Global Health and Safety Resources

Miami University is dedicated to the health and safety of its faculty and staff members as they pursue international travel on behalf of the university. While there is not a single piece of health and safety coverage that will envelop all contingencies, Miami University has assembled a coordinated effort to prepare and protect faculty and staff as they travel throughout the world.

Health Tips


Medical care, including mental health care, emergency medical care and medicine may not be as available and/or of a quality comparable to that available in the United States. Students are strongly encouraged to take ownership for their own health by talking with their family doctor, mental health professionals, and/or Miami University travel nurse prior to departure.  Students should also become informed about their health abroad by consulting the Center for Disease Control (CDC) travel health information for the location(s) they will visit. Verify necessary medical needs can be met in the abroad location, and in your travel.


Refer to the CDC and consult with your medical professionals or Miami University travel clinic to learn more about recommendations for your travel country. Schedule all doctor/dental appointments well in advance. Be sure to schedule all necessary immunizations on time; some immunizations may require multiple visits.

Local Concerns

Exposure to new environments and new countries can cause unique health issues. You may be experience health changes including: altitude sickness, allergies, gastrointestinal distress, local diseases, and more.


Refill prescription medicine and ensure you have enough for the entire program. You cannot fill U.S. prescriptions abroad and mailing medications internationally may be considered illegal. Talk to your insurance provider, International SOS, and your doctor to determine the best course of action for you. Pack all medicines in your carry-on luggage instead of checking it. Keep it in its original packaging to ensure there aren’t issues with entering the country.

Health Products

Health products such as over the counter medications, sunscreen, saline solution, or tampons may be difficult to find in-country, or they may be different than you’re used to. You may need to bring them with you or adapt to the local products.

Emergency Contact Information

If you are in immediate danger, you should always contact local emergency services immediately. These numbers are different in other countries, so it is important to research beforehand to ensure you have local emergency contacts. Some countries have different numbers for ambulance services and fire response.

However, Miami University is available to you for emergency response. You are encouraged to call the Miami University Police Department at 513-529-2222 for 24/7 emergency response. Calling this staffed emergency number will start the crisis response phone tree.

Faculty leading study abroad programs, please refer to the Emergency Communication Protocol in the event of an emergency (real or perceived).

Embassies and Consulates

If you are a U.S. citizen, in many ways the U.S. Embassy or Consulate is your government representative when overseas and out of country.

A U.S. Embassy or Consulate can: get you a new passport, locate medical services, locate an English speaking lawyer, provide information on absentee voting, provide U.S. tax forms, notarize documents, provide information on obtaining foreign public documents, evacuate you during a natural disaster or political upheaval, and make sure your jail conditions are the same as locals.

A U.S. Embassy or Consulate cannot: get you out of jail, pay for any medical bills, give you money, or search for missing luggage.

U.S. Consulate services are available to U.S. citizens. If you are a citizen of another country, check with your home country to learn about resources available to you.

The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a U.S. Department of State traveler registration program. When you sign up, you will automatically receive the most current information compiled about the country where you will be traveling or living. You will also receive updates, including Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts.

You only need to sign up once, and then you can add and delete trips from your account based on your current travel plans. You will also receive alerts about planned protests and the Department of State is better to assist in the event of an emergency, including a lost passport. You must sign up for your study abroad program - and you are strongly encouraged to do so for independent travel.


In short, GeoBlue is supplemental health insurance that allows you to access GeoBlue case management, referrals, and get health care services abroad, from contracted providers, at no cost at the time of service. (Using non-network providers will require payment at the time of service, with reimbursement following claim filing.) GeoBlue also provides emergency evacuation coverage for political and natural disasters.

View the GeoBlue Purchase Portal to buy or enroll now

Miami University Access Code: CNX-4745
Use the Miami University access code for the contracted rate.

In the GeoBlue Purchase Portal, you can view the Miami University member guide to view contracted services, purchase coverage, and view additional travel health resources.

If you have a health issue, injury, or need to seek medical advice, call GeoBlue, collect, 24/7/365, and a medical professional will assist you. GeoBlue will help locate a doctor, dentist, or other medical professional and provide medical advice. Do not delay in calling, even if you cannot locate your policy number. GeoBlue can help you. If it is an emergency, get to a medical facility and then contact GeoBlue.

Contact the GeoBlue international medical community where you will be connected to English speaking medical and healthcare professional by calling 610-254-8771 or e-mailing

The GeoBlue website has a number of resources for preparing to travel abroad. Here you will find:

  • Travel Safety Global Health Tour – an informative video, along with other short, informative videos. (Also found on YouTube - search “GeoBlue”).
  • mPassport – a mobile health and safety app that you can put on your smart phone to provide easy access to information about doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and medications, as well as news alerts, specific to your travel location. (You can also find the apps by searching for GeoBlue or mPassport at the App Store.)
  • Doctors, Hospitals and Pharmacies – search your destination for medical care.
  • Health and Safety – location-specific health and safety profiles.
  • Translation Guides – drug names, medical terms, and medical phrases in other languages.
  • Featured Articles – travel health and special needs.

