Health & Safety



Make sure that your vaccinations are up-to-date before going abroad.

The essentials:

  • MMR
  • Diphtheria-tetanus

Consider also:

  • Hepatitis A and B

Other vaccinations are usually optional and their necessity depends on the final destination, the length of the stay and other possible travel destinations.

Vaccinations always depend on the individual, too, so remember to consult your physician. Inform your doctor if you are planning on spending longer periods of time in rural areas or are going to travel to very remote destinations.

Some vaccinations can also be bought in Asia and they might be cheaper there than in your home country (e.g. Japanese encephalitis and Malaria) but keep in mind that it might take a while for the immunity to develop. Ask your doctor for more information.

Health Care Services in Asia

In Asia, especially in the larger cities and tourist areas, health care services are of Western standards and most hospitals have employees who speak fluent English.

The most commonly encountered illnesses for travelers are stomach flu, dehydration and cold caused by the excessive use of air conditioning. It’s easy to avoid these by taking care of hand hygiene, choosing your restaurants carefully, drinking enough fluids (bottled water and sports drinks) and not turning the AC on too high. Tropical countries also have some more exotic illnesses and the local health care providers will have the best knowledge about them.

In Asia, there are more non-prescription medications available at pharmacies than in most European countries. The pharmacy staff can also help find a cure for the most common tourist illnesses.

Safety in Asia

All the locations of Asia Exchange’s partner universities are very safe. In Asia, in general, violence is rare, especially towards foreigners. Mutual respect is important. Greatest threats are caused by heavy traffic which can be quite different from what students are used to in their home countries.


Many Asian countries have left-sided traffic but it doesn’t take long to get used to it. The traffic culture is different from what it is in Europe and North America and can seem completely chaotic in the beginning. Still, the traffic flows according to its own rules. Traffic jams are a part of the everyday life but in larger cities metros and sky trains help ease the traffic.

Especially in Bali and Phuket, scooters are a popular form of transportation. Many exchange students choose to ride a scooter, even if they hesitate to do so in the beginning. Our students have only had a few minor accidents but if you do choose to ride a scooter, proceed at your own pace and remember to always remain calm and alert while riding.

Driver’s License

Riding a scooter, a motorcycle or a car abroad most often requires either a local driver’s license or an international driver’s license. You can get a local license from the authorities at your exchange location while an international license can be acquired in your own home country.

Not all travelers get one of the above-mentioned licenses. This could, however, cause difficulties when trying to receive compensation from the insurance company in a case of a traffic accident.

Acquiring an appropriate driver’s license is recommended mainly for two reasons

  • The local authorities expect drivers to have a local or an international driver’s license and they might give a fine to drivers who don’t carry either one of the licenses.
  • In case of possible accidents, drivers may be expected to present an appropriate driver’s license to both the authorities as well as to their own insurance company. Not having a driver’s license may affect your insurance company’s coverage policy, i.e. how much they are willing to pay for in case of injuries or material damages.

Ask your insurance company for more information regarding driving abroad.

Natural Disasters

One possible cause of worry for students and their families can be the different natural disasters sometimes taking place in Asia. However, it’s important to keep in mind that as a continent, Asia is very large and if an earthquake takes place e.g. in Sumatra, Indonesia, it’s as far away from Bali as England is from Russia. Bali, as well as our other locations, are not located on the boundaries of tectonic plates, and earthquakes and volcano eruptions are very uncommon in the areas.


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