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Travel Abroad

A crucial aspect of reinventing the global health paradigm at GPH is experiencing the world’s health challenges first-hand to design and implement unprecedented, population-based solutions.

As a GPH student and part of NYU’s global network, your unparalleled opportunities for travel expand your exposure to diverse perspectives and approaches to public health, enabling you to experience the field in action. From immersive courses offered from London to Australia to international internships with top organizations like the United Nations or the World Health Organization, no matter where you are in your academic journey, your trip has only just begun.

Going to London to take a class was incredible - of course it was fun, but for me it was the chance to absorb so much knowledge. It was a very nontraditional classroom experience, and eye-opening in the fact that we got to go around into clinics and work with people who are HIV-positive. It really allowed us to see public health in practice and see how important it is and how difficult it could be.”
- Paul Brown, MPH 2017

Where Can I Travel?

Each of GPH’s academic programs offers unique opportunities to travel the world and get boots-on-the-ground training and cross-cultural education. Learn more about studying abroad during each of them to find what suits you and your goals best:

  • Cross-Continental MPH [5.2.3 Cross-Continental MPH Study Abroad]

  • Doctorate [5.3.5 Doctorate Study Abroad]

  • Master of Arts in Bioethics [5.4.5vMAB Study Abroad]

  • Master of Public Health [5.5.7 MPH Study Abroad]

  • Undergraduate [5.6.6 Undergrad Study Abroad]

Study Abroad Courses

GPH offers courses abroad throughout the year in several of our Global Network sites and beyond. You’ll get a chance to immerse yourself in another location and culture while also enriching your educational experience. Courses are open to students in the MPH program, some non-MPH graduate programs, and senior-level undergraduate students.

Important Forms

All students are required to fill out the following forms prior to traveling as an NYU student to any country, whether they are staying on an NYU campus or not. Please complete the following forms and submit them to the required NYU personnel indicated on the form. You are also required to enroll your plans in NYU Traveler listed below:

Foreign Travel Release Form

Supplemental Travel Form

NYU Traveler/Egencia Instructions

Student Travel Release

Student Reimbursement Form

Student Supplemental Release

Information Questionnaire

Travel Survey

For More Information

If you have any questions, please contact us at cgph.global@nyu.edu.

While NYU makes every effort to make sure that all of our travel sites are safe for students and faculty alike, it is important to be aware of travel warnings and advisories for your nationality. Once you are registered in NYU Traveler, NYU can monitor that country and make necessary arrangements, if needed, in the time of an emergency, as well as send you alerts when necessary.

 

Counseling Abroad

Everyone who goes abroad has issues with adjustment. You may feel overwhelmed, homesick, afraid, or even depressed. Most people take time to adjust to the new culture, living arrangements, food, language and submersion in the unfamiliar.

Because the availability and reliability of counseling vary from one country to another, please consider contacting NYU’s Wellness Exchange at (212) 443-9999) or wellnessexchange@nyu.edu for health/mental health referrals abroad. The Wellness Exchange also offers a private, 24/7 hotline (212-443-9999) that puts students in touch with professionals who can help them address day-to-day challenges as well as other health-related concerns including medical issues, academic stress, depression, sexual assault, anxiety, alcohol and other drug dependence, sexually transmitted infections, and eating disorders.

Awareness

Just as in New York City, the same good-sense safety measures apply in all cities:

  • Be aware of your belongings and only bring out what you need.

  • Never walk alone at night

  • Share your plans with staff and family, including where you are going and when you expect to return.

  • Bring an extra copy of your passport with you, and keep it in a separate location.

  • Avoid underage and excessive alcohol consumption

  • Don’t import, purchase, use, or have drugs in your possession

  • Obey the local laws. If you find yourself in a legal jam, contact the closest U.S. consulate, U.S. consular agency, or the U.S. embassy for assistance. Keep in mind, U.S. consular employees cannot arrange for local officials to release detained American citizens.

  • Only use licensed and regulated taxis

  • Do not carry weapons

  • Avoid participating in demonstrations and other political activities

  • Stay safe and secure in your residence by closing and locking doors at all times.

  • Practice ATM security by using them during the daylight when possible and using only bank-affiliated ATMs.

  • Be aware of pickpocket situations in crowded areas e.g. subways.

