Health & Safety
TEAN is committed to the health and safety of every participant. It is very important that students make informed decisions about their study and travel destinations. TEAN continually monitors the safety and security of our study abroad program locations as well as popular student travel destinations. We continue to advise students of the safety and health risks associated with studying and traveling abroad based on the information from the U.S. Department of State travel warnings, local law enforcement, the Southeast Asian governments, NAFSA: Association of International Educators and the World Health Organization.
TEAN has created an Emergency Response Plan for our study abroad locations that will be implemented by both our staff in Southeast Asia/the South Pacific, and our U.S.-based staff in Chicago. TEAN staff will work with students, parents, and study abroad staff at both the student’s home and host institution to provide the most up-to-date information regarding situations that may arise while studying abroad.
Tips for Personal Safety
Emergency Contacts: Be sure to designate a parent or guardian as your Emergency Contact. This way, information regarding an emergency situation will automatically be passed on to your parents. Also make sure to provide TEAN your Emergency Contact’s most up-to-date contact information.
Communication Information: Provide TEAN with accurate and up-to-date contact information regarding your mobile phone number, WhatsApp details and email address. Be sure to notify your parents and Resident Director in case of an emergency.
Keep Others Informed: Tell others (your roommates, your parents, your Resident Director) your travel plans. Keeping others informed will make it easier to locate you in case of an emergency.
Stay Informed: Research the political, cultural, and social climate of your study and travel abroad destination before heading overseas. While abroad, whenever possible, read local newspapers and watch local news broadcasts for developments that may affect your health and safety. If you have questions, please contact a TEAN staff member either in the U.S. or abroad.
What about anti-foreign sentiment? Although individuals are generally well liked abroad, host nationals will often question the activities of foreign governments and may hold anti-foreign views. This can occur in periods of both peace and crisis. Participants in the past have found these tips useful: use common sense, dress to blend in, speak softly, avoid overt displays of home country patriotism and stay away from known established locations frequented by foreigners. TEAN also advises that students avoid all public demonstrations.
There is no need to have malaria shots or take malaria pills. Malaria is not prevalent in the areas where you will be studying. It is always common sense to have general vaccinations up-to-date, including tetanus, Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B, etc., but no immunizations are mandatory to participate in the program. If you have any health conditions that may cause issues, please make sure to consult a doctor before departing.
Safety Notes Regarding Food & Water
TEAN urges students to be extremely cautious about food and water while studying in Southeast Asia. Diseases from food and water are the leading cause of illness in travelers. Follow these tips for safe eating and drinking:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially before eating. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand gel (with at least 60% alcohol).
- Water that is provided at restaurants is safe to drink (no one drinks tap water).
- Drink only bottled or filtered water, or carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or bottles.
- Make sure food is fully cooked.
Diseases from food and water often cause vomiting and diarrhea. Make sure to bring diarrhea medicine with you so that you can treat mild cases yourself. Keep in mind that even if you do follow all tips, it is common to find yourself unwell with an upset stomach or food poisoning at some time during your stay in Southeast Asia. Usually you can obtain medicine from a local pharmacy a short walk from your accommodation, and your TEAN Resident Coordinator is just a phone call away to take you to see a doctor if needed.
Relevant Travel and Safety Links
State Department Travel Warnings
Center for Disease Control
World Health Organization