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Education Abroad Office

Physical & Sexual Health

Studying abroad can impact your health in a variety of different ways. Being in an unfamiliar environment can be challenging and may result in unexpected health repercussions.

Food & Water

  • Keep in mind that the typical diet may vary in your host country, and that it may take time for your stomach to adjust.
  • Be careful when consuming tap water (including ice), and consuming raw foods until you know the food safety standards.
  • Be mindful of what food stands and restaurants you are visiting - consider asking your local friends and program staff for recommendations to ensure you're visiting food stands and restaurants that follow food safety protocols to minimize the risk of food-borne illness.
  • If you are concerned about a specific dietary requirement or preference, please share it with your study abroad advisor.


  • Mosquitos carry diseases such as Chikungunya, Dengue Fever, Malaria, and Zika.
  • There are no cures for any of these diseases, and although the symptoms are usually not life-threatening for otherwise healthy individuals, they can be extremely uncomfortable and could have lasting effects.
  • The best way to reduce your risk of exposure is to prevent mosquito bites. Prior to departure, you should review the precautions to prevent mosquito bites prepared by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Hospitals & Health Care

  • Have a basic understanding of what the health care system in your host country is like (quality of facilities, quality of patient care, time to see a doctor, availability of medications, etc.)
  • Locate the nearest hospital and/or clinic.
  • Use your UofSC provided CISI insurance card to cover any necessary visits.

Sexual Health

Remember that sexual health may be addressed differently in the country to which you are traveling. If you choose to be sexually active, it is important that you take control of your sexual health. Here are a few guidelines to address sexual health needs:

  • Contraceptives such as condoms may not be regulated or readily available in other countries. If you use these in the U.S., it is best to bring a supply from home to be better prepared.
  • If you take birth control, speak with your doctor before departure to secure an adequate supply for the duration of your program. If you are unable to do so, research equivalents in your host country and the best manner to secure it. See the Immunizations & Medications page for more information regarding prescriptions.
  • Just as in the United States, STI/STDs and HIV/AIDS are present abroad. Maintain safe sex practices abroad to reduce your risk.
  • If you are ever a victim of sexual assault while abroad, you can contact your on-site program staff, the Education Abroad Office, UofSC Police, or UofSC's Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention & Prevention office. See the Crime & Interpersonal Violence page for more information regarding sexual assault reporting procedures.


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