Health and Safety
The University of Arkansas is committed to providing the safest possible learning environment for the more than 1,000 students who study abroad every year.
Following Best Practices
The University endorses the recommendations and best practices established for health and safety in the field of education abroad by NAFSA: Association of International Educators and the Forum on Education Abroad . We align ourselves with those best practices by having our professional staff and faculty participate in risk management training, give conference presentations, and hold leadership positions in a variety of professional associations. That active engagement provides our office and greater community with experience and knowledge to create policy and practices to best support the health, safety, and security of our students.
We monitor the world situation daily, relying on information from reputable sources, including the U.S. State Department and the Center for Disease Control. We convey information to our students when necessary.
- The U.S. State Department is an excellent source of information about travelling abroad,
visa and entry requirements for U.S. citizens, local laws and special circumstances
of each country, travel tips, travel alerts and advisories. Its resources include:
- Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)
A free service for U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Enrollees receive important alerts and messages from the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
- International Travel Page
Travelers can find helpful information on tips for before they go abroad, including country-specific information, information for while they are abroad, and more.
- Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)
- Center for Disease Control (CDC)
Provides important traveler information travelers country on required/recommended vaccinations; tips of staying healthy, packing lists, and travel health notices/alerts.
Preparing Students to Stay Safe and Well
Student preparedness and behavior in country are the most important factors affecting health and safety while studying abroad.
All students should talk with their healthcare provider for accurate, up-to-date pre-travel advice, including learning which immunizations are required or recommended. The Pat Walker Health Center Travel Clinic has medical staff trained and ready to consult with students, staff, and faculty preparing to go abroad.
Additionally, students should consult with their healthcare provider to discuss any medical conditions that may need to be monitored while abroad.
All students must sign a study abroad student code of conduct which outlines the expectations for student behavior while abroad. Pre-departure orientation meetings are held each semester to prepare students for a positive study abroad experience. Students discuss how to stay healthy, make good decisions, and watch out for each other. Experts from the U of A community, including members from the Pat Walker Health Center, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), and the Wellness and Health Promotion initiative, share their insight with the student travelers. Additionally, country information and cross-cultural tips are shared by faculty experts, exchange students, and past study abroad participants. Resources are made available through the students’ HogsAbroad portal for future reference.
Finally, while abroad, we expect our students to:
- Stay informed on developments in the country/countries where they spend time.
- Continue to check their U of A email and respond to program leaders appropriately.
- Make sure that the emergency contact information that they provide in their HogsAbroad application is up to date.
Insurance While Abroad
All students studying abroad need comprehensive international health insurance in addition to maintaining their U.S. health insurance. The Office of Study Abroad contracts with Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) to provide insurance coverage to students that includes 24-hour emergency telephone assistance service, emergency medical evacuation, repatriation, and security evacuation.
The CISI policy is usually included as part of the required program fees paid to the university for study at U of A administered programs. Most study abroad (external) program providers include international health insurance as part of the program fees. Students participating in a study abroad program that does not include international health insurance may enroll themselves directly in the CISI policy. It is important that students understand their coverage before departure.