Consider the following measures for added safety before you begin your trip:

Register with the US Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) for free

Food and Water Safety

New ingredients and different water and sanitation conditions in other countries can sometimes lead to discomfort and even the contraction of diseases. While these factors vary from one country to another, the best preventative measures are taking extreme precautions with food and water. Some measures to consider include:

  • Only drink and use boiled water, or bottled water served in a vacuum-sealed plastic bottle. If boiled/bottled water is not available, treat water with iodine tablets

  • Avoid ice cubes or food served on ice, and drink through sanitary straws when possible.

  • When showering, try not to allow water inside your mouth

  • Wash your hands with soap and hot water or sanitary wipes before eating

  • Avoid uncooked vegetables and salads

  • Thick-skinned fruits (bananas, oranges) are safer than thin-skinned fruits (apples, pears)

  • Eat only well done meats, poultries and fish

  • Avoid unpasteurized dairy products and milk. Check the date on bottled milk.

If you get do experience stomach discomfort, consider taking these steps to help alleviate symptoms:

  • Drink tea and carbonated beverages

  • Mix oral rehydration solutions or pre-packaged electrolyte mix in safe water

  • Try eating bananas and cooked rice

  • Start an anti-motility drug (Pepto-Bismol or Imodium).

  • If no improvement occurs after 2-3 days, consult a local physician and consider starting antibiotics, as prescribed.

More Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Travelers' Health

U.S. Department of State International Travel Information

World Health Organization (WHO) International Travel and Health

Keep in mind that every country and region has different expectations when it comes to dress standards, speech patterns and behavior. Make sure you think about how your new culture differs from what you are used to, and plan accordingly to ensure your own comfort and safety.

Preparing for a New Culture

Here are a few questions* to ask yourself about your host country and culture. Spend some time before you depart researching your host country to answer them, and think about them while in your host country.

  • How many people can you name who are prominent in the affairs of your host country (politics, athletics, religion, the arts, etc.)? Who are the country's national heroes and heroines?

  • Are other languages spoken besides the dominant language? What are the social and political implications of language usage?

  • What is the dominant religion? Have you read any of its sacred writings? What are the most important religious observances and ceremonies? How regularly do people participate in them?

  • What are the attitudes towards drinking, gambling, other religions, divorce, etc

  • Is the price asked for merchandise fixed or are customers expected to bargain? How is bargaining conducted?

  • How do people organize their daily activities? What is the normal meal schedule? Is there a daytime rest period? What is the customary time for visiting friends?

  • What foods are most popular and how are they prepared?

  • What things are taboo in this society?

  • What is the usual dress for women? For men? For students? Are slacks or shorts worn? If so, on what occasions?

*Except from Skidmore College ‘Off-Campus Study & Exchanges’

Cultural Competency

Here are some potential ways to increase your intercultural effectiveness so you can fit into your surroundings and make a good impression on the people you meet:

  • Maintain a positive attitude: do not complain about living and working conditions; remain calm, patient and in control of emotions when confronted by obstacles to the achievement of the assignment’s goals; avoid negative evaluation of local colleagues and organizational structures in the absence of investigating or proposing feasible solutions; display a sense of humor, without sarcasm, about the culture shock you may experience

  • React/respond to unfamiliar situations in a manner that is consistent with local customs; deal with stress in a positive manner

  • Understand differences and similarities between rules of socializing in home country and host country

  • Be cognizant of negative images of foreigners and try to avoid behaving according to these stereotypes; assess and sensitively resolve differing expectations of how foreigners and host nationals perceive their roles

  • Don’t be afraid of making social or linguistic mistakes – willingly engage with host nationals and ask for help/laugh about it

  • Learn local greetings/basics of the local language

*Excepted from “A Profile of the Inter-culturally Effective Person” by Thomas Vulpe, Daniel Kealey, David Protheroe and Doug MacDonald, Center for Intercultural Learning (www.intercultures.gc.ca)

Program Preparation/Destination Research

No matter the reason, it is always wise to research your travel destination. Information you want to understand and have in advance:

  • Local metro and transportation system (costs, closest stations)
  • Currency Exchange
  • Tipping
  • Taxis
  • Maps
  • Emergency numbers (police, fire, ambulance)
  • Local norms for bargaining
  • Acceptable attire

Bring a pocket-size travel guide for easy references. Here are some online recommended guides.

