Health and Safety

Preparation before Departure

Health Insurance Coverage

All participants are required to have health insurance that provides coverage in Spain and at home. Questions to consider when acquiring health insurance for study abroad:

  • Will the plan cover hospitalization for accidents and illnesses for the entire period while I am abroad? Some policies provided by a parent’s employer may cover medical expenses for brief stays abroad, but not for the full term of a study abroad program.
  • Will the plan cover doctor visits and medication prescribed abroad?
  • Is there a deductible? If yes, how much?
  • Is there a dollar limit to the amount of coverage provided?
  • What are the procedures for filing a claim for medical expenses abroad? Do I need to pay expenses up front and then submit receipts to the insurance company for reimbursement? Students should make sure that they get full information from their policy about how to arrange for routine treatment, medical emergency procedures, and what is required to pay for/be reimbursed for a claim. Many overseas health providers will not process American insurance claims and will expect payment at the time of service so students should have access to a minimum of $400 (either by credit card or traveler’s checks held in reserve for emergencies) in the event that medical treatment is required abroad. Students should be sure to obtain a receipt to submit with their insurance claim for reimbursement upon their return to the US.
  • When does the plan begin and end?
  • Will this insurance cover me in the US for the insured semester if I decide, for medical or other reasons, to return before the end of the program? (If students have a serious accident or illness abroad, they may need to return to the US for further care; it is therefore important that the student carry coverage that applies not only abroad, but in the US during the study abroad period as well.)
  • Does the plan cover pre-existing medical conditions?

Prescription Medications

If a student requires prescription medication, they should bring a supply with them to last the entire time that they will be abroad. Although many medications are available worldwide, they are not always identical in strength or composition to what students take at home. In addition, brand names of the same medication usually differ between the US and Europe. Bring medications in carry-on luggage, in the original containers, along with a letter from the doctor explaining the dosage, why the medication has been prescribed, and why the student is traveling with a large quantity. This is especially important if students enter Spain with medications that are highly controlled due to their tendency to be abused in other contexts.

Note: It is illegal to ship medications to Spain; any medications found will be confiscated and a heavy fine may be assessed.


If a student plans to travel outside of Spain, particularly – given Spain’s proximity – to the continent of Africa, they should be sure that they have had the necessary immunizations. Students can learn about associated health issues through the Centers for Disease Control.

After Arrival in Granada


Students must go to a pharmacy for all medications, including aspirin, as they are not sold in drug stores or grocery stores. Pharmacists in Spain are trained to do over-the-counter diagnoses for minor ailments, so the pharmacy is a good first stop if a student is not feeling well.

Pharmacies are generally open Monday through Friday 9:30-1:30 and 5:00-8:30. “Farmacias de guardia” are designated pharmacies that open all night and on the weekends on a rotating basis. Students can find out which ones are open by checking the list in all pharmacy windows or in the local newspaper.

There are also several 24-hour pharmacies in Granada:

  • Reyes Católicos, 5 tel. 958 262 664
  • Gran Capitán, 9 tel.958 272 125
  • Recogidas, 48 tel. 958 251 290
  • Puerta Real, 2 tel. 958 263 113
  • Periodista José Ma. Carulla, 8 (cerca de Bellas Artes) 958 154 949
  • Avda. Dilar, 16 (Zaidín) 958 811 806

Medical Appointments

Medical appointments can easily be made at numerous health clinics and specialists’ offices throughout Granada. Walk-in services are also available at the Hospital Inmaculada (see information below). Students can consult CASA-Granada staff for the option that best suits their specific needs. In most cases, a student will pay for the consultation up-front and file for reimbursement from their home insurance company by submitting the appropriate paperwork and all original receipts. It is the student’s responsibility to understand how his/her insurance coverage works and to file all reimbursement requests.

Hospital Inmaculada
c/ Alejandro Otero, 8
Tel: 958-187-700 / 958-253-800

Hospital Vithas Granada
Av. Santa María de la Alhambra, 6, 18008 Granada
Tel: 958 80 88 80

Policlínica Granada S.A.P.
C. Alminares del Genil, 7, BAJO, 18006 Granada
Tel: 958 18 33 20


Spain is generally as safe as the U.S., and in some cases safer. As is true of any city, however, there are problems with petty thievery in Granada. Students can avoid many problems by being cautious and remembering the important points listed below about staying safe. While crime, most certainly violent crime, is less prevalent in Granada than in similar-sized cities in the U.S., foreigners are always a favorite target of criminals, so please be mindful of surroundings and belongings at all times.

If an emergency situation related to a student's health or safety occurs during the program, it is important to contact one of the CASA Directors immediately. This includes the unlikely event of a natural disaster (earthquake) or large-scale emergency (terrorist attack, large building fire) in Granada, elsewhere in Spain, or in an area where a student is traveling during the program. If a student can imagine people may be worried about them, they probably are.

Soon after students arrive, their program will give them instructions for how to contact program staff in case of an emergency. CASA Granada staff are on-call 24 hours/day for health and safety emergencies during the program. Since students will be on their own if they travel before or after the official program dates, they should make plans and discuss emergency procedures with their family for use at these times.

