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Study Abroad & Travel

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You've applied and been accepted to the study abroad program of your dreams - now where do you even start preparing? Follow these steps.

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CDN partnered with Mobility International
USA on this webinar about traveling
abroad with a disability

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One pager on flying with T1D

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Blogs about travel & T1D

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Watch our travel with T1D Youtube Playlist

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Pack smart
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Whether you’re leaving for a six-week stint in the Greek Isles or a tour with the Peace Corps, you need to make sure you have more than enough supplies/medication to last you - and extra supplies in case anything goes wrong. 

Here are the supplies you should be considering:

  • Infusion sets
  • Reservoirs
  • Pods (for Omnipod users)
  • Insulin Pens (if you use pens)
  • Strips
  • Insulin
  • Lancets
  • Glucagon
  • Long-acting Insulin
  • Spare Pump
  • Syringes
  • Glucose Tabs
  • Sensors
  • CGM transmitters
  • Meters
  • Batteries
  • Pumps (for pump users)
  • Chargers (CGM, meter, etc.)

Figure out exactly how much of everything you’ll need. Then add at least an extra months worth. Write it all down. 

Pack your diabetes supplies in two carry-on suitcases. This way, you’re covered just in case anything that you check, or one of your carry-ons gets lost.

Have a letter from your doctor with you that explains what medical supplies you have with you and why.

Use your letter to get early boarding if the flight is full and you are concerned about overhead space for your supplies – this is your RIGHT.

Make sure you have something to keep your insulin cool while traveling. Here are some options: FrioMedicool

Make sure you have plenty of low supplies – for the plane ride, and for the duration of the time you’ll be living abroad.

 

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Make some calls
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Call your insurance company

Let them know you’ll be leaving, how long you’ll be gone for, and the number of supplies you’ll need in advance. Each insurance company is different, so they’ll be able to walk you through the process of getting your supplies. 

Call your doctor

Tell your doctor where you’re going, for how long, and ask for any prescriptions your insurance company might have told you that you need. Ask them for a letter verifying that you have diabetes and need to carry supplies with you at all times (you can include juice to bring through security, too!) You can use this letter as a template. Ask if you’re forgetting anything. 

Call your supply company

Find out if your pump supply company can deliver supplies internationally in case of emergency, or if they can give you emergency supplies beforehand, i.e. a replacement pump.

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Schedule appointments with all of your doctors before you leave
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Chances are you’re not planning on flying home from Paris to meet with your endocrinologist in the middle of your semester. We don’t blame you. But that means you should get all of your appointments out of the way before you leave. That means your endocrinologist or CDE, optometrist, and dentist. 

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Create a contact list
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The list should include names, numbers, and addresses for the following:

Contact information for your institution abroad

Insurance Company

Supply Company

All of your doctors

Anyone you know in the country that you’ll be studying abroad in

Emergency Contact Information

Make copies of this list and give them to your parents. We also suggest giving a copy to the institution where you’ll be studying, and your friends and roommates.

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Know what to expect
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No matter how prepared you are, studying abroad can be challenging at times. Here are some things to expect in your time away from home.

  • Change in routine
  • Different foods
  • Getting low supplies may be harder (lack of convenience stores on every corner)
  • Nutritional information may not be readily available
  • More walking than you are used to
  • The weather may be drastically different than what you’re used to – make sure your insulin isn’t too hot or cold.
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nathan
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"I chose to spend this past spring in Milan, Italy, and it was one of the best choices I’ve made in college. Not only that, but I learned quite a bit about the ins and outs of traveling with T1D."

Name
Nathan Finberg
Chapter
Tufts University alum
Location
Medford, MA
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hannah
Quote Description

"Being in a foreign country, I had to always be aware of my diabetes and surroundings. If I was eating something I had to check my blood sugar while taking into account how much walking I was going to be doing that day. If I didn’t have any glucose tablets on me and felt like my blood sugar was dropping I had to figure out where the nearest grocery store was in order to get it back up."

Name
Hannah Young
Chapter
Kennesaw State University
Location
Kennesaw, GA
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Kaki
Quote Description

"Never think that having diabetes means that you can’t participate in fun events or excursions; living with diabetes just means that you have to plan a bit more than usual."

Name
Kaki Bennett
Chapter
Emory School of Medicine
Location
Atlanta, GA