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Health and Safety

Undergraduate International Travel Policy

In accordance with the new Undergraduate International Travel Policy all students* traveling overseas through a Columbia led, Columbia facilitated and/or recognized program must submit a school sponsorship application 4-weeks prior to departure.
All students on a Columbia-administered or Columbia-approved study abroad program MUST attain school sponsorship approval. All undergraduate students who receive funding from a fellowship listed on the Office of Global Programs website MUST attain school sponsorship approval.
For Columbia undergraduate study abroad students, please note that the information you submit via the Undergraduate Travel Web App is supplementary to the clearance (approval) applications available on the Office of Global Programs website. You must successfully complete both processes in order to study abroad under the auspices of Columbia University.

For an overview of all school sponsorship details and requirements, please review:  On this website, you will be able to also submit your school sponsorship application. Students should do this only after they have been admitted into their study abroad program or fellowship.
It is critical that you thoroughly familiarize yourself with the Undergraduate International Travel Policy and complete all steps outlined on their website. For related questions, contact
*Non-Columbia students, and Graduate students participating in a Columbia-led study abroad program through the Office of Global Programs are also required to complete a school sponsorship application. This policy does not replace any additional requirements from a student’s home school. Students are encouraged to check in with their home school prior to finalizing any travel arrangements.

Medical Forms and Self-Disclosure

Probably the most important step in ensuring your wellness abroad, is by taking stock of your health and well-being and making sure that you will receive the necessary information and support when you are overseas.  It is critical that you be candid in self-disclosing to your study abroad program whatever conditions you have and be proactive in seeking advice and care so that the program can best support you before you depart as well as while you are abroad. Students who acknowledge their conditions and who self-disclose can receive the appropriate care and attention that allows them to successfully study abroad. Do not leave yourself vulnerable to a potential health crisis or breakdown while abroad which may result in you returning home and losing a semester of academic credits and financial aid.

If you have any ongoing conditions (physical, mental, accommodations, etc) that you will continue to address or require support while abroad, please do not hesitate to reach out to your study abroad program and/or your advisor in the Office of Global Programs (the earlier, the better) to discuss them or to ask any questions that you might have about services available abroad

International SOS

All Columbia undergraduates study abroad and students attending Columbia programs, will be entitled to special emergency coverage through International SOS (ISOS). ISOS provides world-wide assistance in the event of an emergency that requires special evacuation and repatriation services or immediate medical intervention. Membership in the program will be provided at no charge to you.  Such services include: 

  • pre-trip information on travel health issues

  • emergency message transmission

  • emergency evacuation

  • medically supervised repatriation

  • companion ticket for medical repatriation

  • medical monitoring

  • online travel security information

All students going abroad should register their trip under "My Trips" at the Columbia member portal for ISOS.

Health Insurance

Students are required to have health insurance while abroad. You are eligible to use your Columbia Insurance while abroad, or you may waive out of Columbia insurance if your family plan meets the criteria set by Health Services. 

Please remember:

  • Verify that your health insurance will cover you throughout the duration of your stay, and how coverage will work abroad.

  • If you regularly take medication, find out if you can bring an entire semester or year of the prescription with you or if it is readily available in country. Make sure to know the generic name for the drug. Many countries have restrictions on how much of a particular drug can be brought into the country at a time.

  • If you are a Columbia student who waived out of the student health insurance plan in the fall but you would like to enroll in the plan because you are studying abroad in the spring, please contact Columbia Health Insurance Office at or by phone at 212 854-3286 before you leave campus. You will need to complete a petition that has to be completed in person at the Columbia Health Insurance Office. You will need to bring proof that you plan to study abroad—ask your OGP advisor for a letter.

Health Services Travel Medicine

Besides contacting your own doctor, health services has information on Travel Medicine. CU on the Road Travel Medicine Program offers information and immunizations for international travel. For more than 20 years, CU On the Road has worked with students, faculty, and staff to prepare for vacation, work, or academic journeys abroad.

Disability Services

The Office of Disability Services (ODS) facilitates equal access for students with disabilities by coordinating accommodations and support services, cultivating a campus culture that is sensitive and responsive to the needs of students.   In addition, we recommend that you consult Mobility International USA for information about having a disability while abroad.


CDC Travelers' Health

Offers information to assist travelers and their health-care providers in deciding the vaccines, medications, and other measures necessary to prevent illness and injury during international travel.

World Health Organization

Country-specific health guidelines for travelers published yearly.

Department of State

The Department of State Web site lists current travel warnings and links to consulates for every country in the world. Please make sure to check with the Department of State for any travel warnings that may be in place for the country where you plan to study and for important information about obtaining visas.