Skip to main content
Belmont University logo


Mandatory Health Insurance

When students engage in study abroad programs through Belmont, they are guaranteed to be optimally covered in case of medical issues, accidents, or emergencies. Health insurance is an important component of study abroad. All students on long-term programs are required to have international healthcare coverage for the duration of their study abroad program.

Doctor Visits

Before studying abroad, it is important that your son or daughter schedule an appointment with either Belmont Health Services or a trusted physician at home, if only for standard checks in preparation for departure. The study abroad experience, while amazingly enriching, can also be stressful, both physically and mentally. A healthy mind and body are essential to a successful study abroad experience. That said, if your son or daughter is somewhat uneasy or nervous about their upcoming experience, please remember that this is completely normal.

Disability Services

Students who are registered with Disability Services are encouraged to contact OSA and Mrs. Melissa Smith, Director of Student Support and Disability Services, ( in order to receive similar accommodations for the courses on their abroad programs.


For many students engaging in extended stay abroad, the Center for Disease Control recommends or requires certain vaccines in order to do so. Please consult the CDC’s website for any questions that your son or daughter may have. If your son or daughter is enrolling in a long-term study abroad program, please remind them to think about the countries that they may want to visit on free individual travel and research any vaccination requirements recommended to travel there. Please make sure that your son or daughter is adequately protected against major diseases.

BU Pre-Travel Medical Consultation

Belmont's Health Services offers a comprehensive travel consult for students, faculty, and staff who are going overseas for exchanges, study abroad, and missions. This pre-travel service is by appointment only and provides a cost-effective alternative for the campus community. The consult includes not only discussion and administration of recommended vaccines and malaria prophylaxis, but detailed information about possible health and safety hazards specific to the destination and length of visit. Post-travel illness and concerns can also be addressed. In addition to these individual consultations, Health Services can provide a speaker to orient groups contemplating a trip. Some of the vaccines offered are: hepatitis A&B, typhoid, tetanus, polio booster, episodic TB screening, MMR, and meningitis. Japanese encephalitis and rabies can be ordered on request, and the health services office can direct you to the nearest clinic that offers yellow fever vaccinations.


The availability of prescription as well as non-prescription drugs varies widely. We recommend that your son or daughter takes an adequate supply of whatever medications they may need, since it can be difficult to obtain equivalents abroad. Any medications they take should be in the original, properly labeled containers. If they wear glasses or contacts, they should likely take an extra pair in case the original is damaged or lost. In case of emergency, they should be sure to take copies of prescriptions for medications as well as for glasses or contact lenses.


An International Student Identity Card (or ISIC card, for short) is useful due to the fact that enrolling for the card will link students to an extensive network of fellow students with the card and give your son or daughter valuable student discounts at museums, attractions, restaurants, or hostels. Many of these locations offer student discounts that are only redeemable with 
an ISIC card. While this is not a necessity, it may be a
 great way for your son or daughter to save money while 
abroad. For instructions on how to apply for an ISIC
 card, head to the OSA travel resources page.


Preparing your Student

Apart from the immediate issue of jet lag, there several matters that every student needs to be aware of while studying abroad. Having lived in one country for the vast majority of their life, students’ bodies have become accustomed to a certain set of foods or certain methods of preparation. Leaving their normal cuisine behind for something new and unfamiliar may be jarring for students; while there is no real way for you to help your son or daughter while they are abroad, there are ways that you can help them prepare for the possibility of food and other illnesses while abroad.

  • Pack Plenty of Medicine – Depending on where your son or daughter is studying, American (or Western) medicine could be harder to come by and may be in forms unfamiliar to them (different branding or packaging, powders instead of pills, etc.). We recommend bringing at least a supply of anti-diarrheal medicine, basic cold medication, and either ibuprofen or acetaminophen, which are essential. Basic first aid supplies could also be useful.
  • Know Your Son or Daughter’s Needs – While we stress that students know and prepare for their own needs, being mindful of your son or daughter’s personal medical needs will be very important. Is your child asthmatic? Make sure they bring their inhaler. Do they suffer from dry skin or eczema? Tell them to pack an adequate supply of moisturizer. Things of this nature are sometimes overlooked, with the assumption that that students will be able to get what they need while abroad, and sometimes this simply is not the case.
  • When in Doubt, Ship it Out – Inevitably, many students end up forgetting something that they either want or absolutely need. In most cases, international shipping is fairly simple and reasonably priced. That said, it’s very important that you look into shipping restrictions before you head to the post office.
  • Dietary Issues - Please be aware that if your son or daughter has dietary concerns, he or she may encounter serious challenges depending on where they travel. In many cultures, vegetarianism is not commonly practiced and restaurant owners, waiters, or cafeteria staff may be very confused to hear that a student cannot or will not eat meat or meat products. Pease tell your son or daughter to make a note of this in advance of their departure. 
  • Students With Allergies – Any student with food allergies should bring multiple EpiPens and be especially aware of what they eat at all times. Additionally, in order to communicate with waiters or waitresses that may not speak English, these students should either learn select phrases in the host language describing their dietary needs or keep a card with the same phrase written down.