Health, Safety, and Insurance

As part of off-campus study, it is important that students be proactive in taking care of their health and safety prior to, during, and after their journey.  Planning for health and safety is just as important as choosing the program best fit for your needs and interests.  Students will receive pre-departure information from their program, and can obtain additional information about their destination from the U.S. Department of State's Students Abroad website.  Please read this information carefully, and take time to learn about political situations, living conditions, medication restrictions and disability accommodations, and any other health and safety issues relevant to your host country.

COVID-19 UPDATES: Please see our institutional COVID guidelines for the most currently-updated information from the college about COVID-19 and study abroad. If you are going through one of our partner programs or universities, please also carefully read the information they provide you about the changing landscape around COVID safety, modifications, and restrictions in the specific place you will be studying. 

As you prepare to leave campus, we hope that you will also consider the potential emotional stress of off-campus study.  This experience can be a very powerful and positive developmental time that may ultimately lead to increased levels of self-awareness.  However, the life changes associated with off-campus study can also be stressful and confusing, and may potentially exacerbate existing physical and emotional conditions.  If you have any concerns, it is very important that you meet with the staff at the CC Student Health Center or other health care providers to discuss how off-campus study could affect your situation.  Addressing your health issues prior to studying off campus will help you identify those resources that will and will not be available at your program site. 

As a reminder, if you currently receive accommodations through the CC Accessibility Resource Center, please make sure to meet with that office well in advance of departing the U.S., as well as consult closely with your study abroad provider to learn more about what medical or accessibility accommodations are available, and to develop a plan.

Colorado College covers all students traveling abroad on a CC-faculty-led block or semester (except the Latin American Semester on which students are covered by IFSA’s CISI insurance) under our International SOS/University Health Partners (SOS+UHP) policy. In addition, as of the 2021-2022 academic year, some students participating in CC-approved partner programs that do not already cover them with international health insurance will also be automatically enrolled in CC's International SOS plan. This includes students studying on the following partner programs:

  • Aquincum Institute of Technology (AIT) Budapest
  • Budapest Semester in Mathematics
  • ISDSI Thailand
  • Kansai Gaidai Asian Studies Program
  • Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS)
  • School for Field Studies

International SOS provides worldwide assistance and emergency evacuation services for study abroad participants.  The services provided by SOS range from telephone advice and doctor referrals to evacuation by private air ambulance.  Colorado College students have access to country-specific information on the SOS website, including recommended vaccinations, safety and security information, and more. The CC membership number for SOS is 11BSGC000027.  Enter that number in the membership field at the top of the SOS website to access country-specific information.  If you did not get an International SOS card or lost the one distributed at orientation, you can print a new one also from the website using our member number (or make an extra copy to leave with your parents or another responsible party). Note that SOS+UHP only provides coverage outside the United States and, therefore, does not provide coverage for any block or semester taught within the United States.  

University Health Partners provides $500,000 of health insurance abroad with no deductible.  UHP covers prescription medicine that is prescribed in the foreign country at 100% and does not exclude pre-existing conditions. This will be your primary health insurance while you are on a CC course overseas.    

Important notes: 

  • Students are covered by the SOS+UHP insurance one day before the official course begin date to one day after the official course end date.  If you plan to travel independently before or after your course(s), you will need to purchase insurance to cover you during your independent travel.
  • You should maintain health insurance coverage in the United States while you study abroad as study abroad insurance only covers you outside the United States. This will cover you before departure, during any unexpected trips back to the United States, and again when you re-enter the United States. 
  • You must contact International SOS at the number on the card in advance of receiving any care, so they can authorize and coordinate any medically necessary treatment or evacuation while you are outside the U.S. Make sure that you also leave a copy of the card, front and back, or a scan of it with your parents or another responsible party back home, so they can assist with your coordination of care with SOS, should you be unable to call them yourself.

If you are participating in a program through one of our CC partner programs abroad, or on one of our exchanges, you may be covered through your program on their international insurance policy automatically, so please start by checking with them, as this is something many of our partners include health insurance and emergency evacuation and assistance coverage in the program cost. All students should make sure to carefully read any information provided by your study abroad program on health insurance and medical access in the country/school where you will be studying. Sometimes students are automatically covered by the National Health Service of the country they are studying in, or there may be a health center or similar preferred option on campus.

If your program does not provide insurance, CC will enroll you in the International SOS/UHP insurance policy detailed in the section above, for the duration of your program, and we will be in touch with you about your specific enrollment status, to let you know that we have enrolled you. 

Be aware that any insurance that covers you during your study abroad experience (through CC's SOS+UHP coverage plan or through your program provider abroad) is typically only valid during the dates your program is in session. We strongly recommend that you plan to maintain coverage over summer or holiday breaks before and after your program takes place.

