Study abroad guidance
Studying abroad is a wonderful and exciting opportunity to develop a multitude of skills, to expand your knowledge and to have new experiences. In order to have a successful study abroad experience, preparation in advance is key. We hope the following guidance notes will help you in your preparation and planning. Staff at Leicester are here to help you with this.
Importance of disclosure
Do you have a diagnosed mental health condition, long term medical condition, autistic spectrum condition, a disability or specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia?
Here are a few reasons why disclosing your condition is important:
- Disclosure will ensure that you are insured accurately and that you are appropriately covered.
- Supportive measures, such as reasonable adjustments and support plans, can be put in place and discussed with you.
- You can access support from the AccessAbility Centre by booking in before you travel and where possible, during your time away.
- Depending on your host institution, you may be able to access their support services. You can get help with organising support if you have disclosed your condition.
- Visited the University of Leicester’s Insurance webpages
If you have a pre-existing health condition, or disability including a mental health condition, you may need to get additional insurance. Speak to the University’s Insurance Office for further advice and information.
Mental health and wellbeing
- Do you have a diagnosed mental health condition?
- Have you experienced periods of mental health difficulty in the past?
If the answer is ‘yes’ to the above questions, you are advised to discuss the way you will manage and maintain your mental health while abroad. You should do this well in advance of your departure date. Book in to see a Study Adviser in the AccessAbility Centre to discuss a support plan and strategies to help you manage your mental health when you are away. If you are being supported by a medical team or a therapeutic team (e.g. Counselling), they can also help with the support plan.
Please discuss any concerns well in advance with your medical teams, Study Adviser in the AccessAbility Centre and/or your academic department’s study abroad co-ordinator.
Being aware of strategies that are helpful to your mental health is very important for your wellbeing and will be useful when you are away from your support network. The better prepared you are, the more confident you will feel in your ability to cope with challenges if they occur.
What to consider
- What do you need to do in order to feel prepared?
- Do you have all the necessary details for the study abroad e.g. timetable, course structure, location?
- Do you have the key contact details for medical emergencies, police, academic course enquires and support services in your destination country?
- What resources, support and/or strategies do you find helpful to reduce the impact of your condition?
Reflection on these questions will indicate the information you are missing and may need. Speak to the relevant staff regarding any gaps in your knowledge. If your query is regarding the details for the course then speak to your department’s study abroad co-ordinator. If you wish to discuss resources, support and strategies to help manage your condition then speak to a Study Adviser in the AccessAbility Centre.
Medical care and medication
- Are you taking prescribed medication?
- Do you receive any ongoing medical care at present?
If you are taking prescribed medication, you will need to speak to your doctor to find out the quantity of the medication they can prescribe you for the study abroad. If they are unable to prescribe the medication to cover the study abroad period, you will need to discuss a plan with your doctor, e.g. you may need to return to the UK part way through your trip to obtain further supplies. You will also need to check to see if your current medication is available in your destination country, if you intend to obtain it there. If you are intending to get your medication prescribed in your destination country then ensure you have a letter from your doctor detailing your prescription.
If you require ongoing medical care, you will need to have a discussion with your GP or medical team. Depending on the ongoing care you require, checks with your destination country will need to be made to be sure they can provide it. You will also need to have a discussion with the Insurance Office about how it will be funded.
Remember to register with a doctor in your destination country. Ensure that you have all the relevant details around financing medical care, e.g. EHIC card for EU countries, or additional insurance for countries outside of the EU.
- What reasonable adjustments, such as exam arrangements, do you have at present?
- Do these adjustments need to be reviewed or amended for study abroad?
Please speak to your department’s study abroad co-ordinator and/or contact the AccessAbility Centre to discuss sending the recommendations to your host institution. Do be mindful that not all universities abroad offer the same range of adjustments and provision as British universities. You will need to check whether your intended host institution can make the necessary adjustments that you require. You will also need to find out what their medical evidence policy is with regards to this provision. You can get support with this from your study abroad co-ordinator and the AccessAbility Centre.
Who to speak to regarding concerns
It is important for your safety and wellbeing that you discuss any concerns you have before going away on your study abroad. The following list details who you can contact to discuss your concerns.
- Academic department’s study abroad co-ordinator and/or Personal Tutor
- AccessAbility Centre
- Future Students Office (Previously the International Office)