To study in the USA, for a semester abroad to Australia or for a summer session in Great Britain? Regardless of whether studying abroad is stipulated by the examination regulations or the long-awaited dream – students with chronic illnesses often worry about whether they can take this risk.
Fortunately, there are now many financing options for studying abroad with chronic diseases. On the other hand, there is also a strong awareness at many foreign universities of the hurdles that students with chronic illnesses have to overcome at a university abroad.
In addition, students with chronic illness no longer have to be lone warriors when studying abroad, as they can network better and take advantage of a comprehensive range of advisory services. we provide a wide range of information with hints and useful tips on studying abroad with chronic diseases to help students with chronic diseases take their first steps towards studying abroad.
Support for studying abroad with chronic diseases
In order to use all available help, it is important to know which contacts are available during a study abroad with chronic illnesses. Because often chronically ill students feel that they are not addressed when it comes to counseling services and compensation for disadvantages. A lot of help is available not only to students with a severely handicapped ID, but to all students who are impaired in their studies by a chronic illness.
Therefore, as soon as the target country has been determined, the respective contact person at the home university should be contacted at an early stage. The database of the European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education provides a lot of country-specific information on its homepage.
Homepage of the European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education:
Anyone who is still at the very beginning of planning a study abroad should first get an overview of which study program is best suited to studying abroad. In many target countries, there are several study options available for short periods of up to a year:
- Semester abroad
- Summer sessions
- Language courses
- Advanced training
If you want to get a targeted overview of the appropriate study programs in the respective target country, you might find what you are looking for in the search filter. A lot of additional information and free instructions for applying can be found in the individual university profiles.
Preparation for studying abroad with chronic diseases
In general, unnecessary stress should be avoided by planning around one and a half years before starting the study abroad. Timely planning also enables you to find the right time for studying abroad within your own study plan. In order to start studying abroad with chronic illnesses well prepared, it is advisable to contact your own health insurance company in addition to the disability officer at the university of your choice in the early planning phase. The following information, which can be viewed in advance at the Federal Foreign Office, should also be urgently observed:
- Entry and exit conditions
- current safety regulations
- Notes on medical aspects of a country (such as customs regulations)
This and other information is available on the website of the Federal Foreign Office:
Clarify medical questions comprehensively
One of the first steps in planning to study abroad with chronic illnesses is to bring yourself up to date in advance. The focus is in terms of chronic disease in the foreground one’s knowledge of potential risk factors in the target country to refresh.
The treating family doctor or specialist will provide information on this question and other medical questions about the duration of the trip, vaccinations or what to do in an emergency. The agreement should encompass all aspects of the study abroad, for example to prevent incorrect medication intake, metabolic derailments or other potential emergencies. The time difference and its effects should also be discussed with the doctor in advance and planned accordingly.
Important information for importing medication
The following should be noted with regard to taking medication with you on the outward and return flight: Medication should always be stowed in hand luggage. On the one hand, in an emergency, for example if the suitcase is lost on the way, the medication should always be at hand. On the other hand, the shelf life of the medication cannot be guaranteed due to the high air pressure and the low temperatures in the hold. Furthermore, a doctor’s certificate stating the respective medication requirement can avoid problems during the security check at the airport. On request, students can find out whether such a certificate is necessary from the respective airline.
On-site medical care
In addition, good medical care that can be reached quickly should be guaranteed on site. Conversely, this does not have to mean that only large universities are suitable as target universities. Smaller universities, colleges or community colleges that are in the immediate vicinity of a medical care center are also suitable.
In countries with poor hygienic conditions, proximity to a university hospital is recommended. Certain drugs may not be available in the travel destination or may only be available under a different name. Students with chronic diseases can obtain more information from the respective manufacturer of the preparation. Whether the medication can also be sent to the destination by post, if necessary, must also be discussed with the doctor and this must be done in accordance with customs regulations.
Study abroad with asthma
As a first step, students with controlled asthma who are planning to study abroad should request sufficient information about the destination country of the university of their choice. For students with exercise-induced asthma, such as a house dust allergy, the choice of the destination country can influence a favorable course of the disease if the destination is located directly on the coast or at a certain altitude.
If possible, students with asthma should also consider one other factor when choosing a destination country. If possible, pollen allergy sufferers should check in advance which pollen is present in the destination country and whether they react to it. The extent to which the generics you need are available in the target country or whether they have to be taken with you in an appropriate supply should be clarified in advance. Students from the German Society for Pneumology: “Respiratory League eV” can find out more useful information about studying abroad with asthma.
Students can get further information and advice on the homepage of Atemwegsliga eV:
Study abroad with diabetes
Studying abroad with diabetes – even with type 1 diabetes mellitus – is possible in every country due to the many years of research and further development of diabetes therapy. As in Germany, students with diabetes can independently prepare basic insulin supplies.
In the target country, it helps to contact the respective national diabetes group to find out addresses and information on pharmacies, doctors and hospitals in the area. An active control of blood sugar should be carried out with insulin and blood sugar test strips in hand luggage about every three hours in order to avoid hypoglycaemia. The doctor or the respective country group of the German Diabetic Association can provide tips on storage during the trip.
Homepage of the Diabetikerbund:
In addition, the sugar levels should be carefully documented during the entire study abroad and, if in doubt, checked more often than usual: This way, reactions to the climate, the changed daily rhythm or other environmental influences can be detected early.