Money and Banking

Credit card fraud and scams are common throughout the world and tourists are advised to be careful not to allow a member of the public to assist them when drawing money from ATMs.  If you intend to use traveler’s checks be aware that there will be a charge to cash them.

It's always advisable to bring money in a variety of forms: a mix of cash, credit cards, and traveler's checks. You should also exchange enough petty cash to cover airport incidentals, tipping, and ground transportation before you leave home, or withdraw money upon arrival at an airport cash machine.

In many international destinations, cash machines offer the best exchange rates. Avoid exchanging money at commercial exchange bureaus and hotels, which often have the highest transaction fees.

You should check with your banking institution to ensure that your credit card can be used where you are traveling.

Don’t forget that credit cards often charge a foreign transaction fee.

Phone

International calls are very expensive. Phone cards are a better option and local SIM cards are much better options. You can easily purchase these at the airport.

Check with your US cell phone service provider to ensure that your phone will be unlocked to use a foreign SIM card before you leave the US. Alternatively, you may also purchase a ‘throwaway’ phone upon arrival or in advance to use with a foreign SIM card.

If you choose to use your US cell phone with your US service plan while abroad, be sure to contact your service provider before traveling abroad regarding roaming charges, as they can be quite pricey, even with a special international service plan. Make sure you turn off roaming on your phone. Other phone call options include WhatsApp, Skype, or magicJack that can only be used with WiFi and will ensure you don’t have excessive phone charges.

Packing Suggestions

  • Research your destination to determine culturally accepted attire and climate.

  • Choose sturdy luggage on wheels, or a durable backpack. Label it properly with your name, email, address and mobile number, and add a color tag, ribbon, etc., so you can easily determine that is your luggage.

  • Consider bringing a small box of laundry detergent to wash some items by hand- on longer trips and when carrying a heavier bag is not ideal.

  • Depending on locations, don’t forget: rain jacket/poncho, bug spray, sunscreen, hat, long sleeve cotton shirt, extra socks

  • You should always pack: hand sanitizer, small flashlight, small battery operated alarm clock, closed toe comfortable shoes/sneakers, small backpack to carry throughout the day, money wallet(s).

  • Bring an extra pair of contact lenses and solution, and glasses

  • Review federal guidelines on which items and sizes can be packed in your carry-on verse your checked luggage.

  • Always carry one extra pair of clothing, daily prescriptions in original bottles, and toiletries in your carry-on in case your luggage is lost.

  • Double-check your destination for any restrictions on prescribed medications. You may be required to obtain a doctor’s note to accompany your prescription.

  • Don’t pack your passport and important travel documents in your checked luggage. Make sure important information is readily available in case you are asked to provide documentation at passport and border patrol.

  • When packing toiletries, make sure you only pack the essentials in a small plastic bag. Squeeze out the extra air out of bottles and tubes to avoid leaks during air travel.

  • Don’t pack your suitcase so there is no extra space to bring items back to the US. You may acquire some souvenirs or gifts and don’t want to exceed your luggage allowance.

  • Put together a small personal first aid kit in a sealed plastic bag: band aids, over the counter cold or allergy medicine, anti-motility medication, oral rehydration packets, pain relievers, hydrocortisone cream, Pepto-Bismol, motion sickness, feminine products, individually packed alcohol wipes, small roll of toilet paper and facial tissues.

  • Don’t bring your most expensive jewelry, purses, wallets, shoes, etc., on short trips. You can go without these times rather than risk having them lost or stolen since your accommodations might not provide a room safe.

NYU’s Office of Global Services

The Office of Global Services (OGS) is the resource at NYU for immigration and visa questions.

Register with NYU Traveler

NYU Traveler was created to provide the NYU community with tools and services for their travel needs and to help keep them safer. Register for free!

Make Sure You’re Prepared

For a list of what to do before you depart for your trip, from passport advice to local considerations, please take a look at out our Departure Checklist (pdf).

NYU Contact Numbers for Global Sites

To report a student emergency at any NYU location in the world, call NYU’s Department of Public Safety at (US 011) 212-998-2222 (24 hours). Add this number to your contacts. It is also located on the back of your NYU ID card.

United States Embassy

Find your local US Embassy here.

Have an Urgent Health Question?

Contact NYU Wellness Exchange at +1-212-443-9999 or wellness.exchange@nyu.edu.