Health and Safety

Your health and safety are our highest priorities. While Miami takes many steps to ensure safe programs, there are inherent risks associated with travel.

Safety tips


As you would in any situation in the States, remain aware of your surroundings, and always use common sense. Research areas of town to avoid, travel in groups, report suspicious behavior, and walk away from situations that make you feel unsafe. To learn more about health and safety in your location, utilize Resources.

Traffic and driving

Traffic laws and driving culture vary from country to country. In fact, the number one cause of injury abroad is related to traffic safety. Do your research, and be aware of pedestrian right of ways, public transportation standards, and local behavior regarding road rules. Miami University strongly discourages students from driving abroad.

Demonstrations and protests

Miami strongly discourages students from attending demonstrations and protests, as they can quickly become violent.

Pickpocketing and theft

Travelers are often targets of petty crime such as pick-pocketing and thefts. Watch your belongings carefully and do not leave them unattended, especially in public places or on public transportation. Miami University is not responsible for lost or stolen items.

Cultural differences

It is understandable that you want to be open and avoid offending anyone. But when it comes to safety, it is important to listen to your gut. Being safe is more important than being polite or avoiding embarrassment. If you feel unsafe, get to a safe place and call the police.

Local laws

Remember, you are subject to the laws of your host country as well as the Miami University Student Code of Conduct. Local laws may be less tolerant than U.S. laws when it comes to drinking and drugs. It is not culturally appropriate in most countries to abuse alcohol, and alcohol can cloud your judgment.

Health Tips


Medical care, including mental health care, emergency medical care and medicine may not be as available and/or of a quality comparable to that available in the United States. Students are strongly encouraged to take ownership for their own health by talking with their family doctor, mental health professionals, and/or Miami University travel nurse prior to departure.  Students should also become informed about their health abroad by consulting the Center for Disease Control (CDC) travel health information for the location(s) they will visit. Verify necessary medical needs can be met in the abroad location, and in your travel.


Refer to the CDC and consult with your medical professionals or Miami University travel clinic to learn more about recommendations for your travel country. Schedule all doctor/dental appointments well in advance. Be sure to schedule all necessary immunizations on time; some immunizations may require multiple visits.

Local Concerns

Exposure to new environments and new countries can cause unique health issues. You may be experience health changes including: altitude sickness, allergies, gastrointestinal distress, local diseases, and more.


Refill prescription medicine and ensure you have enough for the entire program. You cannot fill U.S. prescriptions abroad and mailing medications internationally may be considered illegal. Talk to your insurance provider, International SOS, and your doctor to determine the best course of action for you. Pack all medicines in your carry-on luggage instead of checking it. Keep it in its original packaging to ensure there aren’t issues with entering the country.

Health Products

Health products such as over the counter medications, sunscreen, saline solution, or tampons may be difficult to find in-country, or they may be different than you’re used to. You may need to bring them with you or adapt to the local products.

Sexual Health

Whatever decisions you make about sex abroad, ensure that they are smart and healthy. Know what types of sexual health resources are available in the country you are going to. Protect yourself against STIs and HIV/AIDS and research forms of protection available in your country. The CDC and the World Health Organization provide detailed information concerning the prevalence of sexual health issues in different countries.

Mental Health

Studying abroad is an amazing opportunity, and it also presents unique challenges. For many, studying abroad is a time of emotional highs and lows.

Changes in routine, food, time zones, and culture, combined with a change in environment and support network, affect everyone differently. Some people find that the changes lead to increased anxiety and stress. Others find that studying abroad exacerbates existing conditions.

Mental health support services vary by destination. Students are encouraged to discuss the advisability of studying abroad with their mental health professional. If you need mental health support on-site, GeoBlue and other international health insurance providers can help you identify resources in your country. Study abroad staff are also available to answer questions about mental health concerns and availability of support services. Please contact us with questions.


Students with disabilities participate in study abroad programs around the world; the key to a successful experience is planning. Understand, however, that attitudes, accessibility, and accommodation for students with emotional, mental, learning, or physical disabilities may vary at different program sites and locations. Think about how you will manage these differences and seek as much information as possible before you depart.

Discuss your study abroad plans with your Study Abroad Advisor and Miami’s Student Disability Services Office. Our offices will work with you to discuss reasonable accommodations abroad and assist you with the planning and pre-departure process. To better help you prepare, please contact us as early as possible.

Emergency contact information

If you are in immediate danger, you should always contact local emergency services immediately. These numbers are different in other countries, so it is important to research beforehand to ensure you have local emergency contacts. Some countries have different numbers for ambulance services and fire response.

If you do not need to contact local emergency services, or if you already contacted local emergency services, it is best to then contact your program director, even before calling back to the U.S. They can assist you in addressing the immediate concern.

It is natural that you may want to call your family in an emergency. However, they are far away, and may not be able to help you immediately. For this reason, we highly recommend that you contact local emergency services and your program director before contacting anyone back home.

Embassies and Consulates

If you are a U.S. citizen, in many ways the U.S. Embassy or Consulate is your government representative when overseas and out of country.

A U.S. Embassy or Consulate can: get you a new passport, locate medical services, locate an English speaking lawyer, provide information on absentee voting, provide U.S. tax forms, notarize documents, provide information on obtaining foreign public documents, evacuate you during a natural disaster or political upheaval, and make sure your jail conditions are the same as locals.

A U.S. Embassy or Consulate cannot: get you out of jail, pay for any medical bills, give you money, or search for missing luggage.

