Health and Safety
Health and Safety Information from the Minnesota Office of Higher EducationInformation and Links for students and parents on health and safety abroad
Participation Rates and Health and Safety Incident Reports for all MN institutions (including St. Thomas)
Your personal safety while you are away from home is very important to the staff of the Office of Study Abroad and to your family and friends. While no off-campus program can offer an absolute guarantee that students will be safe from injury or crime, there are many steps you can take to reduce your risks. It is our experience that most of the issues that arise from traveling in today's climate of uncertainty can be addressed by heightened awareness and common sense.
For a comprehensive list of travel tips related safety, please consult your pre-departure handbook. However, a few things to consider before you depart and a few steps to follow upon arrival that can help ensure your health and safety are:
Before You Depart:
- Do you need to make a travel clinic appointment? Review the potential travel health issues of your destination and recommended/required immunizations at the Center for Disease Control web site. For additional information, as well as to make a travel clinic appointment and obtain immunizations, contact St. Thomas Student Health Services, (651) 962-6750.
- Do you have insurance that will cover you overseas? More information about insurance can be found below.
- Do you have a safe place to keep your passport, money and credit cards while overseas? It is STRONGLY encouraged that you bring (and wear) a passport belt. Passport belts can be purchased at a number of retailers, including REI and Target.
- Have you researched the city and country in which you will be studying? A little bit of knowledge can go a long way in ensuring your safety. You might consider purchasing a guidebook for your country, reading the Culturegram provided for you at orientation, visiting the appropriate country information sheet on the U.S. Department of State web site, and/or reading general travel literature about your destination.
- Prepare a list of emergency contact information you may need. This includes onsite program, parent, UST Study Abroad, and any other contact information that may apply to you.
- Attend your program's orientation and listen closely to their country-specific advice on health and safety. Follow all directives of your program regarding safety and emergency procedures. Don't be afraid to ask questions.
- Know the emergency contact information for your program staff/program directors. Know the address and contact information for the hotel/residence hall/homestay family at which you are staying.
- Know the in-country equivalent of 911. Know how to contact authorities if the need arises.
- Register with the U.S. Consulate in your destination city. To find embassy and consulate addresses vist Embassy World. Check with your program before registering, as they might have registered you.
Throughout Your Program:
- Stay knowledgeable about current events in your country. Read the local newspaper.
- Stay clear of demonstrations, protests and other large gatherings.
- Use the buddy system, especially when going out at night.
- Don't do anything overseas that you wouldn't do in St. Paul (i.e. walk down a dark alley).
Semester and Year-Long Programs
St. Thomas requires that ALL students participating in international off-campus programs have a level of insurance that meets or exceeds the insurance provided by the University’s policy thru Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI). View the CISI Brochure for information on this insurance plan.
Insurance provided by each of our Co-Sponsored programs has been evaluated. Students who will be enrolled in CISI, in addition to any coverage provided by their program, will be notified prior to the beginning of their semester abroad. Students will receive policy information upon enrollment and premiums will be posted to student accounts.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. I already have health insurance that will cover me while I am overseas. Do I still need CISI?
Yes. While maintaining your U.S. health insurance coverage is necessary, CISI is a much more comprehensive insurance that includes medical and security evacuation coverage, in addition to primary health coverage.
2. My program provides insurance as part of the program fee. I don’t want to have to pay twice for insurance. Can I be exempt?
St. Thomas has reviewed the insurance provided by our co-sponsored programs, and has determined which provide insurance that either meets or exceeds the levels required. Students participating in programs without the required level of coverage will be enrolled in CISI.
3. My program requires national health insurance in my host country. Can I be exempt?
No. National insurance coverage rarely meets the required levels of coverage for medical and security evacuation.
St. Thomas includes international health insurance coverage for all students participating on short-term programs (i.e., January Term, summer and spring-embedded) through Cultural Insurance Services International. For information on this coverage, see the CISI Brochure.
Students will be enrolled in CISI and sent information about the policy prior to their term abroad.