Health and Safety

How safe is it to study abroad?
In Annual Assessment Overviews, the vast majority of incidences reported have to do with theft and pick-pocketing. Incidences abroad are not more frequent than on campus. Just as at home, much of your son or daughter’s safety will be determined by his or her good judgment and decision making. Certain steps – traveling with companions rather than alone (especially at night), using caution in interactions with strangers, knowing and staying away from dangerous areas, and not drinking in excess – will help make your son’s or daughter’s study abroad experience safe and enjoyable.

Will my son or daughter have to purchase study abroad health insurance?
Yes, the Canisius HTH Study Abroad health insurance is mandatory for all programs except for Australia.

How do I know that my son or daughter will be safe abroad?
Canisius is committed to doing its best to ensure your child’s safety abroad. Each semester our Pre-Departure Orientation focuses on health and personal safety abroad in order to help your son or daughter prepare for the experience. At the Pre-Departure orientation, each of our study abroad students receives a study abroad handbook that includes information about safety. In addition, we are in frequent communication with our partners abroad, especially our colleagues at our partner universities and on-site personnel. We monitor U.S. Department of State travel advisories and remain informed about issues in locations where we have students. In the event of an emergency, our partner universities and on-site coordinators follow established procedures to ensure your son’s or daughter’s safety. Your son or daughter is provided with emergency contact phone numbers and e-mail addresses should they be needed. All Canisius students are automatically enrolled in HTH Worldwide Insurance Services, an organization providing emergency travel assistance, including international medical and security services as well as emergency evacuation. The HTH website maintains reports on health and safety issues in 170 countries.

Aren’t most countries just inherently dangerous to Americans? What do US embassies do to guarantee safety of US citizens?
America has a long history of isolationism, and most Americans know what they know, not from direct experience in other countries, but from the confines of our culture and from the mass media, which tends to sensationalize world events. Few countries, for instance, have as much street crime and the potential for stranger-upon-stranger violence as the United States. In this sense, U.S. students may be statistically “safer” in foreign cities and towns than they are at home or on their own campus. Many U.S. students report when they return from a period abroad that they had never felt safer in their lives. This does not mean that there is no crime elsewhere, or that a daughter’s or son’s personal safety is every completely assured.

What must we do if my son or daughter has health concerns before going or while abroad?
If your son or daughter has a chronic physical or psychological condition that requires on-going treatment or monitoring by a doctor, you need to consult with your son or daughter’s physician about the prospect of studying abroad. If your son or daughter is on medication, you should discuss the type of care your son or daughter may need abroad and the best way for your son or daughter to continue his or her regimen. Encourage your son or daughter to discuss these matters with the Canisius Director of Study Abroad, or a member of the Canisius Counseling Center.

What should I do if my son or daughter has problems adjusting to being abroad? 
It is very common for students to experience some degree of homesickness or difficulty transitioning to a new culture when he or she goes abroad – even a student who has traveled previously. Being in a new and different environment is challenging and takes a little getting used to; some students adapt sooner while others need more time. If your son or daughter appears to be having difficulties adjusting to new surroundings, please let the Canisius Study Abroad Office know. Often, we are able to contact someone at the host university or on site, whom we trust to determine whether there is a problem, provide a different perspective on the situation, or arrange for appropriate intervention.

Should my son or daughter register with the local U.S. Embassy?
Yes, information about registering with the local U.S. Embassy is provided in the study abroad booklet as well as the pre-departure orientation.

What happens if my son or daughter becomes ill while abroad?
Your son or daughter should have your emergency contact information. S/he will be informed by our partner university staff where to seek 24/7 medical help. Encourage your son or daughter to register online with HTH Worldwide Insurance Services prior to departure and to carry his/her HTH identification card at all times. Emergency numbers are found on the back of the card and the HTH website offers access to providers and facilities wherever your child may be.

What should I do if my son or daughter takes medication?
Be sure to bring enough medication for the semester in case that medication is not available abroad. Check with your insurance company to see if they will allow your son or daughter to have more than 3 months supply because s/he will be abroad. The Canisius Study Abroad Office would be happy to write a letter to the health insurance company.