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Health & Safety Abroad

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All education abroad students are required to complete a comprehensive Pre-departure Orientation, a large portion of which is dedicated to health and safety.  Additional health and safety information and resources can be found in the UNCG Education Abroad Guide


All students participating in UNCG’s education abroad programs are automatically enrolled in comprehensive international health insurance through GeoBlue. This insurance is mandatory for all participants and provides comprehensive medical and mental health coverage as well as political unrest and natural disaster benefits. Once enrolled, students have access to GeoBlue Students, which provides extensive information about the insurance program and its benefits.  
Students may elect to extend coverage or enroll for additional days beyond the length of their program. In addition to GeoBlue, students may decide to continue their own personal health insurance policy to avoid gaps in domestic coverage. Additionally, some host countries (e.g. Australia, Germany, New Zealand, etc.) or universities require visiting students to obtain additional medical insurance.  In such cases, students will not be exempt from GeoBlue enrollment and will be required to carry both policies. 

GeoBlue also has a website specifically designed for parents available here


Your pre-departure preparations should include a plan to address pre-existing health conditions, including mental health concerns.  It is never too early to utilize campus resources in planning for a successful experience abroad.  Below are a few resources to assist in this process:
  • Mental Health Resources 
The UNCG Counseling Center is available (pre-departure) to assist in developing a plan to manage your mental health while abroad.  The UNCG Education Abroad Guide has some great considerations for creating a workable plan and managing stress in the Mental Health section as well. 
Additionally, after you receive your insurance enrollment confirmation, you can login to to explore physicians/counselors at your host destination or review the availability of your medications abroad. Global Wellness Assist can be a great tool to plan ahead and manage health concerns even before arrival.  You can contact GeoBlue with questions and guidance at 1-800-257-4823.  
  • Immunizations and Medications 
UNCG Student Health Services can provide wellness examinations, T.B. testing, immunizations, and prescriptions needed during travel. 
The Guilford County Health Department is available for medical advice on which immunizations or vaccinations are needed during travel, and can provide a full-range of vaccinations.  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) also have excellent information regarding recommended immunizations and health, safety and security conditions around the world.   
  • Accessibility Accommodations 
It is important to communicate any need for accommodations with your study abroad advisor and host program when choosing a program and prior to departure. The TSA also provides a Disability Notification Card for Air Travel.  This is a notification template to discreetly provide information about medical conditions or accessibility needs to Transport Security Officers at airports. The U.S. Department of State has some very helpful related travel advice and information on their website
  • Identity & Diversity Abroad
We believe in the value of study abroad for every member of UNCG's diverse student population. We are happy to work with each student to find a program that fits their individual needs and goals, and are aware that some of our students may have different considerations to keep in mind. We are proud members of Diversity Abroad, so we have highlighted some of their key resources, along with others, to help you think through a variety of considerations, form appropriate expectations, and plan ahead.  Please don't hesitate to ask an advisor for more information/resources about your specific concerns.


Before traveling outside of your host country, students should consult the Department of State website for advice on safety and entry guidelines for U.S. citizens.  Students should also consult the travel guidance of the CDC Travel Health Notices and the WHO Country Information. These sites inform travelers about current health issues that impact travelers’ health, like disease outbreaks, special events or gatherings, and natural disasters, in destinations around the world. 


All students are instructed to enroll in the U.S. Department of State Traveler Program (STEP).  This allows the State Department to communicate important information to U.S. citizens abroad in the event of emergencies abroad.  The Smart Traveler app was designed to provide easy access to frequently updated official country information, travel alerts, travel warnings, maps, and U.S. embassy locations. The Smart Traveler app is available for free in the iTunes store and Google Play Store.


For health or other personal emergencies abroad, seek local help first: 911 numbers abroad.  
In the event of a medical emergency, you should go immediately to the nearest physician or hospital, then call the Medical Assistance number for 24/7 care located on the back of your GeoBlue student insurance card or call collect on +1.610.254.8771. GeoBlue will help arrange for payment of your medical care. 
For non-emergency medical care, you can contact GeoBlue to request assistance in scheduling an appointment with one of GeoBlue's English-speaking network physicians or counselors.  They can also provide an interpreter if necessary.  GeoBlue’s smartphone app can connect you with health care providers and is the easiest way to coordinate your health care while abroad. You can also access care by contacting GeoBlue over the phone. Collect calls are accepted on +1.610.254.8771 or email:  (From within the U.S. Toll free 1.800.257.4823). 
U.S. citizens abroad can always contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulates for assistance. Consular personnel at U.S. Embassies abroad are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to provide emergency assistance to U.S. citizens.  The State Department of Bureau of Consular Affairs may also be reached for assistance with emergencies at +1 202.501.4444.  The Department of State provides some excellent emergency information for U.S. citizens abroad on their website
Should you need emergency assistance at any time, please contact the International Programs Center at +1 336.334.5404.  If the office is closed, contact the UNCG Police +1 336.334.4444.  Tell them you are studying abroad; give them your name, location, the nature of the incident and how to contact you so they may share these details with our office.  University Police will contact a member of our staff right away. 
Safety Abroad First Education Travel Information (SAFETI) 
Content sourced from UNCW Health & Safety