Health & Safety
Medical Insurance Requirement
Every full-time and part-time student enrolled in an institution of higher learning in Massachusetts is required to participate in a student health insurance program or in a health benefit plan with comparable coverage. This includes students enrolled in the Prague Summer Film Program.
If a student has an alternate health plan with comparable coverage under his/her parents’ insurance, the student may request a waiver from participating in Emerson College’s sponsored student health plan. However, for an alternate health plan to be comparable to the student health plan:
- The plan must provide to the student reasonably comprehensive coverage of health services, including preventive and primary care, emergency services, hospitalization benefits, ambulatory patient services, and mental health services throughout the school year.
- The services covered under the alternate health plan must be reasonably accessible for all health services to the student in the area where the student attends school.
- A health plan through a closed network of providers and accessible only for emergency services is NOT comparable coverage. Students and parents should be aware of this very important fact.
- The burden of proof that the alternate insurance is adequate falls on the student.
Please check with your insurance agent regarding any policy questions or concerns you may have about health benefits while living and traveling in Europe. If you believe your current insurance policy does not provide sufficient medical coverage while out of your state/geographical service area, please research a health insurance plan that does.
If your current plan meets the coverage requirements, please follow instructions for the Student Health Insurance Plan Online Waiver Form.
View information about the Aetna Student Health Plan.
For those students who use the College’s health insurance plan, as part of the plan you are entitled to travel assistance services provided by On Call International. On Call International has extensive college student service experience, including medical evacuation and repatriation coverage and 24-hour medical assistance for members while traveling anywhere in the world.
Payment for Medical Services Abroad
European doctors and hospitals will not accept American insurance for payment of services. You must be prepared to pay for services when you use them. Most American insurance carriers (including Aetna Student Health) will reimburse you for these expenses, so be sure to keep all receipts. You should check with your current insurance agent on plan coverage details and on reimbursement procedures before you leave for Europe.
Emerson College cannot guarantee your safety while abroad.
Traveling and living abroad for Americans is becoming more complicated. Prague is a very safe city to walk around. Everyone uses public transport, even at night. Assaults are extremely rare. As in any city though, the tourist is always a target for the criminal element. We suggest the following to help improve your level of safety while abroad:
- Pay attention to your body language. Cultural differences are often reflected in the way people gesture and carry themselves. Hand gestures can have profoundly different interpretations from one culture to another.
- Pickpockets are skillful, so keep a close eye on valuables at all times.
- Avoid moneychangers on the street: They may pass off counterfeit U.S. dollars and local currency.
- Don't use your back pocket for your wallet and avoid hanging your handbag on your chair in public places.
- Use common sense at ATMs; they attract thieves that watch for tourists.
- Beware of over-charging in restaurants by checking the bill thoroughly.
- There is no standard price for taxi services, but drivers are required to display their prices, usually on the door. In taxis, insist the taxi driver puts the meter on or refuse the ride. Be sure that the meter is running while you are in the taxi. If you really want to take one without a meter, agree on a price before you enter the taxi.
- Guard your handbags, cameras, and laptops against thieves on motorcycles and mopeds.
- Try to fit in. Minimize your “foreignness” in your actions and appearance.
- Do not wear patriotic clothing or participate in patriotic displays.
- Avoid political and religious discussions, confrontations, or arguments.
- Take a photocopy of your passport, credit cards, and bank cards and the numbers you'll need to call if anything is lost or stolen.Keep this information in your room. You should also leave a photocopy of these items with your parents or other responsible family member, so that they can assist you from home, if needed.
- Learn to be an organized traveler. Keep documents safe, but readily available when on the move.
Prague is relatively safe and is an unthreatening city to walk around. Violent crimes in the city centre are rare. The main criminal problem is pickpockets. Thieves tend to operate around the city’s tourist sights and on tram lines (mainly numbers 9, 22, 23). Guard your handbag, wallet, and passport. It is not likely that anything stolen will ever be recovered.
Charles Bridge at night