Safety Tips

• Travelers using public transportation should be alert to the potential for pick-pockets. Students should be aware if they are jostled, or if there is a sudden commotion, as incidents can be staged to distract people while their possessions are stolen.
• Pick-pockets are often well-dressed, discrete and are experts at what they do. They often attempt to distract their victims by feigning a fall, asking for directions on the street, or otherwise diverting attention.
• Thefts in airports have become very common. Do not lose sight of belongings at any time.
• Do not carry large amounts of money or important documents. If a student needs to carry a lot of money, they should divide it into smaller sums that they can carry in various places.
• Do not openly count or show money. When waiting to pay for something, keep money out of sight.
• Students should be extremely cautious using ATMs and not allow themselves to be distracted.
• Do not put a wallet in the back pocket - one's front pocket is safer.
• Students should leave their passport in a safe place at their residence unless they need it to cash travelers’ checks or for travel. Carry a photocopy for other identification purposes.
• Students should carry backpacks in front rather than on their backs in crowded buses, markets, etc; and always keep a firm grip on one's purse or bag. Do not leave a backpack or pocketbook hanging over the back of a chair or on the next chair in a café. Have the strap wrapped around one's chair leg or otherwise secured.
• Be careful with laptops, iPods, cell phones, cameras, etc. Though one may see others using laptops in parks or plazas (where there may be wifi), it is not necessarily wise to do so.
• Students should keep a record of all credit card information and travelers’ checks numbers in their room. Make note of which checks have been cashed as they are used.
• Be careful with expensive jewelry - if wearing it, conceal it when traveling.
• If students chooses to drink alcohol, they should drink in moderation and keep their wits about them. Never accept a ride (nor to be accompanied) home with a stranger met at a bar.
• It is not safe to walk alone at night, and this is true especially after leaving a club or bar. Always take a taxi right to the door.
• If a student is sexually active, they should use good judgment, take care of themselves and practice safe sex. Obviously, sexual relationships entail the risk of pregnancy and/or sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS.
• Students should not use any illegal drugs while in Spain. Marijuana, hashish, heroin and cocaine are illegal. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking of illegal drugs in Spain are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines.
• If students finds themselves in an uncomfortable or dangerous situation, they should head to a populated public place and ask for the assistance of a police officer. Avoid being alone at night in unfamiliar territory – in the streets, a park, or on a train. If a student ends up alone on a train car, move to another one where other people are sitting.

What to Avoid

The only area of real concern is far up in the northwestern extreme of the city, a neighborhood called “el Polígono de Almanjáyar.” There is no reason for students to go there.

It is not wise to walk alone in any city late at night, and this holds true for Granada. Be particularly cautious around the c/ Elvira area of bars and clubs. Students should always walk in small groups (or take a bus or taxi) and exercise caution at night. Always take a taxi if it is very late, and students should be sure they can explain to the taxi driver where they are going (use big avenues and landmarks to guide the driver).

The rest of Granada is generally safe, and students can walk most places even well into the evening. The general rule is that it is safer when and where there are people around. Students should remember that they are foreign, which makes them more of a target. Unfortunately, many tourists are robbed in the Albaicín neighborhood, even in broad daylight, so it is better not to have anything of value when going there.

Emergency Protocol

A CASA Granada staff member is on-call for emergencies 24 hours/day throughout each semester. Every student will receive an emergency contact card during orientation with the important contact phone numbers both on-site and at their home institutions. In the event of a personal health or safety emergency, a student should call an ambulance first at 112 (when necessary) and then call the on-call director/staff.

In the event of a large-scale emergency (earth quake, terrorist attack, etc.), students should leave all lines of communication open in order to receive instructions from the program directors (and follow them carefully). It is mandatory that each student have a functioning cell phone while in Granada and that the number is registered with the CASA staff. Students must update their contact phone numbers in the event of a lost or stolen phone.

Students must inform CASA staff of their travel plans every time they leave Granada (even for a day) so that adequate measures can be taken in the event of an emergency at that site/destination. Travel dates, destinations, transportation modes, accommodation details and contact numbers must be logged for each trip.

Students should also register with the US Embassy in Madrid via the Smart Traveler Program.

Emergency Contacts

Telephone: Granada Telephone: US
International SOS +1 (215) 942 8479 (215) 942 8479
Emergency phone for CASA Granada +34 972 376 988
Christine Kelly-Vereda 628.183.422 Brown University (401) 863 3555
Inmaculada Correa Flores 672 377 439 Brown Emergency (401) 863 4111
Local Police (Granada) 091 Columbia University (212) 854 5061
US Consulate (Málaga) 952 47-4891 Columbia Emergency (212) 854 5555
Police 092 Cornell University (607) 255 6224
Radio Taxi 958.280.654 Cornell Emergency (607) 255 1111
Fire 080 Dartmouth College TBC
Ambulance 112 Dartmouth Emergency (603) 603 3333
Credit card cancellations (toll free) 900 991 216 Harvard University (617) 496 2722
General emergencies throughout Europe 112 Harvard Emergency (617) 432 1212
Johns Hopkins University (410) 516 7856
Johns Hopkins Emergency (410) 516 7777
Northwestern University (847) 467 6400
Northwestern Emergency (847) 491 3456
University of Pennsylvania (215) 898 9073
Pennsylvania Emergency (215) 573 3333
Vanderbilt University (615) 343 3139
Vanderbilt Emergency (615) 421 1911

Local U.S. Consulate

CASA-Granada's nearest U.S. Consulate Agency is located in Málaga, approximately two hours away by bus.

U.S. Consular Offices are open Monday through Friday, except on American and Spanish Holidays. The Consular Agency works by appointments only. Whenever possible, schedule an appointment by phone before appearing.

Avenida Juan Gómez “Juanito”, 8
Edificio Lucía 1º-C
29640 Fuengirola (Málaga), Spain

Consular Section Office Hours:
Monday-Friday: 10:00-14:00
Tel: 952 47-4891
Fax: 952 46-5189