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International Education

O'Dowd Hall, Room 328
586 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)
(248) 370-2889
ie@oakland.edu

Office hours
Mon - Fri: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

In-person and virtual advising hours
Mon - Fri: 9 a.m. - noon and 1 - 4 p.m.

Walk-in advising hours
Mon - Thurs: 1 - 3 p.m.

Alex Zimmerman, Director
(248) 370-2843
azimmerman@oakland.edu

International Education

O'Dowd Hall, Room 328
586 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)
(248) 370-2889
ie@oakland.edu

Office hours
Mon - Fri: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

In-person and virtual advising hours
Mon - Fri: 9 a.m. - noon and 1 - 4 p.m.

Walk-in advising hours
Mon - Thurs: 1 - 3 p.m.

Alex Zimmerman, Director
(248) 370-2843
azimmerman@oakland.edu

Two passports, a small model of an airplane and a stethoscope on a table.

Health and Safety

If you are experiencing an emergency abroad, you may contact the Oakland University Police Dispatch Line 24/7, +1 (248) 370-3331. Your health and safety is our top priority.

Our predeparture orientations, held multiple times a year and required for all study abroad students, contain detailed information regarding staying healthy and safe abroad. Parents and other family of students are welcome to attend our orientations. To review the PowerPoints and materials used in the orientations, visit the International Education eSpace page. To request access to our eSpace, contact the International Education Office.

Register your travel abroadStudent health and safety check

Health
Before You Go

Learn about your new environment: What illnesses are of most concern? Is the tap water potable? What is the health care system like? The Centers for Disease Control provides detailed information about each country.

The Graham Health Center is an excellent resource for OU students. We encourage you to schedule a pre-travel medical checkup at the GHC, or with your primary care physician, to discuss any health concerns related to your destination and to obtain recommended or required vaccinations and/or prescriptions. Schedule your checkup at least eight weeks prior to travel.

As part of your registration for your study abroad program, we ask that you fill out our Health Information Form thoroughly and forthrightly so that the International Education Office and your study abroad program leaders have accurate information regarding any pre-existing conditions and medical prescriptions.

All study abroad students and students traveling abroad for university purposes are covered by OU’s free international health insurance policy, provided by Mercer CampusConnexions. Find more information at Foreign Travel registration. The insurance provides excellent support should you need it abroad. You can contact them 24/7 at +1 (888) 287-4741. Print your insurance wallet card prior to travel and familiarize yourself with the services provided through your insurance policy. In addition to financial coverage of any health care costs, Mercer CampusConnexions can help you with scheduling medical appointments abroad. They will tell you where to go and the medical staff will be prepared for you and familiar with your case when you arrive. They can also recommend English-speaking specialists in a variety of fields close to where you are. The Mercer policy will not cover you while you are in the United States, so always maintain your domestic coverage.

If you will have any prescription medications you will take with you abroad, try to procure a sufficient supply for the duration of your stay. If not possible, make a plan to see a doctor upon arrival and obtain a local prescription. Familiarize yourself with the generic names of your medications, as they may have different commercial names in different countries. Carry your medications in their original packaging and take a printed prescription when you travel. Ensure there are no legal issues regarding your prescriptions in your destination country. Some frequently-used medications in the United States may be illegal in other countries, including certain types of ADHD or anti-depressive medications in Japan and certain types of birth control or sleep aids in some Middle Eastern and Islamic countries. The Centers for Disease Control website has detailed information for each country. Never travel abroad with marijuana or illegal drugs, even if you have a medical-use license.

While You Are Abroad

Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. Use hand sanitizer if soap is not available. Follow local advice on using tap vs. bottled water and boil water if necessary. Be aware that you will need to acclimate to the local food and water and may experience temporary stomach distress after arriving. Keep a supply of over-the-counter medications for dealing with stomach issues, minor aches and pains, and the common cold. Follow local directives regarding social distancing and mask use.

Try to eat healthy and get sufficient sleep and exercise. Periodically check in with yourself and if you have any discomfort or health concerns get them addressed.

Mental health is physical health. If you are experiencing symptoms of depression or any other condition, have them addressed. The OU Counseling Center is available to assist you if needed.

