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Student Health Abroad

Wellness Resources
Learn about staying safe, health, and wellness while you're overseas. Read more about finding balance, sexual health, and safety abroad.


We encourage you (and your family) to talk to your family physician about how conditions in the host city—such as altitude, pollution, proximity to medical facilities, required immunizations, availability of specific prescription medications—might affect your wellbeing. Additional information on health and travel may be found online through the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization.


CEA provides online Student Tips and Parent Tips to help prepare you for a safe, healthy, and valuable study abroad experience. Once you’ve applied, we’ll give you access to an individual MyCEA Account, which outlines pre-departure requirements and recommendations to promote your health and safety abroad, including:

  • Completion of online CEA Health & Wellness Profile
  • Links to U.S. Consulate, Department of State, and Centers for Disease Control to obtain the latest travel information and requirements
  • Discussions to have with your primary health provider during your pre-departure appointment
  • Packing considerations for prescription medications and passport

CEA Site Specialists in Phoenix, Arizona, are available to review Health & Wellness Profiles and provide support to you and your family if you have questions about special accommodations and/or medical or psychological services that you may need during your program abroad.

If you have allergies or experience reactions to medications, foods, or insect bites, consider wearing a medical alert bracelet and/or including that information in a letter from your physician explaining the necessary treatment should you become ill.


stay healthy

Everyday preventive actions can help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases.

For more information please visit the following sites:

Recent research conducted by the Forum on Education Abroad found that flu and cold symptoms were the most common problems faced by students studying abroad. We strongly recommended that you receive flu vaccines before you leave the U.S., and that you practice healthy habits such as frequent handwashing and covering your coughs to prevent the spread of germs. Please visit the Centers for Disease Control for more information on flu prevention.


Your program price includes enrollment in our selected study abroad health insurance plan, provided by Cultural Insurance Services International Health Plans (CISI). This reimbursement-style plan requires you to pay for services up-front and file a claim with CISI, providing copies of the receipts for treatment or medications received. CEA’s provision of this coverage ensures that you are covered by a health insurance plan that meets CEA standards for students living abroad, and includes

  • The ability for CEA On-site Staff to work closely with CISI to handle your medical concerns
  • Access to important information in the event of an accident or illness
  • 24-hour emergency medical assistance and evacuation services through AXA Assistance

The CISI health insurance plan covers a maximum of $250,000 for any sickness or accident that occurs during the dates of your study program, in conjunction with any other medical insurance that may be available to you, such as a university-sponsored or family plan. This includes up to $2500 coverage for any treatment of a pre-existing condition.

In pre-departure, after your acceptance to your CEA study program, you will receive an email from CISI that you have been enrolled in the CEA/CISI health insurance plan with an invitation to visit the CISI portal and open your account.  During Arrival Orientation, CEA staff will provide you with contact information for medical facilities and health providers in your host city. CEA staff ensure that you have access to quality medical care in your host city, for both physical and emotional needs. CEA staff will help you make arrangements with English-speaking providers when possible and, if unavailable, will accompany you to appointments.  CEA Staff will also assist you with completing claims and submitting documents if desired.

PLEASE NOTE:  CISI coverage is in effect from your program start date to your program end date. If you plan to travel independently before or after your program, we encourage you to look into other international health insurance plan options for that time outside your CEA program dates.


As part of the international insurance plan, CISI partners with AXA Assistance, an international emergency medical assistance company that works with and provides information on facilities and physicians worldwide. AXA Assistance is there to support and assist you during an emergency or other kinds of distress, 24/7.

Please contact CEA at 1.800.266.4441 if you have any questions about health insurance.


Often, countries do not have the legislation and infrastructure to accommodate students with mobility or visual impairments in the way they are aided in the U.S. Investigate the conditions of your prospective host country before applying for a program; visit Mobility International USA for more information.

CEA staff will make reasonable accommodations when possible; however, additional housing charges may apply. Consequently, it is essential that you describe in your Health & Wellness Profile the type of physical or visual impairment you have and the type of accommodation you need to participate fully in the educational and cultural experiences of a study abroad program.


CEA supports students who may identify as LGBTQIA before or choose to come out during their study abroad experience. We provide guidance and resources about health, safety, and cultural norms in your prospective study abroad location, as well as what your specific expectations before and after your study abroad experience may be.

