Parents & Family FAQ

We encourage you to travel to your student’s host country during official university breaks, or after they have completed their program. We ask that you try to avoid visiting at times when students need to be in class. Parents are not allowed to participate in any student-related activities provided by the Stanford program.

In order to ensure that medical support is available abroad, it is very important that your student disclose any health issues in his or her online orientation forms. This includes, but is not limited to, medical conditions, psychological issues, learning disabilities, and eating disorders. Disclosure of such information will not affect your child’s overseas study participation.

Prescriptions written in the United States cannot be filled abroad, so we recommend that students bring enough prescription medication to last the entire stay overseas and discuss this in advance with their doctor and insurance provider. Ask doctors for any prescriptions (eyeglasses, allergy medicines, etc.).

Prescription medications should be carried in their original, labeled bottle with the generic name of the drug. Students should have the prescription on hand in case a customs officer requests it. Check that you may bring the prescription drug(s) into the country at www.rxlist.com or at the host country’s consulate or embassy web page. Do not send prescriptions through the mail.

We also recommend that students take an extra pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses. Students with medical problems which are not easily recognized (e.g., diabetes, allergic reactions to antibiotics or bee stings, heart conditions, epilepsy) might consider obtaining a medic alert identification tag from a doctor or pharmacy as these are internationally recognized.

Students are informed about health issues specific to the country in which their program is located during their orientation on the Stanford campus. They are also encouraged to check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for immunization requirements for each country. Immunizations may be obtained on-campus at the Vaden Health Center. Many inoculations can be obtained abroad if needed. Students are asked to make sure that the following vaccines are current before going abroad: measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, diphtheria, and polio.

The best advice for any traveler is to use common sense. There are dangers associated with any large city around the world. For instance, students should be wise about where they keep their valuables. They should always be in groups when they travel at night, and they should not venture out alone with a stranger or someone they have just met. Additionally, students should be aware that in many countries they might be identified as American simply because of their clothing, speech, and mannerisms. Students should make an effort to understand how the local culture views Americans and behave accordingly in order to be safe.

Here are some more tips about how students can be safe while studying abroad:

  • Students should leave travel itineraries and copies of important documents with family, friends, and/or the BOSP office in their host country.
  • Students should try not to hang out with large groups of Americans that could draw unwanted attention.
  • Students should also avoid demonstrations (even peaceful) and other large groups of people in public.
  • Students should report suspicious activity to the police, the US embassy or consulate, and/or the onsite overseas staff.
  • Students should avoid meeting strangers in unknown locations.
  • Students should use the language of the host country at all times and attempt to immerse themselves in the culture.

Stanford University and the Bing Overseas Studies Program have established emergency protocols and all students at Stanford study abroad locations are covered under the provisions of these protocols. The home campus BOSP office works cooperatively with our onsite BOSP staff to help ensure the safety and security of students overseas; however, our ability to influence emergency responses depends on the level of support available through specific programs at sites abroad. In order to prepare students for their overseas program, Stanford University includes health and safety information in our mandatory orientation sessions.

All students must arrive at their program location by the designated arrival date in order to attend an extensive onsite orientation, unique to each program. If you have any questions concerning Stanford’s emergency response plans, please feel free to contact Irene Kennedy, Executive Director, Bing Overseas Studies Program, Stanford University.

You can be comforted by the fact that there is a compassionate and involved local staff available if your son or daughter becomes ill or encounters a serious emergency. The BOSP staff is readily accessible to your son or daughter at all times and has many years of experience dealing with student concerns overseas. If your student contacts you with a concern, please encourage him or her to keep the local BOSP staff informed since they are best equipped to handle any situation.

(Again, according to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), the BOSP staff on-campus and abroad are not permitted to discuss issues pertaining to an individual student with parents, family, or other third parties. The student must conduct all contact directly).