IV Staying Safe and Healthy


Staying healthy in India is a practice of mindfulness. Don’t drink tap water. Be careful when you brush your teeth. Get rest and engage in activities that keep you well, such as yoga or meditation or walking or jogging. Listen to your body and don’t be shy about letting your program leaders know how you are feeling.

Here is a site for basic information regarding shots: (http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/extended_student/india). You absolutely need a typhoid shot, and should make sure you received shots for Hepatitis A. If you haven’t had an adult booster for polio, you should get one, and you need to be up-to-date on your tetanus. You will need 47 days of malaria pills if you leave the Dharamsala region for independent travel and if you do not come to India early or leave late. If you are not planning on leaving the area for Independent travel, you will only need 29 days of pills. (this accounts for the windows before and after in which you need to take pills). For every day before or after the program dates that you are in Asia, you should bring one extra pill. Study the link above and make sure you are leaving well prepared!


Medical and Dental Appointments

It is a good idea to have had a recent physical, or at least to have checked to make sure all your vaccinations are up-to-date. It is also a good idea to visit your dentist before you depart on any program.


Required Medicines

If you take any kind of medicine on a regular basis, you should take with you a more-than-sufficient supply to get you through the ENTIRE program and any post-program travel you intend to do. You should have this medicine in its own “official” medicine bottle, and you might even consider a letter from your doctor explaining the necessity of the medicine. You must inform the faculty leader about taking this medicine and absolutely tell them immediately if something should happen (such as losing it), so that all efforts can be made to remedy the situation. Medication for allergies, especially for severe allergic reactions such as to insect bites or bee stings, falls in this category as well.


Health Precautions

The CDC recommends that you take the following precautions, for all destinations:

• Wash hands frequently with soap and water.

• Because motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury among travelers, walk and drive defensively and always use seat belts.

•Always use latex condoms to reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

•Never eat undercooked ground beef and poultry, raw eggs, and unpasteurized dairy products. Raw shellfish is particularly dangerous to persons who have liver disease or compromised immune systems.

•In India, it is important to be very careful about what and where you eat and drink. On your entry into India, you will be instructed on the dos and don’ts related to food and drink. For all of our sake, pay attention and follow the advice.  In particular, it is important to avoid unfiltered or unboiled water, which means no ice, no tap water in restaurants or hotels or most homes, and no uncooked vegetables or fruits in restaurants.



Self Care and Assistance from Program Leaders

Students are encouraged to be responsible for their own health to the extent possible. This includes taking their personal medications and malaria medicine regularly and bringing a First Aid kit for minor ailments. Caution should be exercised with regard to food and water.

The program leaders will be there to assist with issues that might affect your health and well-being during the course of the program.  Please keep Kari informed of any situations affecting you (or other students on the program).


This would include: sickness, any kind of injury that requires medical attention, any kind of physical or sexual assault/harassment, depression, substance abuse, problems in a class or with an instructor, issues in the host family setting, problems with local authorities, emergencies, or issues at home that require your attention.



Health Care Facilities in India

We have access to physicians, clinics and hospitals wherever we go in India.


Insurance Issues

                  Just as at Earlham, you are responsible for all medical expenses that you incur.  Please carry details of your medical insurance with you.  It is possible that you will not be able to file insurance claims in South Asia; you may need to retain receipts for medical treatment and submit them to your insurance company upon your return.  Check with your insurance provider for specific details.


Chartis Travel Guard Assistance Services.

Earlham students are covered for emergency services while participating in an Earlham off-campus program. The group name is Earlham College. The policy numberis SRG 9138270. The toll free number is 877-832-3523 and the international collect number is 715- 295-1194. The customer service email is assistance@chartisinsurance.com.




These are some general suggestions and recommendations for safety and security while living and traveling in India.  You should be in regular communication with the program leaders about these kinds of issues throughout the semester, and do your best to stay informed about the local situation.

  • The loss or theft of a U.S. passport abroad should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or consulate.  Also contact a program leader immediately.
  • Carry emergency phone numbers with you. Make sure you inform your faculty leaders and host family of your travel plans.  Keep in touch if your plans change. Check in regularly.
  • Act and walk in a confident manner.  Act like you know what you are doing and where you are going.
  • Don’t carry large amounts of cash with you.  Carry your money in several places–pockets, money pouch or money belt, or even in your shoe.
  • Don’t carry your wallets in your back pocket and be careful with purses, backpacks and cameras as they can be easy targets.
  • Don’t walk / travel at night in areas you don’t know, and never alone.  Stay in well lit and populated areas.  Learn the areas that are safe and avoid those that are more risky.
  • Don’t travel alone!  It is best to travel in groups of threes and fours.  Don’t travel at night, especially on long trips.  Don’t hitchhike.
  • Be careful with water and food.  Drink only purified water (be careful with ice cubes also) and only eat fruits and vegetables that have been peeled, cooked or disinfected.  Only eat well-cooked seafood.  Wash your hands often.
  • Inform your host family or your faculty leader if you have severe or frequent diarrhea or vomiting.  If you are traveling, see a doctor right away.
  • Be careful when you are out in the sun; the sun can be a lot stronger than you are used to.  Avoid becoming dehydrated and/or sunburned.  Drink more water than you think you need, and carry purified water with you.  Use sunscreen and a hat, and don’t stay out too long at midday.
  • Travel light so that you can keep track of your bags. Be extra cautious on busy streets.
  • Make sure that someone can get in touch with you in case of emergencies.
  • Stay in regular communication with family members at home so they know what you are doing and don’t worry about you!!
  •       Check your travel plans with the faculty leader and program staff. Make sure that you are aware of the situation in the area that you plan to travel to.  If there are doubts about the safety or security of a place you might travel to, check with the US Embassy.  If there are problems, change your plans and don’t go.


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