Health Info at Host Country

Before departing from Hong Kong, you should review the medical and health information about the destination country as part of your pre-trip planning. This is especially important if you have health conditions, such as allergies and chronic conditions.

The International SOS HKUST portal provides country-specific information on health matters.

The Travel Health Service of the Department of Health (Hong Kong Government) also is a good source of information. (http://www.travelhealth.gov.hk/eindex.html)

Pre-departure Health/Dental Check Up

We recommend that you have a thorough health and dental check up before you leave home. This would give you peace of mind that there are no major health or dental concerns when you embark on the trip. It also helps to avoid the hassle and possible high costs involved with seeking treatment while abroad.


Make sure you have the recommended immunizations for your exchange destination and any countries you plan to visit. Note that some countries will refuse entry to visitors who cannot provide proof of having received certain immunizations. You should follow the advice on immunizations provided by the host institution, review your own immunization record and discuss the matter with your medical practitioner. You can also visit the International SOS portal to review the list of recommended immunizations for your destination country (ies).

Prescription and Over-the-counter Medicine

If you take prescribed medication, take enough with you—in your carry-on luggage to avoid problems with customs—to last two weeks beyond your expected return. Take a doctor’s note or the original prescription. And, stay on your meds! Pack non-prescription drugs and a modest first-aid kit. If you wear corrective lenses, pack an extra pair of glasses and/or contact lenses and extra bottles of saline solution.

Make your Own Health Kit

  • Fever-reducing medicine (ibuprofen or acetaminophen)
  • Digital thermometer
  • Anti-diarrhea medicine
  • Insect repellent, anti-itch medicine for insect bites
  • Antihistamine medicine for allergic reactions
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizers and wipes
  • Antacid medicine for stomach troubles
  • Adhesive bandages and anti-bacterial ointment for minor cuts

Mental Health

Living in a different culture is not always easy. Studying abroad can be the most fruitful experience in your university years, but  there may also be moments when you feel lonely, frustrated, and sad.  And for many, one might not realize how rewarding the experience has been until after you have left and returned home.

Before you leave, speak to a counselor:

  • If you had found previous experiences away from home to be stressful or traumatic.
  • If you are currently experiencing emotional/relationship/family/academic problems. Studying abroad should not be seen as the solution to your problems.  In fact, if you go overseas with such problems, studying abroad often intensifies the problems you are experiencing at home.
  • If you are currently on medication or receiving therapy for depression/anxiety or other psychological concerns.

Once abroad:

  • If you are having difficulties, don’t wait to speak to someone about them. The availability and nature of mental health services varies by location. International SOS is able to direct you to a vetted English-speaking counselor in most locations.

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