Approx. Time Difference
Add 2 hours
This guide was created to help you navigate the different aspects of travelling abroad as a UCEAP student. All important aspects of attending university in your host country are addressed here, including academic information, cultural awareness, orientation, transportation, health and safety, finances and much more.
Remember to also visit the Participants
section of the UCEAP website for important information and deadlines.
UCEAP has partnered with Child Family Health International (CFHI) to run this program.
While UCEAP endeavors to keep the information updated and accurate, all program information should be considered in conjunction with program-specific operational correspondence which may contain the most up to date information. There may be times where UCEAP will need to change this information and it will often be updated online. Student is responsible for reviewing all information shared through the program guides and by UCEAP staff in California and abroad, and partners abroad. UCEAP reserves the right to make changes to its programs, whenever, in our sole judgment local conditions so warrant, in response to local circumstances that could substantially change some parts of the program, or if we deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of our program participants.
Click a heading below to see section content.
Local UCEAP Support
Campus EAP Office
The Campus EAP Office coordinates recruitment, student selection, orientations, and academic advising; and serves as your primary contact during the application process.
UCEAP Systemwide Office
The UCEAP Systemwide Office establishes and operates programs and coordinates UCEAP administration for all UC campuses from its headquarters in Goleta, California. You will work closely with the following Systemwide Office staff:
Program Advisors provide academic and operational program information to you and your campus as well as administrative support for all aspects of your participation.
Program Specialists manage the logistics of the program. They coordinate document requirements, visa application instructions, health and safety precautions, acceptance and placement by host institutions, arrival and onsite orientation, and housing arrangements.
Academic Staff advise on academic policies, review courses taken abroad for UC credit, and document your registration, grades, petitions and academic records.
Student Finance Accountants assist primarily with UCEAP statements, program fee collection, and financial aid disbursements (in conjunction with your campus Financial Aid Office).
Phone: (805) 893-4138 or (805) 893-4268
Phone: (805) 893-2712
Student Finance Accountant
Phone: (805) 893-4023
UCEAP Systemwide Office
6950 Hollister Avenue, Suite 200
Goleta, CA 93117-5823
Phone: (805) 893-4762
Fax: (805) 893-2583
Bookmark your Participants
program page. This resource lists requirements and policies you need to know before you go abroad, including your Pre-Departure Checklist, UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
, Program Calendar, UCEAP Student Budgets, and payment instructions.
Connect with us! Join our Facebook network via the UCEAP
UCEAP Faculty Leader
Melissa Smith, M.D.
Child Family Health International (CFHI) Contacts in Oaxaca
UCEAP has partnered with Child Family Health International (CFHI) to run this program.
Local CFHI Coordinators - Oaxaca
Becari Language School
M. Bravo #210, Int. Plaza San Cristobal,
68000 Oaxaca City, OAX
Phone (calling from Mexico): 951-514-6076
This summer program allows you to interact with communities of Oaxaca City to better understand social conditions that affect local health. You receive Spanish language training at the Becari Language School in the city center. The seminar, Issues in Global Health Equity, introduces topics of health and human rights, global health equity, and how social determinants of health affect the health of individuals, families, and populations.
The health and community practicum with a local clinic, teaching hospital, or social service organization offers hands-on learning and cultural immersion 16 hours a week.
You will receive instructions on registering courses in your MyEAP Study List from the Systemwide Staff via email. You are required to take a full-time course of study while abroad. All students take three courses to meet the required 10.5 quarter/7.0 semester UC units.
- Issues in Global Health Equity - listed under Anthropology, and Health Sciences
upper division, 4.5 UC quarter units
- Spanish for Health
2 UC quarter units
- Health and Community Practicum - subject areas to be determined by agency and nature of work
upper division, 4 UC quarter units
Attendance at all classes is mandatory. Poor attendance and/or lack of participation in all required activities will have a negative impact on your final grade.
Health and Community Practicum
Early in the program you will be in communication with CFHI to arrange placement in the required practicum. Possibilities include NGOs that work with street children, obesity issues, projects to insure the sustainability of access to clean water, traditional healers and indigenous perspectives, community nursing services, and a range of approaches to preventative health care in villages not served by government aid.
For general information about grades, see the Academic Information
chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
Extending UCEAP Participation
Get acquainted with your new host city, country, and culture before you leave California. The Inside Mexico
website provides information regarding current events, arts and culture, and other practical information for English-speakers traveling or living in Mexico. Travel guides and travel-related websites, such as Lonely Planet
, are also helpful resources.
Keep up with current events by reading articles in newspapers, magazines, and journals. Before departure, review these sources to prepare for the program and gain insight on the local culture and history.
Official Start Date & Mandatory Orientation
You must arrive in Oaxaca City by the Official UCEAP Start Date. The official date/time and meeting place is provided in your CFHI account.
You will attend a required orientation, during which you will participate in lectures and activities designed to help you acclimate to Oaxaca City and the country as a whole, and become familiar with the UCEAP and CFHI Staff. The staff will review all practical components of the program, including the program calendar, academics, housing, transportation, health, safety, and emergencies.
