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Health & Safety

UNF is committed to our students' health and safety abroad while minimizing international security risks. For this reason, all of our faculty-led, exchange and other individual study abroad locations are assessed for risk according to the U.S.Department of State Travel Advisory Levels. Additionally, all students traveling abroad on a UNF activity are required to watch the UNF Safety Abroad video orientation and to have international accident/health insurance and emergency medical assistance. UNF International Center staff are available to assist students with assessing individual risks of travel and what additional steps may be recommended to promote a safe experience abroad.

Do you have an emergency abroad?

International Health Insurance

  • The UNF International Center can always contact the insurance company on your behalf. If you want to contact your GeoBlue insurance provider, you can call them at +1-610-254-8771 (International Collect Calls Accepted). You will need to identify yourself and provide them with your member id # found on your insurance card.
  • In an emergency situation, you should ALWAYS seek immediate medical care, THEN contact GeoBlue once the situation has stabilized.

Before You Go

  • Safety Video

    In order for you to participate in your planned study abroad activity, it is mandatory for you to view the UNF Safety Video.

    The UNF Safety Video can also be found in your Study Abroad Online Application.

    The password to view the video is: unfstudyabroad

  • Release of Liability

    If you intend to travel before or after your study abroad program dates, please upload the Release of Liability to your myWings study abroad application for the International Center to approve your personal travel.

    Release of Liability

  • Passport

    No matter where you travel, you will need your Passport.

    You can get a new U.S. passport or renew your current passport,check current cost, estimated processing times, track your current passport application, and report your passport lost or stolen using the U.S. Department of State's.website.

    If you are a dual citizen, an International Student, or a citizen of another country, you will want to consult with a Study Abroad Advisor in the UNF International Center. You may need additional documentation and or a visa to travel to your Host Country.

  • Visa

    Depending on where your study abroad takes place, your citizenship, and length of your stay, you may need a visa before your departure. Make sure to review all destination(s) Entry & Exit Requirements within the Country Specific Information.

    Also consider any additional travel you may want to do beyond your study abroad program. Do NOT book or make plans for a scheduled departure date before discussing your additional travel plans with your Study Abroad Advisor. Extending your stay prior to or after your study abroad program may have visa implications.

    Obtaining a visa requires many steps and is a time sensitive process. Every country's visa process and regulations are different. Always start your planning early as some require in-person appointments to consulates in Miami, FL or Washington, D.C., some are available online or through the mail, and others are multi-step processes that could take months to process.

    The best resource is to consult either the embassy or consulate's website to find out their requirements. Your Study Abroad Advisor can also help guide you with visa instructions based on the information you provide them ahead of time.

    It is ultimately the students' responsibility to receive and obtain all necessary documents prior to departure.

  • Acceptance Letter

    Travel with your official acceptance letter from your host university.

  • Photocopy documents

    Make copies of travel documents such as passports, airline tickets, driver's license, credit card and insurance information and leave them at home. Keep originals safely hidden when traveling.

    In case your wallet or backpack is lost or stolen, keep a copy of your passport, airplane tickets, health insurance card, driver's license, student ID, etc. Store this information in a safe place, preferably not in the same place as the original documents and do not keep them with you. You may also want to leave a copy for your parents or emergency contacts back in the States or Canada and e-mail important numbers (like your passport number) to yourself so can access it at any time.

  • UNF Policy on International Health Insurance

    UNF policy requires all students studying abroad to have international accident/health insurance and emergency medical assistance for the UNF program dates and directly related travel time.

    The UNF International Center also strongly recommends that students maintain emergency assistance and accident/health insurance for any personal travel abroad either before or after the UNF program dates.

    1. The student has medical insurance for illness or accidental injury while traveling or residing in a foreign country;
    2. This insurance will cover reasonable & customary charges of licensed medical facilities outside the U.S., subject to deductible and maximum total as provided by the policy; and
    3. Emergency evacuation/repatriation of remains coverage is included.
  • GeoBlue

    The University maintains a current contract for international insurance services with Geoblue.

    • If you are participating in a faculty-led study abroad program, the cost of insurance will be included in your program cost, and the International Center will enroll you in the Geoblue insurance policy.
    • If you participating in a UNF exchange program or other independent study abroad activity, the International Center will provide you with a link and instructions to enroll yourself in the university's Geoblue insurance policy.
    • After you are enrolled in Geoblue, you can download the Geoblue app to display your electronic ID card, locate healthcare providers in your location, download proof of insurance letter, and access global health and safety tools.

    If you are currently abroad and need assistance with Geoblue insurance services, call +1-610-254-8771 (International Collect Calls Accepted).

    In an emergency situation, you should ALWAYS seek immediate medical care, THEN contact GeoBlue once the situation has stabilized.

  • Using another insurance provider

    If you have an insurance policy that includes international coverage, or if you are interested in purchasing an international insurance policy with a provider other than Geoblue, please contact the UNF International Center for more information on minimum coverage requirements before purchasing alternate insurance.

  • Trip Cancelation and Interruption Insurance
    Some students and faculty traveling abroad prefer insurance for trip cancelation and interruption. While this coverage is not required, it is encouraged. You can find providers using Insuremytrip.com. An example of trip cancelation and interruption insurance is HTH Worldwide. Please investigate CFAR (cancel for any reason) plans.
  • USDOS
    The U.S. Department of State (USDOS) provides safety and security information for every country of the world to help you assess for yourself the risks of travel. Each country information page contains a Travel Advisory, Alerts, and other important details specific to that country that could affect you. Pay close attention to the entry and exit requirements, local laws and customs, health conditions, and other details to decide whether traveling to that country is right for you. You will also find the address and phone number of the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Take those with you in case of an emergency.
  • CDC

    Prepare for a safe and healthy study abroad experience by following CDC's travel health tips for students.

    Visit the CDC Travelers' Health website to learn about the health risks at your destination. Make an appointment with a doctor familiar with travel medicine, ideally at least 4-6 weeks before you leave. The doctor will review your medical history to make sure you get the right vaccinations, medicines, and information on safety. You should be up to date on all routine vaccinations (such as influenza, measles/mumps/rubella, and polio), and you may need other travel-related vaccines. If your study-abroad program lasts several months, you'll want to make sure that you've gotten all your routine health check-ups, like seeing your dentist, because the quality of dental and medical care may be different in host countries or more expensive than in the United States.

    For prescriptions you must have on hand, bring a back-up to keep on your person at all times in case you get separate from your luggage. The law states that medication must be in its original containers and clearly labeled. Ask your doctor for a letter explaining the medication's purpose in case there's a problem.

  • Fragomen

    Fragomen practices in U.S. and global immigration law. To support their clients, Fragomen closely monitors developments in travel restrictions, quarantine requirements, and health assessments. A Situation Overview summary is posted daily on their website, accessible by clicking the blue box for download. You may subscribe to alerts from Fragomen as well.

    As Fragomen states, their Situation Overview is a reference only. We recommend consulting the DOS and CDC links above, in addition to Fragomen, while monitoring travel for any event. 

  • STEP Registration

    The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free way for students to protect themselves in a case of an emergency, offered by the Bureau of Consular Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. By enrolling with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate, students will automatically receive important information about safety conditions in that country. In addition, the U.S. Embassy will contact students in case of a family emergency, natural disaster, or civil unrest.

    Predeparture Checklist?

    • Becoming knowledgeable - BEFORE YOU GO--visit the State Department website and enter the country you are interested in visiting. https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/before-you-go.html
    • By applying for and committing to a study abroad program the student acknowledges the responsibility to complete the following items.
      • If on a Faculty Led trip:
        • Copy of your flight itinerary to the faculty - if not purchased by faculty
        • Copy of your lodging confirmation to the fac - if not purchased by faculty
        • Copy of your passport and Visa (if necessary) uploaded to your application
        • Waiver and Release Agreement
        • Watch the International Center Safety Video
        • Make all payments by the scheduled date
        • Register for the STEP Program
      • If on an Individual trip:
        • Copy of your flight itinerary to the International Center
        • Copy of your passport and Visa (if necessary) uploaded to your application
        • Waiver and Release Agreement
        • Watch the International Center Safety Video
        • Purchase your International Health Insurance
        • Register for the STEP Program
  • Your Money Abroad

    Before you decide to study abroad it is always a good idea to look into all financial matters as the cost of living abroad can vary depending on the city you choose to live in and the ways in which you are able to exchange money.

    In general, it is highly recommended that you extensively research the region and countries where you will live and travel as transferring cash can be different everywhere. You might want to take a look at How to Carry Cash Abroad.

