Health & Safety Abroad

Health Insurance & Emergency Medical Assistance Insurance

Amherst College Travel Registry

International Waivers and Special Waivers

Travel Policy

Your Well-being While Studying Abroad

Your well-being is the most important factor to consider while you are abroad. It is your responsibility to evaluate your health needs as you research programs and destinations of interest to you and to have a conversation with your health care providers (i.e. physician, counselor) about your intended semester or year abroad. Consider the following questions:

  1. If you have a chronic or recurring health issue, have you discussed with your health care provider if there is comprable care in the host country should you need treatment?
  2. If you have a learning disability or other condition that requires accommodation at Amherst, can it be accommodated abroad? Many countries around the world do not have the equivalent of the Americans with Disabilities Act and, therefore, may not be legally required to make alternative arrangements. But many study abroad programs do make such accommodations. It is important for you to learn what can - and what cannot - be accommodated by communicating with the program.

The Global Education Office is available to help you research some of these questions. Please be in touch with us if you need assistance (x5691).

Medications Abroad

It is essential that you research, well before you depart, how you will obtain your medication abroad. Some medications are not available overseas. Some medications cannot be prescribed for an entire semester or year. Others are not legal in some countries. Drug laws vary greatly around the world and it is essential that you research this information well before your departure.

For recommendations on learning how to obtain your medication while you are abroad, we recommend that you:

  • Talk to your health care provider for recommendations on securing your medication,
  • Talk to your program to learn what is available in your host country (and, most importantly, what is not available), and/or
  • Visit the Students Abroad website by the U.S. State Department which has specific information for study abroad students about prescription medications.


Programs will usually make recommendations on what immunizations are required and recommended. You should also review the country profiles available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you need to visit a travel clinic, some immunizations can be administered by Health Service (x2267) with enough time planned for you to make your appointment and for the clinician to obtain the vaccine since Health Service may have to order it. Otherwise, you can consult with a travel medicine clinic, which administer vaccinations and provides necessary pre-travel health information. There is a travel clinic at Baystate Health in Springfield, MA but with advance notice, Health Service or the UMass Health Service may be able to order and administer vaccines you need.

Strategies for Staying Safe

While no program or institution can guarantee your safety (at home or abroad), you can minimize your risk abroad by researching your host city and culture and engaging fully in the orientation provided by your program.  Other resources that you should review are below:

  • AIG Travel Guard has country-specific health and safety profiles.  (See "Insurance" information below for more information on this program.)
  • The U.S. State Department has created a Students Abroad website specifically for students traveling, working, or studying abroad.  The website has a wide variety of information ranging from how to obtain a passport and visa to filling prescriptions abroad.
  • Association for Safe International Road Travel promotes global road safety and has developed country reports about driving conditions abroad.

Mental Health Apps

The Counseling Center compiled a list of applications that address a variety of concerns and can be used to support the work you do in therapy or assist with self-improvement. Although these are not a replacement for professional therapy or treatment, they may help you maintain a balance while abroad.

Health Insurance & Emergency Medical Assistance Insurance

Health Insurance

Because you are a student at an institution in Massachusetts, you are required to have health insurance.  If you are on the college plan with Gallagher Student Health you will be covered while studying abroad for the semester or year. Keep your Student Health Insurance ID card with you and take a copy of the brochure for reference.

  • When outside of the United States, you will likely be asked to pay for your medical care first and will then need to submit for reimbursement. Covered Expenses will likely be reimbursed on an Out-of-Network basis.
  • When you submit claims for reimbursement, you will need to have the itemized bill(s) translated into English and include a letter informing the claims administrator that you are seeking reimbursement for charges previously paid.
  • Please ensure that your name, ID number, address (to receive your reimbursement check), and your school’s name are on the bill.

If you are on a different plan, call to make sure it will cover you in your study abroad country as well as countries where you intend to travel. If your plan doesn't provide international coverage, you have three potential options:

  1. Ask your study abroad program if they offer health insurance.
  2. You may enroll in the Amherst Student Health Plan (through Gallagher Health) by contacting the Controller’s Office at (413)-542-2817.
  3. Visit to compare and enroll in different health insurance plans specifically designed for travelers.

Emergency Assistance Insurance

Most health insurance policies do not include coverage for emergency evacuation or repatriation of remains, both of which can be costly. Amherst students on college-sponsored programs (i.e. programs credited, arranged, and/or funded by Amherst), have a benefit through the Five College's policy with AIG Travel Guard for the dates of your program. This benefit through AIG Travel Guard includes emergency medical assistance, general trip advice, and access to many other services. The online resources of AIG Travel Guard are extensive which include country-specific medical and security information, travel guidance, up-to-date travel delay information, and much more. The attachments below include a summary of the policy coverage. More information on international college-sponsored travel is available on the Five Colleges, Inc. website.

AIG Travel Guard policy number: GTP 9144090

Toll-free number:  1-877-244-6871

Overseas collect:  +1-715-346-0859

Please note these important points regarding the AIG policy:

  • Coverage is only for the actual program dates. If students add personal travel before or after their program, they may want to obtain additional insurance through another provider or pay for coverage from AIG. (See below for more information on additional coverage.)
  • International students are not covered in their home countries.
  • Domestic students are not covered if they are less than 100 miles from home.

If you and your parents would like to purchase additional coverage, especially if you plan personal travel at the end of your program, you may want to review the emergency medical assistance insurance from the International Student Identity Card (ISIC) or iNext.  You may also want to check with your study abroad provider to see if they include such insurance through their program fee. An additional resource where you can compare different insurance packages is available at

Travel Registry

Amherst College Travel Registry

Students studying abroad for the semester or year must register their trip with the Amherst College Travel Registry. This steps takes only a few moments:

  1. Go to the Amherst College Travel Registry website.

  2. Your Amherst email is already in the database, so you should be able to log in with your regular Amherst email and password. If you cannot, click the "forgot password" button and an email will be sent to your Amherst email with log in instructions.

  3. Create a "side trip." (This is also an excellent opportunity to update your emergency contact information to your AC Data profile.)

International Waivers and Special Waivers

Students traveling on college-sponsored programs (anything arranged, credited, and/or funded by Amherst) must submit a waiver to the Global Education Office or other appropriate office. If a student is traveling to a country where there is a U.S. State Department Travel Advisory Level 3 or Level 4 (even if only a region within the country is a level 3 or level 4), the student must discuss travel to the country with parents or guardians and complete a special waiver, to be obtained from and submitted to the Global Education Office.