Medications & Vaccinations
In MyWorld, all students are asked to read the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines, and to sign that they have read them. During the visit to a medical professional to complete the Health Clearance Form, students should ask about health concerns, medications, and vaccinations.
Students should research regulations regarding the transport and use of medications in the host country. Students may use HTH Worldwide's Drug Translation Guide to find out what a medication is called in the host country, and to find out whether that medication is available in the host country. If a psychiatric medication is not available, it is probably not legal in the host country. If a student or faculty leader has questions about pharmaceuticals not available on the Drug Translation Guide website, they may contact HTH's Global Health and Safety Services by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or calling 1-610-254-8771 or toll-free outside the U.S. 1-800-257-4823. They should include the name and dosage of the medication and the location. HTH will research the question and respond to the request.
At a pre-departure meeting, the EAO staff will remind students to ensure they have an adequate supply of properly labelled prescription medications for the duration of the program as permitted, as it can be difficult to refill prescription medications while abroad.
Faculty Leaders are strongly discouraged from providing medication (even over-the-counter) to students and may not request reimbursement for medication purchased on behalf of the student(s). Please encourage students to bring along over-the-counter medications they use on a regular basis, or expect to use abroad, and encourage them to purchase their own medications while abroad.
While leaders may prepare their own first aid kit, an important tip to keep in mind: "Don’t bring anything that you don’t know how to use." Ideally, first aid will be administered by local first responders in larger cities or well-trained guides in remote areas.
Student Mental Health Issues
Adjusting to another culture typically involves stress for any program participant, and stress is the number one cause of exacerbation of a pre-existing mental illness. If at all possible, become familiar with host country laws about involuntary hospitalization, as well as the general cultural attitudes regarding mental illness. Familiarize yourself with the warning signs of mental stress, to seek help for the student as early as possible. Behavioral warning signs include, but are not limited to:
- an inability to communicate clearly,
- an unusual or markedly changed pattern of interaction, such as totally avoiding participation, becoming excessively anxious when called upon, or dominating discussions when this was previously not the case,
- extreme behavior fluctuation within a relatively short time span,
- a depressed or lethargic mood,
- being excessively active and talkative (very rapid speech),
- swollen or red eyes,
- a marked change in personal dress and hygiene,
- being sweaty (when the room is not hot),
- or falling asleep inappropriately.
Even if unusual behavior is due to mere transient culture shock, it is important to follow up with the student and offer support. If desired, HTH Worldwide can help identify a mental health professional abroad. If a problem does arise, you should not attempt to make serious decisions alone, but should seek professional assistance and notify UNL Education Abroad. The Dean of Students and UNL Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) are excellent resources that are available to staff and students and can help coordinate a plan of action. CAPS has after-hours emergency service available, if you or a student needs to consult with them.
Health Emergency Planning
As a Faculty Leader, you are responsible for familiarizing yourself with health facilities in the host city. On-site coordinators are often helpful in orienting Faculty Leaders to local health resources. In preparation for any emergency, you should locate the office of a general practitioner and an ob/gyn and find a reputable hospital or clinic for emergency situations. If the host country is not English-speaking, locate at least one or two English-speaking physicians. During on-site orientation, discuss the procedures students should follow if they become sick. Become familiar with nearby hospitals and their procedures. Some may allow credit card payments for services, but others may require immediate cash payment.
The EAO will provide a list of local medical clinics and hospitals in the HTH Worldwide network prior to departure. To search for a doctor in the HTH Worldwide network, visit the HTH website.