Travel to Your Host Country
UCEAP strongly recommends purchasing changeable round trip tickets, which will allow you to make changes to your return flight for a fee. UCEAP discourages purchasing one way tickets, as your Program Budget is based on a changeable round trip student fare, which is generally less expensive. Carefully research airfare rules prior to purchasing a flight. Standby and courier fares are not appropriate. Plan for this expense. Neither UCEAP nor the Financial Aid office will reserve or pay for your ticket. If you are on financial aid, you will need to purchase a plane ticket before you receive a financial aid disbursement.
Most airline tickets are good for one year only. When buying round-trip tickets, purchase tickets that allow changes to the return date. If you do not make round-trip arrangements, be sure to book a return flight with plenty of lead time once abroad. Flights to the U.S. fill up fast and economy-fare seats are booked early.
Financial Aid Students
Your financial aid package is calculated using your specific UCEAP Program Budget. The estimated round-trip airfare amount is based on the cost of a changeable student ticket to your host country. If your independent travel costs are greater than the airfare estimate in the UCEAP Program Budget, notify your financial aid counselors. Neither UCEAP nor the Financial Aid Office can guarantee that the additional cost will be funded by financial aid.
Undocumented Students and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Students
Consult with an immigration attorney free of charge on your campus to determine if study abroad is right for you.
If you are currently enrolled as a student at UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC Merced, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, UC San Francisco, UC Santa Barbara, or UC Santa Cruz, contact the UC Undocumented Legal Services Center at https://law.ucdavis.edu/uc-undocumented/
The UCEAP Program Budget does not include funds to purchase clothing abroad.
- Find out the luggage and weight restrictions imposed by your airline before you pack and select the luggage you will use.
- Clearly identify each item of luggage on the outside and inside with your name, home address, and Study Center address abroad.
- Never leave luggage unattended.
- UCEAP strongly recommends you insure personal property before departure.
- Do not pack too much. You will have to carry your own luggage, so make sure you can handle it. You will be glad that you decided to pack lightly, especially if you plan to travel while abroad. If you have excess luggage, you must find your own storage space. You cannot store luggage with a homestay host, apartment landlord, or the Study Center.
When selecting clothing to pack, keep Mexican cultural norms in mind. Shorts are rare and should be avoided. Avoid extremes in dress, such as miniskirts and halter tops. Women who wear skimpy clothing may attract crude and annoying comments and attention. In general, Mexican students dress similarly to UC students. Conservative and casual clothing (e.g., jeans and slacks) is common and acceptable for campus wear. The UCEAP Student Budget does not include funds for the purchase of clothing abroad, and large- or tall-sized clothing and shoes may be difficult to find in Mexico.
- Comfortable clothing for classes
- Sturdy walking shoes
- Warm clothes, including a sweater and jacket
- Raincoat or poncho
- Electrical adapter and chargers for electronics
- Spanish-English dictionary
- Sunglasses and sunscreen
- Toiletries (if there are unique items or specific brands you need, they may not be available in Mexico)
- Extra contact lenses and contact lens solution, or an extra pair of eye glasses
- Adhesive bandages
- Antidiarrheal pills
- 12-hour cold capsules
- Preferred pain relief medication
- Enough prescription medication to last the length of your stay (see the Health chapter of this guide for information on taking prescription medication abroad)
- Dressier outfits (for parties, nightclubs, dinner events, etc.)
- Lightweight clothing that is suitable for tropical weather (if planning a trip to Puerto Vallarta, Veracruz, or the Yucatán)
- Bathrobe and slippers
- Beach towel
- Equipment, shoes, and clothing for sports or recreational activities
- Small gifts for hosts and new friends (T-shirts, decals or mugs with city, state, or campus logos, California products, California postcards or scenic calendars)
- Musical instruments
- Electric appliances (hair dryer, shaver, , etc.); if expensive, document with U.S. customs upon departure
- Travel-size sleeping bag
- Battery-operated alarm clock
- Corkscrew and can/bottle opener (pack only in checked luggage)
- Combination lock
- Safety pins
Do not pack illegal narcotics or medications that are illegal in Mexico.
Rotation in Oaxaca
Students must dress conservatively and professionally (business casual) during their NGO rotations.
Latin Americans tend to be a bit more conservative in dress, especially in a professional setting. You may not see many people walking around in shorts or sandals in Oaxaca City, except tourists. Keep in mind that tops should not be revealing and if wearing shorts, they need to be long.
For most activities, casual wear is acceptable, like tennis shoes, jeans, t-shirts. However, keep in mind that it is not a cultural norm to wear revealing clothing.
What does business casual actually mean?
Pants/skirts: A nice pair of khaki pants, a nice pair of dark jeans that do not have any markings, are in good shape and look professional, Skirts, should be knee length or below.
Bright colors and patterns are not standard professional dress in Oaxaca.
Shirt/Blouses/Tops: A blouse/casual dress shirt/polo shirt. Short sleeve is fine since you will be wearing a white lab coat on top.
