What are the most popular and universal travel tips? You’ve probably heard them a thousand times: Stay healthy, and stay safe!

What you may not know, however, is how hard MISTI works to help you follow through on those tips. We are prepared to offer resources and guidance for everything from insurance questions to emergencies and issues of personal safety. Your MISTI program manager will provide a detailed MISTI health and safety guide and go over it with you before you leave. The guide contains the information below, plus additional details and location-specific information.

To help us protect you and keep you safe, please review this page.


MIT resources:

MISTI Health and Safety Lead: Griselda Gomez, (617) 252-1483

MIT Police: 617-253-1212

International SOS: call collect from anywhere in the world (+12159428226 / Membership Number: 11BSGC000066)

All MIT students are covered during their experiences abroad by ISOS, which provides international medical, security, emotional and travel assistance.

MISTI will provide you with an ISOS Membership card with MIT’s Membership number (11BSGC000066) and the dedicated telephone number +1 215-942-8478.  If taking a smart phone in addition to carrying the card, we encourage you to download the ISOS app.For assistance, you can either call the number above or use the LiveChat function. To use the LiveChat function you must download the app, register and create a profile, we encourage you do so before  your trip. When needed you can chat over WiFi: see APPENDIX A. For more information on ISOS please visit this website  


Prior to departure

Complete these forms and registrations
  • Read and e-sign the Pre-Travel Health Assessment Form under the "Complete these requirements" section in the MISTI student portal.
  • Complete the Emergency Information questionnaire under the "Complete these requirements" section in the MISTI student portal before departure. If there is some information that you cannot complete until you arrive in your country, you MUST complete it as soon as you can upon arrival. This information will be used by MIT to locate you in case of emergency.
  • Complete the "In-country phone numbers section" under the "Complete these requirements" section in the MISTI student portal. If you get a local cell phone and/or have a landline you MUST add them when you are in country. This information will be used by MIT to locate you in case of an emergency.
  • Read the MIT International Travel Risk Acknowledgment Travel Form under the "Complete these requirements" section in the MISTI student portal and check that you acknowledge having read the form.
  • Register with the MIT ISOS webpage and get familiar with its services.
  • Register your travel plans with the STEP program of the U.S. Department of State if you are a U.S. citizen. (If you are not a U.S. citizen, you can also enroll your email to receive messages but be sure to register with your local consulate or embassy upon arrival in country.)
  • If you are an international student, you must check in with the MIT International Students Office to discuss the length of your time abroad and any impact on your status, as well as any visa requirements for your return to the US.
Gather important documents to bring with you and make copies
  • Make sure to have the following with you when you leave:
    1. Your MISTI Student Information Card with the back completed
    2. Your ISOS card. You can also download the ISOS app to your mobile phone: app.internationalsos.com
    3. A copy of your passport photo page and visa (if applicable). Carry this with you at all times while in country. Do not carry your actual passport with you after you arrive unless required by law in certain countries.  Confer with your MISTI program manager on country specific advice.
    4. Your health insurance card (if you have another insurance) and any other information from your insurance provider, such as a claim form.
    5. Copies of your credit cards so that you can cancel the cards if they are lost or stolen.
  • Provide a copy of all of the above items to someone at home (a family member or friend).
  • Remove all non-essential paperwork from your wallet.
  • Review IS&T’s Technology Tips for Travelers
Take health precautions and get insurance
  • Make an appointment at the MIT Travel Clinic or another healthcare provider six to eight weeks before travel, to make sure you are current with all of your routine vaccinations and to get any additional vaccinations or information you may need. Advance planning is crucial, as some vaccines may take up to a month to become fully effective and others require a series of injections. Immunizations and any prescriptions you receive will be based on your itinerary, planned activities and any medical conditions you may have.
  • If you are taking any medications and/or undergoing any type of therapy, make an appointment with your medical and/or mental health provider(s) prior to your trip. Use this appointment to establish a plan with your medical provider(s) to continue taking any medications and/or continue therapy while abroad.  Remember that not all medications are available or legal in all countries. You may inform your program manager if you require any special assistance while abroad.
  • Identify in-country health care resources in advance of your trip. ISOS has a list  of their worldwide Assistance Centers.  To find a list of some of their vetted hospitals/clinics per country click here and search for a country, then click under medical – clinics and hospitals. You can also call ISOS prior to your trip to find out the nearest recommended hospitals or clinics from where you will be.
  • Visit the CDC’s Travelers’ Health website to educate yourself and others who may be traveling with you about any disease risks and CDC health recommendations for international travel in areas you plan to visit.
  • If needed, consider making additional preparations to avoid problems with the following common issues: ability/disability issues, alcohol use, allergies, contraceptives, culture shock, dental care, dietary concerns, exercise, eyeglass prescriptions, gender-sensitive healthcare, hepatitis protection, medications, psychological issues, regional health issues, sexuality, sleep patterns, smoking. You may inform your Program Manager if you need any assistance.
  • Assemble a travel health kit containing basic first aid and medical supplies. Be sure to include a thermometer, bandages, Ibuprofen/Acetaminophen, and an alcohol-based hand gel for hand hygiene.
  • MIT provides MIT Study Abroad Student Health Insurance for emergency purposes only.  This acts as your primary insurance. Please confirm with your program manager if you are eligible to get the MIT health insurance. If you have any other health insurance, do not cancel it as it may be necessary to cover expenses for exclusions in the Student Study Abroad Health Insurance. If you currently use the MIT Extended Health Insurance, your coverage expires on August 31 of the current year (even if you have graduated). Your program manager will help you determine whether you need health insurance in addition to or in lieu of your MIT coverage. Neither ISOS nor CHUBB insurance has coverage of preventative/travel vaccinations.

While Abroad

When you arrive
  • If you did not register with STEP before you left, or if you are not a U.S. citizen, register with your country’s embassy or local consulate in country  (if you are not a US citizen you can still register at STEP to receive US embassy safety messaging).
  • Complete any new information, such as street address or local mobile phone number, in the Emergency Information and In-Country Phones Questionnaires in the MISTI student portal.
  • Connect with MISTI on Facebook and Twitter as these may be one way to get in touch quickly to confirm your safety following an emergency situation.
  • Follow guidelines below to stay safe and in case of any emergency.
Managing Personal Security

There are basic principles of safety that, when applied sensibly, may reduce the risk of exposure to violence. These principles are applicable in any environment, but are often most relevant in situations when violent crime, terrorism or conflict prevails.

  • Take steps to protect your personal safety at all times by following these important tips.
  • Do not carry your physical passport with you after you arrive your host country, and remove all non-essential paperwork from your wallet.
  • Connect with MISTI on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date about any emergencies or troubling situations – and to let others know where you are and how you are doing.
  • Trust your instincts. If you feel unsafe in any situation or location, go with your gut.
  • If you see something suspicious, contact law enforcement immediately.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. If you are using music headphones or earbuds, put them on or in one ear only.
  • Walk with purpose, and try not to load yourself down with packages or bags. Even if you don’t know where you are going, act like you do.
  • Make sure your cell phone is will you and charged
  • Keep enough cash on hand to get a cab if necessary.
  • When you go to a social gathering, go with a group of friends. Arrive together, check in with each other throughout the evening, and leave together.
  • Don’t leave your drink unattended while talking, dancing, using the restroom, or making a phone call. If you’ve left your drink alone, just get a new one. Don’t accept drinks from people you don't know or trust. If you choose to accept a drink, go with the person to the bar to order it, watch it being poured, and carry it yourself. At parties, don’t drink from the punch bowls or other large, common open containers.
  • Don’t allow yourself to be isolated with someone you don’t know or don’t trust.
  • Watch out for your friends, and vice versa. Have a buddy system. If a friend seems intoxicated, or is acting out of character, get him or her to a safe place immediately. If you suspect you or a friend has been drugged, contact law enforcement immediately.
  • While you can never guarantee yourself protection from sexual assault, you can help reduce your risk. Remember to use alcohol with caution, and avoid drugs. Alcohol increases the likelihood of sexual assault in part because intoxication contributes to miscommunications about sexual intentions and expectations.
In case of an emergency: contact numbers and info

Your program manager will go over detailed instructions on what to do in case of an emergency before you leave. You will receive MISTI's emergency info card containing crucial contact information.

In case of an emergency

  • Call ISOS or use the Live Chat function from your cell phone using Wi-Fi 
  • If recommended by your Program Manager, call the local police as soon as possible to report the incident and get help.
  • Contact your Program Manager so he/she can provide assistance and support and discuss next steps with you.

International SOS numbers
Call International SOS (ISOS): MIT Membership Number: 11BSGC000066 (global collect call number +1-215-942-8226 to call from any location in the world).

Students in Europe, call the LONDON Desk: +44.20.8762.8008 (call collect)
Students in Asia, call the SINGAPORE Desk: +65.6338.7800 (call collect)
Students in Latin America, call the PHILADELPHIA Desk: +1-215-942-8226 (call collect).


Other contact numbers and info