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Health & Safety

Recommendations Regarding Medicine | Tips to Prevent Jetlag |Smart Traveler Enrollment Program | Travel Advisories
Safety Recommendations | Additional Recommendations for Personal Travel | Suggested Guidelines for a Safe Trip


Studying abroad is an exciting experience for a student. You get to know a different environment, culture, and perhaps even learn a foreign language. This can be an experience that will shape your career goals and open your mind to the rest of the world. Safety should be an important element in your decision-making process when choosing a study abroad program.

While no study program can absolutely guarantee total safety or elimination of all risks, the study abroad program you choose should be one that can give you a certain degree of comfort.  The University of New Orleans and our partner institutions work together to provide a safe environment for our participants. A comprehensive Study Abroad Health Insurance policy is included in the cost of the program. Click here for the policy information. We also require that each participant fills out our Medical History form online.

We would also like to encourage each student to discuss his/her plans with a parent or significant other, leaving important information with that person in case of an emergency. This might include such information as the student's contact information in Kyoto, the contact information for the Program Coordinators in Kyoto, the contact information for the UNO Division of International Education in New Orleans, as well as data such as passport number, credit card numbers (in case of a stolen wallet), etc.

Japan is well-known for being a very safe country. It is important to remember, however, that basic safety measures are always a good idea. Everyone should always be conscious of his/her surroundings, and keep track of valuables in any situation. Locking personal belongings in rooms and being careful on the streets is never a bad idea.


Recommendations regarding medicine:

  • U.S. prescription medicines CANNOT be refilled in Japan.  If you take a prescription medication, please bring enough of your medication - or extra in case of damage or loss - to last for your entire time abroad.  These medications can also NOT be sent in the mail as they would very likely be confiscated in customs.
  • It is also important to know that some medicines commonly prescribed in the United States can be illegal in Japan. These may include inhalers, ADHD medication, and some allergy and sinus medications. Specifically, products that contain stimulants (medicines that contain amphetamine), or Codeine, are prohibited.
  • To obtain permission to bring in more than a one-month supply of most prescription drugs or other types of medications (i.e., injectables), visit the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare web site: http://www.mhlw.go.jp/english/policy/health-medical/pharmaceuticals/o1.html. You may be required to apply for a "yakkan shoumei," which is the form allowing you to carry certain types (and amounts) of medications with you when you travel into and within Japan.
  • Always bring prescription medication in your carry-on luggage (do not pack it in your checked luggage).
  • Do not have prescription drugs mailed to you. They will be held up in customs and will likely be confiscated.
  • We also advise that you bring the following U.S. drugstore items:
    • Cough Syrup
    • Headache and general pain medication
    • Cold and flu medications
    • Multivitamins
    • Band-Aids
    • Imodium
    • Antacid tablets
    • Analgesics
    • Nasal decongestants and Sinus medications
    • Antibiotic cream
    • Cough drops and sore throat lozenges
  • If you are a diabetic on insulin, please bring an extra pump or extra injectables in case of breakage or loss.
  • Talk to your family doctor about getting a prescription for – and bringing - a broad-spectrum antibiotic.
  • If you frequently get strep throat or bronchitis, pink eye, or migraines, please bring the medicines you usually take for these problems.
  • Bring any over-the counter medication you are used to taking, especially cold medicine.  Many students develop a cold at some point during the program and you will feel better more quickly if you can take the medicine you are used to.
  • Local Japanese pharmacies may not have the brand you are familiar with, and reading labels in Japanese can be quite challenging - even for the best language students and native speakers.
  • Every student is covered by the Study Abroad Insurance Plan provided through the program, BUT if you go to the hospital or see a doctor in Japan, you must pay the bill first, and then submit the receipt for reimbursement to the insurance provider T.W.Lord.  Make sure to keep all bills and documentation!

Tips to help you prevent and overcome JETLAG:

  • Get a good night’s sleep for several nights before your departure.
  • The time change between CST and Japan is 14 hours during the summer. Set your watch when you arrive in Japan.
  • Drink lots of water on the plane. Buy a big bottle of water after you get through security. Drink 2-3 liters of water on a travel day. Avoid caffeine and carbonated drinks.
  • On arrival day, do not take a nap. Exercise and natural light help overcome jetlag. Enjoy the fresh air by taking a stroll through uptown Kyoto, or a jog along the Kamo river.
  • Power through the day and go to sleep at about 10:00 pm.
  • Don’t drink alcohol! Re-hydrate from the long flight with lots of water.

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Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)

The University of New Orleans Division of International Education does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy or effectiveness of the following information. This information is presented only as suggestions for a safe trip and is intended generally to help students and their families in planning their international travel and education experiences.