Avoid the following when choosing your business casual clothing:
- Low-cut dresses or those with high slits
- Skin-tight dresses and skirts
- Sneakers that are clearly meant for working out and are overly colorful or have markings
- Sandals, flip-flops, or other open-toed shoes
- Sports shirts, sweatshirts, sport team jackets, and athletic socks
- Shorts and capris
- Very tight, and hence revealing, pants
Personal Property Insurance
Consider having additional protection for your property, as you may experience loss, theft, or accidents that will damage your belongings while traveling. Talk to your parents and analyze their family homeowners’ insurance to determine whether the items brought or bought while abroad are covered by their policy.
The UCEAP Travel Insurance
policy offers limited personal property coverage. Review the policy carefully before departure to determine if it is adequate coverage for your possessions before you experience a loss.
If you decide to purchase supplemental personal property coverage, do so before departure and make sure that the coverage extends while traveling. The host university does not protect student belongings—even in university accommodations.
You are responsible for your own personal property. Use logical precautions to safeguard valuables from damage or theft by locking your room and securing currency, jewelry, passport, and other possessions.
Understanding Your Finances
It is important that you carefully read all of the information available in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad and discuss it with the person who will assist you with your finances while you are abroad.
Understanding your finances before, during, and after your program is crucial to having a successful time abroad. The following list outlines just a few of the many things you will need to know before departure.
Detailed information on the following topics can be found in the Money Matters
chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
- Contact information for finance questions
- How to estimate the cost of your program
- Budget instructions and information
- Who Can and How to make payments to UCEAP
- UCEAP student account information(what fees do I pay to UCEAP and what fees do I pay out of pocket?)
- Banking before and after arrival
- Fees and penalties
- Loan information
- How financial aid works while abroad (how do I get my financial aid from my home campus and how are my fees paid?)
- Various forms (e.g., direct deposit, etc.)
Your MyEAP Account & Budget
Your MyEAP Student Account is similar to your UC campus financial account. It will be available as soon as you are selected for your program in MyEAP. You can make payments through this account using e-checks or credit cards (MasterCard, Visa, American Express, or Discover). The fees that you owe UCEAP will be applied to your account after your program pre-departure withdrawal date, which is listed in MyEAP. For the amount due to UCEAP prior to fees being posted on your account, refer to the UCEAP Program Budget and Payment Schedule located on the second page of your UCEAP Program Budget
. Program fees are subject to change.
Your UCEAP Program Budget lists the fees you will pay to UCEAP and an estimate of the personal expenses you will need to plan for. It does not include the cost of recreational travel or personal entertainment. Review your UCEAP Program Budget frequently. The Payment Schedule is on the second page of the UCEAP Program Budget.
- Download and print your UCEAP Program Budget and Payment Schedule.
- Note the deadlines on the Payment Schedule.
- Give the UCEAP Program Budget and Payment Schedule to the person responsible for paying your UCEAP bills. Sign this person up for Third Party Authorization on MyEAP so they can make payments online.
Refund of Credit balances and Financial Aid Disbursements:
If you are signed up for Direct Deposit on your UC campus, it is not linked to your MyEAP account. You must sign up for eRefund with UCEAP to receive direct deposits from your MyEAP account. For more information, see the UCEAP eRefund Instructions
The official currency unit in Mexico is the peso (abbreviated MEX$ or MXN).
Contact Your Bank before Departure
Many banks and credit cards offer online services that will allow you to check account balances and pay bills quickly while abroad. Check with your bank and credit card providers before departure to make any necessary arrangements. Also, find out how to contact your bank and credit card companies from abroad.
- Have more than one way to access money while abroad.
- Use a money belt.
- Arrive in Oaxaca City with at least $50 or $100 exchanged into Mexican pesos. You can obtain pesos from a U.S. bank. Some banks require at least two weeks to obtain foreign currency.
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
- Take at least two international credit cards (in your name) and two ATM cards (if possible). The ATM card must have an international (four-digit) PIN in order to work in Mexico.
- Do not plan to have checks (financial aid, money from family, etc.) sent to Mexico; you will be unable to cash them. Have checks deposited into your U.S. account via Electronic Funds Transfer (when possible) or have them sent to a trusted friend or relative who can deposit the funds into your U.S. bank account.
- Assign your Power of Attorney to someone you absolutely trust.
ATMs, Debit Cards, and Cash
Using an ATM card is by far the easiest way to access your money abroad, and the exchange rate is the most favorable. You can withdraw funds directly from your U.S. account from an ATM in Mexico. ATMs are widely available in Mexico (although they do not always function) and you will receive cash in local currency (pesos).
Some U.S. banks issuing credit cards or ATM cards do not have agreements with Mexican banks. Inquire with your U.S. bank before departure. Before you use your ATM or credit card in a Mexican ATM, ask the cashier if the bank will accept it. If the bank does not accept that type of card, the ATM will keep the card.
Cirrus, Star, or Plus systems can be used in Mexico. There may be a transaction fee involved (inquire with your home bank before departure). ATMs in Mexico frequently require persistence. Having a backup source of funds is strongly advised (e.g., credit card) in case a functioning ATM cannot be located.
Avoid carrying large amounts of cash and withdrawing money from an ATM at night, as robberies near ATMs are common.
