Study Abroad

Medical precautions and insurance

  • Take these steps before leaving to maximize your health and safety.
  • If you have medical needs, please tell your program director or program provider so that they can best support you.
  • Hall Health and the Centers for Disease Control offer great health resources for study abroad students.

Purchase international health insurance

Whether you are engaging in study, research, internships or community engagement abroad, you are required to purchase UW Student Abroad Insurance. We also advise you to maintain your U.S. health insurance while you are abroad.

UW Student Abroad Insurance can be purchased through the Travel Registration process for independent travelers. If you are participating in an official UW Study Abroad program (faculty-led program, exchange or provider program) then you will be prompted by UWSA staff to enroll in insurance as part of your pre-departure process.


The UW Student Abroad Insurance plan is tailored to the needs of UW students. Here is an overview of services provided by the plan:

  • Comprehensive medical coverage abroad
  • Medical, security and natural disaster evacuation services
  • Travel assistance service
  • Current cost of the insurance is $1.74 per day, with no minimum policy


  • Low cost ($1.74 per day), calculated by days of coverage
  • Major medical insurance benefits while overseas
  • Evacuation services for medical emergencies plus repatriation from most locations in the world
  • Natural and political disaster evacuation coverage
  • 24/7 travel assistance and support
  • Enroll and pay online

Plan coverage

  • Treatment outside the U.S. for injuries or illnesses that occur abroad.
Not covered
  • Medication for pre-existing conditions. Please plan to bring enough medication with you for your entire time abroad.
  • Loss arising from participation in professional sports, scuba diving, hang gliding, parachuting, or bungee jumping. If you plan to engage in these activities abroad, please contact your UW Study Abroad adviser.
  • Elective medical care includes dental care, routine physical exams, and routine eye exams.
Important notes
  • You cannot pay for this insurance plan through MyUW. The premium cannot be charged to your UW student account, and it will not be automatically paid by financial aid.
  • If you would like to complete a revision request so that the cost of insurance can be reflected in your financial aid package, contact UW Study Abroad.
  • Students enrolled through UW Study Abroad enter their insurance policy information into their online study abroad account.
  • The UW Student Abroad Insurance plan is distinct from the UW International Student Health Insurance Plan (ISHIP). Enrolling in the UW Seattle, Bothell or Tacoma international student insurance plan for the same time period will not automatically enroll you in the UW Student Abroad Insurance plan.
  • All students (including international students) should list a U.S. address as their address of record on the application.

Other plans and insurance waivers

  • If you already have another study abroad insurance plan that covers expenses arising from emergency evacuation, repatriation of remains, injury, illness or death while participating in study or research abroad, you can petition for a UW Student Abroad Insurance waiver.
  • If the petition is granted, you will be exempt from the requirement to purchase the UW Student Abroad Insurance Plan on the condition that your personal insurance remains unchanged and in force for the duration of your educational activities abroad.

Health check-up, vaccinations and prescription medications

Schedule a pre-travel health consultation and get necessary vaccines

  • Please be up to date on all routine immunizations.
  • Get destination-specific travel advice and vaccinations before travel from the Travel Clinic at Hall Health Center or your regular doctor. This is particularly crucial if you are traveling to a country with higher travel health risks.
  • Travel consultations can be free for currently enrolled students, and vaccinations are covered by most insurance providers. Check Hall Health’s website for details and to make an appointment.
  • Schedule your travel advice appointment at least eight weeks prior to departure, as some vaccines require multiple visits to the clinic over a period of weeks.
  • Talk to your doctor about any prescription medications that you take regularly.

Prescription medications

Do you take prescription medications regularly?  Please think ahead and talk with your doctor.
  • If possible, bring enough medication to last throughout your time abroad.
  • Plan ahead for the possibility that you might need to have a prescription filled while abroad. Bring a letter from your doctor or pharmacist describing your medicine(s), dosage, a generic name for them, and a description of the condition being treated. Consider having this information translated into the language of your destination country.
Additional considerations
  • Take an extra pair of glasses or contacts in case your primary set is lost or damaged.
  • Store medications in their original pharmacy containers. Carry copies of the prescriptions to avoid problems with customs.
  • Some countries restrict import of syringes and certain medications and contraceptives.
    • Check with your destination country’s embassy or consulate to verify that your prescription is legal in that location.
    • If you are diabetic or have another medical condition in which a syringe is needed to administer medication, bring a supply of disposable syringes. These are not available in all countries, and are essential to protect yourself against HIV, hepatitis, and other communicable illnesses. Check with your destination’s consulate or embassy to see if there are any restrictions on bringing these supplies with you.
  • If you have a chronic condition like diabetes, asthma, mild epilepsy, or allergy to penicillin, consider wearing a tag or a bracelet, or carrying a card to identify your condition so that you can be treated properly.

Register with the U.S. Department of State

Register your trip in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. STEP is a free service of the U.S. Department of State. Through it, you can provide information about your trip so that they can better assist you in case of an emergency and provide important health, safety and security updates for your host country.

Consider trip cancellation insurance

Trip cancellation insurance offers a layer of financial protection should your plans be cancelled, interrupted or delayed. Typical policies cover cancellation or interruption for:

  • Weather-related issues
  • Illness or injury
  • Changes of mind
  • Sudden travel conflicts
  • Delay in obtaining a visa or passport
  • Lost or stolen luggage

Some policies also cover acts of terrorism, airline bankruptcy, and accidents en route to the airport. The cost for travel insurance varies depending on the level coverage, but generally ranges between 4-8% of the trip cost. Consider insurance companies listed with the U.S. Travel Insurance Association, which provides advice on choosing travel insurance.