Before you go

Staying safe and well

Whatever your reason for travelling abroad, look after your personal safety and your mental health.

Often the things that go wrong for travellers could have been prevented or made less stressful by taking a few simple precautions. With this in mind, it makes sense to spend a little time getting prepared before you travel - you could save yourself a lot of problems later on. 

Make sure you have valid travel insurance even if you’re only planning a short trip.  Contact your travel health clinic or GP at least 6 weeks before you travel if you need vaccinations for your trip. 

The following websites may also be helpful:

Looking after your mental health

Moving and living abroad is a huge step and can be a stressful and anxious time.  Mental health issues, existing or new, can flare up.  It's important to be aware of the impact that cultural and lifestyle differences can have and to look after your mental and physical health.

Even if you're only going abroad for a short time, and even if you’ve travelled a lot in the past, it can take a while to adjust. This is perfectly normal. Please remember you’re not the only one going through it. Getting involved in local life at your host institution and in your host town/city may help you adjust more quickly and easily.  

We recommend doing some research on the support available at your host institution (e.g. counselling service) and how to access it before you arrive.   

Accessing support

Remember you can still access UoE support whilst abroad, including:

* Video counselling is available via MS Teams unless the student is in a country that has its own regulations relating to therapy provision; in this case email counselling is available.

Find more resources and information about how the University of Edinburgh can support you at:

Consular assistance

Your local British Embassy, Consulate or High Commission abroad will be able to offer a range of services including issuing replacement passports; assistance if you are the victim of a crime; and liaison with family and friends on your behalf.

You are strongly advised to locate the nearest British Consulate to your host destination and store the telephone number and address. Most British Consulates operate an answerphone service outside working hours with an emergency number if needed.

Students who are not UK nationals are advised to locate their nearest consular representation and follow the same guidelines.

Find a British Consulate


Should an emergency situation occur whilst you are abroad, your first action should be to make contact as soon as possible with your nominated contact at your host institution, organisation or place of work, and your family. Your local contact often has the local knowledge and “know how” to advise and support you.

It is also very important for you to contact the University of Edinburgh. If you need to speak with a member of the Study and Work Away service during office hours, regarding an urgent situation that requires immediate attention, you can call the SWAY helpline on +44 (0)131 651 5999.  Find more information below:

SWAY helpline

The Study and Work Away service helpline is available for urgent situations that require immediate attention and cannot be resolved by email or by calling during drop-in hours - please call:

+44 (0)131 651 5999

​This line is open during office hours (Monday-Friday, 10am-4pm).

Please note we will not be able to respond to your enquiry on this number if it is not a critical situation. Please email us or call us during drop-in times instead for all other issues including visa issues, flight delays, late documents etc. Please refer to the “Drop-ins and appointments” section above for more details.

Please contact the SWAY helpline if you have:

  • Immediate concerns about your personal well-being or safety in your host country
  • Immediate concerns about the general safety in your host country (e.g. heightened risk of conflicts, terrorism, natural disasters, sudden border restrictions)
  • A medical emergency, or serious health concerns that will impact your activity abroad

The staff member on rota will do their best to support you and ensure your call is passed on to the relevant department, if applicable.

If you need to get in touch with someone at the University in an emergency outside of usual office hours (Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm), please use the following number: 

University of Edinburgh phoneline - Out of hours emergency contact

Contact details

Related links

University of Edinburgh Insurance Office

FCDO Foreign travel advice