UCEAP participants note that having some cash in U.S. currency is convenient for exchanging smaller amounts, and it comes in handy for tips, airport purchases, and airport transfers. Take caution, however, as cash is not a secure way to transport funds.
Credit cards are useful for emergencies, medical or travel expenses, and everyday purchases. Most large stores and restaurants in Mexico honor major credit cards. Visa is the most widely accepted credit card followed by MasterCard. American Express is not widely accepted, but can be used to purchase travelers checks abroad. The Discover card is not widely accepted outside the U.S. and is not worth taking to Mexico.
Some U.S. banks that issue Visa, MasterCard, or American Express cards do not have agreements with Mexican banks. Before you use your Visa or MasterCard as a debit card in an ATM, ask the cashier at the bank if the bank will accept it (non-compatible credit cards can get jammed in ATMs).
Take at least two international credit cards (always leave one at home while in Mexico; if one is lost or stolen, you will have an immediate backup). These credit cards must be in your name, not a parent’s.
Before departure, write down contact numbers you can call while abroad to report a lost or stolen credit card and obtain a replacement. If you lose a credit card or need a card mailed to Mexico, it is best if the credit card company mails the card to your family in the U.S. who can then send it via FedEx or DHL to the Study Center. This way you can track the shipment. In addition, you may want to notify your bank and credit card companies that you will be traveling abroad. This will prevent them from questioning unusual activity.
You may obtain a cash advance with your Visa or MasterCard from a bank offering this service, though this can be an expensive way to access cash. Before departure, find out what fees apply for cash advances. Obtain an international PIN for your credit card in case you need a cash advance after hours. Your PIN is not usually required if the transaction is conducted inside the bank, but you must show your passport.
Parents, friends, or relatives can send you money in Mexico in several ways. The most convenient and inexpensive way is to deposit money in your U.S. bank account so you can withdraw the funds via an ATM. Online banking also makes transfers from one account to another very convenient. Another option is to cable money through a service such as Western Union
, but this is more expensive. Western Union sends money orders but they can be cashed only in a few places.
You are encouraged to take a laptop to Mexico to prepare academic papers, analyze research data, and use the Internet frequently.
If you plan to take a laptop:
- Be certain your laptop is fully insured in case of damage, loss, or theft.
- Carry your proof of purchase with you.
- Do not ship your laptop abroad. The laptop may be held for inspection by customs officials and customs fees are quite costly, even for older laptops.
- Be sure to keep your laptop within reach at all times. Laptops are among the most frequently stolen items from travelers.
- Make sure your computer is equipped for wireless network access.
- Ensure that your laptop is equipped with a built-in voltage transformer that enables it to operate on the voltage used in Mexico (this is a fairly common feature), take adapter plugs, and install the latest antivirus software to minimize hassle.
- Wireless internet is widely available at coffee shops and in restaurants in Oaxaca. The language school and homestays in Oaxaca also have WiFi.
Approximate time difference: add 2 hours
Please share this information with your parents before departure.
CFHI provides local cell phones with 15 pre-loaded minutes for all participants in the program. These phones have a local Oaxaca number, so it is less expensive to call or text a local Oaxaca number than it would be to contact a local Oaxaca number from cell phone that has a U.S. number.
You are provided with your Oaxaca cell phone upon arrival in Oaxaca and are required to return it the night before you depart Oaxaca.
You may choose to use your U.S. cell phone in Oaxaca rather than the local Oaxaca cell phone.
No matter which phone you decide to use, you must keep your contact information up to date within the "Address Abroad While Participating in EAP" section of your MyEAP account.
Note that you will only be in Oaxaca for six weeks, so please keep this in mind if you are having any mail sent to you during your stay in Oaxaca.
You may have letters sent to the language school in Oaxaca:
Becari Language School
M. Bravo #210, Int. Plaza San Cristobal
68000 Oaxaca City, Oaxaca
During your stay in Oaxaca, you will live with local families in pre-arranged homestays organized through CFHI and paid for through your program fees.
Homestays are centrally located in order to facilitate public transportation to classes and rotations. Homestays can house from 2-6 students at a time. You will have your own bedroom within the homestay. You may have either a shared or private bathroom, depending on the homestay.
All homestays include:
- A kitchen, which you can use to cool light meals and store items in the refrigerator
- A dedicated space for studying, either in the student bedroom or other areas of the house. The study area will include a desk and a lamp. Students can also use any of the classrooms at the language school for studying
- One electric fan per room
- An exit that is easily reachable by the participant in case of fire or other emergency, and exit is not locked or blocked at any time.
- A fire extinguisher that is easily accessible and clearly visible and a smoke detector on each floor
All utilities are included in the program fees.
Your host will provide you with two meals per day (breakfast and a late lunch). The cost of these two meals is included in your UCEAP fees. Dietary preferences and food allergies will be communicated to each homestay prior to your arrival in Oaxaca.
Plan to budget about $85-$100 per week for your time in Oaxaca for one meal per day, local transportation, and other incidentals. You should also budget additional funds for any personal expenses you may encounter, such as additional minutes for your Oaxaca cell phone, gifts, tourism, shopping, etc.
