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Health, Safety & Travel Preparation

Studying Abroad is an enriching experience, be prepared to enjoy it!

Health & Safety

The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff abroad is of primary importance. While we can never guarantee complete safety abroad, we provide resources and tools to assist students and families stay well informed. Both UMass Lowell and our approved study abroad programs and partner universities work together in creating resources to assist students, faculty and staff in making decisions that support a healthy, successful experience abroad. Students, faculty and staff are ultimately responsible to assure their own health and safety.

Important Notice from the University - Ebola Preparedness

UMass Lowell is following guidelines from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as communicating with our study abroad partners and organizations around the globe to educate our travelers and identify any risk factors. View the UMass Lowell Ebola Preparedness Letter

Awareness Equals Success

Although unpredictable events occur throughout the world, preparation and information is key to a healthy and safe experience abroad. It is important to keep track of individual health and safety issues, and be aware of current events and situations while abroad, such as weather, worldwide health trends, location-specific, and political factors, etc. Awareness of these matters will help to create a successful experience abroad. We strongly encourage all travelers to review the U.S. State Department website specific to the country of travel for important information. Additionally, it is important that you to register with the Department of State before you travel. Please visit the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to enroll.

We provide our travelers with general health and safety guidelines, as well as protocols to follow if they run into problems abroad. This information will be reviewed and materials will be provided at the UMass Lowell Pre-Departure Orientation Session, held at the end of the semester prior to departure.

Recommendations by the U.S. Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Investigation for general health and safety:

  • Safety and Security for U.S. Students Traveling Abroad
  • "Game of Pawns": 30 minute video to increase student awareness of the possibility of foreign recruitment against the U.S. or major U.S. companies. This video is the story of an American student who, in 2004, was studying abroad in Shanghai when he was coerced into working as a spy for the Chinese government. 

Health Insurance a Must

UMass Lowell requires that all students maintain some form of primary medical insurance coverage valid in both the U.S. and host country before, during and after the education abroad period.

The University System provides international insurance coverage and services to UMass Lowell students, faculty and staff who are participating in a University sponsored and approved study abroad program. Information on this coverage, such as the policy number, coverage, certificate and contact information is given during Pre-Departure Orientation. This insurance is no charge to the traveler. General coverage can be reviewed on the UMass Treasurer's Office website.

Prior to departure, students & families should still contact their personal health insurance company to make certain they understand what additional coverage they may have in place, or may want to put in place, while traveling abroad. Any additional coverage purchased would be at the traveler's own expense.

Travel Preparation

There are a number of things that you'll need to arrange before you depart for your destination abroad. Travel plans including obtaining passport, visa, and booking flights are among the first steps to help get you abroad successfully.


If you don't have one already, apply for one as soon as possible. Make sure your passport will be valid for at least six months after the end date of your study abroad program, or the date of your departure. If you need to apply for, or renew your passport, visit the State Department website for instructions.

Immigration, Visas, and Embassies

The Office of Study Abroad and International Experiences can also assist you through the visa application process. Also, you will need to register with the Department of State before you travel. Please visit the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.

Learn About Your Destination

Before you go, it is important to learn as much as possible about the country where you will be studying. Go online to read about current events, familiarize yourself with the history of the country and become aware of cultural differences and customs. It is strongly recommended to review the country information available on the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs website.  Country-specific consulate websites are full of information for visitors, as are online travel guides and travel blogs.

Airline Tickets 

Once you have been accepted into your program and know your specific program dates, start researching flights. There are many online resources for cheap student fares, for example, check out STA Travel or Student Universe. Agencies focused on student travel often offer student discounts and additional travel resources.