Health and Safety Information
For questions regarding COVID-19, please refer to the University's COVID-19 Planning and Preparedness page and IP's Global Policies Page.
At Pepperdine University, health and safety is a top priority. We strive to keep our students that travel abroad healthy physically, mentally and spiritually. Please see below for more information about health and safety.
Students should think through their wants and needs to help direct them to the proper study abroad opportunity. If you have culture, safety, and/or health concerns, please contact the International Programs Office before they apply. If a student requires a confidential resource to help them process whether or not a study abroad program is right for them, they can contact the chaplain's office or counseling services office for support.
Health Clearance Process
All students are required to complete a health clearance appointment 45-90 days prior to departure. Please refer to the Health Clearance Form for instructions. Students can make an appointment with their primary provider who knows your health needs or the Pepperdine Student Health Center (free for office visits and immunizations). Completed Health Clearance Forms must be submitted to IP via the IP Study Abroad Health Clearance Form on Etrieve. Paper copies or forms submitted via email will not be accepted.
GeoBlue Health Coverage
All International Programs students who study outside of the United States are automatically enrolled in GeoBlue health services which are accessible through contacting International SOS (our trusted international travel concierge services company).
GeoBlue health services:
GeoBlue provides coverage up to $250k per person per year and covers routine, preexisting, and emergency care abroad. No deductible or copay for office visits, inpatient/outpatient hospital services, or emergency services (if reasonable expenses). View GeoBlue's summary of benefits and exclusions for additional details.
- Visit our finance page for GeoBlue cost information (refer to global health fee)
Students simply contact International SOS through a phone call, email, or chat message through an app and International SOS will provide health advice, telemedicine, or can arrange for an appointment with a local GeoBlue medical provider
GeoBlue health service premiums are charged to students' Pepperdine accounts
- Students are covered with GeoBlue 30 days outside of their semester program dates (before, after, or a combination). Academic year students are covered with GeoBlue for 30 days outside of their fall and then 30 days outside of their spring semester dates (a total of 60 days). Similarly, a student studying in 2 study abroad programs in the same summer will have 30 days of coverage outside of their program dates for each program.
- Students are strongly encouraged to purchase their own international insurance coverage since we cannot extend GeoBlue coverage
- In the event a student must pay for office visits, prescriptions, or tests, they should seek reimbursement directly from GeoBlue by using the GeoBlue claim form. The claim form should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit GeoBlue's contact page for further support.
- Students submitting a claim for trip interruption due to COVID-19 or other infectious diseases must fill out the PDTI Form.
- Students will need to communicate their GeoBlue plan number which students received via their Pepperdine email to providers.
Local Program Health Fees (all fees posted to a student's account)
Depending on the program, additional locally mandated health fees may apply. Below is a summary of programs and their local health fees:
Florence (All Terms): Required by the government to pay a local emergency health insurance fee
London (Academic Year and Internship Programs Only): Required by the government to pay a national health fee which enables them to access National Health Services in The UK
Switzerland (All Terms): Required by the government to be enrolled in a health plan that meets specific coverage areas
Heidelberg (Academic Year, Fall and Spring): Required by the government
Select faculty led summer programs: View details on each program page
International SOS: Pepperdine's Travel Assistance Program
Pepperdine provides all IP program participants with an emergency travel assistance program through International SOS. All participants are automatically enrolled in this program. International SOS provides the following types of support:
- Health, safety, and travel advice
- Cultural advice
- Assistance with passport replacement
- Medical assistance, including on-call doctors and nurses, referrals for medical care, and guarantee of payment for medical expenses
- Emergency assistance
We strongly encourage all students to contact International SOS during their pre-trip preparation process to discuss safety and health information. This is a free service. Some services are free to Pepperdine students and some services have an associated cost. Ask International SOS for details.
International SOS also offers free medical tele-consulting if using the International SOS Assistance App available in your smartphone's app store.
International SOS contact information: 1-215-942-8226
- Emergency medical evacuation services
- Emergency medical services in the location you are studying/traveling
- Emergency document processing
Personal Travel Insurance
Pepperdine does not pay for student travel insurance. As stated in our IP Student Handbook, Pepperdine will not reimburse students for personal travel costs in the event a program is suspended. Therefore, students should consider purchasing their own travel insurance to cover any and all associated costs with their personal travel (e.g., flights, hotels, activities). Flight insurance or refundable tickets may be available for purchase through Pepperdine's travel partner - Corniche Travel.
If you have pre-existing medical problems you should carry a letter from the attending physician, describing the medical condition and any prescription medications, including the generic name of prescribed drugs. Any medications you carry overseas should be left in their original containers and be clearly labeled. Some U.S. prescription medications are illegal in foreign countries. Whenever possible, carry enough medication to last your entire time abroad.
Please review the CDC destination guide to understand basic immunization and medication information by country. Look at all destinations you are planning to apply to as well.
If the CDC destination guide does not speak to your specific medication(s), please email Pepperdine's trusted travel health and safety partner (International SOS) at email@example.com and ask your questions including the following:
- Can medication(s) be obtained in countries I am traveling to?