UCEAP and CFHI staff will provide information on local transportation during the initial orientation period.
You are responsible for travel expenses associated with arriving to and departing from Oaxaca.
Homestays are centrally located in order to facilitate public transportation to classes and rotations. The Becari Language School is walking distance from all homestays (10-15 minutes). Depending which NGO you are assigned to for your rotation, you may be within walking distance, or a 20-30 minute bus ride. You may also take local taxis. During orientation week in Oaxaca, students will be taken on a bus tour of the various NGO's and instructed, with a map in hand, on how to get to the NGO and back to their homestay via public transportation.
Plan to budget about $85-$100 per week for your time in Oaxaca for one meal per day, local transportation, and other incidentals. You should also budget additional funds for any personal expenses you may encounter, such as additional minutes for your Oaxaca cell phone, gifts, tourism, shopping, etc.
Participating in extracurricular cultural and social activities while on UCEAP is an excellent way to meet people, improve your language skills, and integrate more fully into the Mexican community.
Oaxaca is known throughout Mexico for its handicrafts, food, art scene, colonial architecture, and ancient Zapotec ruins.
Students may choose to organize trips to nearby destinations and take part in cultural activities offered within Oaxaca itself. In the city, enjoy colorful street markets and a lively nightlife.
Examples include Monte Albán, approximately 6 miles outside of the city, a pre-Columbian World Heritage Site dating back to 500 BC or take a tour of local villages each specializing in a traditional folk art including weaving, black clay ceramics, and alabrijes, or brightly colored wooden sculptures.
The city itself, without leaving its limits, offers an endless number of museums, colonial architecture, magnificent churches and cobblestone streets bustling with creative artisans and street vendors.
CFHI works with a very trusted travel agency in the city, Turismo el Convento de Oaxaca
. They can arrange tours for you, including full day tours which allow you visit many sites in one day. Do not make travel arrangements prior to your arrival in Oaxaca City and prior to receiving your course and rotation schedule in Oaxaca City.
Leaving your host city for more than 24 hours?
You are required to complete the online sign out through your MyEAP account.
Click on Travel Signout and complete all required fields. During an emergency (abroad or in the US), it is important for UCEAP officials to know how to reach you so we can help you.
The UCEAP program budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
While you will spend the majority of your program in Oaxaca City, and will need to follow UCEAP and CFHI travel policies, you will need to complete the Travel Signout if you do leave the city for more than 24 hours.
Students with Disabilities
While in Mexico, students with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what they find in the US. Mexican law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, and mental disabilities in employment, education, air travel and other transportation, access to health care, and the provision of other services. However, the law is not effectively enforced.
Public buildings and facilities continue to be in noncompliance with the law requiring access for persons with disabilities, as do most hotels and other tourist facilities.
For more information:
A tourist or student visa does not allow you to work in Mexico.
The LGBT community enjoys strong protections, and many parts of Mexico offer a vibrant environment for LGBT individuals. Despite growing public acceptance, discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity can still occur, especially in rural and underdeveloped communities. Exercise discretion in identifying publicly as LGBT.
For more information,
Know Before You Go
As a UCEAP participant, you are automatically covered by the UCEAP Travel Insurance Policy
anywhere in the world. Coverage begins 14 days before the official start date of your UCEAP program term. Coverage ends 31 days after the official end of the UCEAP program term.
The UCEAP Travel Insurance policy is not the same as your campus or private insurance. Inform yourself before seeking care. Your UCEAP Travel Insurance does not include coverage for preventative care, checkups, and vaccinations.
Read details in Benefits at a Glance
. Familiarize yourself with the coverage, exclusions, and eligibility criteria. You will be financially responsible for any charges for medical services that are not included benefits in the policy and for any charges over an above the “maximum allowable amount”. Your travel insurance policy number is ADD N04834823. It is underwritten by Chubb Insurance Company.
The travel insurance works on a reimbursement basis. There is no deductible or co-insurance.
You can submit a claim for a refund consideration of covered expenses. For more information about the medical claim process
or about non-medical claims
Generally, hospitals around the world, including the US, do not bill insurance companies (unless there is a special arrangement with a local hospital in your UCEAP country). It is the patient's responsibility to inquire with the hospital, at the time of service, and make arrangements to pay any outstanding bills. Payment for medical services abroad is ultimately your responsibility.
For more information refer to your Pre-Departure Checklist, Insurance tab, or the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Insurance chapter
For Questions about Coverage, Benefits, and Claims Status
Contact ACI at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to the UCEAP travel insurance, you will be enrolled in the International Volunteer Card's Plus Plan through CFHI. If you have any questions about this coverage, please contact CFHI.
University of California does not make any representation of warranty with respect to the names of medical providers referenced on this Staying Healthy chapter. The names listed are only a point of reference as the University of California does not recommend or endorse any medical provider on this list.
is a private hospital located in the historic center of Oaxaca, near all of the homestays. Clinica Carmen offers 24-hour Emergency walk-in service and English speaking doctors.
Calle de Mariano Abasolo 215
Centro, 68000 Oaxaca, Oax.
