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TOC: Managing Your Health Abroad

Out-of-Country Medical Coverage

As part of the International SOS Travel Assistance plan, study abroad students have coverage for up to $250,000 in out-of-country medical expenses for treatment for accidents or illnesses that occur while traveling. This coverage will apply up to a maximum of 14 days beyond your program dates if you choose to extend your trip (either before or after).

ISOS is not a comprehensive health insurance plan and cannot cover routine costs.

Note:This coverage does not apply to travel for 100% pleasure purposes (e.g., vacation), but evacuation and assistance services are still covered at all times.

This coverage also does not apply to treatment rendered in the United States.

Some Year or Term Abroad and Non-Yale Summer Abroad programs will also enroll you in a supplemental insurance plan. If you are seeking additional health insurance coverage, visit the Yale International Toolkit.

The Yale Health Plan

If you are studying abroad during the fall, spring, or full year, you will not have coverage through the Yale Health plan during the term(s) you will be abroad. Your coverage will resume the first day you are required to be on Yale campus for the academic session following your study abroad term. If you study abroad in the spring and will be returning to New Haven for the summer, you will have a gap in your insurance coverage. Please contact Yale Health Member Services for more information.

If you are studying abroad during the summer, please note that the Yale Health plan only provides coverage for urgent or emergency care outside of New Haven. Urgent/emergency services are for non-routine or non-preventive conditions needed in order to prevent the serious deterioration of a member’s health following an unforeseen illness, injury, or condition.

Considerations for Pre Existing Conditions

When studying abroad, it is important to recognize that your health may be affected in unexpected ways. Due to changes in your environment—including time zone, climate, food, and water—even well-managed conditions can be more challenging abroad. Studying abroad, like any transition, can bring about an onset, return, or increase in symptoms. 

We strongly recommend that you have a medical examination before you embark on your study abroad experience, especially if you receive treatment for a pre-existing condition. Talk with your primary care physician about specific steps to maintain your healthcare plan and to assess if any special accommodations might be needed abroad. 

We also encourage you to speak with your study abroad program in advance. Disclosing a physical and/or mental health condition to your program staff will allow them to have a plan to assist you in managing your health. It is especially useful to let your program know if you:

  • Need specific accommodations abroad (physical or academic)
  • Are currently taking prescription medication
  • Are being treated for a current mental health or physical condition
  • Have severe allergies

Bear in mind that approaches to, and systems of, health care may be different than what you are accustomed to at home. Bring with you abroad any pertinent health documentation such as immunization records, prescriptions, and eyeglass/contact prescriptions.

Prescription Medication

Make yourself aware of customs regulations regarding medicines brought into your host country. Some medications that are routinely prescribed in the U.S. may be much more heavily regulated in other countries. Any medication you bring into your host country should be kept in its original, well-marked container and be accompanied by a physician's note describing your condition and the necessity of the medication. Your physician should also include the generic name of the drug, as specific brand names may not be available elsewhere in the world. In the event that you cannot bring a supply of medication that will last the entire duration of your program, plan in advance how you can obtain the medication in your host country. Bear in mind that medications cannot be sent by mail.

For more information, talk to your physician, Yale Student Health, International SOS, and your study abroad program. You may also check information about medication on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.


Yale Travel Health or your primary care physician can advise you about any immunizations or other medical support that you might need before and while you are abroad. Whether you use Yale Travel Health or your home physician, please be aware that some vaccinations need to be spaced out in order to be effective, so early planning is essential. Be sure to schedule appointments as soon as possible once you have chosen your study abroad destination. During this appointment, consider not only your study abroad location, but any other countries where you might travel.

Yale Travel Health provides comprehensive pre-travel care including consultation, education, vaccination, travel medications, and, if necessary, referral for medical evaluation. There is a fee for the consultation and for select travel vaccines that are not covered by the Yale Health Plan. Yale Travel Health also offers regional travel information sessions at no charge.

Link: Yale Travel Health Services for Students

Mental Health Resources Abroad & YC3 Program

Through International SOS (ISOS), you have access to mental health support and counseling while studying abroad. This includes up to 5 counseling sessions. Sessions may be offered remotely and/or in-person. Additional sessions may be possible depending on the circumstances. Some Year or Term Abroad and Non-Yale Summer Abroad programs will also enroll you in a health plan that includes additional counseling services. You should contact ISOS by phone or chat if you need to seek mental health support and to arrange these counseling sessions.

While abroad, you continue to have access to the Community Wellness Specialists through the Yale College Community Care (YC3) program. Community Wellness Specialists can talk with you about a number of issues including stress management, communication skills, identity development, time management, LGBTQIA+ matters, approaching difficult conversations, mindfulness, self-compassion, boundaries, relationships, and overall wellness.

Link: Resources