Health Issues

Vaccines

Many countries in South America, Asia, and Africa require proof of immunizations in order to enter the country. Some of these immunizations can be done in one day, while others are done as a series over several weeks. The Longest Student Health Center provides vaccinations as well as health care information for the international traveler. If you do not know the requirements of your destination, visit the Center for Disease Control’s travel site for more information.

Health Insurance

Mississippi State University requires that ALL students studying abroad purchase sufficient health insurance for their stay abroad. This inexpensive insurance is designed to assist with specific needs that can develop while in another country. Even if you already have health insurance, additional coverage is important to cover situations that may not be covered by a domestic carrier.

All MSU administered programs, and many external providers include international health insurance as part of the program fees. However, if insurance is not already offered to you, it is important that you purchase international health insurance before you leave the United States. Many insurance policies may reimburse you for medical expenses that accrued abroad but do not cover medical evacuation and repatriation (see definitions below). These two types of coverage are very important to have as they can be the most expensive medical costs accrued abroad.

Mississippi State University requires all students studying abroad to obtain insurance coverage that (at the minimum) meets the following:

  • Accident coverage: This coverage should be at least $50,000
  • Health/Illness coverage: If you have a chronic condition, be sure to check on coverage for pre-existing conditions. Coverage should be sufficient to cover an extended hospital stay. This coverage should be at least $50,000
  • Repatriation: In the event of death, this benefit pays for remains to be transported home. This coverage should be at least $50,000
  • Emergency Evacuation: This benefit pays for you to be airlifted in a medically equipped critical care, helicopter or plane to the closest medical facility that is equipped to handle your care. This coverage should be at least $125,000

The Office of Study Abroad has contracted with Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) which provides comprehensive study abroad insurance coverage to students, including unlimited medical evacuation, and repatriation benefits. Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI), a leader in study abroad insurance. The cost is $46.25/month and provides comprehensive coverage for accidents, sicknesses, emergency medical/security evacuation and 24/7 phone and e-mail assistance while you are abroad. For more information about the CISI insurance and enrollment information, please visit our CISI Insurance page.

Remember that your insurance will not help you if you do not have the information with you. While abroad, students should keep names, phone numbers, and policy numbers in a secure place.

Medicine

If you are traveling with prescription drugs, keep them in their original pharmacy containers and carry copies of prescriptions. Ask your doctor for the generic name of any drug you are taking in case you need to replace a prescription. Do not forget the prescription for your eyeglasses and contacts. Consider taking the entire amount of prescription drugs that you will need while abroad. Pack a one-month supply in your carry-on, and place the remainder in your stowed luggage.

If you are diabetic or need disposable syringes for any other medical condition, you may consider taking a supply that will last you until you return. This may not be necessary or allowed in all countries. Try to review the regulations and norms of your host country before departure.

Many students will experience some form of mild traveler’s diarrhea while abroad. You may want to ask your doctor to recommend an anti-diarrhea medication to take with you until you adjust to your host country’s food and water.

Before you leave, get physical, dental, and vision checkups and make sure your prescriptions are up-to-date.