Tel: +52 951 516 0027
Know Before You Go
Inform yourself before you travel. Just as language and currency vary around the world, so does medical care. Know what to do if you get sick.
Read the Health chapter
of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
and your Program Guide for important information to plan for a healthy stay abroad.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Traveler's Health
web page has important information about health risks present in the country where you will be studying.
If you are sick, injured, or have a medical emergency
Seek medical attention and contact the CFHI local staff immediately. They will help you make arrangements with your professors if extended absence from class is expected
Follow basic guidelines to stay healthy
Food and beverage precautions are essential to reduce chance of illness.
- In many areas in Mexico, tap water is unsafe. Do not drink it. Use only boiled, purified, or bottled water.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand gel with at least 60% alcohol. Observe personal hygiene standards.
- Avoid raw or undercooked seafood or dairy products. Limit eating food from street food vendors.
- Take over-the-counter diarrhea medication, such as Pepto-Bismol, with you to Mexico.
It is illegal to bring into Mexico some over-the-counter medicines commonly used in the United States, including inhalers and some allergy and sinus medications. Specifically, products that contain stimulants (medicines that contain pseudoephedrine, such as Actifed, Sudafed, and Vicks inhalers) or codeine are prohibited.
For more information about prescribed medication containing controlled substances, refer to the US Embassy in Mexico website, Information Regarding bringing Medications into Mexico.
If you are currently in treatment in the US, discuss all program details with your doctor so you can work on a plan in case you need to reach out for care. Carry a letter from your doctor (on letterhead) indicating condition, treatment history, and medication regimen, so a local physician can assess your needs.
If you are taking a prescription medication, talk with your prescribing physician before departure about getting the supply you need for the length of your stay. See the Prescription Medications section in this guide.
Cultural adjustment and homesickness are normal. They are usually transitory—lasting a couple of weeks—and do not imply mental illness or an inability to cope. Most students who experience culture adjustment function reasonably well under the stress and are able to keep up with the responsibilities of school and everyday life.
- Do not try to manage alone. Reach out to local staff.
- The UCEAP Travel Insurance Policy covers outpatient visits as any other illness up to $500,000; there is no co-pay or deductible, and you can make an appointment with any doctor. Budget for this expense as you must pay up front and submit a claim to the insurance company for a refund consideration. Doctors, hospitals, and clinics will require you to pay bills at the time of treatment. You must then submit a completed claim form and paid receipts to the UCEAP insurance company. For information about the claims process, access Insurance Claims Process. If you have questions about your UCEAP travel insurance benefits contact ACI at email@example.com.
Students with severe food allergies should take precautions, as the cuisine may include ingredients that can cause anaphylaxis in those affected. A language barrier increases the risks associated.
- Talk with your doctor before departure to discuss how to manage your allergy.
- Research the local cuisine. Learn the names of foods that cause allergies in the local language.
- Wear a medical alert tag with instructions in English/local language.
- Carry medications to treat surprise reactions.
- Tell others about your food allergy.
For more information, read the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Health chapter.
Travel Registration and UCEAP Travel Policy
You are required to register online through the US Department of State with the US Embassy so you can receive emergency messages.
The US Embassy in Mexico City posts additional information about local safety and health issues for US citizens on its website.
Prepare for the program environment and listen to all information issued by UCEAP in California and in Mexico.
The UCEAP Travel Policy for Mexico
restricts travel to specific regions in Mexico. Until further notice, students are prohibited from visiting or conducting research in several locations. Students found in violation of this prohibition will be dismissed. Read the UCEAP Travel Policy
and know which locations you must avoid. Comply with this heightened state of alert, observe all safety measures implemented by the Study Center.
You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.
According to US Department of State, crime in Mexico occurs at a high rate and can be violent. Street crime, ranging from pick-pocketing to armed robbery, carjacking, kidnapping, sexual assault, and extortion are serious problems in most major cities. Be particularly alert on public transport, at airports and in bus stations. Theft on buses is common so keep an eye on your belongings at all times. Pick-pocketing is common on the Mexico City Metro.
Security and your safety will be addressed during onsite orientation. Also refer to the Minimize Risk section in this guide.
Drugs & Alcohol
The use of drugs is strictly forbidden by law. While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country’s laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law.
Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Mexican laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking illegal drugs in Mexico are severe, and convicted offenders can expect heavy fines and long jail sentences of up to 25 years.
Do not leave drinks unattended in bars and nightclubs. Drugs can easily be mixed into drinks when unattended. These drugs can disorient you, dramatically impair your judgment, or cause you to lose consciousness. Once you lose sight of your drink, do not continue drinking.
Carrying any form of marijuana into Mexico, even if it is accompanied by a prescription or medical marijuana license, is a Mexican federal offense and considered as international drug trafficking. Offenders can expect large fines and/or jail sentences of up to 25 years.
Phone Extortion (or Virtual Kidnapping)
Similar to express kidnapping, and also increasingly common, is a crime referred to as “phone extortion.” In these crimes, criminals call a victim and claim to have kidnapped a family member. Then they attempt to secure a quick, and generally small, ransom payment. In a typical scenario, criminals know in advance that a certain family member is away and out of immediate contact, perhaps in a movie theater or on a flight. This way, the person they call cannot quickly verify if the person in question has actually been kidnapped. Callers may also try to obtain information about a person’s relatives or associates in order to extort them as well.
In phone extortion, the caller is likely to press the victim to give over financial data such as bank account numbers, credit card numbers, or the caller may order the individual to wire funds into a stated account. Professional kidnappers, if they have a victim, typically understand that they will have to negotiate with a lawyer, law enforcement official, or professional K&R (kidnap & ransom) specialist. They will typically ask for exorbitant amounts, knowing that they will have to settle for a smaller negotiated amount. Phone extortionists will typically ask for $1,500 to $10,000 dollars.
Handling Phone Extortion
- Designate a secret code ahead of time; a code that you and your family would be the only ones to know. If you get a call, ask to speak to the family member who has been kidnapped—this can establish the reality of the claim. If the caller will not allow this, ask the caller for the code. If this is a real kidnapping case, the criminal will be able to produce the code.
- Immediately call the security hotline to seek advice.
- Do not give financial information to the caller.
- Do not transfer funds to an account given to you by the caller.
The Mexican Constitution prohibits political activities by foreigners. Such actions may result in detention and/or deportation. Avoid all demonstrations and other activities that might be deemed political by the Mexican authorities. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. Demonstrators in Mexico may block traffic on roads, including major arteries, or take control of toll booths on highways. Avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any protests. Seek shelter if you are caught in a large crowd.
Traffic & Transportation Safety
You will encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. Some roads can be poor in some areas of the country. Dangerous curves, reckless driving (ignoring speed limits, lane changes, and/or not stopping at red lights), poorly marked signs, slow-moving or abandoned vehicles, and other obstacles pose road hazards. Limit all road travel to daylight hours throughout the country. Availability of public transport is inadequate.
Never wear expensive jewelry or use electronic devices while using public transportation.
Be particularly alert on public transport, at airports and in bus stations. Theft on buses is common so keep an eye on your belongings at all times. Buses have also been hijacked in conflict areas. Where possible, travel on first-class buses using toll roads, which have a lower rate of incidents than second and third class buses travelling on the less secure free (‘libre’) roads. Most first-class bus companies perform security checks when passengers board the bus. Passengers have been robbed and assaulted by unlicensed taxi drivers including in Mexico City. In Mexico City, use the better regulated ‘sitio’ taxis from authorised cab ranks or ask your hotel concierge to order you a taxi. At airports, use only authorised pre-paid airport taxi services. Women travelling on their own should be particularly alert when travelling on public transport. There have been incidents of rape on urban buses (‘micros’) on routes in the south of Mexico City. Most attacks have occurred early in the morning or late at night. Several serious sexual offences have also occurred in tourist areas outside of Mexico City. Take care even in areas close to hotels, and especially after dark.
Crosswalks, pedestrian lights, and pedestrian bridges are often lacking or inadequate. Many crossings are poorly placed, unsafe, or inaccessible. Be alert when walking, as drivers often fail to obey traffic regulations. Drivers seldom obey traffic laws, often drive recklessly and seldom stop for red lights.
As a pedestrian, it is your responsibility to make yourself visible and avoid dangerous behavior and situations.
- When possible, utilize the sidewalk; if not available, you should walk against the flow of traffic.
- Always obey crossing signals, but make sure to look both ways before crossing into the street. Even if you have the right of way, it is important to realize that vehicles may not always stop.
- Be alert when walking, as drivers often fail to obey traffic regulations. Do not wear headphones or talk on your cell phone while crossing the street.
- Pay attention to your surroundings and take extra care to avoid dangerous situations.
- Familiarize yourself with the earthquake alarm.
- Have a plan. Sketch a floor plan of your home, identifying exits and safe and dangerous areas of each room. Mark safe spots (under doorways, in an inside corner of room, etc.) and dangerous spots (next to large windows, tall furniture, etc.) in each room.
- The best places to be during an earthquake are beneath supported archways, against inside walls and corners, or in doorways. Stay away from windows, hanging objects, mirrors, fireplaces, bookshelves, or tall unsecured furniture. Do not crawl under desks or beds as they could crush you if a heavy load falls on top of them.
- Identify meeting places with CFHI staff.
- Stay informed.
- Refer to the U.S. Embassy, Preparing for Emergencies page.
- Access daily earthquake information within Mexico from the Mexican Servicio Sismologico Nacional or through their Facebook page
Sexual Violence & Sexual Harassment
University of California Policy
Every member of the UCEAP community should be aware that the University prohibits sexual violence and sexual harassment, retaliation, and other prohibited behavior (“Prohibited Conduct”) that violates law and/or University policy. The University will respond promptly and effectively to reports of Prohibited Conduct and will take appropriate action to prevent, to correct, and when necessary, to discipline behavior that violates this Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment. Report to the local partners and/or UCEAP staff if you suspect one of these behaviors has occurred.
Rape and sexual assault continue to be serious problems in resort areas. Many of these incidents occur at night or during the early morning hours, in hotel rooms, or on deserted beaches. Acquaintance rape is a serious problem.
