see how to obtain one.
  • It is very important that students have health insurance that covers them adequately while they are abroad. Students should consider how they would pay for medical assistance up front because most insurance companies will later reimburse you for medical expenses. In all cases, students should determine exactly what they need to do to use their insurance while abroad. Some study abroad programs provide health insurance as part of the program fee.  Students should read their program materials to determine if their program offers insurance. 
  • If a student has any special needs such as a learning disability, ADD, special medical needs, special counseling needs or concerns about how their gender, race, or sexual orientation will be perceived abroad, they should seek help and advice from the OCS and the program provider to better prepare for a successful study abroad experience.
  • It is highly recommended that students enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). This free government program provided by the Department of States allows students the opportunity to register information about their trip in order to receive updates about travel warnings and alerts, and routine information from the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
  • It is strongly recommended that students purchase Travel and Personal Property Insurance for their time abroad.

Resources:

The Center for Disease Control:

This is a comprehensive, government-run resource that lists all current outbreaks,diseases, and available vaccinations. It can be searched by region and contains useful information on how to maintain health while abroad.

Health Checklist for Travel Abroad:

This CIEE webpage contains a helpful checklist about overall health and well-being
prior, during, and after international travel. 

CIEE AIDS and International Travel:

This CIEE webpage contains important information regarding HIV transmission and HIV antibody testing requirements for various countries. 

U.S. State Department Health Website:

This website houses extensive travel-related health and safety information