International SOS 

International SOS is a medical and travel security assistance service provided to University of British Columbia students travelling abroad. The company provides the following services:

  • a website to find extensive health and security information about your destination that you can access before you leave and at your destination
  • an email and mobile app service that will send messages to you with the latest news about developing security or health threats in the region you are visiting
  • doctors and security experts you can call while you are away to get professional medical or security advice over the phone. (Please note if you have an acute illness or injury that requires the care of a physician, you must call your own travel insurance provider first).
  • when necessary, help with emergency medical care that goes beyond the coverage provided by your travel insurance provider.

UBC Students can access the University's membership number by contacting the Student Safety Abroad Advisor at


When the tsunami disaster struck Japan in 2011, UBC assisted 84 of its students there.

As most of the students had already submitted their travel details using the Student Safety Abroad Registry, UBC was able to contact almost all of them within 24 hours of the incident.

Where needed, UBC booked and paid for their return flights, shipped their goods home, reimbursed tuition, and facilitated their course registration, housing, and access to emergency bursaries for their return to UBC.

Every year the university prepares over 1,300 students to mitigate all kinds of risks they may encounter while they’re abroad. Resources such as learning modules, pre-departure breifings, and checklists are all available on this website or by logging in to the Student Safety Abroad Registry.

The Student Safety Abroad Program was created out of the recommendations put forward in UBC’s Student Safety Abroad Policy.

What is the Student Safety Abroad Program?

UBC’s Student Safety Abroad Program supports safe experiences abroad. The Program is based on the requirements outlined in UBC’s Student Safety Abroad Policy.

This is done by:

  • offering advice for assessing and mitigating risks,
  • making it easier for UBC to assist you if you encounter critical incidents,
  • if you’re intending to go to locations with increased travel warnings, offering a clear and simple process for adjudicating your travel proposals,
  • if you’re intending to go to locations with increased travel warnings, providing tools to prepare you for regional hazards.

How does the policy affect me as a student?

The policy applies to you if you’re traveling outside of Canada for university activity – this includes conferences, research, volunteering, service learning, varsity sports, and studying abroad.

In most cases, you will be travelling to regions where all you will need to do is register your travel details, emergency contacts, and review pre-departure materials to prepare you for a safe journey.

If you’re traveling to a location with an increased travel warning, you will need to get permission to travel and undertake additional preparation for risks associated with your location.

For details, visit our Get Started page.