If you encounter any unwelcome sexual advances, unwelcome request for sexual favors, and other unwelcome verbal, nonverbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature by anyone associated with the UCEAP program or at the host institution, report it immediately to the Study Center staff in Mexico City. Past students have reported sexual harassment.
If you are a CFHI participant, report it immediately to CFHI staff.
Street Harassment (Acoso en las Calles)
While verbal harassment disguised as a compliment is not considered by many as sexual, there is a city law specifying that forms of sexual abuse in public places are defined as leering, comments, suggestive gestures, and touching. Even with this law in place, you may encounter street harassment. There is no overall “best” way to respond to every harasser in every circumstance, and you are the only one who can determine the best way to respond in any given situation. Consider all risks in confonting a harasser in the street. The more informed you are about options for responding, the better you can be at making that decision. Machismo remains at the cultural core of Mexico, and women are expected to submit to the everyday sexism they encounter on the streets.
Past UCEAP participants have reported street harassment. If you encounter street harassment in Mexico City, talk to the Study Center staff for advice. If you are a CFHI participant, report it immediately to CFHI staff.
Tips for how to respond to a harasser:for how to respond to a harasser:
- Use strong body language. Look the harasser in the eyes; speak in a strong, clear voice. Do not give mixed signals, show assertiveness and strength.
- Project confidence and calm. Even if you do not feel that way, it is important to appear calm, serious, and confident.
- Do not apologize, make an excuse, or ask a question. Be firm.
- Repeat your statement or leave.
- Do not lose your temper. This type of reaction is the most likely to make the harasser respond with anger and violence.
- Decide when you are finished. Success is how you define it. If you said what you needed to say and you are ready to leave, do so.
- Do not do anything if at any time you feel threatened. Walk away.
Exercise caution when using credit or debit cards. The U.S. Embassy reports instances in which U.S. citizens in Mexico have had their card numbers “skimmed” and the money in their debit accounts stolen or their credit cards fraudulently charged. Skimming is the theft of credit card information by an employee of a legitimate merchant or bank manually copying down numbers, using a magnetic stripe reader, or using a camera and skimmer installed in an ATM.
The risk of physical theft of credit or debit cards also exists. To prevent such theft, the U.S. Embassy recommends to keep close track of your personal belongings and that you only carry what you need. Most restaurants and other businesses will bring the credit card machine to your table so that you can keep the card in your possession at all times. If you choose to use credit cards, you should regularly check your account status to ensure there are no unauthorized transactions.
Educate yourself about fire safety standards in your UCEAP country, as they differ drastically around the world.
Refer to the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Fire Safety section for life-saving information.
UCEAP Contingency Planning
If a local situation requires increased caution or a program suspension and evacuation of participants, UCEAP will activate contingency plans. For security reasons, contingency plans are not public and cannot be shared with anyone except UCEAP officials.
Program Suspension Policy
If the US Department of State or CDC issues a Travel Advisory after the start date of the program term, UCEAP may suspend the program. If time and local security conditions permit, UCEAP will consult with the UC Study Center Director, UC security providers, US Embassy, US Department of State regional and security analysts, other organizations that offer programs in the same country, and area experts to determine the appropriate timeframe for suspending the program and/or for the evacuation of the students from the host country.
The UCEAP required security evacuation will override any host institution, or local US Embassy evacuation on US government-arranged flights, that require US citizens to sign a promissory note with the government. The safe evacuation of UCEAP students, managed by UCEAP and its experienced security providers, is covered by UCEAP insurance. UC students are required to follow UC safety directives in the event of an evacuation.
What Is an Emergency?
An emergency is a serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action. The following are considered emergencies:
- Any life/death situation
- A traumatic event requiring immediate assistance
- An arrest
- Civil unrest or natural disaster in the host country
In an Emergency
Contact local emergency services first and then contact the following:
If you are in the US
- During office hours (8 a.m.–5 p.m. Pacific Time): Contact your Program Specialist at the UCEAP Systemwide Office at (805) 893-4762.
- After office hours: Call the 24-hour emergency phone numbers at (805) 893-4762 or (805) 882-2086.
If you are Mexico and need immediate local emergency assistance:
Police ..............066, 060, or 080
If necessary, call the after-hours emergency number of the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City: 01-52-55-5080-2000, then press “0” and ask the switchboard operator to connect you to the duty officer.
American Embassy in Mexico City
Paseo de la Reforma 305
06500 Mexico, D.F.
Phone: (01-55 ) 5080-2000
Fax: (01-55 ) 5525-5040
The University of California, in accordance with applicable
Federal and State law and University policy, does not
discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, religion,
sex, gender identity, pregnancy,* disability, age, medical
condition (cancer-related), ancestry, marital status,
citizenship, sexual orientation, or status as a Vietnam-era
veteran or special disabled veteran. The University also
prohibits sexual harassment. This nondiscrimination policy
covers admission, access, and treatment in University programs
and activities. Inquiries regarding the University’s
student-related nondiscrimination policies may be directed to
the campus Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action
* Pregnancy includes pregnancy, childbirth, and medical
conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.