Homestay Guidelines, Miami University


  1. To reduce the liability for Miami University, homestays cannot be organized by the program director — they must be organized and transacted by a third party, preferably a housing company, program provider or a university/institutional partner.
  2. The student must have a bedroom separated by a door with a lock. In the bedroom, each student must have their own bed and area to store clothes and personal items. If they are to share a room with someone else, both individuals must agree in writing to be roommates with each other.
  3. The student must have access to a bathroom separated by a door with a lock. The bathroom must have a clean toilet and shower/tub.
  4. The homestay must have a working smoke detector adjacent to each sleeping area.
  5. The homestay must have two exits from any room in case of a fire. For a window and exit above the first floor, a fire escape ladder is strongly suggested.
  6. The homestay must have at least one working fire extinguisher.
  7. The homestay must offer wifi for students to use email and the internet and provide a daily continental breakfast consisting of items such as fruit, toast, cereal and baked goods.
  8. The host family must provide the student with a key to the home.
  9. The host family must agree not to negotiate with the student regarding money or payment for the homestay, offer to sell them any additional service or product, or become involved with students in any commercial transaction.
  10. Host families must provide an accurate list of the names and contact information of the residents in the home, and must update the homestay organizer if there are changes.
  11. Host families may be subjected to background checks with local authorities.
  12. The homestay organizer’s vetting process must include interviewing the families and visiting their homes.
  13. When visiting the home, the homestay organizer must take due diligence in reviewing that there is a healthy household environment, clean and sanitary, established and stable, and free of sexual harassment.
  14. The homestay vetting process must take place annually.
  15. The homestay organizer must have a communication protocol that is shared with the student in case there are any questions or concerns.

The Homestay Organizer Must Train the Host Family In:

  1. Miami University’s Domestic and International Travel Guidelines
  2. Miami University’s Emergency or Crisis Reporting and Procedures
  3. Responding to student illness and non-emergency concerns
  4. Title IX and Clery Act Guidelines
  5. US Attitudes toward LGBTQ people, ethnic background, religious diversity and gender identity
  6. US student culture
  7. Their student’s dietary needs
  8. The importance of communicating with the student and/or the homestay organizer when there are any concerns, questions or cultural misunderstandings.

The Homestay Organizer Must Train their Students In:

  1. Culturally respectful behavior toward their hosts.
  2. Complying with their host family’s house rules.
  3. Complying with their host family’s rules regarding visitors.
  4. Miami University’s Emergency or Crisis Reporting and Procedures
  5. The importance of communicating with the host family and/or the homestay organizer when there are any concerns, questions or cultural misunderstandings.

International SOS

MU Membership Number: 11BCAS000010

The services provided by International SOS range from simple telephone advice from an expert in the field to full-scale medical and security evacuations. The International SOS network of multilingual specialists operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year from 28 Alarm Centers around the world.

Below are some key benefits to membership.

  • Pre-departure preparation: By logging onto the International SOS website ( you can sign up for health and security email alerts and review valuable country-specific information.
  • While abroad: International SOS will help you locate a qualified health care provider, replace a prescription, or simply answer a general medical or safety/security concern.
  • In an emergency: International SOS can ensure you get immediate care whether it requires closely monitoring your condition with local doctors, or evacuating in case of political unrest or disturbances abroad.

It is important to note that International SOS is not health insurance. This assistance program benefit provided by Miami University is designed to supplement and enhance your current health insurance with medical and security advice and services. It does not cover individual medical or evacuation expenses. Miami University therefore requires that all travelers on Miami-managed programs have their own medical, evacuation and travel insurance. Any charges incurred by Miami University for International SOS services not covered by existing insurance will be passed onto the individual.

Center for Disease Control (CDC)

The CDC website contains helpful information with health recommendations based on individual locations. On this website, you can check to see what vaccinations are recommended for your travel, which will assist you in working with your physician to make decisions about your medications and vaccinations.

State Department & STEP

The State Department website provides country-specific information and recommendations regarding health and safety while traveling. Below are several services available on their website.

  • Travel Information - Passport and visa details, and policies for traveling as a U.S. Citizen.
  • Country Specific Information – Information on every country in the world.
  • Travel Warnings and Alerts – Important information to review if traveling to a country under warning and alert.
  • Smart Travel Enrollment Program (STEP) — The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service provided by the U.S. Government to U.S. citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country. You are strongly encouraged to use this resource.
  • Smart Travel iPhone app— Smart Traveler, the official State Department app for U.S. travelers, invites you to see the world with easy access to frequently updated official country information, travel alerts, travel warnings, maps, U.S. embassy locations, and more.

Optional insurance coverage

Miami University recognizes that everyone has unique travel needs. Miami does not provide or require insurance coverage for: trip cancellation, travel delay, or loss, fire, theft, damage, while traveling. You will want to review the options provided for this coverage by your home owners insurance, travel agent, or online providers such as: