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Checklist for International Student Medical Care

Whether your child is going to be spending summer abroad or you’re gearing up for them to head back to school in the fall, scheduling medical appointments now is a smart idea.

Prepare for your appointment by reviewing your questions and organizing forms and paperwork that will be required for your child’s camp or school attendance.

Here are a few things to remember about preventive visits for international students before summer camp or the academic school year.

  • Don’t forget the paperwork. Your child’s school may require the doctor to sign paperwork for a physical or vaccination. Be sure to bring these forms with you so this can be taken care of during your child’s visit. 
  • Ask about overseas requirements. Let the physician know that your child will be going overseas so they can let you know if your child needs to meet any vaccination or medical-related visa requirements. The doctor can also answer questions about getting medical care, if needed, in the U.S.
  • Bring medications. If your child is on any medications, bring them with you so you can see if they need any refills. Again, let the doctor know the child will be overseas so he or she can inform you about how the child can obtain refills in America.
  • Check the records. Ask the doctor if they recommend that your child have an electronic or paper copy of medical records. You can also check any paperwork from the school to see if they require any past records. It’s best to do this before the child leaves in the event that the school or hospital overseas needs them.
  • Go over your history with your child. Inform your child about their medical history as well as yours and your parents. If they need to see a doctor overseas, the physician may ask questions about famiy medical history—so it’s good for your child to have an idea of any issues that run in the family.
  • Ask about routine lab tests. Knowing how long your child will be away from home, it’s a good idea to ask the doctor if your child should have any blood or urine tests done as part of this routine physical exam.
  • Don’t forget vision and hearing. Sometimes you may be so focused on the general practitioner visit that you forget your child may need a vision or hearing checkup. If you’ll be visiting these specialists, let them know about your child’s travel plans. Also, if your child wears contact lenses, ask the physician if you can order extras ahead, or how your child will be able to get them in the U.S., if needed.
  • Ask about medical care overseas. Ask your doctor for advice about medical care overseas. Will your doctor’s office be available for consultations if your child is seen for an accident or illness? Can you coordinate the required connections between the school or camp and your doctor’s office before your child leaves home? 
  • Don’t hesitate to ask the school questions. Parents want to be sure their children are safe and sound—especially when it comes to their health—when they are overseas. The nurse at the school has likely dealt with issues common to international students, and can probably answer your questions. Be sure to cement a relationship with this camp or school staff member. 

When your child is studying in a foreign country, their health and safety are priorities. Let ISM’s International Scholar Protection give you peace of mind knowing your child has access to high-quality health care (offered by the Blue Cross Blue Shield® PPO network) no matter where they are in the U.S.
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