Health & Safety

Before you leave, you should be sure to have a complete physical examination. Your program may require you to do this. Some countries require proof of good health in order to be granted a visa. Other countries require certain vaccinations to enter the country. Some vaccinations must be given as much as 6 months in advance of your departure. All students should consult the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Homepage for further information about specific geographic health recommendations. The CDC can also be reached by calling toll-free 877-FYI-TRIP. The toll-free fax number for requesting information is 888-232-3299. (NOTE: Any information available by fax is also available on this web site.)

The Gettysburg College Health Center can answer many questions you have about preparing for a healthy program. You can contact the Health Center for an appointment by calling 337-6970.

Preparing for traveling internationally should begin far ahead of your actual departure. These preparations must include how you will stay healthy and safe in places that will have different health care systems and where your personal insurance may not provide coverage.

Gettysburg College requires all campus community members traveling abroad for college business to have medical evacuation and repatriation insurance coverage. Gettysburg offers a Global Insurance policy that has medical evacuation and repatriation and international health insurance through EIIA, Healix,and additional benefits that are essential to international travelers.

To receive this insurance coverage, you, or a delegate, must complete the Medical Evacuation and Repatriation Insurance Form. Students studying on global study semester programs are automatically enrolled in this insurance and not required to complete this form. Further explanation about this insurance and the coverage provided by the college are below.

Medical Evacuation/Repatriation Insurance

The vast majority of U.S. health insurance programs do not include medical evacuation and repatriation coverage, which is an additional concern for any travel abroad. Medical evacuation insurance pays for the additional costs associated with moving patients from one city to another, or one country to another for medical treatment. Repatriation insurance pays the cost of returning someone’s remains to the U.S. if they die overseas. These activities are coordinated through the insurance provider. While discussions of this kind are not easy, they are clearly important.

It is required for all campus members to have medical evacuation and repatriation coverage while abroad. Students on global study semester programs will have it through Gettysburg College and may also have it through their program provider. Information about the Gettysburg Global Insurance is provided to each student and the cost of the insurance is automatically billed to each student’s account as part of the Global Study Fee.

Campus members traveling for college business for any purpose other than a global study semester must complete the Medical Evacuation and Repatriation Insurance Form prior to their departure to receive this insurance coverage. This is a requirement of the college.

Please contact Gettysburg College Human Resources at 717-337-6069 if you have any questions about this insurance.

Health Insurance

It is very important that you have health insurance that covers you adequately while you are abroad. Some students may be currently covered by an insurance policy that will cover them abroad, but there information specific to utilizing that insurance that you should know in advance. Please note that you may be responsible for the cost of a medical service if it is not covered by the Global Medical plan or your primary health insurance plan. Some insurance plans do not cover overseas travelers at all. In all cases, you should determine exactly what you need to do to use your insurance while you are abroad whether you are planning to use health insurance of your own, from Gettysburg College, or a policy provided by your global study program provider.

Some global study programs provide health insurance as part of the program fee. Gettysburg’s Global Insurance also includes healthcare coverage. Please read the information from your Program Provider, the insurance policy below, and your personal health insurance to ensure that you have health insurance coverage with which you are comfortable.

In addition, there are some student resources offered by Counseling Services that are available to global study students.  More information about these services can be found here.

Global Insurance Policy Information

Gettysburg’s Global Insurance includes coverage for medical evacuation and repatriation, international health insurance, support through Healix, and other benefits. To receive this coverage, you must complete the Medical Evacuation and Repatriation Insurance Form or be studying on an approved global study program.

We are pleased to inform you that Gettysburg College funds the Healix program for all students who are covered under the College’s Global Study Insurance, EIIA. If you have any questions, health issues, or need travel security assistance, Healix is there to assist you. Take a few minutes to read over the information about Healix coverage and support.

EIIA International ID Card (PDF)

EIIA International Program Summary (PDF)

Healix (PDF)

Travel Insurance

In addition to health insurance, many travelers will purchase travel insurance. This extra coverage will cover things like flight cancellations due to airline strikes or lost luggage, etc. There are many options to choose from regarding travel insurance. Please check with your current insurance company.

