Health and Safety
Health and Safety While Abroad
The health and safety of Barnard students while studying abroad is paramount. To this end, each student is required to attend a mandatory pre-departure orientation which covers issues of health, safety, and risk mitigation in detail. Barnard Global works with the Director of Risk Management, and the Columbia University Global Travel Office to assess the safety of study abroad locations, evaluate program approvals, and review travel itineraries.
Parents and family members should note our primary communication will be directly with the student regarding safety concerns. If an emergency occurs abroad, we will communicate with the student’s emergency contact on file as allowed by Federal laws. For questions about communicating about your student while they are studying abroad, please contact the Director of Family Engagement.
All students should contact their health insurance provider to understand their coverage while abroad. Students may continue on the Barnard student insurance plan during the time they are abroad, if they choose. The Barnard student insurance plan provides comparable coverage at out of network rates abroad. More information on travel assistance details included in the student plan can be found here. For questions about the student health plan, contact the Primary Health Care Service Director of Operations.
Many study abroad programs require students to enroll in additional international health insurance which is billed directly to the student.
In most cases, health insurance is not accepted as a form of payment for healthcare abroad. Students should be prepared to pay up front (often in cash) for a visit to a healthcare practitioner. Receipts can then be submitted to their health insurance provider for reimbursement, as allowed by their policy.
All Barnard students are enrolled in International SOS (ISOS) in partnership with Columbia. ISOS provides 24/7 emergency assistance worldwide. Though ISOS is not health insurance, it can assist with urgent medical issues, security and logistical questions, medical advice, or other security concerns which may arise while abroad. ISOS also provides students with comprehensive country information to prepare them for living abroad.
Students enroll in ISOS as part of the mandatory pre-departure orientation. From time to time students may receive updates and alerts from ISOS outlining security incidents or concerns in their city/region abroad. Barnard Global and/or Columbia Global Travel will also check in with the student in this occurrence and request they respond to verify their safety and/or location.
Barnard utilizes the ISOS Global Risk Ratings to make assessments on locations and review approval of program participation. Depending on the Global Risk Rating of their study abroad location, the Director of Risk Management may require a pre-travel itinerary review.
Students are encouraged to have local emergency contact information with them at all times. Barnard students travelling on U.S. passports are also required to enroll in the USDOS STEP program. This program allows the local U.S. Embassy to communicate with citizens regarding regional security issues and provides alerts during critical incidents.
What To Do In an Emergency
- If you need immediate assistance, call the emergency number in your host country. Check the equivalent of 911 in your host country and program the number into your phone. For students in Europe, 112 is a European-wide emergency number you can call.
- When appropriate, call your local contacts in your host country. Make sure to program cell numbers into your phone for your program director and other support staff.
- Be in touch with Barnard Community Safety 24/7 at their emergency line: +1-212-854-6666. They will connect you with study abroad staff on call.
For medical or security concerns, you can also call International SOS using their dedicated scholastic number: +1-215-942-8478 (collect calls accepted).