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Let's Talk Health and Safety


Because the health and safety of program participants is the Office of Study Abroad’s primary concern, we ensure they have access to the information and resources necessary to make informed decisions. Although we cannot ensure their safety or eliminate risks, we have stringent processes and procedures in place to help them prepare. From thorough pre-departure orientations to ongoing support from our dedicated staff, we closely monitor global events and maintain open lines of communication with our students to promptly address any concerns that may arise.


The Office of Study Abroad: 

  • Conducts Map-Out-Meetings and a Pre-departure Orientation to ensure students have logistical, health, and safety information to better prepare themselves for their study abroad program. 
  • Facilitates a Program Specific Pre-departure meeting with their faculty leaders to review logistical and country-specific information. 
  • Provides a Study Abroad Handbook with resources and tips for traveling abroad. 
  • Provides an Emergency Card to all participants that should be carried at all times while onsite in case of an accident. 
  • Registers all participants with the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) that enrolls their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
  • Enrolls all participants in international insurance through Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) providing medical expense benefits, emergency medical evacuation and repatriation, as well as security evacuation. The CISI app should be downloaded prior to departure for electronic access to insurance documents, medical providers, emergency contact information, and travel destination information. 
  • Registers students for AlertTraveler, an app that needs to be downloaded and activated by each participant, that will provide country intelligence as well as real time alerts based on the traveler’s itinerary in Terra Dotta and GPS data location. 
  • Reviews safety information and alerts provided by the Department of State for all programs. USM policies regarding Travel Advisories can be found here

Participants have an individual responsibility to help ensure their own safety and security before and during their program. 


Participants should: 

  • Carefully review all materials provided, download and activate all resources to ensure access onsite. 
  • Be open during the application period about physical and mental health considerations that are necessary to plan for being out of your comfort zone. 
  • Conduct independent research on the host country(ies) considering health, safety, legal, environmental, political, cultural, and religious conditions. 
  • Obey host country laws. 
  • Avoid illegal drugs and excessive or irresponsible consumption of alcohol.
  • Be aware of local conditions and customs that may present health or safety risks when making daily choices and decisions. Promptly express any health or safety concerns to the program staff or other appropriate individuals before and/or during the program.
  • Follow program policies keeping staff informed of their whereabouts. 
  • Make responsible decisions.  

CISI Health Insurance

All students studying abroad through The University of Southern Mississippi are enrolled in CISI international healthcare coverage. The cost of the insurance is included in the program fees. This insurance is mandatory and cannot be opted out. Students will be enrolled by the Office of Study Abroad before departure. Students will receive an email confirmation from the insurance company once enrolled. Students will be prompted to activate an online account with the insurance company and will have access to their policy and insurance card here. 


Each participant is issued a personalized card that provides travel insurance while abroad with the program, including

• Physician Office Visits

• Inpatient Hospital Services

• Hospital and Physician Outpatient Services

• Emergency Hospital Services

• Accidental Death and Dismemberment

• Repatriation of Remains

• Medical Evacuation

Additional Health Resources


  • The Office of Study Abroad (OSA) enrolls students into the U.S. Department of State’s Safe Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). Learn more here:
  • Provides access to Alert Traveler: 
    • Students asked to enroll in Alert Traveler. This app allows us to communicate in an emergency and allows students to share their location with us while they are abroad.
  • Allows an administrator to send check-in requests and verify traveler safety
  • Create a command center for locating, communicating with, and accounting for your travelers
  • Allow travelers to request help in the event of an incident or injury
  • Proactively alert travelers when an emergency may affect them
The OSA monitors Travel Advisory from the US Department of State and closely monitors global events. See our policy here. 

Additional Safety Resources