School trips

  • Some schools arrange for groups of more senior students to go abroad to gain knowledge about other cultures and they may undertake voluntary field work.

Trips prior to employment or higher education

  • After finishing at school, some students take the opportunity to travel. This may be simply for a short break or to learn more specifically about other countries and cultures. Others take a 'gap-year' before starting higher education, work or apprenticeships..

  • See also volunteering later in this course

University students

Attending an international travel health conference
  • UK students often travel abroad for short elective studies commonly to North America, Australia and New Zealand or to European countries.

  • Those who are studying global or tropical subjects including medicine and nursing may travel wider afield to Africa, Asia and South or Central America.

Post-graduate studies

  • Education or research into a particular area of interest may be unavailable in the students home country.

  • Some PhD or MSc degrees require or recommend overseas research which requires experience or data gathering abroad.

  • Many people from a wide range of backgrounds travel to attend international, national or regional conferences related to their careers and special interests including travel health.

  • Sometimes for longer attachments or degree courses the host institutions will require evidence of good health in advance including a chest X-ray and documented evidence of having received routine vaccinations for the country being visiting.

Nurses tudying in India with a visiting teacher from abroad

Those going abroad to teach

It is quite common for those with special knowledge and skills to travel abroad to impart those to others.

  • This can include, for example, when someone from a particular country has experienced a new concept that is of value elsewhere as illustrated here in relation to universal precautions to prevent the spread of HIV infection.

  • The British Council has a special role in education and supporting the sharing of knowledge between individuals and organisations.

Health risks distinctive to these types of trip

Those abroad for some length of time may expose themselves to new health risks related to what they are undertaking


A student helping with rice planting may be exposed to risks such Japanese B from mosquito bites or hookworm

  • Many of the health risks are the same as for other travellers. However, there may be occupational risks, for example, for medical, nursing and veterinary students

  • Research activities sometimes involve close association with the local population such as fieldwork, working with animals and medical activities.

  • Veterinarians may be exposed to rabid animals (however vaccination should have been part of the pre-travel preparations) or blood-borne infections which may be a risk for those in laboratories or through close contact with those infected.

  • Comprehensive travel and health insurance for all of the above reasons for educational travel including any particular exposure to risks is important.

Those coming to the UK to study

  • Students may arrive with acute infections prevalent in their home countries and require prompt treatment.

  • Infections like malaria may be contracted during visits home when the students have lost acquired immunity without realising it.

  • Sometimes visa requirements may require evidence of good health in advance including freedom from tuberculosis. This information is available from local Embassies or High Commissions and will be explained on visa application forms.

  • For healthcare workers an awareness of the possibility of blood-borne infections such as hepatitis B and HIV infection which could affect what they were allowed to undertake may be necessary (as for UK students)

The TRAVAX and TraveHealthPro websites can help determine health risks in the student's country of origin