Studying abroad

Some courses may enable you to complete part of your studies abroad.

If you are thinking about this, start your research early. Finding out about the support you can get is hugely important. Speak to your home university’s international office or student support services about your options. Take advice before you go. You will want to think and plan carefully about how you will access medical care and supplies for your type 1 diabetes whilst you’re away.

Here are some websites that will give you information about studying abroad:

Healthcare abroad

Once you have decided where you would like to study, it is useful to find out what healthcare you are entitled to in your host country and research how you will get your diabetes supplies abroad.

Healthcare for studying in the European Economic Area (EEA)

You should apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in writing to study supplying details of where you are going to study and for how long for.

You cannot apply online or on the phone for an EHIC to study in another European Economic Area (EEA) country, you must apply in writing. Visit the NHS website for more information.

If you’re studying in Europe the cover your EHIC card gives you will last the duration of your course. Each European country has a different healthcare system; the NHS website link allows you to access relevant information about healthcare in the country you are planning on studying in.

Healthcare for studying outside the EEA

If you’re going to study in a country outside the EEA, you will not be entitled to healthcare that is paid for by the UK. However, the UK has reciprocal healthcare agreements with some non-EEA countries. If the country you are studying in does have a reciprocal healthcare agreement and you plan to study there for less than six months, you will be entitled to emergency care or immediate necessary treatment during the period of study abroad. Find out more on the NHS website.

Wherever you plan to study, you may also want to make contact with the local type 1 diabetes society in the country you are going to. The society should be able to give you information on how their healthcare system works and how best to obtain type 1 diabetes supplies.


You will probably want to take out additional insurance when you are studying abroad. The level of cover will depend on your individual circumstances.

Visit Year Abroad Insurance for some helpful information on the insurance available for students studying abroad.

If you go on holiday or your course involves a placement abroad remember to take spare equipment and medication. If there is more than a 3-hour time zone difference speak to your healthcare team. Despite increased airline security restrictions, people with diabetes can still carry their blood testing and injection equipment as hand luggage. Ask your doctor or nurse to write a letter explaining your need for injector pens, pump supplies (if you use one) and insulin.

What you need to pack:

  • Insulin
  • Needles
  • Blood glucose monitor/finger pricker/strips
  • Hypo treatment
  • ID bracelet/card/necklace
  • Ketone test strips/sick day rules leaflet
  • Frio bag
  • Letter explaining you have diabetes
  • Safe clip or sharps box
  • Repeat prescription
  • Insurance cover
  • Carbohydrate snacks
  • Healthcare team telephone number – find out the best way to contact your team while you’re away e.g. email, Skype

For more information about travelling and type 1 diabetes, visit our website.