Ohio University

skip to main content

Health & Safety Information



Health and Safety in Study Away

If you need to reach the Office of Global Opportunities for an after hours emergency, please call +1 740 593 4583.

The Office of Global Opportunities (OGO) and Ohio University consider safety to be one of the most important aspects of any international educational experience. The OGO has established Emergency Response Guidelines and Procedures to prepare for situations that may arise during a program and to help our faculty and others involved address emergencies appropriately.


Health and Safety in Education Abroad

OGO has additional resources for programs taking place in an international context, where students will encounter different environments and resources to those in the US.  OGO also addresses health and safety in Bobcats Abroad, our mandatory pre-departure orientation, and provides more in-depth information to faculty directors and students upon request. Students and parents with specific health and safety concerns should talk to the faculty director or program coordinator for more information.

Ohio University regularly reviews risks related to study abroad program sites. The Study Abroad Risk Assessment Committee reviews sites on an annual basis as outlined in the Process for reviewing study abroad programs in relation to risk.

The university recognizes the importance of students having resources available to them while traveling abroad on a university-sanctioned program. As a parent and guardian, you may ask yourself: What immunizations or vaccinations are required for my student's international travel? What would happen if my student became ill, or were involved in an accident, or a security-related incident in a foreign country? How would my student deal with an emergency where language is a problem and adequate standards of medical care cannot be guaranteed? What if my student were in a foreign country where the political situation was unstable or quickly deteriorating?

In order to meet some of these challenges when students travel abroad, Ohio University offers a campus based travel clinic and provides an integrated International Services and Insurance Program.

Travel Care Clinic

Campus Care works with students traveling abroad for school related study, business, or pleasure to prepare students for a safe, healthy travel experience. A travel consultation allows for reviewing and providing necessary immunizations, prophylactic medications, and educating the student on appropriate health and safety concerns prior to traveling abroad.

More information can be found at: https://www.ohio.edu/medicine/community-health/campus-care/travel.cfm

Services—International SOS

Ohio University has contracted with the premier international services provider, International SOS (ISOS), who will be there for OHIO students when emergency medical, personal, travel, legal, and security assistance services are needed when traveling overseas on a university-sanctioned program. One phone call connects a traveler to the ISOS Network of multi-lingual staff trained to help resolve these issues. Services range from telephone advice and referrals to full-scale medical evacuations by private air ambulance. The ISOS Network of critical care and aero medical specialists operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year from ISOS Alarm Centers around the world.

Additionally, ISOS's global security network is designed to assist in managing the complex issues of people, information, communications, and transportation during a threatening emergency situation. Membership in ISOS is a valuable protection against unexpected difficulties that can arise when you are away from home. Since its founding in 1974, ISOS has performed thousands of evacuations and repatriations. Through the years ISOS has also developed the expertise necessary to provide service in remote areas of the world. Please go to the ISOS's website for more information and enter your ISOS membership number 11BCAS000010.

Insurance—University Health Plans

Everyone participating in an education abroad experience is required to enroll in a mandatory study abroad health insurance policy identified by the Office of Global Opportunities. Ohio University has worked with University Health Plans to establish a unique insurance program with Nationwide Life Insurance Company for students abroad on Ohio University-sanctioned programs, which works in concert with International SOS. This mandatory insurance program for students traveling abroad on a university-sanctioned program is primary in all cases, and because of the special relationship between International SOS and the Plan Administrators, emergency management and health care decision-making is simplified for students and their guardians. Please see the Summary of Benefits  for additional information about the program.

The Office of Global Opportunities will enroll you in mandatory study abroad health insurance provided by University Health Plans (UHP). The policy provides coverage for your benefit, including health insurance, medical repatriation, accidental death and dismemberment, repatriation of remains, and medical and security evacuation. This coverage is for international travel and study only and does not cover you while in the US. It does not replace the Ohio University Injury and Sickness Insurance Plan.

The cost is included in the program fee charged to participants in Ohio University study abroad programs. Participants in Ohio University exchange programs, OHIO-affiliated travel, and non-OHIO programs will have the cost assessed to their student account. The cost of the insurance is outlined below:

2019 Daily Rate: $1.50

All study abroad participants are automatically enrolled in the UHP policy for the duration of the program. The period of coverage can be extended beyond your study abroad program dates on request to the Office of Global Opportunities, and in all cases the cost of the extra coverage will be assessed to your student account. Please note that no traveler may be covered for more than one calendar year.


Emergency Communication Plan - Cell Phone Requirement

The Office of Global Opportunities enacted a policy in 2017 to require that all student participating on international programs have a cellphone capable of making and receiving international calls while abroad to ensure that students are prepared for communication during an emergency. The Study Abroad Risk Assessment Committee recommended this requirement to the Provost's Office as part of a review of global risk management initiatives. 

Students should develop a communication plan for themselves in case of emergency and add all relevant health & safety numbers to their phones. 

It is important for students to research international cell phone plans to ensure that they meet OGO's cell phone requirement. Popular options used in the past include: 

  1. Adding an international plan to a current cell phone line. 
    • Students may consider placing an international plan on their current cellphone line. Depending on provider and phone plan, this option may be more expensive. However, over the years the cost of placing an international plan on a cell phone line has dropped. Speak with your service provider for more information.
  2. Purchasing a local phone or SIM card. 
    • Purchasing a local phone or SIM card may be an affordable option for some students. This process is highly dependent on in-country facilities and access to purchasing a phone/SIM card. Students are encouraged to research options in their country of travel. OGO does recommend for students planning to purchase a local phone or SIM card in-country that they have a plan on how to communicate in the hours/days before they are able to purchase an in-country phone or SIM card. 
  3. Renting a phone or SIM card with an international plan.
    • Renting a phone or SIM card for international travel may also work for student. Some students have used an organization called CellHire to rent a phone/SIM card for a monthly fee. Students can find out more about CellHire by visiting  https://www.cellhire.com/edu/

Several factors may affect which option will work best for a student, from destination(s) to length of time abroad. Student may find it more effective to enable their international plan if going for a short-term program, or they may be able to rent an additional phone or SIM card in advance for their country of travel. If a student is away for a whole semester, they may choose to buy a local phone and purchase minutes as they go.

For more tips and resources, visit  https://traveltips.usatoday.com/use-cell-phones-abroad-1457.html

You may also wish to review the Parents resource on our website for more information on keeping in touch  https://www.ohio.edu/global/goglobal/resources/parents/parents.cfm





Section Menu