Study Abroad



Prescription Drugs

If you require special prescription drugs, such as medications for asthma or diabetes, you must take an adequate supply with you and know how to administer them. Make sure you get a statement and prescription from your doctor if you'll be carrying insulin, syringes* or any other medication. All prescription drugs must be carried in their original containers – no “pill boxes.” You should also carry written instructions from your physician in case of an emergency.

If you take a non-prescription drug on a regular basis, please note that in Italy it may not be over the counter so you'll need to bring your own or have to go to a doctor in Italy to get a prescription filled. Example: Monistat, Allegra, Claritin or other antihistamines.

Visit the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) web-site for more information.

Eye Care

If you wear glasses or contact lenses, you should take along an extra pair and your lens prescription. Also, if you wear contact lenses, be sure to bring plenty of contact lens solution. In some countries, solution may be difficult to find and may be more expensive.

Special Medical Treatment

If you have any physical condition, such as diabetes or allergies to penicillin, you should have indicated it on your application. If you did not, please be sure to write us a letter describing your condition and any necessary medical requirements or prohibitives. Also, if you suffer from any medical problems, it is highly recommended to wear a bracelet describing your condition. To purchase a bracelet, write or call the:

Medic Alert Foundation International
P.O. Box 1009
Turlock, CA 95381-1009


There may be inoculations, which are advised. Consult the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) for information on foreign immunization laws. In addition, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) may have current information regarding global health updates.

Jet Lag

Your first real health hurdle when traveling distances is jet lag. It can bring on memory loss, attention lapses, fatigue, and constipation. Fortunately, a few advance adjustments in diet can help combat the effects of jet lag and reset your body timer for a new location.

Beginning three or four days before departure, eat high-protein foods for breakfast and lunch, and carbohydrate-heavy dinners. If you are flying east, try to arrive at breakfast time. If traveling west, aim for dinner. When going eastbound, defer stimulants such as coffee, tea and alcohol until late in the day. Try to get some exercise on the plane, including stretching and walking in the aisle. A bit of mental exercise, such as socializing with fellow passengers, is also helpful. If you are prone to constipation when you travel (as millions of travelers are), take a natural soluble fiber laxative two to three days before departure.

Decorum in the Classroom

  • Eating, drinking, and smoking in the classrooms is strictly prohibited.
  • Remember to switch off your phones in class.
  • Punctuality is mandatory.
  • Delays and absences are regularly recorded by the instructor. Remember that tardiness is considered quite offensive to professors abroad.
  • Do not put your feet on the classroom furniture.
  • Do not put GUM under the desks – gum is not allowed in the classroom, period.

Security Abroad

While a study abroad experience is usually an extremely safe one, it is important to remember basic safety precautions that anyone should take in an unfamiliar environment. As you know, periodically terrorist acts have taken place around the world involving facilities associated with the U.S.

While most experts would advise that the likelihood of someone traveling overseas being involved in a terrorist incident is extremely low, it may be sensible for you to familiarize yourself with the following guidelines:

  1. Do not advertise the fact that you are American by, for example, wearing your US College sweatshirt/baseball cap. This should also include clothing or accessories that contain the US flag, or Americanized slogans.
  2. Try to blend into the local culture as much as possible.
  3. Avoid obvious American hangouts.
  4. Do not give out your apartment address or the school address to people you meet, unless you know them very well.
  5. Avoid disclosing details about your program or fellow students to people you have just met.
  6. Observe the house rules. They are designed to protect the security of all residents.
  7. In the unlikely event of any terrorist activity, please contact any friends or family who may be concerned and reassure them of your safety.
  8. If you plan to be away from your residence overnight, please give a contact address and telephone number to the On-Sight Program Coordinator in case we need to contact you in an emergency.
  9. If an incident occurs while you are traveling and you feel you need urgent advice, please contact the nearest US Consulate or Embassy.

