Health and Safety Abroad

The CHS International Programs Office encourages you to play an active role in staying safe and healthy abroad. Prior to departure, you should review information at the following websites that is specific to your chosen destination(s):

U.S. Department of State Country Information

U.S. Department of State Students Abroad

Centers for Disease Control

Your ISUAbroad application includes a series of videos to help you understand more about staying safe abroad, we also recommend you:

  • Blend in as much as possible
  • Use the buddy system
  • Carry only small amounts of money with you
  • Understand that traffic patterns can be extremely different abroad, and you may be in more danger as a pedestrian abroad than you are as a pedestrian in Ames
  • Know the local equivalent of 911 for your location
  • Store an ICE (In Case of Emergency) number on your cell phone so that emergency/medical personnel can contact your family
  • List current emergency contact information on your ISUAbroad application
  • Disclose any health issues on your ISUAbroad application
  • Ensure you have enough daily maintenance medication with you for the entire program in its original container


As a study abroad program participant, you will automatically be covered by the university’s international insurance. This insurance will become your primary health insurance abroad, and it also provides coverage for evacuations in medical, natural disaster, and security situations as well as for repatriation. You will pay for the insurance through your Iowa State U-bill.


If you are participating in a program coordinated by the CHS International Programs Office, you will be automatically registered for the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). The STEP registration notifies the closest U.S. Embassy or Consulate at your destination abroad of your program dates so you can receive helpful information about safety conditions.

Your registration will also aid the closest U.S. Embassy or Consulate in contacting you if there is an emergency at your destination. This registration is available to U.S. citizens only, and if you are an international student studying abroad, you are encouraged to check with your home country to see if a similar registration system is available.

Need More Information?

CHS International Programs

131 MacKay Hall
2302 Osborn Drive
Ames, IA 50011-1124