Health and Safety

This page contains a brief overview of important health and safety information for your time in the United States. You will review this information in more detail with program staff during your orientation in Missoula.

What to do in an Emergency

On your arrival in the U.S., you will receive a flip phone that will allow calls within the United States and an Emergency Contact card that will have the cell phone numbers for your program team, other participants, your lodgings, and emergency numbers. We recommend that you keep this card with you at all times while in the U.S.!

If you need Police, a Fire Truck, or an Ambulance: Call 911
Call 9-1-1 (Police, Fire, Ambulance) if you are in trouble or see a crime in progress. It is free to call 9-1-1 from any payphone/phone booth. Try to stay calm and tell the operator what happened. If you are a victim of crime, regardless of how small the crime, it is best to report it to the police.

There are operators available who can speak your language, so let them know your language if that is more comfortable for you.

Campus Police: Call: (406) 243-6131
The University of Montana has a dedicated police force that can also assist you if you need help. Do not call this number if you need an ambulance or a fire truck, or if you are not at the University of Montana campus. Instead, use 911.

Health Information

If you do not feel well during the program for any reason, please let a member of your program team know! We want you to be healthy and happy so that you can enjoy your program.

Common Health Problems

It is common for people traveling internationally to experience fatigue and sometimes headaches or other physical symptoms as a result of jet lag and changes in climate.

Please take good care of yourself during the program! We realize that it is an exciting time, but please be certain to get adequate sleep throughout the program. It is also important to drink lots of water, particularly because Montana has a very dry climate.

Health Insurance

Health insurance is provided through the U.S. State Department for all illnesses that start during the program. It is important that you have health insurance, since the U.S. does not have a nationalized health care system.

In the event of a non-emergency medical situation, please call Elena and she will arrange your care at a local clinic. You will pay a $25 “co-pay” for each medical appointment. In the event of a life-threatening emergency or severe accident, ask someone to call 9-1-1, state your location and what is causing the emergency, then call Elena. When calling 911, expect an ambulance to be dispatched to assist you. Please note that the emergency room is to be used only in the case of a true emergency. There are a number of urgent care clinics available near UM. There is a $75 co-pay for any emergency room or urgent care visit.

Local Clinics

Your program team works closely with several local clinics, including the campus Curry Health Center, local dentists, and local counselors who can provide you with a wide variety of medical services. Please speak with Elena if you feel you need to make an appointment with a doctor. 

Personal Safety

Cash and Valuables

Please remember to always lock your dorm room or hotel room door when leaving. Generally the dorms and hotels are very safe, and it is fine to leave your computer on your desk in your dorm room. We do recommend that you lock your passport and cash in your suitcase at all times. 

Do not carry more cash than you will need with you, as the program cannot replace your per diem and cultural allowance if it is lost, stolen, or spent all at once. We recommend carrying only what you will need for that day and leaving the rest locked in your suitcase in your locked dorm or hotel room.

Do not leave your purse, backpack, laptop, phone or other personal items unattended in public places such as the library or your classroom. If left alone, these items may be stolen or taken to the on-campus Lost & Found or Security office by someone passing by.

Personal Safety

The University of Montana Police Department is dedicated to the safety of everyone on campus. Officers cannot be everywhere, however, so the following are some helpful guidelines: 

  • Always be alert and walk with confidence. Know where you are going and how to get there. Whenever possible plan your route ahead of time or get directions from someone you trust.
  • Be aware of who and what is around you. Trust your instincts and leave uncomfortable situations.
  • At night, walk on well-lit, busy streets and try to be with another person. Avoid isolated areas such as parks, allies, etc.
  • Do not accept rides from strangers or hitchhike. This may be normal in other countries but not the practice in Toronto and most places in Canada.
  • Please do not share cell phone numbers or any other private information with strangers
  • Crime in Missoula is pretty minimal, but please use common sense
  • Be aware of changes in altitude and heat: Protect your body, drink water, eat healthy food, get enough sleep and always have extra clothing layers
  • Do not put metal into the microwave in your dorm or in hotels

Campus Resources and Policies

GrizWalk: Between dusk and dawn, the GrizWalk security team can offer you safe walking and driving escorts to help you return safely to campus. Call (406) 243-2777 to arrange someone to walk with you.

Emergency Phones: Emergency phones are located throughout the University of Montana campus. Those phones are marked by a green light at night, and they will put you directly in contact with University Campus Police.

Emergency Notification System: In the event of an emergency, signs, screens and display boards across campus will indicate the emergency, as well as the actions to be taken for safety. Pay attention for these alerts and warnings.

Additional Information

Tobacco Products: You must be 18 years or older to purchase or use tobacco products in the U.S. Smoking is not allowed in the University of Montana dorms or anywhere on the University of Montana campus. It is also not allowed in most restaurants, hotels, and stores in the United States. 

Alcohol: It is illegal for persons under the age of 21 to possess, purchase or consume alcoholic beverages. It is against university policy to have alcohol in your dorm room if anyone in the room is under 21.

While you are not forbidden from drinking alcohol during your free time if you are over 21 years of age, please drink responsibly. 


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This is a program of the U.S. Department of State, administered by the University of Montana Mansfield Center.