Travel Advisories:

You should realize that anytime you travel abroad there is potential for danger due to crime, political unrest, unforeseen "Acts of God," strikes that will delay your travel plans, etc. Therefore, we recommend that, if you have any concerns about traveling to a particular place, check the US Government Travel Advisory. This can be found on the Internet at: http://www.state.gov . You should also register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP): https://step.state.gov/step/

General Safety recommendations:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the State Department’s travel site and recommendations: travel.state.gov
  2. Make sure you have a working cell phone for your entire time abroad and share your number with the program administration.
  3. Beware of becoming intoxicated and do not get involved in drugs.
  4. Buddy system – stay together, travel in SMALL groups.
  5. Be cautious when you meet new people and NEVER bring them into the dormitory or your accommodations while travelling on  weekends.
  6. Blend in: Be mindful of appearance and behavior. Don’ be loud and obnoxious. Avoid expensive accessories when traveling.  Don’t flash money/passport.
  7. Be aware of your surroundings: “If you see something suspicious, say something.”
  8. Know the local emergency numbers: Always carry your UNO-Japan ID!
  9. Remain up-to-date on current events – at your destination and at home.
  10. Photocopy important travel documents – leave a copy at home.
  11. Report any unusual activity or suspicious persons to the UNO-Japan Administration.
  12. Be aware of the political situation wherever you are. Stay away from places that are experiencing political unrest.
  13. Keep away from areas known to have large concentrations of residents aligned with interests unfriendly to the United States.
  14. Avoid events with large crowds, such as concerts, sporting matches, or demonstrations of any sort.
  15. Avoid the media and don't feel like you have to comment or give an interview.

Additional safety recommendations while you are travelling on your own
(The general recommendations are still in effect!):

  1. Let program administrators and your family know where you are going.
  2. Make sure your cell phone is working while you are travelling (charger, credit, not airplane mode).
  3. Avoid events with large crowds, such as concerts, sporting matches, or demonstrations of any sort.
  4. Keep your passport safe! Don’t keep all your travel documents and money in one place.
  5. Inform yourself about the local U.S. embassies and consulates.
  6. Don’t leave your bags or belongings unattended at any time.
  7. Don’t let anyone give you anything to carry when traveling.
  8. Have sufficient funds and/or a credit card on hand to purchase emergency items such as transportation tickets.
  9. Don’t flash your money and be discreet when showing your passport.

These are just a few general rules you should be aware of. Most often, common sense will tell you what to do. Therefore, it is imperative that you avoid a situation in which common sense does not prevail (i.e., being intoxicated and/or using drugs).

Suggested Guidelines to Ensure a Safe Trip:

In study abroad, as in other settings, participants can have a major impact on their own health and safety through the decisions they make before and during their program and by their day-to-day choices and behaviors.

Participants Should:
  1. Assume responsibility for all the elements necessary for their personal preparation for the program and participate fully in orientations.
  2. Read and carefully consider all materials issued by the sponsor that relate to safety, health, legal, environmental, political, cultural, and religious conditions in the host country(ies).
  3. Conduct their own research on the country(ies) they plan to visit with particular emphasis on health and safety concerns, as well as the social, cultural, and political situations.
  4. Consider their physical and mental health, and other personal circumstances when applying for or accepting a place in a program, and make available to the sponsor accurate and complete physical and mental health information and any other personal data that is necessary in planning for a safe and healthy study abroad experience.
  5. Obtain and maintain appropriate insurance coverage and abide by any conditions imposed by the carriers.
  6. Inform parents/guardians/families and any others who may need to know about their participation in the study abroad program, provide them with emergency contact information, and keep them informed of their whereabouts and activities.
  7. Understand and comply with the terms of participation, codes of conduct, and emergency procedures of the program.
  8. Be aware of local conditions and customs that may present health or safety risks when making daily choices and decisions. Promptly express any health and safety concerns to the program staff or other appropriate individuals before and/or during the program.
  9. Accept responsibility for their own decisions and actions.
  10. Obey host-country laws
  11. Behave in a manner that is respectful of the rights and well-being of others, and encourage others to behave in a similar manner.
  12. Avoid illegal drugs and excessive or irresponsible consumption of alcohol.
  13. Follow the program policies for keeping program staff informed of their whereabouts and well-being.
  14. Become familiar with the procedures for obtaining emergency health and legal system services in the host country.
In study abroad, as in other settings, parents, guardians, and families can play an important role in the health and safety of participants by helping them make decisions and by influencing their behavior overseas.

Parents/Guardians/Families should:

  1. Be informed about and involved in the decision of the participant to enroll in a particular program.
  2. Obtain and carefully evaluate participant program materials, as well as related health, safety, and security information.
  3. Discuss with the participant any of his/her travel plans and activities that may be independent of the study abroad program.
  4. Engage the participant in a thorough discussion of safety and behavior issues, insurance needs, and emergency procedures related to living abroad.
  5. Be responsive to requests from the program sponsor for information regarding the participant.
  6. Keep in touch with the participant.
  7. Be aware that the participant rather than the program administration may most appropriately provide some information.

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For more information, please call or email us.
Office telephone: (504) 280-6388; or UNOJapan@uno.edu



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