Studying abroad can be a hugely enriching process that will forever alter your life and enhance your career prospects.

Most universities offer students the opportunity to spend a semester or year studying or working abroad. These are exciting opportunities that will give students experiences that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. However going to a foreign country takes a considerable amount of personal and financial commitment. It’s therefore vital that you think through all the issues, practicalities and possible career benefits.

This is a resource page that is aimed at giving students who want to study abroad as much information as possible about the insurance cover that they need to take out. Many specialist insurers offer plans specifically designed for students who want to study abroad. These are insurance packages which cover you to study, work and volunteer abroad. A good policy will also allow students to return home as many times as they wish during their studies and to visit as many countries as they want to.

Remember that it takes time and research to find the right course in the right country so never rush your decision.

Study abroad insurance should cover

  • Theft, loss or damage of your personal property.
  • Travel delay and cancellation.
  • Damage to your rented accommodation.
  • You if you get seriously ill or injured abroad it will cover your medical expenses and return trip home.
  • Passport replacement.
  • Extensive sports activities.
  • Luggage protection (including the cost, repair or replacement of personal baggage if destroyed or damaged)
  • Repatriation costs
  • Medical emergencies (including hospital, ambulance transportation and treatment costs)
  • Muggings
  • Natural disasters
  • Personal liability
  • Legal expenses incurred by an Insured Person in proving a claim against a Third Party who causes Injury or illness.
  • Emergency evacuation.

What study abroad insurance may exclude

  • Treatment in the country of your normal residence.
  • Treatment arising out of use of non-prescribed drugs.
  • Treatment arising from an accident when flying other than as a passenger.
  • Treatment incurred when travelling against medical advice or for the purpose of obtaining treatment.
  • Breakage of fragile items.
  • Wear or tear of items.
  • Confiscation of items by government or public authority.
  • War Risks: This means any war or hostilities including civil war rebellion or insurrection.
  • The insured person committing or attempting to commit suicide.
  • A person who is travelling or intending to travel against the advice of a Medical Practitioner.
  • Treatment, services or supplies which are not administered or ordered by a Physician.
  • Treatment, services or supplies which are not Medically Necessary.
  • Treatment of sleep disorders.

Ask if your policy has

  • SMS security alerts.
  • 24/7 English speaking help lines.
  • Search & Rescue cover for worst case scenarios.
  • Hijack and hostage consultants’ fees cover.
  • No excess payable if your trip is cancelled.
  • Travel and accommodation for two close relatives to remain with you if you are hospitalised.
  • Missed departures cover.

Questions to ask about any study abroad insurance cover

  • Is there an excess and if so what is it?
  • Is there a limit on any single items?

Reporting a loss to the Police
If you have been the victim of a crime then you must report it ASAP (Many Insurers will not pay unless a loss is reported to the Police or relevant authorities within 48 hours).


Why people study abroad
A major reason why students study abroad is cost. In many European countries British students pay lower fees than at home (in some cases even no fees). On top of this the cost of living in quiet a few of these countries is also lower than in the UK.

Starting off
As a student it’s always best if you have a clear idea of which country you would like to study in and more importantly why you want to go there. Below are a list of points to think about:

  • Decide on what course you would like to do.
  • Start planning on how you will get the funding together.
  • Research possible countries and courses, note that most countries don’t have a central admissions system like UCAS in the UK (which means you will have to apply to universities individually).
  • Check whether the qualification you’ll get is actually recognised in the UK or elsewhere (this particularly important for careers where you need it in order to practice i.e. law and medicine).
  • Consider the practical issues, such as student visas, residence permit and course entrance requirements (you might have to take a language test).

Advantages of studying abroad

  • Opportunities to study at internationally recognised academic institutions.
  • Can help you stand out from the crowd when you apply for jobs.
  • You will have a unique educational experience.
  • Gain an understanding of different cultures.
  • You will learn to become more independent.
  • Develop more self confidence and better social skills.
  • Learn a new language.
  • Can increase your future employability, particularly in areas of international business.
  • Tuition fees can be less than in the UK.
  • Develop transferrable experiences and skills that are valued by employers.
  • Get a new perspective on your subject.
  • A great opportunity to get to know people from all over the world.
  • Many degree programmes are taught in English.

Disadvantages of studying abroad

  • You may lose one semester of schooling and graduate when you’re say 23 instead of 22.
  • Some people worry about losing touch with close friends.
  • You may have to study in the native language.
  • You have to pay for accommodation, travel and food etc.
  • Having to adapt to new teaching methods.

Keeping in touch with friends and family
These days you can easily keep in touch with people back home though online tools such as Skype.


Related links
Gap year travel insurance
Student travel insurance