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I loved my Spanish classes because they were flexible, taught by an unbelievable professor, and they were multifaceted – there were a variety of opportunities to practice our Spanish in different situations.
– Emily Madsen
Drake University

health matters

All students are required to complete the Central College Abroad Medical Form included in the online acceptance packet. Completion of this form requires a recent physical. Students should also consider visiting the dentist, optometrist and any doctors for special needs. We encourage students to see a physician for any ongoing or acute medical problem, no matter how trivial. Foreign medical systems are often different from what a student may be used to, and medical problems should be resolved well before departure. Below is a list of items to cover before departure:

A student should discuss the need for vaccinations with his or her health care provider. A student should ask what shots or boosters appropriate for the area, and make sure he or she is up to date on routine vaccinations. These vaccines are necessary for protection from diseases that are still common in many parts of the world even though they rarely occur in the United States. Central College Abroad requires the following for all programs:

  1. Tetanus-Diphtheria booster if five years or longer since last booster*
  2. Tuberculosis (TB) test - within six months before leaving the United States and within 10 weeks of returning to the United States.
  3. Verification of blood type

*Tetanus vaccine overseas is often a different type of vaccine, and you may have a reaction to it. Centers for Disease Control recommends ALL COLLEGE AGE STUDENTS be immunized for Hepatitis B and receive a second Measles, Mumps (MMR) and Rubella vaccination.

More vaccination details and information specific to your program destination can be found at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are common in all countries and are more prevalent in developing ones. Check with your health practitioner for tips on prevention and information about the risks of STIs, especially Hepatitis B and HIV.

Medical Insurance
It is a student's responsibility to obtain proper medical insurance prior to departure from the United States. It is a requirement to have at least $50,000 in coverage to attend a Central College Abroad program. Central College Abroad will provide supplemental travel insurance as part of the program fees. Please see our student insurance section for more information and options regarding insurance needs.

Prescription Medication
If a student is on medication, we advise him or her to take a sufficient amount to last for the entire stay – if possible. Be sure to carry prescription medicines in their original vials or packaging with prescription labels attached. Most prescription medications will be readily available at the program site, but many brand names will be different. Make sure to know what the substance name or ingredients of the medication are — both for prescribed and over-the-counter medicines. The substance name is crucial should a student run out of medicine and need a new supply while abroad.

Please note that there are American medicines, both prescription and non-prescription, that are banned or illegal and may not enter certain countries. If found by customs, these medications will be confiscated and destroyed, irrespective of purchase costs. This also goes for medicines sent by mail. A pharmacist should be able to advise on legality issues and give the brand names of alternative medicines. Also, check with the airline before departure to learn whether your prescription should be packed in carry-on or checked baggage.

Physical and Mental Health
Though it is not required, CCA strongly encourages students who may have special considerations to make the resident director aware of these early on in the program. CCA also encourages students to include as much information as possible on the Medical Form that is turned in to the CCA office before departure. Any pre-existing conditions may be complicated by the initial stress of living abroad. The study abroad experience can be greatly diminished if a student does not address them. Whether this condition is a physical or mental health issue, the resident director is equipped to assist students with the utmost discretion and confidentiality. Counseling, treatment and tutoring services can be found with the director’s assistance.

Central College does not employ mental health professionals abroad. In the admissions process, the College does not discriminate against individuals with emotional disorders or conditions, but all students are urged to think carefully about submitting themselves to the additional pressure, fatigue and anxiety of life in a foreign environment. For their own welfare, a student should consult with a mental health professional in this country to discuss the potential stress of study abroad if he or she has had any emotional or psychological issues. We want students to be aware that mental health treatment may not be as widely accessible abroad as it is in the United States.


Role of the Resident Director