We are confident that you are in an appropriate location for your study abroad program, as a precaution, we have a standard agreement with your US University or College that in the unlikely event of a US State Department advisory requiring US citizens to leave, it will make arrangements for your early return. These are the only circumstances under which you may return early and receive a partial refund.

Legal Aid

If you do have difficulties with the local authorities, remember that you are subject to local law. Unfortunately, foreign laws, U.S. laws, and geography limit the jurisdiction of American officials. The U.S. Government has no funds for your legal fees or other related expenses.

Drug Arrest

Every year there are many Americans who are imprisoned in foreign jails. Most of these arrests are for drug charges. If you are caught with either soft or hard drugs abroad, you are subject to LOCAL – NOT U.S. – LAWS. Penalties for possession or trafficking are often stricter than penalties levied in the U.S.


If you are convicted, you may face a sentence of a minimum of six years hard labor and/or a stiff fine in some countries. Don't get involved with illegal drugs abroad. It can ruin more than your program, it can ruin your life.

You should consult a consular officer if you find yourself in a dispute, which could lead to legal or police action. Although U.S. consular officers cannot serve as attorneys or give legal advice, they can provide lists of local attorneys and help you find adequate legal representation.

Consular officers will do whatever they can to protect your legitimate interests and insure that you are not discriminated against under local law. They CANNOT get you out of jail.

If you are arrested, ask permission to notify the consular officer at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Under international agreement and practice, you have a right to get in touch with the U.S. Consulate. If you are turned down, keep asking. If unsuccessful, try to have someone get in touch for you.


Personal Identification

The location of your program has been selected in part as El Camino College understands that it is a location with little history of violent crime directed toward tourists. Petty crime, such as pick pocketing, however, is a problem especially in the city.

You should therefore take the kind of precautions you would normally take in other large cities where crime is a problem:

Be sure to have with you at all times some personal identification, which shows the address and telephone number of your school and on-sight directors. We suggest you do not carry with you the address of your apartment or home-stay. Take special care with your passport and keep it in a secure place. Carrying a photocopy of your passport at all times is recommended.

Helpful Hints For Keeping Your Valuables Safe

***Always have the equivalent of $20 with you***

Many homes abroad are not covered by house contents insurance. Therefore, do not keep valuable things, expensive jewelry or large sums of money in your room. We suggest you put your money in a bank account and get a safe deposit box for other valuables.

On Buses:
Men should pay attention to their wallets and should not keep them in back pockets. Women should use purses with zippers.

Walking in Cities:
Keep necklaces inside your clothes. If you have an inside pocket in your coat put money there. Women should carry their purses across their shoulders or in front of them. We suggest you walk with your bag on the side closest to the buildings. Motorcyclists have been known to grab bags carried on the street side. TRY NOT TO GO OUT LATE AT NIGHT ALONE. We strongly recommend you take a taxi if you return home late.

Back Packs:
DO NOT carry your wallet and passport in your backpack, especially in its outside pocket.

On Trains:
NEVER leave your things unattended. On overnight trains (couchettes) always keep any valuables out of reach and sleep with them. Keep money, traveler's checks, and cameras right beside you. Always choose a compartment where there are other people. If you do not feel safe and are traveling with a friend, take turns staying awake.


Pick pockets are everywhere and are always eager to descend upon unsuspecting American students. Train, subway stations, and crowded market places are prime areas for pick pockets, so be on guard. Even little children can get into the act. Pick pockets are good at distracting you and then can suddenly make off with your wallet or purse. BE AWARE!

The best advice we can give you is not to carry large sums of cash and to carry what little you do have out of sight as close to your body as possible. Everyone should carry money belts or waist packs.

Lost or Stolen Documents, etc.

Keep photocopies of important documents separately from the originals, to help the replacement process if they are lost or stolen. Visit the U.S. Embassy
website for further information. It is important that you have USD $60 cash, plus 2-4 replacement photos, and proof of citizenship.

In case you get robbed you should report it immediately to the closest police station.