- What is needed to transport these medications overseas (i.e., prescription information, letter from doctor, etc.)?
- Can medication be shipped from my home country to my host country?
- If not legal or available in countries I am traveling to, what are your suggestions on other solutions?
Mental Health Support
All students studying outside of the United States may access mental health services by contacting International SOS at 1-215-942-8226 and will be matched with an approved provider and will receive mental health solutions. Washington D.C. students are provided with contact information for a locally-based mental health provider.
All students are required to complete a health clearance process and vaccines should be discussed while meeting with a health care professional. Some countries require foreign visitors to carry an International Certificate of Vaccination (aka Yellow Card) or other proof that they have had certain inoculations or medical tests before entering or transiting their country. Therefore, International Programs strongly recommends students carry an International Certificate of Vaccination with them to their program location. Students can receive immunizations at Pepperdine's Student Health Center (extension 4316, option 3) provides select immunizations to you at no cost. As additional resources, students can review the US Department of State's country specific information and refer to the CDC website for a list of appropriate immunizations.
Service Animals Abroad
Our desire is for all Seaver students to take part in our nationally renowned study abroad programs. To this end, Pepperdine has created information to assist students in decision making regarding service animals and their study abroad opportunities. Every campus location and locations students choose to travel internationally have their own local disability guidelines. American Disability Act (ADA) policies and guidelines are not extraterritorial (not applied internationally) so it is important for students to understand the realities of bringing a service dog to various international contexts. Please note that while Pepperdine assists students with accommodating service animals abroad, students are not able to bring emotional support animals to international study abroad locations (Washington D.C. students may inquire with OSA about the possibility of bringing emotional support animals to D.C.).
Questions Students Should Consider:
What should a student planning to bring a service dog abroad consider?
- Review airline, TSA, and customs policies on flying with service dogs before making a decision on whether or not you would like to study abroad to that location.
- Consult with a veterinarian to make sure the animal is healthy enough to travel abroad and how to monitor the animal's health and safety while in transit.
- To learn how to reenter the US with a service animal, we recommend viewing the CDC website and US Dept. of Agriculture website.
- IP classes as well as internships make for long days, usually 8 hours or more. Students should consider how to manage the care of an animal during class, excursions, and internships.
- Most programs have an overnight or multi-day excursion. Many students do considerable personal travel during the programs. How will the service animal factor into this travel?
- There will be personal costs associated with assistance animals in IP: licensing, animal transportation, food, medical care, and possible boarding. We advise students to explore these costs prior to their study abroad decision.
International Programs Site Specific Service Animal Information
The International Programs Office can provide students with IP campus-specific service animal information upon request. Please note that information provided, by campus, is subject to change at any time without notice. Students are encouraged to investigate site specific information further by contacting the International Programs Malibu Office for additional support.
Pepperdine recommends that all students consider purchasing renter's insurance through collegestudentinsurance.com
- Covers all electronic devices
- Covers laptop and cell phone at the same time
- Covers theft
- Covers accidental damage
- A coverage settlement can be used for an upgrade if the student chooses
Safeguarding the Pepperdine Community Abroad
Safeguarding the student experience abroad is a combination of steps Pepperdine has taken to protect students and students following Pepperdine-provided guidelines and strategies.
The following are steps Pepperdine takes to safeguard the Pepperdine community abroad:
- Require all participants to take study abroad student health and safety courses through International SOS prior to departure
- Provide in-country safety briefings
- Campuses equipped with security cameras, secure entry doors, and locally contextualized policies, support, and systems
- Update emergency plans and critical incident guides that cover a multitude of scenarios
- Provide students access to a travel assistance program (International SOS) that provides students with select emergency assistance offerings
- Assess educational field trips and faculty-led summer programs for safety and risk purposes. Please click here to learn more.
- Restrict student personal travel to higher risk locations
- Ensure students receive safety and health related notices about locations when they log their travel within International SOS' travel log system
What students do to safeguard themselves:
- Fully and accurately fill out Pepperdine's travel log system for all weekends and travel breaks. Click here for instructions on how to properly log travel.
- For U.S. Passport holders: Required to enroll and log all travel in STEP (U.S. Department of State Safe Traveler Enrollment Program) which enables students and and emergency contacts to receive travel advisories and alerts
- Follow safety guidelines provided by the University
- Items like pepper spray or tasers may not be legal in the countries students plan to visit or may require a special permit. Make alternative personal safety plans as needed.
- Speak with parents/guardians about an agreeable personal travel itinerary on weekends and travel breaks.
- All students are able to use the Live Safe App which can link students with Pepperdine personnel at anytime provided device has network connectivity
- Have proper telecommunications capabilities: All students are required secure a phone that can make/receive calls and texts at all times. Visit our technology abroad page for further information.
Please note that Pepperdine does our due diligence in regards to community safety and cannot plan for or anticipate every emergency. We, like any other institution, cannot guarantee safety and do everything reasonable to safeguard community members.