Health & Safety
Western Washington University considers the health and safety of students on education abroad one of its top priorities. While no organization or institution can guarantee the safety of participants, the risks can be significantly reduced if program staff, students, parents, and advisers at the host and home institutions all work together. This section is meant as a guide for a safe and successful education abroad experience.
- Why Studying Abroad Is Safer Than You May Think
- Safety Tips for Living and Traveling Abroad
- SAFETI (Safety Abroad First – Educational Travel Information)
- Health and Safety - U.S. Department of State
- International Travel Advisory Information
- Emergency and Disaster Information Service
- Passport to Fire Safety
- CIEE Safety: Info on security plans, tips for yours
- Study Abroad Safety Tips for Female Students
- Sexual Harassment and Prevention in College Students Studying Abroad
- Pathways to Safety International - Empowering victims of interpersonal & gender based violence abroad
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- CDC Apps
- Shoreland Travax
- Smart Traveler App for iPhone/iPad: The app is a tool designed to provide easy access to frequently updated official country information, travel alerts, travel warnings, maps and U.S. Embassy locations.
WWU Policy: Reporting Communicable Diseases
Western is committed to the ongoing health and safety of our campus community. Students and employees who know, or who have reason to believe, that they are infected with a communicable disease have an ethical and legal obligation to conduct themselves in ways that minimize exposure in order to protect themselves and others and to inform the appropriate university administrator.
Students should contact the Student Health Center or the Office of the Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services. Administrators, faculty or staff members who become aware of a potential or known condition involving a student should contact the Student Health Center as well.
Any employee, student, prospective student, volunteer or visitor who knowingly arrives from a country outside the United States that has been issued a Travel Health Warning by the Centers for Disease Control must contact the Student Health Center’s Medical Director for medical clearance before being allowed on campus to attend classes, work or other activities.
Individuals with communicable diseases shall be excluded from enrollment or employment or restricted in their access to university facilities, programs or services if a medically-based judgment, in an individual case, establishes that exclusion or restriction is necessary to ensure the health and safety of the infected individual and/or other members of the university community.
Preparation and Planning
The Student Health Center Travel Clinic offers pre-travel counseling, post-travel care, immunizations, and health advice to students travelling to developing countries all over the world.
If you make an appointment with the Student Health Center Travel Clinic, make sure to let them know that you are a study abroad student complete the Confidential Health History online in your EdAbroad application. The physicians will be able to access your Confidential Health History in order to complete the health review.
To schedule an appointment at the Student Health Center, you can call (360) 650-3400. They offer same day appointments every clinic day (Mon, Tues, Wed & Fri during the academic year) and discourage drop ins. Call early in the day as possible as their busiest hours are between 11:00 am – 1:30 pm.
University Travel Policy
The University policy Traveling Outside the U.S. (POL-U2105.01) applies to travel abroad for students, faculty, and staff.
Countries with Travel Advisories
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information
The US Department of State manages all our embassies and consulates abroad, and with the help of US security personnel on the ground in each country, the State Department rates the safety of each county on a Level 1 – 4 scale:
- Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions
- Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution
- Level 3: Reconsider Travel
- Level 4: Do Not Travel
Most US universities, US companies, and US organizations only allow their travelers to go to Level 1 and 2 countries, even before the pandemic. Level 3 is the threshold at which even the US government begins to evacuate some of its own diplomatic personnel and their dependents. The EdAbroad office was given permission to allow students to resume studying abroad in Level 1 and 2 countries beginning in January 2021 and University leadership agreed that students are allowed to petition to study abroad in State Department “Level 3: Reconsider Travel” countries starting in Fall 2021: Learn more about this process.
WWU has suspended all forms of study abroad to Level 4 countries for the foreseeable future.
Extending Insurance Coverage
WWU requires that students engaged in international educational activities obtain appropriate study or travel abroad health insurance prior to travel outside the U.S.
Learn more about this requirement and how to purchase insurance through CISI on our Travel Resources page.
If you need to extend your CISI coverage while abroad, contact Kathleen at CISI directly to extend: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 203-399-5509.
All students in education abroad programs and exchanges through Education Abroad are required to complete a health review. All information is confidential and only shared to facilitate assistance, particularly during an emergency. This information is also used to assist the Global Learning Programs leader, on-site staff, and Education Abroad to make any necessary preparations and be advised of any health issues. If you are participating in an affiliated or third-party provider program, the sponsoring program may have a similar requirement.
As a reminder, by completing the Confidential Health History questionnaire and signing the electronic documents, you have authorized the release of medical information contained in the forms to Education Abroad staff, directors, and health care providers in order to secure medical treatment on your behalf in the event of emergency medical illness or injury.