Health & Safety

#pawsabroad is on Pause – COVID-19 Pandemic Information

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to ensure the safety and security of all our students, UWM made the difficult decision in mid-March to direct all students abroad on university-sponsored travel to return to the U.S. and all Spring 2020 study abroad programs in progress were cancelled. Most of our students have been able to continue their study abroad coursework through online distance learning. 

Since then, UWM has canceled all Summer 2020 study abroad programs. 

We continue to monitor the global COVID-19 situation and will make decisions about our Fall 2020 and Academic Year 2020-21 programs in the coming weeks. 

UWM will take into consideration any advisories and warnings issued by the U.S. Department of State and Centers for Disease Control, as well as other sources. Please be aware that the U.S. Dept. of State currently has issued a Global Level 4 Health Advisory – Do Not Travel and the CDC has issued a Global COVID-19 Pandemic Notice – Warning – Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel. 

For additional information and updates, please refer to 

International Health Insurance - CISI

Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) offers comprehensive medical insurance coverage for international travelers which includes accident, health, medical evacuation, and repatriation. CISI insurance is meant to supplement, not replace, travelers’ regular insurance plans.

CISI is NOT travel insurance and cannot be used to cover the cost of canceled travel or lost luggage, for example.

Once enrolled in the insurance, you will receive information regarding access to the CISI health insurance online portal. There you will be able to:

  • View/print/e-mail your ID card, coverage brochure, consulate letter, and claim form
  • Purchase extra insurance for a period of personal travel
  • View/update your online account profile information
  • Search for hospitals and clinics abroad
  • Find valuable travel-related information

For MINOR injuries/issues expect to pay out of pocket, save receipts and submit a claim. For MAJOR injuries/issues, if you are admitted to a hospital, we will contact CISI, who in turn will contact the hospital, so you won’t have to pay out of pocket.

Regardless of the injury or issue, please do seek medical attention. If you are concerned in any way, please contact The Center for International Education and we will work with CISI on your behalf to ensure that you are able to receive the care that you need.

Medical Examination & Immunizations

The Center for International Education strongly recommends that students receive a medical examination before they leave the country, especially if they are taking prescription medication or are in regular treatment for a pre-existing condition. Some countries may even require they obtain certifications of health and/or immunizations in order to enter the country. Students should research the medical restrictions of the country to which they are traveling to avoid additional issues.

Regardless of where students are going, here are the recommended steps to help prepare them for international travel:

  • Research health and safety in the travel destination. Consult the Center for Disease Control website to learn about possible health issues, recommended and/or required immunizations or precautions in the countries where studying or traveling will take place.
  • Consult with personal medical and/or mental health providers for pre-travel planning, especially if any ongoing conditions exist. Work with providers to develop plans in the event any conditions worsen. Make arrangements for any prescription medications, medical supplies and medical care that may be needed.
  • Visit a specialized travel medicine provider and receive required or recommended preventive immunizations and medications (such as malaria prophylaxis or for traveler’s diarrhea) for the specified areas of travel. Some immunizations require a series or spacing for protection (as long as three months for a series of shots), so allow as much time as possible for immunizations. To maximize the effectiveness of the appointment, it is recommended to take a copy of the program information as well as a printout of the Center for Disease Control requirements for the program location and visited countries.
  • Have an eye and dental check-up and address any potential problems.

It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that routine immunizations are up-to-date and to ask if there are recommended and/or required immunizations or medications for the country/countries they will visit.

University Health Services (UHS) has a travel clinic that provides health services for patients who are planning foreign travel, including vaccines and immunizations. Information about the travel clinic and how to make an appointment can be found online through the United States State Department resources.

All travelers who work with the Center for International Education, both students and faculty/staff, are highly encouraged to download the AlertTraveler app prior to departure. AlertTraveler is a feature of our Terra Dotta Software (our online application) that provides travelers with country and city intelligence and safety and security alerts. The Center for International Education has the ability to view alerts, view and act on impacted travelers, and issue check-in requests.
Crime Prevention
  • Use common sense.
  • Beware of pickpocketing.
  • Don’t bring/carry unnecessary items which can be stolen.
  • Don’t flaunt digital cameras, smart devices, jewelry, etc.; avoid attention.
  • Avoid dark, unsafe/unknown places and walking alone – use the buddy system.
  • Use alcohol responsibly.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings.
Emergency Protocol
  • Seek local help first.
    • Authorities, program leaders, on-site staff, home-stay families, hotel staff, CISI, etc.
  • Contact UWM.
    • UWM Police (available 24/7): 414-229-4627
    • CIE Main Office: 414-229-4846
  • When in doubt of who to contact in an emergency, contact UWM/CIE.
Additional Resources

UWM Services:

Norris Health Center Travel Clinic

Government & Non-Governmental Services:

Centers for Disease Control information

U.S. Department of State –  country-specific information

Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)

  • STEP is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for information on safety conditions on the destination country. STEP also provides a way for the U.S. embassy to contact you in case of an emergency and to help you get in contact with family during an emergency.

Pathways to Safety – Empowering victims of interpersonal & gender based violence abroad

Basic Health and Safety –