    • Bring some cash - It is always good to bring a small amount of cash to carry, you can decide how much you would like to bring. You can research the currency rates with your bank before you go and exchange dollars for the local currency at a bank when you arrive. You can buy some currency here in the US before you go as well, to have for when you arrive as airports usually have a higher exchange rate than banks.
    • Notify your local bank and credit card - Notify your local bank and credit/debit card companies of your travels so that your card(s) is approved for international use. Each company is different so by notifying them of your dates and location abroad, you will learn the specific policies about whether your card(s) will need an international pin or not and if there is a currency exchange rate fee. If you have a credit card that is in one of your parent's names then you will need to contact them, they may authorize a temporary card for your travels, in your name.
    • ATM Fees - Before you go abroad you should also ask your bank if they have a partnership bank or other branches in the country where you will be living to see if you can avoid any ATM fees. If you use an ATM in a foreign country you may be charged a fee from that bank as well as your own, so contact your local bank to find out.Although, some US banks, as well as US credit card companies, have branches with banks across the globe and will allow you to withdraw money from many ATMs with little to no fees.
    • Traveler's Check - Traveler's checks are another form of payment, however, they have become more difficult to cash in many European countries and are not recommended as the best form of exchange. The modern version of these might be prepaid cards but fees charged vary extensively, depending on the country.
    • Traveling - you may want to consider purchasing a long-term train, bike, or bus pass when you arrive, so researching about your options before you go will assist in your travels when you get there and how you will need to purchase them.
    • International StudentIdentity Card (ISIC) - The ISIC is an internationally accepted proof of student status that can serve as a secondary form of ID while abroad and give you access to student benefits and discounts around the world. You should always carry your student ID and ISI card with you.
  • UNF Travel Clinic

    The UNF Travel Clinic offers travel health information and appropriate vaccinations to students, faculty, and staff and is located in Building 39A , Room 2098.

    Registered nurses provide consultations offering CDC recommended immunizations, medical precautions, travel safety and tips on accessing emergency medical care. Information is provided on general health risks of travel, risks of contracting diseases related to international travel and methods of prevention including vaccinations.

    Consultations are free for current UNF students and includes an updated computerized report about health issues to consider while planning your trip, and resources for maintaining your health while abroad.

    Please call The UNF Travel Clinic at (904) 620-2175 and make an appointment at least six weeks in advance of your departure date.

  • Counseling Center
    • The Counseling Center provides emergency consultations to students with urgent mental health concerns between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. any day the counseling center is open. Please call (904) 620-2602 if you have an immediate need to meet with a counselor.
    • After 5 p.m. and on weekends, please contact Counseling Center After-Hours Support Line - Call (904) 620-2602, wait for the voice prompt, and select option number 2
  • Student Accessibility Services

    The services provided by SAS are for students with diagnosed disabilities that include, but are not limited to:

    • Learning Disabilities (for example: reading, writing, math, processing, or memory disabilities)
    • ADHD and ADD, Physical Disabilities, Medical Disabilities, Blind or Low Vision,
    • Deaf or Hard of Hearing, Speech Disabilities, Psychological or Emotional Disabilities
    • Other diagnosed disabilities
  • Conduct and Student Ombuds Offices
    Conduct and the Student Ombuds aids in ensuring the campus remains a safe living and learning environment by holding students accountable for their behavior and taking the time to meet with students for all cases (both low level and high level) to help students change problematic behavior before it escalates - relate the issues to "real world" situations.
  • Locate the American Embassies and Consulates

    Know where the American embassies and consulates are and how to contact them. Carry the information with you at all times.

    Find your nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

  • Personal Contact Information

    Having a local phone contact is vital in the case of an emergency. For your safety, provide that information to the UNF International Center within your first five days at your host location so you can be contacted in the case of an emergency.

    Be sure to log into your myWings account and update your Emergency Contact Information. Log in to myWings, select Student Self Service tab, Personal Information, Update Emergency Contacts.

    International Calling - Know how to make an international phone call. Make sure to identify the correct country and area codes.