Please see this excellent article by Rick Steves, the travel writer, about travel insurance- including trip cancellation insurance, things to watch out for, and links to the most common travel insurance companies.


If you currently take prescription medication, you will want to plan ahead for your semester abroad. Medication cannot be shipped to you from overseas.

Be sure to have your doctor in the U.S. write out any standard prescriptions which you use, citing the generic name and chemical composition of the medication. This includes your allergy medicine, gynecological prescriptions, etc. Oftentimes, medications have different names in other countries, but the generic name will help a doctor fill your prescription more easily, should you need more medication when you are abroad. You may also want to have your doctor prescribe substitute or alternate prescriptions in case your exact medication is not available overseas. You should also write down the generic name of your medication(s), as medical practitioners in other countries may not be familiar with brand names used in the US.

Some countries restrict certain medications entirely or limit the amount you can bring with you in-country. Be sure to confirm that your medication is allowed in country, and if so, how much you can have with you upon arrival. Additionally, be sure to always carry your medications in the official, labeled container you receive from the pharmacy.

Once you have met with your physician and obtained a prescription that will last for the duration of your stay abroad, contact both your pharmacy and insurance provider and alert them to your travel plans. Your pharmacy may need to verify the prescription with your physician, and in some cases special order your medication(s) so that it will be in stock just before you leave. When calling your insurance provider, ask for a “vacation override”. Once this override is put in place, you will be able to buy your prescription(s) at your normal monthly copay rate. If this is not done ahead of time, you may need to pay the out of pocket cost, which can be substantial. Be sure to make these arrangements at least two weeks before your departure, as the process can be complicated and lengthy.

People who have medical problems that 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. Check with your doctor or hospital to see how to obtain one.

Health and Safety Information

Please take time to explore the links below. They provide a great deal of information on Health and Safety abroad. In addition, it is strongly recommended that students purchase Travel and Personal Property Insurance for their time abroad.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Traveler's Health
Health information on over 200 international travel destinations.

U.S. Department of State
Country-specific information on safety and security affecting American citizens abroad is provided by the State Department’s Consular Information Program.

Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)

A free service provided by the U.S. government to U.S. citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country. STEP provides users with travel advisories and alerts, and allows users to receive routine information from the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Taking Medications Abroad

If you have a pre-existing medical condition for which you may require treatment or prescription medication while traveling, be sure to bring an adequate supply - in the original container - and a prescription with your physician's explanation of the condition and generic and brand names of the medication and dosage information.

Please note that some common prescription medications in the U.S. are illegal abroad. Check with the embassies of the countries you expect to visit to make sure that your prescription and over-the-counter medications are permissible. Carry all medications in your carry-on bag. If medical attention is required while in transit, please notify the nearest airline representative or airport employee as soon as possible.

Do not plan on sending medications abroad.

Be sure to maintain your usual dosage and pattern of taking your medication while you're abroad and ask your physician how to make adjustments due to time zone changes.


All study abroad participants should consult with a healthcare provider who specializes in travel medicine for accurate, up-to-date pre-travel advice. To find out what immunizations you may need, consult the Traveler's Health section of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

It is preferable to plan to receive your immunizations well in advance of your departure. Many immunizations are given in stages. For example, you might require a series of shots over several months to acquire full coverage. Receiving your immunizations well in advance of departure also allows time for necessary treatment before your departure in the unlikely event you have an adverse reaction.

Additional information and International Certificates of Vaccination can be obtained from the World Health Organization. Be sure to let the health center or clinic know that you are inquiring about medical preparations for study abroad and advise what vaccinations you need when you make an appointment. Medical providers may need to order some vaccines and will need time to obtain them.

Some countries may require you to provide proof of your immunizations as part of the visa process or upon arrival. To supply this information, ask your physician to provide you with a list of shots you have received to date and other medical conditions. Carry this card with your passport while traveling.