Make a plan before you need it as to how you will navigate the health system where you will be studying, because it may be very different from home, and when you are sick is not the time to try to navigate it. Also, it is imperative that you make sure that someone back home also knows the details of your medical coverage while you are abroad, so they can help in the event of an emergency, if you are traveling independently during the program dates, or are otherwise unable to give them this information, and something happens. Many types of emergency/evacuation medical insurance require advance authorization before any services are received, and if the people who care about you don't know what that is or how to access it, that can be a very costly gap.

The Colorado College Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) is designed to be used while you are on-campus and enrolled in at least one on-campus CC course per semester. If you are studying away from CC for an entire semester or year (on a non-CC program only, which is one led by a partner organization or university and not taught by CC professors), you will not be eligible to enroll in SHIP for the semester(s) you are abroad. One exception to this may be if you are studying within the U.S. on one of the CC-approved domestic semester partner programs, then you may be eligible to maintain your SHIP coverage through a special exception; please check with the Center for Global Education & Field Study.

If you are studying away for less than one semester (a portion of a semester, and taking at least one block during that semester at CC) then you may still enroll in SHIP for that semester.

Any student who is enrolled in at least 1 CC on-campus block in a given semester will be required to complete the SHIP waiver or enrollment process; students who enroll in the SHIP in the fall semester AND remain enrolled in at least 1 on-campus course for the spring semester will be automatically enrolled and billed. For Fall Semester Abroad students, this means that they will not be required to complete the waiver/enrollment process for the fall, but will be required to complete the waiver/enrollment prior to their return to campus in the spring. For Spring Semester Abroad students, they will be required to complete the waiver/enrollment process in the fall, but not in the spring; if they enroll in the SHIP for the fall, they will not be enrolled in the SHIP for the spring/summer.

If you need to purchase your own U.S. (domestic) health insurance to cover you during gaps between coverage

SHIP does not offer short-term coverage plans, and while we cannot recommend specific alternatives, you should consider the answers to these questions when looking for short-term health insurance plans:

  • What limits are there on types of care (i.e., mental health, substance abuse/addiction)?
  • Are there excluded illnesses or injuries?
  • Are there exclusions for pre-existing conditions?
  • Does the plan cover the 10 essential benefits outlined on   
  • What are the limits on prescription drug benefits?  Is there an extremely limited formulary (drugs that the policy will cover)?
  • What are the deductible and out-of-pocket limits?  What are the approved networks and differences in cost for in- and out-of-network coverage? (this insurance glossary may be helpful.

Students who are studying off-campus can still access the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC), as well as the new after-hours counseling and support line through the CC Counseling Center. Licensed counselors are available to talk with CC students anytime for emergencies, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Just call the Counseling Center at (719) 389-6093, and press 2 to be put through directly to a counselor.

The SARC can be reached by calling (719) 227-8101, or after hours by calling (719) 602-0960. You may also email

Remember that if you need help identifying a care provider in-country (mental health provider, medical specialty), your program / in-country director or faculty member will have suggestions and information. You can also access the CC International SOS advice line for assistance. See the section above on International SOS and member number. If you have trouble navigating this and need assistance, the Center for Global Education & Field Study can help you identify the right steps to take, to help you stay healthy and safe while off-campus.

All students going abroad should investigate the local resources available to inform you about any risks and hazards, and steps you can take to make it less likely that you will encounter an unsafe situation (and develop an action plan for what to do, in the event of an emergency).

  • The U.S. Department of State puts together country information sheets for every country in the world. Starting with reading the one for the country where you will be studying (and any that you may be visiting) is a good place to get a broad overview of what to expect. There are sections covering Safety & Security, Entry and Exit Requirements, Travel & Transportation, Health, Local Laws, and more. You may also find it helpful to read the consular information sheets from other English-speaking nations such as Canada, Australia, or the United Kingdom, as their take on a country's security situation may vary from the one presented by the U.S. State Department, and it can be helpful to consider multiple sources.

STEP logo.jpg

  • We recommend that all students, staff, and faculty travelling abroad register for their trip with the U.S. Embassy via their STEP Program (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program). When you do, this also automatically signs you up for warnings or alerts that may be triggered by a security or safety situation, whether political, environmental, weather-related, or other.
  • It is important to have emergency phone numbers close at hand in physical form (not just accessible on your cell phone, in case that is stolen or the battery dies. Print out this wallet card and fill in your important, must-have information.
  • Consider the personal safety tips that the Peace Corps gives their worldwide volunteers.

show all / hide all

Report an issue - Last updated: 01/11/2023