  • General Considerations
    When traveling abroad, your identities may be perceived and treated differently in your host country. As you begin planning your study abroad, consider and research how your identities may be impacted in a new culture or country. Below are some questions you may reflect upon as you prepare to study abroad.
  • Race
    • Where do people of my race/ethnicity fit into my host country's society?
    • What are the cultural norms of my host country?
    • Are issues of racism/ethnic discrimination influenced by immigration in my host country?
    • Are there laws in the host country governing race relations? What protections are offered?
  • Religion
    • What do I know about the religions of the host country and the role religion plays in society?
    • What is the attitude of people in my host country towards other religions?
    • How will people perceive my religion? Is my religion legal in the host country?
    • Will my religious dietary restrictions be accommodated in my host country?
    • If living in a homestay situation, am I open to living with individuals with a similar or diverse religious background from myself?
  • First Generation
    • What goals do I have in studying abroad?
    • How will study abroad impact my future personally, academically, professionally, or otherwise?
    • How will I explain the process of and interest in study abroad to family and friends?
    • How can I stay in touch with friends to let them know I'm safe?
     
  • LGBTQ+
    • Does my identity conflict with my host country's religious or cultural values and traditions?
    • Are there safety considerations that I should be aware of?
    • How will my study abroad program support me as an individual in the LGBTQ community?
    • What are some laws associated with my identity and the host country?
  • Gender
    • What is the attitude towards my gender in my host country?
    • What are considered typical gender roles in my host country?
    • How do my personal values compare with my host country's attitudes about social accepted gender roles?
    • Should someone of my gender travel alone?
  • Disabilities
    • What goals do I have in my study abroad, and how will I achieve them?
    • Will I disclose my disability to either my program or Study Abroad Coordinator?
    • How will I plan ahead to manage my condition before going abroad?
    • What barriers will I encounter, and how will I overcome them?

     
  • Veteran
    • What is my host country's view on the United States military, and military in general?
    • Depending on my host nation's view of military forces, is it a good idea to reveal my identity as a veteran?
    • Does my appearance highlight my identity as a veteran? If so, does that make me more susceptible to threats within my host country?
    • How does my identity as a veteran affect my view of my host country's culture?
  • Athlete
    • Will the standard diet of my host country affect my performance as an athlete?
    • How will the climate of my host affect my performance? How can I adjust?
    • Do other aspects of my identity affect my host country's views of me as an athlete?
    • Does my attitude towards competition differ from the attitude of athletes from my host country?
  • Your luggage
    • Pack light. Keep valuables home where they will be safe.
    • Label luggage. Before you leave, label all luggage with your name, address, and telephone numbers inside AND outside. Pick up covered luggage tags to keep your information private and locks to keep thieves out.
    • Bring adapters. Although U.S. appliances use 110-volt electricity, it's not the case in most other countries where 220-volt electricity is the norm. Buy a converter to use your laptop hairdryer without short-circuiting the building. Also pack a few plug adapters because plug prongs may be different.
    • Be sure to consider the weather, culture, and airline luggage restrictions before throwing something in your suitcase.
    • Consult the Transportation Safety Administration website at www.tsa.gov if you have questions about what you can and cannot pack.
    • Pack your passport with Visa and any valuables (such as electronics, phones, etc.) in your carry-on bag. As well as Medical insurance, Acceptance letter from your Host University, Travel plans, hotel address, dorm address, etc. (showing you'll be living in your host country during the time you're applying for), and lastly your Emergency Contact Information.
  • Tips
    • Familiarize yourself with the local laws and customs of the area to which you are visiting.
    • Understand the social norms of your host country, and make a note of your own social norms that may be broken while abroad.
    • Act like a guest in your host country while exploring new opportunities. The best way to assimilate to another country is to do things how they are done in that country.
    • Let someone know if you go somewhere alone, such as traveling to another country, and when you plan on returning.
    • Research the tourist destinations that will most interest you. Depending upon your length of stay, you may not be able to see all the suggested sights. Prioritize those sights ahead of time so you have your optimal experience.
    • Document everything! Take too many pictures, journal what you do each day, film you and your friends exploring.

While Abroad

Staying Healthy While Abroad

Wash your hands with soap and clean water or use an alcohol-based hand cleaner before you eat, after you cough or sneeze, and after you use the bathroom.

In developing countries, be careful about food and water: eat fully cooked food that is served hot or fruits and vegetables you can wash or peel yourself. Drink only bottled, sealed water or water that has been boiled, and avoid ice.

In tropical and subtropical countries, diseases spread by insects may be common. Use an appropriate insect repellent and wear long pants and sleeves to protect yourself from bug bites.

