Skip Navigation

Health and Safety

Health & Safety

Resources While You're Abroad

The health and safety of our students is our highest priority. If you're currently abroad and looking for emergency or medical assistance resources, click here. Review the topics below thoroughly, and stay in touch with your study abroad advisor while abroad. If you encounter any health & safety challenges reach out early for assistance; don’t wait until a difficult situation overwhelms you before contacting us. Our team of study abroad experts has a lot of experience assistant study abroad students with the unique challenges that can arise when traveling or living abroad. Remember to check your OU email regularly as we will communicate exclusively through OU email.

All study abroad students, faculty, and staff are automatically enrolled in study abroad student insurance through OnCall International for the duration of your program. The Summary of Benefits (PDF) provides comprehensive information regarding coverage and services provided by OnCall.

Before you go abroad, Education Abroad will issue you a generic insurance document with the OU policy information on it. We recommend that you carry your insurance information on your person at all times while you are abroad. Fees for this insurance are part of the program fee or are paid by the program participant prior to the program's departure. The OU policy is a blanket policy, meaning you are covered from your outbound plane until you return home for a single trip abroad.

On Call International
Worldwide 24/7 International Assistance Provider: (877) 714-8179

Click to access the My On Call Portal (access code: OnCallCISI) where you can find information on health, safety and security abroad.

Cultural Insurance Services International - Claim Form (PDF)

Staying healthy abroad requires planning, research and smart decision making. We encourage all students to schedule an appointment with a health care professional as soon as they know where they will be studying abroad. This will give you and your doctor an opportunity to discuss how best to plan for your wellness abroad. OU Health Services offers travel consultations, and can advise students about immunizations, vaccinations and medication plans. To make an appointment, call the Goddard Health Center at 405-325-4441. For more useful information, see the OU Health Services International Travel Brochure (PDF).

Many countries require immunizations prior to entering the country, and some immunizations are recommended for travel in certain parts of the country. Please visit the following websites for information on immunizations. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
World Health Organization

Immunizations can be obtained from OU Health Services, your family doctor, or a county health clinic.

Being in a new country can have a variety of impacts on your mental health. Consider how you care for your mental health on campus, and research ways to find similar support while abroad. For example, some local parks or familiar restaurants to where you will be staying.

Prioritize your mental and emotional wellbeing by engaging in activities that bring you joy and taking time for self-reflection. Many students find journaling to be beneficial while studying abroad.

If counseling services would be beneficial to you there are a number of ways to access counseling while abroad.

  • The University Counseling Center provides services to students, faculty, and staff while abroad on an emergency basis. Call (405) 325-2911.
  • Utilize TAO (Therapy Assistance Online), provided free to OU students, staff, and faculty, to assist with anxiety, depression, and other common concerns. 
  • Contact MySSP (My Student Support Program) (PDF) for 24/7, confidential, multilingual health care support focused on your wellbeing and success. MySSP is provided free to OU study abroad students, faculty, and staff. Download the app to get started (Apple, Android). 
  • Contact OnCall International to inquire about ongoing counseling in your host country. This can be done pre-departure or while  you are abroad and may be covered under the study abroad insurance plan up to the plan limits.

Be prepared to undergo a fairly typical adjustment cycle during your stay. Expect some ups and downs. You'll start out with a great deal of excitement. Wherever you are studying will be the most fantastic place on earth. You'll be riding high with enthusiasm. After a while, the novelty will wear off and reality will set in. You may feel lonely, frustrated, disappointed, depressed, homesick, and irritable. You may even feel "abandoned" by your friends and family at home due to the lack of communication. You'll complain about many things and many people, you'll probably wish you'd never left home, and long to be back in the United States or your home country -- if you could ever imagine that!

These feelings of "culture shock" are perfectly normal and will pass with time as you develop friendships and make progress in the language. It is important at this point not to give up, but instead hang in there and keep swimming. This stage will pass and remember that your family and friends -- and all of us at OU's Education Abroad office -- believe in you and what you are doing. Bit by bit things will get better, the petty frustrations will tend to disappear, and you'll finally figure out who you are, where you are, and why you are there. As you complete your adjustment cycle, you'll come to accept and then enjoy everything, including the academics, food, drinks, habits, languages and customs of the host country. Finally when you complete your experience, you may not want to leave when it is time to go home.


Signs of Culture Shock

Some signs of culture shock might include disorientation, depression, homesickness, excessive sleeping, withdrawal and irritability. It is important to note that this is very common and is a normal part of the adjustment process. Most of you will go through some form of culture shock.

For most, the difficult part of culture shock will last from two to four weeks. It is important that should you or a friend show any of the signs above for more than a month, some outside counseling might be helpful. Most of the institutions abroad have counseling centers with qualified staff to help students through difficult times.

There are some things you can do to help alleviate culture shock. Keep a journal of your experiences; make yourself write in it every day. Write letters or emails home to your family and friends. Make yourself go out with friends or join a club or association, even if you don't feel like it at the time. Finally, don't keep your feelings to yourself. Share them with other international and American friends.


For more useful information, visit the US Department of State links below:

Safety Abroad
Students Abroad
Lost or Stolen U.S. Passport Abroad
Emergencies Abroad

CFAR -  Education Abroad does not require or endorse any particular Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) insurance, though some students may wish to purchase a policy. Cancellation insurance policies typically cover flight or baggage costs lost due to an itinerary being cancelled. Please read the policy carefully before purchasing cancellation insurance so that you know exactly what is and is not covered.