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Health & Wellness

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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.


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.

February 24, 2020

Coronavirus/COVID-19 Update

CEA continues to monitor the coronavirus Flu/COVID-19 cases as they occur, in collaboration with Onsite staff and local authorities.  We have, with an abundance of caution, advised students to avoid travel to northern Italy, and expect possible travel delays with transportation and border crossings. We are actively assessing our academic activities, both in and outside of the classroom, and working with our faculty to schedule alternative activities if necessary. CEA encourages all staff and students to stay home if they feel ill or have cold symptoms, and seek medical care if those symptoms worsen or are accompanied by a fever. 

We encourage everyone to monitor reputable news sources as well as the U.S. Embassy/Consulates in Italy.  Please visit the European CDC or WHO  for more information and health guidance.  All students and their families are recommended to visit the U.S. State Department website and enroll in Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive updates on all situations worldwide.

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