Travel & Study Abroad

What type of travel will you be doing?

Academic year, Fall/ Sping semester or Wintersession programs through the Office of International Study"

OIS Study Abroad Travel


For all other travel including internships, fellowships, family vacations and work:

Non-Study Abroad Travel



Obtaining medications before departure:

  • If you have the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP), please follow these directions to obtain additional months of medication.
  • If you have private insurance, call your insurance company directly.

Local Travel Clinics (off campus)

Health Service - Travel and Study Abroad

Smart Travelers Advice

First Aid
  • Digital THERMOMETER in Fahrenheit & Celsius
  • Basic first aid items (band aids, gauze, ace wrap, antiseptic, tweezers)
  • First Aid quick reference guide
  • Anti-Diarrhea medication (Imodium or Pepto-Bismol)
  • Antihistamine (Benadryl)
  • Anti-Motion sickness medication (Dramamine)
  • Acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, or other medications or pain or fever
  • Mild laxative
  • Cough suppressant/expectorant
  • Throat lozenges
  • Antacid (Tums)
  • Antifungal & antibacterial ointments or creams
  • 1% hydrocortisone cream (for rash or itch)
  • Insect repellent containing DEET (up to 50%)
  • Sunscreen (preferably SPF 30 or greater)
  • Oral rehydration solution packets and Water purification tablets (depending on area of travel)
  • Antibacterial hand wipes or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Safer sex supplies, Plan B (emergency contraception used up to 5 days after unprotected sex)
  • Ear plugs
  • Personal prescription medications
  • Copy of Health Insurance card
  • Address and phone numbers of area hospitals or clinics
Carry on
  • Prescriptions in their original labeled bottle, any as needed medications (epi-pens, inhalers, etc)
  • change of clothes, hand sanitizer, extra contacts lenses or glasses.
  • Carry your passport, valuable papers, and money in an undergarment case or pocket
  • Make copies of your airline tickets, passport, and birth certificate, and keep in a separate place.
  • Address and phone numbers of your destination, emergency contacts and local clinic or hospital.
  • It is also a good idea to have your credit card information in a separate area. Keep your credit card in a safe place also, and know the 800 number for your credit card
  • These precautions are necessary in case you lose your travel documents and need to replace them. This may save a lot of precious time and lessen headaches for the American Embassy (and you!)
Food, hygiene and drinking

Some foreign countries have unpredictable health standards and travelers to these countries may be at risk for illness or accidents.  Certain protective measures should be observed so that you may have a more enjoyable trip.

  • Don't take any unknown drugs or excessive alcohol...stay in control and stay safe! Make good choices and watch out for each other!
  • Avoid street-vendor food as well as restaurants that appear unclean
  • Always wash hands with soap and water before eating, handling food, pets or using a restroom.  Hand Sanitizer is second best option.
  • Swim only in chlorinated swimming pools that are well maintained. Beware of ocean safety, pollution and rip tides. If locals aren’t swimming, stay out!
  • Do not swim in small rivers or lakes as they may contain contaminants.
  • Always wear seatbelt, helmets, life jackets when available…even if not required by law.
  •  Use sunscreen with a minimum SPF 30, and try to stay out of direct sun between 10am-2pm.  Use UV protected sunglasses and wide brimmed hats.
  • Use protective measures against insects if traveling in infested areas by wearing long sleeved shirts and long lightweight pants after dusk, and protect yourself with a good insect repellent 30-50% DEET- apply over sunscreen!
  • Obtain the proper immunizations recommended for the countries being visited,
  •  If you have a serious medical condition (diabetes, life threatening allergies) wear a Medic Alert Bracelet.
  • Remember that once you arrive overseas your resistance will be lowered (new environment, changes in eating, sleeping patterns, etc) and it is easier to get sick.
  • Try to get adequate sleep, rest periods, and maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet to keep immune system strong.
Preventing and handling emergencies
  • If you are traveling through the study abroad program or another College program, make sure that your program leaders know where you are and how you can be reached at all times!
  • If you find yourself in a potentially bad situation, try to walk or run away. If you cannot, try to seek assistance or attract attention to yourself. 
  • Know how to say ‘help’ in the local language, or try another word such as ‘fire’ in order to attract attention. 
  • Familiarize yourself with the local telephone system and emergency number.
  • Call the Wellesley College Assistance Abroad Program for assistance with medical, travel and security issues.
  • Keep name and phone # of nearby clinic and hospital in your area in bag AND in for more info.
  • Notify your local on-site contact. 
  • Provide your family (and any others who may need to know) with emergency contact information. Keep them informed of your travel plans. 
Travel with a buddy
  • Always have an emergency plan – e.g., letting someone know where you are at all times; arranging to call a specific person in an emergency; having a pre-determined rendezvous point when traveling with friends in case of separation. 
  • If an emergency, politically volatile situation, or natural disaster occurs where you are traveling, be sure to contact a friend or family member as soon as possible to let them know whether or not you are safe. 
  • In an emergency, you can also call the Citizens Emergency Center in the U.S. 202.647.5255.

