Office of Global Citizenship
Staying Well Abroad
Studying away from Sewanee in the U.S. or abroad can be rewarding and exhilarating, but it can also be physically and psychologically challenging. While abroad, students are likely to encounter health problems and, very rarely, political or terrorist events that are dangerous. Such risks are real but careful preparation can mitigate them. The most likely challenges that students will encounter are health-related. In addition to differences in water and air pollution, hygiene standards vary by country, all of which can lead to illness for those who are not vigilant to guard against unnecessary health risks. The Center for Disease Control is an excellent source of information on how to avoid illnesses abroad and inoculations that you may need to receive from a local health specialist to help mitigate the risk of illness.
The Office of global citizenship wants all students to have opportunities to study away from Sewanee, if they wish, but when considering off-campus study opportunities, students and families should also frankly weigh the physical and emotional difficulties that students may encounter while away. Students who have mental health challenges will, at minimum, need to make arrangements to have access to medicine and/or counseling for the duration of their time away. Students and parents also need to recognize that laws and regulations on mental health provision differ from our own. For example, if a person in the U.K., even if not a citizen of that country, requires psychological counseling and is found to have suicidal tendencies, the person can be “sectioned” or placed in the custody of a mental health institution. Similarly countries have varying regulations and laws for people who require accommodations due to physical disabilities or challenges, which may make some program activities less accessible for some students than others. None of these considerations inherently prevent students from studying abroad, but students and families should consider these issues when considering whether study away is advisable and which programs are appropriate for the student.