Editor's note: IES Abroad is committed to keeping your emotional and psychological well-being a priority throughout your study abroad experience. Prior to departure, we encourage you to talk with our Chicago-based Dean of Students Office about any concerns and needs you anticipate. They can be reached at 800.995.2300. A representative from the Dean of Students office will confidentially work with you and can assist in making reasonable accommodations with the IES Abroad staff at your program location.
If you are anything like me and are worried about your mental health when you study abroad, this post is for you!
Here are all of the questions/concerns that I had before leaving, and the answers to those questions:
1. Will my therapist still meet with me when I am abroad?
I can't give a solid yes or no, it depends on your therapist's license, but generally the answer will be no. You therapist will most likely have to discontinue sessions until you get back to your home country.
2. Who can I talk to if I need help?
All of the IES Abroad on-site staff has training in mental health and are always a great resource :) Also, for me, I live in Aparto Milan, and the RA's and front desk staff have the same basic first aid mental health training. They are so sweet and always willing to talk and help if you need.
3. How do I get enough of my medications for the duration of my time abroad?
You have a few options! Work with your insurance and doctors and it should be fine! If it is the case that the pharmacy can't fill your prescription for more than a certain amount of time, check out your CISI student health insurance website and it will take you to a page where you can find out of the drug is offered in your abroad country. If it is not offered, the website will list the same drug with a different name that IS available! If your medication is available in your abroad country, IES Abroad can help you set up an appointment to get a prescription.
4. Can I have my parents ship me my medication every month?
No no no no no!!!!!! Not only is customs going to be SO expensive for that, it'll take weeks to go through customs because prescription or not—someone is literally mailing drugs internationally. But...if someone comes to visit you, they can definitely take your prescription refills with them to give to you!
5. How do I even go about meeting with a therapist or psychiatrist if I need?
It was literally so easy for me! I had no idea, and I thought it would be really difficult to set up an appointment with an English-speaking doctor. But my third day in Milan, I emailed one of the IES Abroad Milan staff who oversees health, and within an hour she sent me a confirmation for an english speaking appointment within the week that fit my schedule. Honestly so easy. I showed up, everything was filled out, because IES did that ahead of time for me. Then after the appointment, the woman who set up the appointment sent me an email with detailed instructions on submitting a claim to CISI insurance. (Positive note—CISI gives full refunds for this!!!!)
6. Are my medications allowed in my abroad country?
You can easily check online using a "drug translator tool." Once you are enrolled in a program and are registered with the student insurance you will have access to the CISI drug translator tool page which provides all medications and alternatives.
7. If my medications aren't approved for my abroad country, I can still take mine with me, right?
Yes!!! Absolutely! For example, in Italy, ADHD medications are not approved or used, but if you are prescribed ADHD medication, that is totally fine to take it with you. You just would not be able to get any of that medication prescribed in Italy.
!!!!! MAKE SURE ALL MEDICATIONS, VITAMINS, OTC MEDICATIONS ARE IN THE ORIGINAL PACKAGING !!!!!
Not going to get *too personal on this very public and popular abroad website, but if you have any mental health related questions or issues you can always reach out to me on instagram :) IG @gabriellegreenberg @gabriellexmilan
XOX Stay happy and healthy besties <3
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<p>Hi! I’m Gabrielle, I go by Gabby and I am from downtown Chicago, IL and a junior at Indiana University Bloomington studying marketing. I have 3 dogs, I love chocolate, vlogging, and long walks on the beach (just kidding I really don’t like sand). XO <3</p>