What to do if you become sick or injured


  • Have Diarrhea AND a fever above 102F
  • Have bloody Diarrhea
  • Are visiting a malaria-risk country and develop flu-like illness or fever
  • Are bitten or scratched by an animal
  • Have been in a car accident
  • Have been seriously injured
  • Are Sexually assaulted
Travelers Diarrhea (TD)
  • TD is the most common illness affecting travelers.
  • Attacks range from 30-70% depending mostly on the area.
  • High risk areas: Asia, Middle East, Africa, Mexico and Central and South America.
  • Bacteria cause approximately 80% of TD cases, primarily E. Coli.
  • The primary source of infection is ingestion of fecally contaminated food or water.
  • Poor Hygiene in local restaurants is largest contributor.  Poorly educated regarding food sanitation.
  • You can prevent by washing hands, following drinking water precautions and making smart food choices.
  • Common symptoms are diarrhea, abdominal cramping, bloating, nausea/vomiting, fever, urgency, and malaise.
  • Most cases are benign and resolve in 1-2 days without treatment. TD is rarely life-threatening. The natural history of TD is that 90% of cases resolve within 1 week, and 98% resolve within 1 month.
  • You may have repeat bouts with other contaminants.

Preventive Measures for FOOD SAFETY:

  • Avoid street-vendor food and unhygienic eating establishments.
  • Avoid eating raw or undercooked eggs, meat and seafood.
  • Avoid eating raw fruits (oranges, bananas, avocados) unless YOU peel them.
  • Avoid uncooked vegetables (including salad) especially in questionable locations.
  • Unpasteurized milk and dairy products (chesses) are associated with increased risk.
  • If handled properly, well-cooked and packaged foods usually are safe.
  • Wash your hands before eating…every time!

Preventive Measures for WATER SAFETY:

  • Drink only bottled water or commercially sealed beverages.
  • Ensure cap has intact seal.
  • Avoid Ice cubes
  • Do not avoid drinking fluids, as you risk dehydration….Drink safe!
  • If in doubt, boil for at least 5 minutes or use a water filter or purification tablets
  • Brush teeth with bottled water

Treatment Measures for Travelers’ Diarrhea:

  • TD usually is a self-limited disorder and often resolves without specific treatment.
  • Oral rehydration is recommended to replace lost fluids and electrolytes.
  • Clear liquids are best (water, apple/cranberry/grape juices, ginger ale or other clear carbonated drinks from safe containers, clear sports drinks, clear broth).
  • Travelers who develop three or more loose stools in an 8-hour period---especially if associated with nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, fever, or blood in stools---may benefit from antibiotics.
  • Commonly prescribed regimens are 500 mg of ciprofloxacin twice a day for 3-5 days.
  • Over-the-counter Pepto-Bismol or Imodium, as directed, should help to solidify stools.
  • Make sure you have the appropriate information and medications to treat TD before you leave!!

**If diarrhea becomes severe — or if diarrhea is bloody, or fever occurs with shaking chills, or abdominal pain becomes marked, or diarrhea persists for more than 72 hours — Seek medical treatment!

