Students abroad in a museum

Health & Safety

Students’ health, safety, and well-being is a top priority for Wofford College and the Office of International Programs. The Office of International Programs, in conjunction with our partner programs, seeks to empower study abroad students with the information, resources, and dispositions necessary to maintain their holistic wellness and general safety while abroad.

The following health and safety suggestions and considerations are meant to prompt students’ critical thinking and self-reflection prior to their study abroad experiences. Students are also encouraged to explore and review the information provided in the following resources and consult past program participants who can give invaluable, first-hand insights into the student experience abroad.  

Communicate, communicate, communicate!

  • How are you going to stay in-touch with family and friends in the US?

  • Do you have any fears, anxieties, or concerns about your time abroad? If so, do  you feel comfortable making your study abroad adviser, your program representative, or Wellness Center staff member aware?

  • Do you have any medications, either prescription or over-the-counter that you take regularly for a certain condition or diagnosis? Some medications may be different or difficult to obtain overseas. Prior to going abroad, you should be consulting your primary care physician or the Wellness Center about what documentation or proactive measures you should be taking. Remember to take a photocopy of your prescriptions (for glasses, as well as for medication). Take an extra pair of glasses.

  • You should have a complete physical and dental checkup before departure. Be honest and transparent on any and all medical forms required by your program. These forms are completely confidential, and some services may be provided through Wofford’s Wellness Center. The program wants to ensure that all services are in place that are needed by the students, so you must inform them of any physical, mental, or emotional services that you might need.

Maintain holistic healthy practices abroad, too!

  • Do you regularly work-out, run, or participate in group fitness programs? To stay happy and healthy abroad, it’s important to maintain some type of wellness routine. Ask your program what options are available to you in-country, or where “safe” gyms, parks, or facilities are available to visiting students.

  • Maintaining a healthy diet while abroad is also crucial. Be sure to inform your program about any dietary concerns you have prior to going abroad.

  • Worried about culture shock? It’s real. Knowing the stages of culture shock and identifying coping resources that work best for you can assist you if you find yourself having a bad day or low moment while abroad. Do you need to arrange access to your current support systems, such as contacting family members or a counselor, or do you need assistance in creating new support systems while abroad?

  • Plan on participating in the local nightlife while abroad? Engaging in high-risk behaviors/activities, such as: Binge drinking, drug-use, etc., can increase your likelihood to be a potential target for crime, they also violate Wofford policies and protocols for student conduct and, more than likely, those of your partner organization, too! Students who are found violating any of these behavior contracts could be dismissed from their study abroad program and/or Wofford College.

Familiarize yourself with your partner organization’s student behavior/conduct policies here: Arcadia, CIEE, DIS, IES, and SIT

Get informed!

Sexual Health Abroad 

Local customs, laws, and attitudes around gender, sex, and sexuality will differ depending on a student's host country. Prior to going abroad, students should educate themselves on the availability and quality of contraceptives in their host country, the prevalence of and treatment for HIV and STIs, as well as country specific health and safety guidelines provided by their partner program. In addition to the Wofford Wellness Center and students' health care providers, the CDC and the World Health Organization offer extensive resources on sexual health abroad. 

As a reminder, sexual misconduct is a violation of Wofford College policy, federal law, and, frequently, the policies and laws of your study abroad partner program and local country.


For students whose study abroad programs do not provide international health insurance, Wofford College provides all students who are participating in an international experience with international insurance coverage. Wofford provides insurance coverage through Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI). Please see CISI's website for coverage information and claim forms.        

Staying safe while abroad

  • Do not agree to carry, look after, or store any package, parcel, or suitcase for anyone. Do not leave your bags unattended at anytime and be sure no one puts anything in your luggage. In all public places, remain alert; get away from any package or bag which appears to be unattended and mention it to employees or the police.  

  • Don't stand out as a target. Do your best to blend in with your environment. Be aware of where you are going. If you look like you know what you are doing, you are less likely to stand out as a target. Try to fall in with your surroundings. Dress appropriately.

  • Have your cell phone charged and ready to use. Program it for emergency phone numbers, including the number of the local police, the hospital/ambulance service, your resident director, the number of the American Embassy, your home phone number, etc.  

  • If you travel on the weekends or during breaks, you are required to leave information with your director so that they know where you are and how to reach you.

  • Be cautious when you meet new people. Don't be careless when giving your your phone number or address. Don't leave or give away your orientation materials, address book, or schedules that may describe your personal activities or the activities of your program.

  • Be mindful of safety precautions your program director and leaders may give you (safe areas/neighborhoods, restaurants, & shopping for foreigners and those areas that are considered unsafe). You are ultimately responsible for your own safety, so when in doubt, ASK your program staff!

Emergencies abroad

  • You should always carry copies of your passport, insurance card, and any information (student ID card, emergency contact card, etc.) that the study abroad program gives you. Remember to leave your actual passport at your overseas accommodation.

  • Keep your international cell phone with you at all times. If there is an emergency abroad, your study abroad program will need to reach you via phone immediately.

  • Your in-country study abroad program or host university will have specific protocols and procedures, to which you should adhere to in the event of an emergency.

  • For help and major emergencies, contact your closest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

More detailed, country-specific information will be provided to all students during pre-departure orientations conducted by International Programs staff the semester prior to a student’s abroad experience. Additionally, in-country orientations are provided by each study abroad program.

Students will received a copy of the Study Abroad Guide for Families, which they are strongly encouraged to share with their respective family members or guardians.