March 24, 2020

CEA Study Abroad Statement on COVID-19

CEA’s number one priority is the health, safety and security of its students, staff and faculty. Understandably, COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is likely causing anxiety and raising questions for students and their families, especially considering the recent pandemic announcement by the World Health Organization (WHO). CEA has and will continue to make informed decisions that prioritize the safety and health of its students and the communities in which it operates. The situation remains incredibly fluid; CEA considers a vast amount of information, including hourly monitoring information, that shapes, with cautious and measured action, decisions that prioritize safety and health.

Study abroad, the field of international education and U.S. higher education as a whole, are dealing with unprecedented issues. CEA urges calm, clear communication and thoughtful decision-making, understanding that each institution, family and student will evaluate and exercise judgment consistent with a number of factors, including their own tolerance for risk. As seen in CEA updates, we have adapted to various changing local environments and considered numerous scenarios, all while providing students with updates and options that align with local, state and official guidance during this evolving situation. This highlights CEA’s continued responsiveness and desire to provide options to students, families and university partners.

CEA’s local expertise and extensive knowledge network are at the strength and core of CEA, the vast CEA community allows for ongoing support and care of our students and community members. Staff and faculty are trained in assisting students for an incredible array of situations and emergencies. As an active member of the Forum on Education Abroad, CEA recognizes the importance of the Forum’s Standards of Good Practice, and Standard 8 that specifically guides CEA to “prioritize the health, safety, and security of its students through policies, procedures, advising, orientation, and training.” Additionally, the joint statement released by the Forum and Pulse, provides salient advice and guidance for all institutions of higher education to consider.

CEA pledges continuing close monitoring of the most up-to-date information and data including, but not limited to, health statements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, as well as consulting with a variety of other reputable sources and experts. We continually review all these resources while working with state and local public health officials to provide the most up-to-date information to the CEA community.

According to leading epidemiologists and top U.S. Federal officials, COVID-19 “is going to get worse” in the U.S. The CDC states on its website that “it’s likely that at some point, widespread transmission of COVID-19 in the United States will occur.” New and emerging statements from WHO and others regularly advise on containment measures by urging individual advice that states, “every person has the capacity to contribute, to protect themselves, to protect others, whether in the home, the community, the healthcare system, the workplace or the transport system.” What guidance do we as educators provide to our students during this time to mitigate health and safety issues of our entire CEA community? Do we as an organization want to force students to return to the U.S. where there may be more localized cases of Coronavirus than where they are currently studying abroad? CEA deals with these questions and others while it considers all available information when making informed decisions that may impact the wellbeing of our students and the communities in which they engage.

Consistent with CEA’s priority of safety and wellbeing, CEA has enacted contingency planning to allow for academic alternatives in the form of remote/distance learning using existing platforms such as Moodle and Zoom. These actions ensure academic delivery of coursework while providing options for students that minimize the potential impact and exposure of the Coronavirus to our students, staff, faculty and local communities. As a community of students, scholars and practitioners, CEA continues to consider all options for each location and specific context to offer academic contingency options for students. It is important for CEA to maintain delivery of high quality experiences for our students, so we must continue to proceed cautiously, even under pressure to move quickly in these circumstances. CEA’s academics and curricula are designed to emphasize experiential learning, and incorporate activities to help students connect their experiences outside the classroom with the content they learn in class. This cannot be fully achieved through remote/distance learning alone, however, and we recognize these are not usual circumstances.

We know and understand that students have planned for many months, sometimes years, in preparation for this spring 2020 term abroad. CEA is committed to working with each student and their home institution to offer credit for their term abroad, and ensure their academic success. CEA pledges to continue prioritizing student health, safety, and wellbeing, while never compromising academic quality of programs. We approach each situation cautiously and uniquely, to critically assess the best course of action for our students and university partners. This approach is crucial in times like these when we must balance student wellbeing with providing the academic quality students, families, and our university partners have come to expect from CEA.

Thank you for your support, patience and understanding as we navigate these challenging times together. For any questions, we urge students to reach out to their onsite CEA contacts about any questions they may have now and moving forward.


Brian Boubek
Chairman & CEO
CEA Study Abroad

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