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Dietary Restrictions

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Dietary Restrictions

Dietary restrictions may include anything from food allergies to chronic health conditions, veganism and vegetarianism, religious guidelines and more. There are many things to consider when studying abroad with a dietary restriction, and we encourage you to research food customs and traditions in your host country before going abroad. It is important to remember that every country will have a different approach to dietary restrictions, so proper research will allow you to set appropriate expectations for your host country.

Planning ahead and being as prepared as possible is key to ensuring your safety when studying abroad with food allergies. Use the prompts below to begin planning your study abroad experience. 

  • Do you speak the language of your country? 
    If NO, be sure you know how to clearly communicate your allergy when eating at local restaurants. 
  • Research common ingredients in the local cuisine.
    For example, do they often use peanut products? Is shellfish a common ingredient? 
  • Consider your living arrangements.
    Will you need access to a private kitchen to avoid contamination? If yes, does your program provide you this option? 
  • Does your allergy require medication?
    Research the availability (and price) of your medication in your host country. For example, how much would an EpiPen cost in your host country? Do all pharmacies readily carry this product? 
  • Do you know the location of the nearest hospital?
    In addition to researching medication and pharmacies, it’s always a good idea to know the location of your local hospital in case of an emergency.
  • Inform staff and friends of your allergy and what an allergic reaction may look like. If you require emergency administration of medication, show them the proper technique. 

Helpful Links:

Studying abroad with a chronic health condition may seem overwhelming, but doing proper research and consulting with your doctor will help you manage your condition in any country. Use the prompts below to begin planning your study abroad experience.

  • Do you speak the language of your country?
    If no, be sure you know how to clearly communicate your health condition in case of emergency.
  • Do you know the location of your nearest hospital?
    Research and write down the location of your local hospital in case of emergency.
  • Are you prepared to manage your condition while abroad?
    Work with your doctor to discuss your medication, how to manage symptoms while abroad, and what to do if your symptoms worsen while abroad. 
  • Will you have access to your medication while abroad?
    Research the availability of your medication in your host country. It is important to research the legality of your medication in your host country and whether you can bring that medication into the country with you.
Helpful Links

Many cuisines around the world focus heavily on meat and dairy products, so it is important to do plenty of research in advance regarding your host country’s cuisine and to set reasonable expectations. Veganism and vegetarianism may not be as widely practiced in your host country as in the US, so use our resources below to begin your research. 

Religious dietary guidelines and restrictions may vary from country to country, so we encourage you to research your host country’s religious and spiritual practices in order to be as prepared as possible. Use our resources below to begin your research. For more information, refer to our section on Religion and Spirituality.

OU Campus Resources

Get connected with OU campus resources! These services can be valuable, even while you are abroad.