Safety and Health Information
To keep you safe and healthy while you are traveling on your study abroad program, Gilman is partnering with International SOS, the world’s leading medical and travel security services company.
- The International SOS benefits for Gilman scholars include 24/7 consultation and referral access for general questions and phone consultations as well as up to 5 counseling appointments (phone or in-person when available) at no cost. You are already registered for this service, and will just need to provide your name and your status as a Gilman scholar to utilize these services.
- In addition to referral resources, we are also partnering with International SOS to support scholars in the event of an emergency. You will need to register your trip through the MyTrip feature:
- Create your one-time MyTrip profile through the dedicated Gilman program URL. The information you will need to add is your name, email address, phone number, and select the Gilman program from the drop-down menu provided.
- Once your MyTrip profile is set up, forward your flight booking(s) to ExchangeTravel@itinerary.internationalsos.com OR manually add your travel details to your profile.
Download the International SOS App!
- One-click dialing to the closest International SOS Assistance Center
- Mobile-friendly medical and travel security information
- The latest medical and travel security alerts
- Favorite country content for navigation to your most used information
The following steps are requirements for every Gilman Scholar, as a condition of receiving their scholarship funds.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). Keep your account updated to include any changes in your program dates, locations or personal travel.
- Obtain international health insurance. Please make sure you keep your international insurance information in a safe, yet accessible location and familiarize yourself with the coverage details and claims process. If you extend your time abroad, or travel independently, it is strongly recommended that you extend your coverage to include all time abroad.
- Confirm arrival in your host program location within 72 hours of arrival. All students must log in to their Gilman account to confirm that they have arrived in their host program location.
- Provide in-country contact information within 72 hours of arrival. All Gilman Scholars are expected to provide contact information where they can be reached while in country, along with contact details for emergency contacts. This is necessary so that the Gilman Program can assist in emergency situations.
- Know before you go. Research your host country, city, and neighborhood before departing to make sure you are aware of any potential safety or security concerns.
- Travel in pairs or in a group. Avoid walking or taking public transportation alone in unfamiliar areas.
- Carry emergency contact information with you. What is the equivalent of “911” in your host country? Store emergency contact information in both your phone and wallet/purse, so you still have access to it in case you lose one of those.
- Store cash and important documents safely. Do not carry large amounts of cash with you and make copies of all travel documents. Store copies separately from the originals.
- Look into possible traveler scams in your area. Scams are common in some popular tourist destinations around the world. Ask your program staff or someone who has already traveled in your host country about anything specific you should know before heading out to explore.
- Pay attention to food and water safety. Tap water is not safe to drink in all parts of the world. If you can’t drink the tap water where you are staying, come up with a plan for how you will buy bottled water and stay hydrated when you first arrive. In addition, follow crowds when it comes to experimenting with a new restaurant for the first time. If a restaurant is located in a busy neighborhood but is never crowded, that could mean that there are concerns about food hygiene.
- Be aware of any safety concerns particular to your identity. For example, what are attitudes in your host country towards women, members of the LGBTQIA community, or racial or ethnic minorities?
- Familiarize yourself with your program’s emergency procedures and international insurance. Find out what plans your program has in place in emergency situations. Understand what your international insurance covers, how to file a claim and how to get answers to any questions you might have about your coverage.
- Avoid situations where you lose control. Be mindful of your alcohol consumption. You’re more likely to get lost, go into a dangerous neighborhood, or be a target if you are obviously intoxicated. Do not take illegal drugs and don’t assume that the laws governing alcohol and drugs in your host country will be the same as they are at home.
- Only use licensed taxis or car services. Ask your program staff how to call a taxi in your host country, and double check that the meter is running when you get in the car. Do not take illegal or unofficial taxis and keep in mind that apps like Uber and Lyft are not legal in all countries or cities.
- Don’t call attention to yourself. Stay away from flashy jewelry or clothing that identifies you as a foreigner. Avoid boisterous or disruptive actions in public.
Whether in the case of a personal, regional, or national emergency, the Gilman Program is committed to equipping scholars with the tools necessary to be safe while abroad.
Gilman Scholars are required to keep the Gilman Program updated on their status in an emergency situation. Depending on the situation, Gilman Scholars may be contacted by various parties – including the home institution, host institution/program, International SOS, the Gilman Program or representatives from the U.S. embassy or consulate in the host country – to confirm your safety and obtain updates on your specific situation. Recipients are expected to respond promptly. If you do not respond, we will reach out to your program and/or emergency contacts. The Gilman Program will provide additional information on next steps based on the specific situation.
In cases where a Gilman Scholar’s health and safety is immediately threatened, they should reach out to International SOS for immediate assistance. International SOS is available 24 hours/day, seven days/week.
In all emergency situations where a Gilman Scholar’s program is impacted or travel is involved, Gilman Scholars should contact the Gilman Program immediately to notify us of the situation by sending an email and including the word “Emergency” in the subject line.
We understand that there are certain emergencies where you may need to begin planning before you receive a response from us. In those cases, email as quickly as possible to inform us of the situation. A member of the Gilman team will respond to you and provide guidance on next steps. Follow any instructions you receive from the State Department through your STEP account or in ISOS alerts.
In the rare occasion that the Gilman Program requires Gilman Scholars to leave a host country due to safety or security concerns, you are required to comply and follow the instructions provided. Recipients can access more information regarding health, safety, and emergency situations in the Terms and Conditions in the Gilman portal.
- International SOS: https://www.internationalsos.com/
- U.S. Department of State Travel Advisories: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages.html
- U.S. Department of State Crisis Abroad: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/emergencies/what-can-you-do-crisis-abroad.html
- U.S. Department of State What State Can and Can’t Do in a Crisis: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/emergencies/what-state-dept-can-cant-do-crisis.html
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended vaccinations: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel