Columbia University

Global Travel

Travel Health

Visit your personal physician or a Travel Health Clinic

Columbia University and Columbia University Medical Center offer immunizations, education, and specialized medical expertise for people planning travel of all types — leisure, business, relocation, study abroad, volunteer service, and international adoptions.

Faculty, Staff, Morningside Campus students and those coordinating student trips

Make an appointment with either your personal physician, with a travel health specialist of your choosing, or learn more here about the CU on the Road Travel Medicine Program, which provides both pre- and post-travel medical services.

Medical Center Students

Find more information on the Travel Services page of the CU Medical Center’s Student Health Services (SHS) and make an appointment.

If students do not have their records of a recent physical exam on file, SHS is likely to ask that they return to have a physical exam done prior to travel. In this case, if the student is not covered by the Student Health Insurance Plan, they will be subject to a physical examination fee.

All employees and students are strongly advised to verify their health care coverage prior to travel. Check with your health care insurance provider to ensure that pre-travel vaccinations and overseas medical care are covered, and to receive advice on health care abroad.

Refer to the Health Insurance page for additional information.

Consider disclosing health and disability needs

When and what to disclose

  • With your parents/guardian and physician, assess any physical or mental health conditions that may be adversely affected by travel abroad
  • Then consider self‐disclosing existing health issues to your group leader, the study abroad program, or your university abroad to help them be better prepared to assist you should the need arise


  • If you will require continued therapy, monitoring, or specific support mechanisms, self‐disclose the issues to the program leader well in advance so appropriate accommodations can be arranged

Understand travel's effects on mental health

  • Study abroad can have a significant impact on your mental health
  • Increased vulnerability to loneliness, depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts
  • Existing problems can become worse
  • Treatment for mental health problems can be hard to find outside the U.S.
  • Know that it is very common for students to receive treatment for mental health issues during college and study abroad
  • Consider disclosing voluntarily — Create a support network: disclose mental health conditions to your group leader or advisor before you leave

General resources for travelers

The Travelers’ Health page of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website provides a list of required and recommended vaccinations.

Additionally, Fact Sheets on common diseases, responding to chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear incidents and other health issues, including pandemic influenza, can be found at the Travel page of the  U.S. State Department website.

Visit the web site of the World Health Organization for additional information about infectious diseases abroad. The International Society of Travel Medicine website provides information about travel medicine providers in other locations.

Prescriptions and Medications

  • It’s recommended to take with you copies of all pertinent medical records, and a copy of all prescriptions, including vision. Make sure your prescription includes the generic name of the medication.
  • If a traveler regularly takes medication, they should find out if they can bring an entire semester or year of the prescription with them or if it is readily available in their host country.
  • Also, 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.
  • Medications you are traveling with should be in their original containers and clearly labeled. If you have an existing medical condition and have controlled substances or injectable drugs, it is a good idea to travel with a doctor’s note on official stationary.
  • Keep in mind that some drugs may not be permitted in certain countries — contact your host country’s embassy if you have questions.

If you have any questions, please email us at