U.S. Consulate services are available to U.S. citizens. If you are a citizen of another country, check with your home country to learn about resources available to you.

The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a U.S. Department of State traveler registration program. When you sign up, you will automatically receive the most current information compiled about the country where you will be traveling or living. You will also receive updates, including Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts.

You only need to sign up once, and then you can add and delete trips from your account based on your current travel plans. You will also receive alerts about planned protests and the Department of State is better to assist in the event of an emergency, including a lost passport. You must sign up for your study abroad program - and you are strongly encouraged to do so for independent travel.

Harassment and Discrimination

Respect for human diversity is an essential element of the Miami University community. The University strongly opposes and will not tolerate harassment or discrimination on the basis of sex (including sexual harassment, sexual violence, or sexual misconduct), race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, or pregnancy.

For issues with harassment or discrimination, students are strongly encouraged to immediately contact the program director, a staff person accompanying the program, and/or the Office of Equity and Equal Opportunity at 513-529-7157.

For students who have been a victim of rape, sexual assault, domestic or dating violence, or stalking; students and employees are strongly encouraged to immediately contact the program director, a staff person accompanying the program, and/or the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Sexual Assault at 513-529-1870.


Miami University is dedicated to offering a wide variety of study abroad opportunities to meet the needs of our student population. We recognize the importance of policies that protect the safety and well-being of study abroad program participants, whether enrolled in a Miami faculty-led program, an exchange program, or directly enrolled in an institution or provider program abroad.

There is not a single piece of coverage that will envelop all contingencies, but Miami University has assembled a coordinated effort to prepare and protect students as they travel throughout the world.


In short, GeoBlue is supplemental health insurance that allows you to access GeoBlue case management, referrals, and get health care services abroad, from contracted providers, at no cost at the time of service. (Using non-network providers will require payment at the time of service, with reimbursement following claim filing.) GeoBlue also provides emergency evacuation coverage for political and natural disasters.

To buy or enroll

Miami University Access Code: CNX-4745
Use the Miami University access code for the contracted rate.

Review the GeoBlue Member Guide to find out what the plan covers and how to take advantage of GeoBlue member resources.

If you have a health issue, injury, or need to seek medical advice, call GeoBlue, collect, 24/7/365, and a medical professional will assist you. GeoBlue will help locate a doctor, dentist, or other medical professional and provide medical advice. Do not delay in calling, even if you cannot locate your policy number. GeoBlue can help you. If it is an emergency, get to a medical facility and then contact GeoBlue.

Contact the GeoBlue international medical community where you will be connected to English speaking medical and healthcare professional by calling 610-254-8771 or e-mailing

The GeoBlue website has a number of resources for preparing to travel abroad. Here you will find:

  • Travel Safety Global Health Tour – an informative video, along with other short, informative videos. (Also found on YouTube - search “GeoBlue”).
  • mPassport – a mobile health and safety app that you can put on your smart phone to provide easy access to information about doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and medications, as well as news alerts, specific to your travel location. (You can also find the apps by searching for GeoBlue or mPassport at the App Store.)
  • Doctors, Hospitals and Pharmacies – search your destination for medical care.
  • Health and Safety – location-specific health and safety profiles.
  • Translation Guides – drug names, medical terms, and medical phrases in other languages.
  • Featured Articles – travel health and special needs.

International SOS

MU Membership Number: 11BCAS000010

The services provided by International SOS range from simple telephone advice from an expert in the field to full-scale medical and security evacuations. The International SOS network of multilingual specialists operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year from 28 Alarm Centers around the world.

Below are some key benefits to membership.

  • Pre-departure preparation: By logging onto the International SOS website ( you can sign up for health and security email alerts and review valuable country-specific information.
  • While abroad: International SOS will help you locate a qualified health care provider, replace a prescription, or simply answer a general medical or safety/security concern.
  • In an emergency: International SOS can ensure you get immediate care whether it requires closely monitoring your condition with local doctors, or evacuating in case of political unrest or disturbances abroad.

It is important to note that International SOS is not health insurance. This assistance program benefit provided by Miami University is designed to supplement and enhance your current health insurance with medical and security advice and services. It does not cover individual medical or evacuation expenses. Miami University therefore requires that all travelers on Miami-managed programs have their own medical, evacuation and travel insurance. Any charges incurred by Miami University for International SOS services not covered by existing insurance will be passed onto the individual.

Center for Disease Control (CDC)

The CDC website contains helpful information with health recommendations based on individual locations. On this website, you can check to see what vaccinations are recommended for your travel, which will assist you in working with your physician to make decisions about your medications and vaccinations.

State Department & STEP

The State Department website provides country-specific information and recommendations regarding health and safety while traveling. Below are several services available on their website.

  • Travel Information - Passport and visa details, and policies for traveling as a U.S. Citizen.
  • Country Specific Information – Information on every country in the world.
  • Travel Warnings and Alerts – Important information to review if traveling to a country under warning and alert.
  • Smart Travel Enrollment Program (STEP) — The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service provided by the U.S. Government to U.S. citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country. You are strongly encouraged to use this resource.
  • Smart Travel iPhone app— Smart Traveler, the official State Department app for U.S. travelers, invites you to see the world with easy access to frequently updated official country information, travel alerts, travel warnings, maps, U.S. embassy locations, and more.

Optional insurance coverage

Miami University recognizes that everyone has unique travel needs. Miami does not provide or require insurance coverage for: trip cancellation, travel delay, or loss, fire, theft, damage, while traveling. You will want to review the options provided for this coverage by your home owners insurance, travel agent, or online providers such as: