Outbound - Resources -Prepare for departure - Health and Safety

Prepare for Departure

Whether this is your first time to live overseas or not, there is much to plan and prepare before departing for the host country. This section provides an outline of the major items to help you with pre-departure planning.

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Health and Safety

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. For details, please refer: 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.


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! 

You are also recommended to pack some non-prescription drugs and a modest first-aid kit.


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.

Speak to a counelor before you depart if you had found previous experiences away from home to be stressful, or currently experiencing emotional/relationship/family/academic problems, or on medication or receiving therapy for depression/anxiety.


Travel Alerts

The Hong Kong Government will announce travel alerts on its Outbound Travel Alert (OTA) System to help Hong Kong residents better understand the risks or threat to their personal safety when travelling. When there are signs of threat in a place that may affect the personal safety of Hong Kong residents, the Security Bureau will assess and consider the need to issue an OTA, taking into account factors such as the nature, level and duration of the threat.

For details, please refer to: http://www.sb.gov.hk/eng/ota/


Natural disasters

Although rare in Hong Kong, natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, tsunamis, tornadoes, or earthquakes, may happen at your study abroad destinations. You should be familiar with the possible natural disasters at the destination and their local warning systems, evacuation routes, and shelters.


Safety tips

Make photocopies of your personal documents and keep a file at home so that your family and friends have a record. Copies should include the following documents: air ticket, travel itinerary, identity cards, passport, blood type and Rh factor, eyeglass prescription, insurance policies, ATM and credit cards.