Health & Safety

A Letter from CEA Student Affairs

CEA is grateful for the opportunity to provide you with a study abroad experience that will not only be an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience, but also complement your academic goals while contributing to your personal growth and development of a more global perspective. At CEA, we strive to make every student's study abroad experience as successful as possible. Our focus on student health and safety is evident in the programs we develop, in the program sites we select, and in the planning and implementation of academic and cultural experiences. Our staff are there to support you and resolve your questions or concerns about your health and safety while you are studying abroad, and to provide information that will keep you updated in the case of an emergency. Please don’t ever hesitate to contact CEA staff, either in the U.S. or in your host city. Have a great Cultural Experience Abroad!


Elizabeth Kather, Director of Student Affairs

Student Health Abroad

What You Should Know Before You Go

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 Website, MyCEA Account and Site Specialists' Role

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.

Flu Prevention

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.

Students with Physical Challenges

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.

LGBTQIA Students

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.

Safety is Our First Priority

While, in this changing world, CEA cannot guarantee the absolute safety of any program participant, CEA will educate you about potential risks abroad during pre-departure, upon arrival in Orientation, and at intervals during your study program, so you can make informed choices about your personal safety. CEA specifically requests all students collaborate in keeping themselves safe by:

  1. Avoiding risky behaviors;
  2. Maintaining a working cell phone where CEA may reach you in case of any domestic or international emergency; and
  3. Sharing your independent travel plans so CEA may know your whereabouts in relation to a specific emergency situation.
Two weeks before your program’s start date, we’ll email you an Arrival Card that contains the emergency contact information for CEA staff members in your host city. During on-site orientation, you’ll will receive information and direction on the CEA Student Emergency Protocol. We advise you to routinely check your e-mail for information that we may distribute in case of events in your host city such as civil demonstrations, transit strikes, or an emergency.
As part of your study abroad experience, you may expect:

  • An on-site arrival orientation that includes health information, theft prevention, general safety precautions, and CEA staff contacts specific to your host location
  • The location of and contact information for local police stations and instructions on how to report incidents
  • Assistance with student registration with the local U.S. embassy or consulate
  • Information the stages of cultural adaption and what to expect as you transition to life abroad, including available support resources
  • Assistance with making healthcare appointments
  • Support from dedicated and qualified international personnel, who are well-trained in emergency procedures and understand the challenges students face while studying abroad
  • 24/7 access to on-site staff who can provide assistance should an emergency arise in your host city or while you’re traveling in the region, including medical evacuation if needed through your insurance
  • CEA communication with your listed Emergency Contact (we encourage parents to talk to you about designating them as your Emergency Contact)

Emergency Protocol

During your mandatory on-site arrival orientation, we’ll advise you as to our Student Emergency Protocol, to be followed in case of an emergency situation such as a violent protest, terrorist attack, or natural disaster:

  1. Shelter in place, or find a safe place to stay.
  2. Contact your Emergency Contact and family members.
  3. Contact CEA and respond to CEA communications.
  4. Follow the directions of local authorities.
You’ll have access to a site-specific, 24/7 emergency phone answered by on-site CEA staff, who can assist you with emergency concerns in your host city. If you’re traveling independently away from your host city, you may access resources through Generali Global Assistance/Europ Assistance USA, an international travel assistance provider that helps you find health care, translation services, accommodations, and stay informed about local conditions.

The comprehensive CEA General Emergency Protocol addresses both singular student incidents and mass incidents, and is complemented by site-specific evacuation plans for students and staff. On-site Emergency Protocols include all contact information for CEA staff, local authorities, partner institutions, student contact numbers, security precautions, and specific guidelines for on-site staff on liaison with CEA Headquarters regarding potential emergency situations.

The CEA Emergency Communications Plan clarifies the lines of communications between our international sites, U.S.-based partner institutions, and CEA Headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona, in case an emergency should occur.

In the event of a travel warning issued by the U.S. Department of State, CEA will:

  • send e-mail messages to you
  • send e-mail messages to your emergency contact
  • send e-mail messages to your home institution within 48 hours
  • post a message on the CEA homepage
  • post to SECUSS-L, the major study abroad industry listserv

Personal Liability

As you may engage in internship and volunteer experiences abroad, CEA also provides you with personal liability coverage to protect you in the event of accidental damages; for example, damage to office equipment in a CEA arranged workplace. This is not equivalent to personal property insurance. We encourage you to obtain personal property insurance to protect your belongings in case of theft or damage.

Please contact CEA at 1.800.266.4441 if you have questions about personal liability coverage.

U.S. Department of State & STEP Program

The U.S. Department of State is a valuable resource to you and your family. After arrival in their host city, we strongly encourage you to register with your local U.S. embassy or consulate as a visiting U.S. citizen. However, if you’re age 18 and older, you must sign a Privacy Act waiver before the government will release information about you to third parties. Without the waiver, the State Department can only confirm whether or not they have been in contact with you.

If your passport is lost or stolen while overseas, contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as possible.

We encourage you, your friends, and your family members to register with the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). The STEP program sends information updates on conditions in countries where you may be traveling, which is helpful in the changing world dynamic.


For more information on CEASecure™, an optional refund plan that allows you to withdraw from your CEA program for any covered reason up to one calendar week before the program's start date, please visit the Funding Options page.

Department of Student Affairs
Call us: 800.266.4441

United States:
October 11, 2018

Hurricane Michael

CEA has advised all CEA locations of Hurricane Michael and the expected damages as it approaches the southern coast of the U.S.  All students at CEA study and internship locations have been made aware of resources available to support them, as CEA recognizes they may experience stress at the situation their family and friends may be facing.  CEA also recommends that students put into place plans for communication with their family and friends as it will possibly be interrupted.

View More Updates

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