Health and Safety Abroad Heading Banner

UNCW and the Office of International Programs are carefully monitoring the COVID-19 situation.  The health, safety, and well-being of our students and staff remain our top priorities.  You can find the latest information from the university, as well as valuable, reliable sources of health information, at

Pre-Departure Preparation 

All education abroad students are required to complete Pre-departure Orientation, a large portion of which is dedicated to health and safety.  Additional health and safety information and resources can be found in the UNCW Education Abroad Handbook. 

International Health Insurance 

All students participating in UNCW’s education abroad programs are automatically enrolled in comprehensive international health insurance through GeoBlue. This insurance is mandatory for all participants and provides comprehensive medical and mental health coverage as well as political unrest and natural disaster benefitsOnce enrolled, students have access to GeoBlue Studentswhich provides extensive information about the insurance program and its benefits.  

The current cost for UNCW students is $1.50 per day for the duration of program. Students may elect to extend coverage or enroll for additional days beyond the length of their program. In addition to GeoBlue, students may decide to continue their own personal health insurance policy to avoid gaps in domestic coverage. Additionally, some host countries (e.g. Australia, Germany, New Zealand, etc.) or universities require visiting students to obtain additional medical insurance In such cases, students will not be exempt from GeoBlue enrollment and will be required to carry both policies. 

GeoBlue also has a website specifically designed for parents available here. 

Health, Immunizations and Medications 

Your pre-departure preparations should include a plan to address pre-existing health conditions, including mental health concerns.  It is never too early to utilize campus resources in planning for a successful experience abroad.  Below are a few resources to assist in this process. 

Mental Health Resources 

The UNCW Counseling Center is available (pre-departure) to assist in developing a plan to manage your mental health while abroad.  The UNCW Education Abroad Handbook has some great considerations for creating a workable plan and managing stress in the Mental Health section as well. 

Additionally, when you receive your insurance enrollment confirmation from the Office of Education Abroad, you can login to to explore physicians/counselors at your host destination or review the availability of your medications abroad. This can be a great tool to plan ahead and manage health concerns even before arrival.  You can contact GeoBlue with questions and guidance at 1-800-257-4823. 

Immunizations and Medications 

The UNCW Student Health Center can provide wellness examinations, T.B. testing, immunizations, and prescriptions needed during travel. 

The New Hanover Health Department is available for medical advisement on which immunizations or vaccinations are needed during travel, and can provide full-range of vaccinations.  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and The World Health Organization (WHO) also have excellent information regarding recommended immunizations and health, safety and security conditions around the world.   

Disability Accommodations 

It is important to communicate any need for accommodations with your education abroad advisor and host program when choosing a program and prior to departureThe TSA also provides a Disability Notification Card for Air Travel This is a notification template to discreetly provide information about medical conditions or disabilities to Transport Security Officers at airports. The U.S. Department of State has some very helpful related travel advise and information on their website. 

While Abroad

Restricted Travel  

Before traveling outside of your host country, students should consult the Department of State website for advice on safety and entry guidelines for U.S. citizens. Students should not enter countries with a Department of State advisory level of 3 (Reconsider Travel) or 4 (Do Not Travel).     

Before traveling outside of their host country, students should also consult the travel guidance of the CDC Travel Health Notices and the WHO Country Information. These sites inform travelers about current health issues that impact travelers’ health, like disease outbreaks, special events or gatherings, and natural disasters, in destinations around the world. 

Travel Registration  

While abroad, it is important for UNCW to be aware of your location in the event of an emergency.  All students abroad should update their travel plans and locations using the AlertTraveler app.  Enrollment instructions will be provided during pre-departure orientation. Additionally, students are encouraged to enroll in the U.S. Department of State Traveler Program (STEP).  This allows the State Department to communicate important information to U.S. citizens abroad in the event of emergencies abroad.  The Smart Traveler app was designed to provide easy access to frequently updated official country information, travel alerts, travel warnings, maps, and U.S. embassy locations. The app is available for iOS and Android devices.

Emergency Assistance 

For health or other personal emergencies, seek local help first: 9-1-1 numbers abroad.  

Health Related Emergencies 

In the event of a medical emergency, you should go immediately to the nearest physician or hospital, then call the Medical Assistance number for 24/7 care located on the back of your GeoBlue student insurance card or call collect on +1.610.254.8771. GeoBlue will help arrange for payment of your medical care. 

For non-emergency medical care, you can contact GeoBlue to request assistance in scheduling an appointment with one of GeoBlue's English-speaking network physicians or counselors.  They can also provide an interpreter if necessary.  To contact GeoBlue, collect calls are accepted on +1.610.254.8771 or email:  (From within the U.S.  Toll free 1.800.257.4823). 

U.S. State Department Contacts 

U.S. citizens abroad can always contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulates for assistance. Consular personnel at U.S. Embassies abroad are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to provide emergency assistance to U.S. citizens.  The State Department of Bureau of Consular Affairs may also be reached for assistance with emergencies at +1 202.501.4444.  The Department of State provides some excellent emergency information for U.S. citizens abroad on their website: 

UNCW Emergency Contacts 

Should you need assistance at any time, please contact the Office of Education Abroad at +1 910.962.3685.  If the office is closed, contact the UNCW police +1 910-962.2222.  Tell them you are studying abroad; give them your name, location, the nature of the incident and how to contact you so they may share these details with our office.  University Police will contact a member of our staff right away. 

Resources from the U.S. Department of State 

Other Useful Resources: