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stethoscope and passport

Health Insurance

Faculty and Staff: Check with your insurance company regarding their international coverage. Cornell’s endowed health insurance plans (Ithaca campus, Weill Cornell Medicine, and Cornell Tech), administered by Aetna, provide enhanced coverage for international travel.

Students: Whether you have the Student Health Plan or other insurance, all you need to know about insurance abroad can be found on the study abroad page of Student Health Benefits. Students must be covered by an active health insurance policy throughout the duration of their formal experience abroad and any periods of travel before or after. Be sure to review information on how to access care outside of the United States and ensure that you have adequate coverage.

Other study abroad programs may provide or require their own insurance coverage. In most cases, however, this does not meet Cornell’s requirements, so you may need to provide proof of additional coverage. Information about supplemental coverage is available on the study abroad page of Student Health Benefits.

Pre-Departure Travel Health

Visit the Travel Clinic at Cornell Health

Schedule an appointment at Cornell Health's Travel Clinic for pre-travel consultation, immunizations and health information. Disclose any medications you take on a regular basis; there may be contraindications with travel-specific medications such as malaria prophylaxis.

Personal health preparations

Cornell offers a short online course module, Student Travel Health and Safety, for all undergraduate, graduate, and professional students who are planning to travel internationally for academic business.

Health considerations

It is important that you are prepared for international travel and have carefully considered any existing health conditions in consultation with your medical providers. Pre-existing health conditions may be exacerbated by changes in elevation, jet lag, time changes, air quality, etc. If applicable, students should disclose any health issues with trip leaders.

Traveling with medications

  • Pack prescription medications in their original, marked containers.
  • Carry a letter from your attending physician that describes the medical condition and any prescription medications, including the generic name of any prescribed drug.
  • Ensure that your medication is legal in the country/countries where you are traveling by checking with the foreign embassy of that country.
  • Bring enough of your medication to last for the duration of your trip. If your insurance provider will not fill a prescription to last that long, you can try to re-submit with a letter explaining the length and purpose of your trip. If you need to fill a prescription or obtain over-the-counter medication overseas, it may have a different name; look up the international drug equivalencies.
  • Consult TSA guidelines on traveling with medications.

Dietary requirements

If you have any dietary restrictions or requirements that are related to medical conditions, you should discuss your travel plans with your physician. If you are traveling as part of a group, you should also discuss these details with your trip leader.  

Mental health

Traveling can exacerbate any existing or latent conditions. You should meet with your doctor or counselor to discuss how changes such as location, itinerary, demands on your time, language and culture may affect your mental health.

Travelers with disabilities

If you have a disability and you wish to go abroad, planning ahead is essential. Unlike the United States, many other countries do not require disability accommodations. Consult the State Department for information on traveling with disabilities.

Students: review the information for students traveling abroad on the Student Disability Services website and talk with your SDS counselor. 

Relevant Resources

U.S. Centers for Disease Control

UHC Global

Non-Emergency Medical Care

If you require ongoing medical care, you should identify providers and understand your insurance coverage prior to travel.