Affected areas include Central and Southern America, Africa, and Asia

Mosquito Borne Diseases: Malaria

MALARIA is one of the most frequent problems faced by travelers to the tropics and sub-tropics. It is transmitted through the bite of infected mosquitoes and occasionally through blood transmission. The mosquito-borne infection is most common in Central and South America, Africa, India, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and the South Pacific Islands. Four different forms of malaria have a variety of impacts from fever and chills, to vomiting and diarrhea. Untreated, serious infection can lead to death. Infection usually occurs between dusk and dawn. Symptoms will occur 7-9 days after bite. Travelers can protect themselves from insect borne disease by wearing long sleeved shirts and slacks and using insect repellent. Preventive medication is recommended when traveling to areas where malaria is present. The type of medication used depends upon the region of travel and a prescription is necessary. Anti-malarial drugs are taken in pill form, either daily or weekly 1-2 weeks prior to departure, and continue for 1-4 weeks after leaving the area. Cost can vary and depend upon region of travel, length of stay, and drug resistant strains of malaria. It is imperative to complete ALL ordered medications.

**No antimalarial is 100% effective and must be combined with use of personal protective measures, such as using insect repellent with 30-50% DEET, wearing long sleeved shirt/pants and sleeping with nets or in mosquito free settings. Mosquitos are most active at dusk and dawn.

Affected areas include Central and South America, Africa, India, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and the South Pacific Islands

Mosquito Borne Diseases: Dengue Fever

DENGUE FEVER is the most common cause of fever in travelers returning from the Caribbean, Central America, and South Central Asia. This disease is spread through the bites of infected mosquitoes and cannot be spread person to person. Dengue virus is present in all tropical and many subtropical areas worldwide. The mosquitoes that carry dengue bite most often in the morning and evening and during hot, wet times of the year. However, they can bite and spread infection all year long and at any time of day. Common symptoms include fever, headache, pain behind the eyes, joint pain, rash, nausea/vomiting, easy bruising or bleeding from nose/gums. Severe dengue can be fatal, but with good treatment, less than 1% of patients die from dengue. People who have had dengue before may get severe dengue if they are infected again. Travelers can reduce their risk of dengue infection by using personal protective measures to prevent mosquito bites (see malaria above). For up to date information on specific areas, see the Dengue Map on the CDC website. There is no vaccination.

Affected areas include the Caribbean, Central America, and South Central Asia

The Wellesley College Student Sexual Misconduct Policy and Resources

Attitudes regarding sexuality, consent, and sexual misconduct vary tremendously worldwide, and awareness of these differences is an important aspect of preparing to enter a new culture. The Student Sexual Misconduct Policy applies to enrolled Wellesley College students (only) wherever they may be, describing the College’s four Community Standards: Follow the law where you are; conduct sexual interactions with honor integrity & respect; be an active bystander when you can safely intervene; report sexual misconduct and get support for yourself and/or someone else.

Risk Reduction When Traveling

Perpetrators of sexual misconduct create or exploit vulnerability when targeting a victim. That vulnerability can manifest as someone who is unfamiliar with their surroundings; someone who is impaired by drugs or alcohol; someone who has developed trust for the person; or someone who is alone or isolated. While responsibility for sexual misconduct ALWAYS lies with the perpetrator, there are some steps students can take to reduce their risk of being targeted while abroad:

  • Make your boundaries as clear as possible. Cultural differences may increase the likelihood of miscommunication regarding sexual misconduct. Leave situations if you feel uncomfortable. 
  • Avoid drugs and abstain or use alcohol in moderation. Be aware that alcohol content can vary (e.g. beer can be 5% alcohol or up to 12%), and know the amount of alcohol served to you in a drink (e.g. one cup can have many servings of hard alcohol in it). Watch out for others that may be impaired.
  • Be aware of your surroundings; avoid isolated areas.
  • Have a plan to get home safely before going out and always stay in communication if not with your friends.

For Students Who Experience Sexual Misconduct While Studying Abroad
(including Wintersession, Faculty-led Trips, or other College Programs)

The Student Sexual Misconduct Policy & Resources describe the many supports that follow Wellesley College students while studying abroad, including the College’s Title IX Coordinator.  Local resources such as Program Directors, area health and counseling providers, or law enforcement may ensure access to timely, effective support.

For CONFIDENTIAL assistance in responding to an incident of sexual misconduct, including sexual violence:

Wellesley College Travel Assist Program

AIG/Travel Guard

Toll-Free/Free Phone (within the U.S.): 1-877-832-3523 
Collect/Reverse Charge (outside the U.S.): +1-715-295-1194
Reference:  Policyholder Wellesley College; Policy Number 9156677

Returning home after travel

Re-entry is the process of returning home after spending time abroad. It is a powerful experience that has the potential to allow for personal growth, to provide mobility for social action and civic engagement, to enhance skills for your professional life, and lastly the ability to further your knowledge about the world and your place within it. You are probably returning home energized with new emotions, newfound passions, or even confusion from seeing the world in a different way. Adjusting to life at home after studying abroad can often lead to a range of emotions and confusing questions. Often these emotions are described as reverse culture shock.

