Staying safe overseas
Before you leave
- Get a medical check from a general practitioner (GP). Ask if you need any vaccinations for your destination and get a letter listing any medical conditions and medications that you have.
- Have a dental check; find a dentist near to your campus.
- All students travelling overseas for study must be covered by adequate travel insurance. All travel insurance policies contain exclusions and conditions. Students should read the following clauses very carefully: general exclusion to all sections of the policy and specific exclusion to particular sections. If you plan to hire a vehicle (e.g. car or motorised scooter), or take part in adventure activities, we recommend that you ensure these are covered by your insurance. Further information is available on the travel insurance page.
- Smartraveller is an Australian government website providing travel advice for your destination country. You can also register your travel plans online so that you can be located if an emergency occurs while you are overseas.
- RMIT University partners with International SOS, a medical assistance, international healthcare and security assistance service. Gain access to the latest travel and health advice pertaining to the host destination/s or country.
- Organise your budget and how you will access your money securely while you are away. Don’t forget to budget for the expenses you may still have at home while you are overseas e.g. rent.
On the way
- On the plane, get up and walk around, drink lots of water, and limit food and alcohol.
- To help reduce jet lag and adapt to a new time zone, try to stay awake, use an alarm clock and eat meals at the correct time in the changed time zone.
While you are there
- Be careful what you eat because in some countries, food hygiene standards are not as high as in Australia. Contaminated food can make you very sick. High-risk foods include:
- ice, watermelon and water in unsealed bottles
- pre-cooked food on display in a bain-marie
- shellfish and raw seafood
- salads washed in water that might be contaminated.
- If you drink alcohol abroad be careful what you drink. The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has advised that in some countries spirits (including cocktails containing spirits), and especially locally produced spirits should be avoided. Poor distillation of locally produced spirits has led to illness and death. There have also been instances where well known brands of spirits have had their contents replaced with locally distilled spirits so the customer assumes their drink is safe when it may not be. The general advice is if you’re going to drink alcohol then avoid drinks containing spirits.
- In some countries, mosquitoes can carry diseases like dengue fever and malaria. Ask your doctor about precautions to take.
- Keep an open mind, check out the meaning of what people say before you respond, respect local customs and social behaviour.
- Homesickness is normal. Stay in contact with home so that family and friends know you are safe.
- Practice safe sex. Get some free condoms before you leave.
The Zika virus is a mosquito-borne virus, transmitted by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite in the day, particularly around dawn and dusk.
The Zika virus should be considered by those who are planning to or have recently travelled overseas.
Protect yourself and others from Zika by taking the following precautionary measures if you are planning to travel or have travelled to areas affected with Zika:
1. Protect yourself against mosquito bites: The best defence against Zika virus is to avoid mosquito bites when travelling in a country affected with Zika. These precautions are necessary in the daytime as well as night.
2. Protect yourself during sex: Zika can be passed through sex from a person who has Zika to his or her sexual partners. Prevent sexual transmission of Zika through abstinence or use barrier methods of contraception such as male and female condoms with all sexual partners.
3. Pregnancy and family planning: As there is evidence Zika infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects, use barrier methods of contraception or abstain from any sexual activity particularly if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy. Please speak to your doctor for further advice.
- Check travel notices and subscribe to the latest updates to the country or countries you are travelling to.
RMIT University partners with International SOS, a medical assistance, international healthcare and security assistance service. Use the RMIT member login: 12ACPA000012 and gain access to the latest travel and health advice pertaining to the host destination/s or country. You can also download the International SOS app for your smartphone.
- Pregnant women and women planning a pregnancy are advised to defer travel plans to areas affected with Zika. Speak to your doctor for further advice or a pre-travel risk assessment.
- Travelers should also take steps to prevent mosquito bites for 4 weeks following their return from an area with Zika - particularly people who live or travel to areas of Australia where dengue outbreaks can occur. This is to help prevent spread from a traveller to the local mosquito population.
- If you feel unwell during or soon after travel, seek medical care and advice.
For more information about Zika, visit: