University of California, Riverside

UCR Study Abroad -- Health

Health, Safety, and Security

How Healthy is Your Host Country?

We encourage all study abroad participants to research the health issues common in your host country months before you depart. Check the Destinations page on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

Personal Needs

Running out of prescriptions meds, losing our eyeglasses, getting sick or injured. These are things that can happen anytime, anywhere. But when we’re far from home, they may not only be inconvenient, they can become serious problems. While we want to expect the best from our time abroad, it’s OK to prepare for the worst. Some tips:

    • Research the health issues common in your host country months before you depart. Check the Destinations page on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.
    • Do you have special medical needs? If so, check in with the UCR Campus Health Center, your doctor and your host country’s embassy. Ask them if you can easily access your medications in your host country or if you can bring them. For example, if you’re diabetic and need insulin injections, ask them if importing your injection kit is legal. If they don’t know, ask them how you can find out.
    • When you leave for your host country, take extra prescription drugs in their original containers. Make sure your containers clearly show the prescription numbers on the labels. Bring copies of your prescriptions and a list of generic names in case your host country doesn’t offer the brand name.
    • Bring extra eyeglasses or contact lenses and the written prescription. Take backup supplies of contact lens solution in case it isn’t readily available.
    • Learn about the dietary customs and the availability of certain foods in your host country. If you take vitamins, bring enough to last your entire stay abroad.
    • Take a small first-aid kit packed with adhesive bandages, antibiotic ointment, aspirin or acetaminophen and anti-diarrhea medicine.
    • Bring a lot of condoms and always use them! This applies to both men and women. Because condom brands in other countries may not be reliable, it’s a good idea to bring latex condoms from home—enough to last your entire time abroad. Make sure to carry condoms with you wherever you go.

Sexual Behavior

      • Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)— gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes and hepatitis B—continue to be big health risks for travelers in just about every country. The HIV virus, which is responsible for AIDS, is not only transmitted sexually but also through contaminated hypodermic needles and infected blood supplies (see Drug Use below).

Inoculations & Vaccines

    • Get vaccinated! Some countries have immunization requirements you’ll need to fulfil before departing. Do this with your doctor or the travel nurse at the Campus Health Center. Tell your healthcare providers about the other countries you plan to visit while abroad.
    • Ask your health care providers about vaccines such as for Hepatitis A and B and for the flu. Get these before you leave.
    • Start the vaccination process six months before you leave so you can complete the series in time.
    • Ask your health care provider for an International Certificate of Vaccination card, issued through the World Health Organization (WHO). This proves you received all of your necessary vaccines. Take this card with you when you travel to your host country and the other countries you visit!

Drug Use

In other countries, using or carrying mind-altering, non-prescription drugs can pose huge risks—not just to our overall health but also legally and culturally. If you’re caught abusing or carrying drugs while abroad, you may be dismissed from your program and UCR. You may be also reported to Student Judicial Affairs.

Keep in mind:

  • While abroad, you not only represent UCR but also the U.S.
  • Never accept drugs from anyone, including friends.
  • Never agree to transport packages for anyone while travelling abroad. Drug trafficking penalties vary from country to country and can include prison or the death penalty. The U.S. government may not be able to help you once you’re in the hands of foreign authorities.
  • Don’t use illicit or recreational drugs!
  • Don’t share hypodermic needles—a major source of transmitting HIV and many other diseases.
  • Did you know that in some countries, even disposable equipment may be reused? Don’t use, or allow the use of, contaminated, unsterilised syringes or needles for any reason.

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Contact Information

Education Abroad
0321 Surge Building

Tel: (951) 827-4113