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International Education

Health and Safety

The Office of International Education provides students with the resources and tools they need to prepare for a healthy and safe term abroad. Because there are inherent risks in international travel, the university cannot guarantee student safety abroad. Although Bentley takes every reasonable precaution to enhance the safety of its students, individual students must take primary responsibility to maintain their health and minimize their risky behavior. All students are required to sign an enrollment contract and waiver of liability to enroll in a study abroad program.

Title IX

While students are studying abroad, the same Title IX guidelines that inform employees of the university of their duty to report information on sexual violence and student misconduct are in place. Students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the resources and staff members who are in a position to provide assistance and to take note of the different responsibilities towards student confidentiality that confidential employees, limited reporters, responsible employees, and responders have.


Massachusetts law requires all students to have a U.S. health insurance plan while enrolled at Bentley. You must maintain this primary insurance throughout the term abroad, whether it is a private plan or the Bentley plan. Read more about your primary and international insurance while abroad. 


A study abroad experience, while extremely rewarding, can often bring health challenges as you adjust to new schedules, routines, eating habits, and cultural norms.  It is important to prepare to manage your health prior to departure and throughout your experience abroad. Remember that studying abroad will be stressful both physically and mentally. A healthy mind and body are essential for a successful education abroad experience. Please read the following points carefully to prepare yourself for any health issues that may emerge while you are abroad.

Student health self evaluation and physician's report

Honestly assess your health and discuss your travel plans with your healthcare provider.  Ask your health care provider to complete the required Physician's Report. Your examination must take place within twelve months of the start of your program. If you have a signed report from your health care provider dated within twelve months of the start of your program abroad, then you may visit Bentley’s Health Center with a copy of your report, and their team will review and may sign the Physician's Report 


If you do not have a signed report from your health care provider, or if it is outdated, then you have the option of visiting PhysicanOne for your annual physical exam – consultation fee of $50 applies and prices may vary. They may sign the Education Abroad Medical Report. If they don’t, then you may visit the Bentley Health Center for a visit with a nurse practitioner to review your form and, if appropriate, sign the required form.


Please note the Bentley Health Center may be unable to sign the required form if you have an ongoing health issue, regardless of the date of your last physical exam. In this case, only your own health care provider can sign the required form.


If you are experiencing or have experienced physical or emotional problems, please carefully consider your readiness for an international experience. If you are experiencing mental health issues (e.g., anxiety, depression, disordered eating, or substance abuse), strongly consider deferring your participation in a program until you have the concern well under control. If you do intend to participate in the program while managing a health issue, speak with your health care, mental health provider, or counselor well in advance of departure to devise a plan for your ongoing care. 


Prescription medication

Bring an adequate supply of medication to last the full term abroad with you in your carry-on luggage. Medications should be in their original packaging. Do not ship medications as they are likely to be held up in customs for an extended period of time or not arrive at all. Bring medications in their original labeled containers along with copies of prescriptions.  Know the generic names of all medications.


In some countries, immunizations may be required or recommended.  Check with your doctor as well as the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control which offers a study abroad and Traveler's Health section.

Study abroad with food allergies or dietary restrictions

Studying abroad comes with many preparations and this is even truer for students with food allergies or dietary restrictions. Below is some information and links to articles, which may be helpful in your planning. 

Before you go
o    Speak with your doctor to ask advice and get any documentation for your time abroad 
o    Get enough medication for entire time, plus extra, if possible 
          Are there any special requirements for medication, like refrigeration? Make sure to prepare for that in advance.
          If your medication is lost or you run out, is it available in your host country?
o    Note for traveling with medication from your doctor to show that you are allowed to travel with an epi-pen, medications, etc. 
o    Research your location to find out about local brands, and check ingredients online 
o    Bring safe foods with you if possible
          After you use it, you will have more room to bring home souvenirs!
          Ask family to ship safe foods to you, if possible in your location 
          Having safe foods and snacks available will give you a back up option in case you are not able to find suitable food when you need it

Communication in advance 
o    Inform airline, host school, provider, roommates and friends about your allergies and what to do in case of emergency
o    Practice epi-pens with those closest to you
o    Be up front with roommates 
          Can your allergen be in your housing, or need to be avoided?
          Teach roommates how to avoid cross-contamination in shared housing 

o    Learn how to say your allergens in other languages
o    Have a plan for translating your allergens in other places
          Weekend travel to a new place with unfamiliar language
          Have info loaded in Translate or another format

Cultural awareness    
o    Research traditional food and food customs for your host country and places you will visit
o    Learn how to politely decline in that culture and others so that your host will not be inadvertently offended when you cannot eat something they offer 

In case of emergency 
o    Always make sure you know the emergency number for your host country and countries you may visit while abroad
o    Consider a medical alert bracelet in your host country’s language in case of emergency 
o    Enter your allergies and contact info into your phone for first responders

Students with disabilities

Students with apparent or non-apparent disabilities will likely need to take special measures when planning a study abroad experience.  Appropriate accommodations and facilities may not be available in all locations, so discuss your needs with your study abroad advisor as far in advance as possible.  Your study abroad advisor and Bentley's coordinator of disability services will work together to assist you. Mobility International is a valuable resource for students with disabilities.

Register your travel

The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service provided by the U.S. government to U.S. citizens traveling abroad. STEP allows Americans abroad to receive updates from the nearest embassy or consulate and allows the Department of State to better assist you in an emergency. International students should seek similar enrollment programs with their home country.

Staying safe abroad
  • Use alcohol wisely and never use illegal drugs.  Impaired judgment puts you at increased risk for accident, injury, and crime.
  • Do not walk alone at night.
  • Be aware of local laws and act in a responsible manner.
  • Never leave your belongings unattended.
  • Do not store or carry your documents and money together in one place.  Carry only the necessities to minimize chance for loss.
  • Be aware of your surroundings
  • Do not display money openly. 
  • Be inconspicuous in dress and demeanor. Be aware of belongings that might be perceived as valuable to thieves.
  • Try speaking the local language, even with other study abroad students.
  • Do not drive or hitchhike.
  • Practice safe sex.
  • Be wary of people who seem overly friendly or interested in you.
  • Know your local 911 equivalent and other emergency contacts.
Communicating your plans

Always inform the on-site coordinator at the host institution and your family of your travel plans (destinations, itineraries, and how to contact you), even if it is just a weekend trip. This information is vital in case you need to be contacted in the event of an emergency. Needless to say, be certain to educate yourself about any destination you plan to visit prior to your departure.

In times of political conflict
  • Make sure you always carry the emergency contact numbers for your on-site coordinator, the U.S. embassy/consulate, and the police.
  • Stay informed of the current political situation in your host country by using the local media. Consult the U.S. Department of State travel advisories. 
  • Avoid potential target areas, especially bars, clubs, fast food restaurants, banks churches, embassies/consulates frequented by U.S. citizens.
  • Stay away from areas known to have large concentrations of residents unfriendly to the United States.
  • Stay out of political demonstrations. Resist the temptation to satisfy your curiosity and investigate what is happening. Go to a secure location and watch it on the news.
  • Do not agree to newspaper, TV, or radio interviews regarding political conflicts or controversial issues. Remain inconspicuous.

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