Adventure is just ahead! But first, you need to complete a little paperwork. Regardless of where you’re headed in the world, there is one requirement that every UCEAP participant must meet before boarding a plane: a health clearance. So what is it, why is it so important, and how do you get one? Read on for everything you need to know about the UCEAP health clearance.
What is a health clearance?
The health clearance is a process that results in a document that says you’ve consulted with a doctor about your medications, vaccinations, and mental health before you go abroad. The goal is for you to have a plan to manage any health issues that may occur while you’re away from the resources you usually rely on at home.
Why it’s necessary
The health clearance allows you and your health provider to anticipate and plan for the unexpected.
- Some medications commonly prescribed in the US are illegal or just plain unavailable in other countries.
- Getting outside your comfort zone can have the surprise side effect of triggering conditions — even those that you manage well at home.
- Food and water safety varies by country and city, and the laws aren’t always enforced to the same degree as in the US.
Getting your health clearance helps you carefully consider all the factors that will support your health while abroad.
How it’s used
The information you share is confidential. The clearance form is all about making sure you will have the resources you need. Information will only be shared on a need-to-know basis with UCEAP staff so they can support you before and during your program.
Where to get your health clearance
When you apply, you will receive instructions and a deadline to complete the health clearance. The process at each UC campus is different but the end result is that a travel health professional will review your travel plans. The health professional may be your personal doctor or someone at the campus student health services office. Your campus study abroad office will direct you on who to consult.
You and your doctor will determine whether you need any vaccinations, for example, and create a plan to access your prescription medications while abroad.
When to start the process
Ideally, you’ll want to schedule your health clearance soon after you’re accepted into the program. UCEAP and your campus advisors will tell you when to start.
Pro travel tip: Pack a simple travel health kit before you go. Between the long flights, new shared living quarters, and unfamiliar weather, it’s smart to have cold/flu medications and other supplies.
When you leave this country you don’t just leave your comfort zone. You leave behind the network of resources you rely on to stay healthy. So expect surprises, have a plan for when health challenges arise, and get your health clearance. It’s just another way you can make sure your study abroad adventure stays on track.
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