Preparing To Return Home: Quick Tips by Dr. Bruce LaBrack

Prepare for an adjustment process

The more you consider your alternatives, think about what is to come, and know about how returning home is both similar to and different from going abroad, the easier the transition will be. Anticipating is useful. As one psychologist put it, "Worrying helps."

Allow yourself time

Re-entry is a process that will take time, just like adjusting to a new foreign culture. Give yourself time to relax and reflect upon what is going on around you, how you are reacting to it, and what you might like to change. Give yourself permission to ease into the transition.

Understand that the familiar will seem different

You will have changed, home has changed, and you will be seeing familiar people, places, and behaviors from new perspectives. Some things will seem strange, perhaps even unsettling. Expect to have some new emotional and psychological reactions to being home. Everyone does.

There will be much "cultural catching up" to do

Some linguistic, social, political, economic, entertainment and current event topics will be unfamiliar to you as new programs, slang, and even governmental forms may have emerged since you left. You may have some learning to do about your own culture. (Note: most returnees report that major insights into themselves and their home countries occur during re-entry).

Reserve judgments

Just as you had to keep an open mind when first encountering the culture of a new foreign country, try to resist the natural impulse to make snap decisions and judgments about people and behaviors once back home. Mood swings are common at first and your most valuable and valid analysis of events is likely to take place after allowing sometime for thorough reflection.

Respond thoughtfully and slowly 

Quick answers and impulsive reactions often characterize returnees. Frustration, disorientation, and boredom in the returnee can lead to behavior that is incomprehensible to family and friends. Take some time to rehearse what you want to say and how you will respond to predictable questions and situations; prepare to greet those that are less predictable with a calm, thoughtful approach.

Cultivate sensibility

Showing an interest in what others have been doing while you have been on your adventure overseas is the surest way to reestablish rapport. Much frustration in returnees stems from what is perceived as disinterest by others in their experience and lack of opportunity to express their feelings and tell their stories. Being as a good a listener as a talker is a key ingredient in mutual sharing.

Beware of comparisons 

Making comparisons between cultures and nations is natural, particularly after residence abroad; however, a person must be careful not to be seen as too critical of home or too lavish in praise of things foreign. A balance of good and bad features is probably more accurate and certainly less threatening to others. The tendency to be an "instant expert" is to be avoided at all costs.

Remain flexible

Keeping as many options open as possible is an essential aspect of a successful return home. Attempting to re-socialize totally into old patterns and networks can be difficult, but remaining aloof is isolating and counterproductive. What you want to achieve is a balance between maintaining earlier patterns and enhancing your social and intellectual life with new friends and interests.

Seek support networks 

*The Stone Center X2839

*Health Service X2810

*Office of Religious and Spiritual Life X2685

*Office of International Service X2320

There are lots of people back home who have gone through their own re-entry and understand a returnees concerns — academic faculty, exchange students, international development staff, diplomatic corps, military personnel, church officials, and businessmen and women. University study-abroad and foreign student offices are just a few of the places where returnees can seek others who can offer support and country-specific advice. The key to facilitating your personal/emotional re-entry is staying connected to people and working through some of the challenging mental and emotional aspects of coming home. Remember there are lots of resources out there.  

Compiled by Dr. Bruce LaBrack. School of International Studies, University of the Pacific for use by the Institute of International Education, San Francisco. Aspire Newsletter, Spring 1996.

Pay Attention to your HEALTH when you come HOME!

The following list is compiled from many sources, but all of the tips come from returnees who offer these ideas in the hope of making your re-entry easier for you and for those at home.

  • Notify your primary clinician or Health Services upon return if you were ill or injured while abroad.
  • If you are not feeling well, seek medical care and mention that you have recently traveled
  • If you have visited a malaria-risk area, remember to continue taking you antimalarial drug as ordered, unless does is completed. 
  • If you develop flu-like illness or fever within the 1st YEAR of returning from travel from malaria-risk area, seek immediate medical attention and notify health care  provider of recent travel area. 
  • Consider at TB screening test if you've  traveled to a TB endemic country or might be at increased risk.