Culture shock and homesickness are extremely common, even among seasoned travelers. Be prepared to experience a variety of emotions regarding your new surroundings, your daily routine, and your separation from friends and family back home throughout the course of your stay abroad. If you feel that these emotions are preventing you from enjoying yourself or making the most of your time abroad, talk with your program leaders.

Be sure to protect yourself from local environmental conditions, including weather, mosquitos and other insects, and high altitude. Use sunscreen and cover your head if you are out in the sun.

If you are sexually active, use protection and respect your partner’s feelings and values, as well as your own. Be aware that customs and expectations surrounding dating, relationships, sex, and gender roles may differ greatly from place to place.

In addition to your OU international health insurance through Mercer CampusConnexions, you may have a second policy provided directly by your program. Familiarize yourself with the local healthcare resources and know where you can go for emergency assistance, basic medical concerns, and pharmaceutic needs. Your program leaders, as well as your insurance policy or policies, will be an excellent resource for this type of information.

After You Come Home

Get a checkup if you experience any health concerns after arriving back home. Travelers from certain locations may be advised to get screened for tuberculosis or other conditions. If you plan to donate blood, you may need to disclose your recent travel.

You may experience reverse culture shock upon arriving home. We encourage you to join our eSpace, where we have resources for returned students.

Safety

Learn about your destination before you travel. The U.S. Department of State compiles detailed safety information for every country, including local conditions and dangers, political issues to be aware of, and specific areas or activities that are best avoided. Pay careful attention to the Department of State Travel Advisory for your destination.

Once you are abroad, learn from the locals and take steps to not call undue attention to yourself. While it may be impossible to blend in, adjusting your behavior to more closely match local norms shows respect for the culture of your destination country.

Observe the behaviors of locals and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Each location has its own distinct traffic patterns, social expectations and problematic areas. Don’t try to do too much too fast by yourself at first – even crossing the street can be a great achievement! Car accidents are statistically the greatest danger for students abroad. Be cautious around cars and traffic and be aware that the pedestrian does not always have the right of way. Follow local precautions about using public transportation, taxis or ride-share services. We strongly discourage you from operating a motor vehicle yourself while you are abroad.

Avoid political protests, marches and other forms of social unrest. Register in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program through the U.S. State Department and pay close attention to alerts you are sent regarding areas to stay away from. Reference local news media for more detailed information about events in your area.

Follow the guidance of your program leaders in the event of social or political unrest or natural disasters, as well as that provided by the U.S. State Department and local consulates.

Don’t go out alone late at night, and if you consume alcohol, know your limits. Never leave your drink unattended.

Exercise heightened caution when swimming or on the water, and know whether anyone in your group has life guard experience. Always use a life vest when on a boat.

Ensure that any electronic devices you use, including your cell phone, have up-to-date virus protection software, and be careful of what information you share online over unsecured Wi-Fi networks. Don’t plug in USB drives if you don’t know where they’ve been. When withdrawing money from an ATM, it is best to use machines inside local banks, during business hours, rather than unsecured machines out on the street.

Getting Assistance While Abroad

You can contact the OU Police Department 24/7 to report an incident and receive campus assistance while abroad, +1 (248) 370-3331.

Know the numbers to call locally to request emergency medical, fire or police assistance. Find a compilation of local equivalents to 911 for most countries in the 911 Abroad list.

Oakland University monitors world events and continuously evaluates available information regarding risks to our international travelers. In the event of a genuine risk, OU will respond in a timely manner to:

  • Confirm traveler safety
  • Provide guidance as appropriate
  • Assist with the coordination of international emergency assistance
  • Coordinate public updates via the OU website and/or other channels in the case of major events

Even though it is unlikely, you should mentally prepare for the possibility that something could happen by thinking through how to respond.

If an emergency does occur, follow these rules of reaction:

  • Remain as calm as possible
  • Trust your instincts
  • Comply with the guidance provided by your program leaders and the authorities
  • Get to a safe place as soon as it is safe to do so
  • Get help if needed
  • Respond to safety check-ins from OU
  • Communicate to your loved ones that you are safe
  • Read all Smart Traveler Enrollment Program alerts sent to you
  • Monitor local news for updates