Protect yourself from infections such as HIV and hepatitis B, which are spread by blood and bodily fluids.

Stress management is an important tool in forming a positive experience while studying abroad. Adapting to a new academic environment, culture and/or language, in addition to international travel itself, can be stressful. The UNF Recreation and Wellness Center has some good stress management plan examples.

Refrain from participating in adventure activities identified by insurance companies as hazardous or life-threatening, including but not limited to professional sports, scuba diving, hang gliding, parachuting, or bungee jumping. Such activities often invalidate any existing life, medical or liability insurance normally carried by students, parents, or institutions.

Did you know that traffic accidents are a leading cause of serious injury and death for U.S. citizens abroad? Take precautions, avoid overcrowded buses and trains, and wear your seat belts. Additionally, the UNF International Center strongly discourages students from operating motor vehicles while abroad, including cars, motorcycles/mopeds and boats.

Using Your Geoblue International Insurance while abroad

In most cases, you will either enroll yourself, or be enrolled by a study abroad coordinator (for faculty-led study abroad activities) in Geoblue insurance.

After your enrollment in Geoblue, you can download the Geoblue smartphone app to display your electronic ID card, locate healthcare providers in your location, and access global health and safety tools.

If you are currently abroad and need assistance with Geoblue insurance services, call +1-610-254-8771 (International Collect Calls Accepted).

In an emergency situation, you should ALWAYS seek immediate medical care, THEN contact GeoBlue once the situation has stabilized.

If you access health services abroad and pay for services on-site, keep all receipts & paperwork, then email the International Center* for instructions on filing a reimbursement claim.

Student Code of Conduct

  • Alcohol & Drug Information (use relevant info from brochure here)
  • Student Conduct (Consequences)
    • Please refer to Section J of the Student Code of Conduct for a detailed answer to this question.
     
  • UNF Counseling Center can provide emergency services to students in need

For students abroad

Upon Arrival In-Country:

Please add your contact information in the Information Abroad module in the Canvas course so that UNF can contact you in case of an emergency.

After You Return

Culture Shock and Reintegration

It is possible to experience a culture shock once you return to the United States. Often students imagine re-entering their home in an ideal version, but in reality the student has changed, as well as possible changes at home. The severity of culture shock may vary depending on length of time abroad and how integrated you became in your host country. Upon returning, you may feel your friends and family lack interest in your stories and experiences, resulting in frustration, feelings of alienation, and loneliness.

Four stages encompass culture shock and the recovery of it.

  1. Stage 1 Begins before leaving your host country. As you prepare to leave, feelings of frustration and sadness intensify. You may be reluctant to return home and leave your new friends.
  2. Stage 2 You'll feel excited to be heading back to the comfort of your home. You are excited to share many stories of your time abroad, yet you begin to notice people aren't as interested in hearing them.
  3. Stage 3 At this point, you begin to transition into Stage 3, where you may experience emotions of frustration, helplessness, and depression. You may even become critical of the U.S. culture and long for your host culture.
  4. Stage 4 As you readjust, you move to Stage 4. Things become more normal again, though you probably never fall completely into the way things once were. You have grown from your time abroad, and it is important to integrate those experiences with the experiences at home.

Below we have suggestions for you to readjust to your home.

  • Share your experiences with your Study Abroad Coordinator! The staff in the UNF International Center loves hearing about your adventures and learning about your time abroad.
  • Incorporate what you learned abroad into your home life. You may not see how you can still practice your linguistic skills or cultural competency now that you are home. Be creative in exploring cultural opportunities here that expand what you learned abroad.
  • Find a cultural outletin your hometown, or try a new hobby in the area. For instance, if you learned that you enjoy trying new foods, explore the various cuisine available to you in your town!
  • Keep in contact with those you met while abroad. Whether it be a new international friend you made or another student studying abroad, you can continue those relationships and practice the skills you made.
  • Be aware of how studying abroad personally changed you and how others are perceiving those changes. Your constant references to your trip may come across as arrogance or rejection of your home culture. As you share your experiences and create alterations in your behavior, make a mental note of how it influences those around you.

If you are concerned about a loved one overseas, please call the U.S. Department of State & Emergencies:

  • From the U.S. & Canada - 1-888-407-4747
  • From Overseas - +1 202-501-4444