Honestly assess your state of mind. Going abroad is not a magic cure for problems at home. Any physical and emotional health issues you have will travel with you abroad. New surroundings and circumstances can even exacerbate existing issues into crises. If you have any concerns about your physical or emotional health, including the use of alcohol or other controlled substances, address your situation before going abroad.
Identify your needs. Understand and communicate any health requirements you have when applying for a program. This includes allergies, psychological therapy, dietary requirements, disabilities and any other special needs. Students with disabilities study abroad successfully all the time, but resources and services for people with special needs vary widely by country and region. If you have been using services here at home to address those needs, make sure you understand ahead of time exactly what accommodations can and will be made. In some cases, your needs may determine which program is suitable for you.
Verify health insurance coverage. Some study abroad programs include health insurance as part of the program fee and some do not. Check your regular policy to see what coverage it provides for medical services abroad – and whether your plan pays the provider directly or if you must pay upfront and be reimbursed by your health care plan. Make certain that you have coverage for medical evacuation and repatriation, in case you need to be flown back to the US. If your program does not include these basic coverages you can obtain basic or supplemental insurance through the Office of Study Abroad with iNext.
MBUClinic: Mercy at MBU http://www.mobap.edu/student-life/health/
After checking the information for your particular program with the CDC link below and the Office of Study Abroad you may schedule any required immunizations with the Mercy at MBU clinic. MBU students, faculty and staff have access to full spectrum of services through the Mercy Network. Some services on campus include:
Centers for Disease Control http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/
The CDC provides updates by destination for required vaccinations, health advisories and actions you can take to stay healthy and safe on your trip.
World Health Organization http://www.who.int/ith/en/
The World Health Organization provides global information on safe and healthy travel.
Mobility International http://www.miusa.org/plan/americans-abroad
Interested in finding a disability-related international exchange program or one particularly responsive to your needs? It’s best to be open-minded when looking for opportunities. Your personal, educational and career goals are essential parts of this equation. Be sure to speak with the Office of Study Abroad before enrolling in any study abroad program.
Access-Able Travel Serviceshttp://www.access-able.com/
Providing Access Information and Resources to the Mature and Travelers with Disabilities Since 1995
Transitions Abroad – Disability Travel Resourceshttp://www.transitionsabroad.com/listings/travel/disability/index.shtml
International programs offer new challenges and experiences related to accessibility, and also opportunities to explore new strategies for independence and inclusion. People with disabilities, like their non-disabled peers, have much to gain from work, study, and volunteer abroad experiences.
U.S. Department of Transportation tips for traveling with disabilitieshttp://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/go/disabilities.html
Preparing for your trip in advance will help to ensure that your travel is accessible, safe, and enjoyable. Each country has its own standards of accessibility for travelers with disabilities, and many countries do not require accommodations similar to what you might find in the United States.