Health and Safety

Switzerland is a safe country with health services comparable to the United States. Riva San Vitale is a small, safe town where students feel secure. The U.S. Department of State rates Switzerland as a Level 1 Travel Advisory, the lowest risk level, in which travelers should exercise normal precautions. The Centers for Disease Control recommend travelers are up-to-date on routine vaccinations and there are no specific vaccinations required for entry into Switzerland. The GEO recommends students visit their healthcare provider prior to departure.

When traveling in larger cities, such as Bern and Zurich, you should be aware of your surroundings and take precautions to avoid becoming the victim of a crime. Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, can be common in large cities, especially in crowded public areas such as train and bus stations. Be aware of safety recommendations for other destinations when planning independent travel.

Even though Switzerland is a safe destination, the Global Education Office works to provide you a safe and healthy study abroad experience before you even arrive in Switzerland.

While you’re at the Steger Center, on-site staff continue to support your health and safety. On-site staff can help you pick up medicine from the pharmacy, take you to a doctor, arrange counseling services, and more. The GEO Assistant Director for Global Safety and Risk Management provides additional support from Blacksburg.

CISI Medical and Security Insurance

CISI Insurance is mandatory for all students going abroad and coverage is included in the student program fee. The program coordinators will enroll you; you do not need to enroll yourself. This is your primary insurance coverage specific to overseas travel.

Coverage Includes Coverage Does Not Include
  • Doctor's visits
  • Prescriptions
  • Hospitalization
  • Continuation of Care
  • Medical Evacuation
  • Emergency Evacuation
  • Repatriation of Remains
  • Mountaineering without ropes or guides
  • Hang gliding
  • Parachuting
  • Bungee jumping
  • Racing (horse, car, or motorcycle)
  • Parasailing


We recommend continuing your current insurance coverage even while you are abroad. It may be difficult to re-enroll in the same coverage when you return to the U.S.

Please note that you will be covered by CISI through your official visa dates (for semester-long programs) or your official program dates (for summer programs). If you are traveling independently outside of these dates, you will not be covered by CISI. CISI gives Virginia Tech students the option to purchase an extra month of coverage. If you are traveling independently, we recommend that you enroll in additional travel medical insurance through CISI or another provider.