In order to make the most of your experience abroad, set aside some time to prepare logistically and mentally. Your program provider will begin sharing information and resources with you. 

Pre-Departure Checklist

Pay close attention to these item in addition to your on-campus responsibilities. Refer to the resources from your program provider too!

Make sure that you have a full understanding of all study abroad policies.  You can find policy information here.

Check-in with your insurance provider to understand your coverage abroad.  Keep your U.S.-based insurance.

Most study abroad programs also provide you with emergency medical coverage and medical evacuation coverage in the rare case that you would have to be flown back to the U.S. (or to a different country) for medical treatment. If your program does not provide emergency medical insurance, the Global Learning Office will reach out to you to register you for insurance through GeoBlue.

See your doctor for assistance in obtaining enough medication to last for your entire stay abroad.  You should not wait until the last minute to take care of this.  Insurance clearance can take months. Take a copy of your prescription with you.  If you wear corrective lenses or contacts, make sure to also have your vision prescription and an extra pair of glasses or contacts.

Your study abroad provider will also give you information and documentation to facilitate the visa process.  Some countries may not require a visa to study abroad, but you will want to check in with your program. Follow the instructions given to you by your provider about the visa process. Most importantly, don't delay!  Getting your student visa can take months. 

Inform your bank that you will be studying abroad and traveling so that they can anticipate charges coming in from a different country.  If there is suspicious use of your card, your bank will often put a security freeze on your ATM, debit, or credit cards.  While you have your bank on the line, make sure to find out about any international transaction fees that they may charge for using your bank card or credit card overseas.

The State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) allows travelers to register their travel.  In case of an emergency in your host country, the State Department will know how to reach you and provide you with assistance if necessary. 

Arrange to get an absentee ballot for any elections you will miss while abroad.  You can find information about how to vote by going to https://www.usvotefoundation.org.

Take photos of your passport, your visa, your health insurance card, debit cards, ATM cards, and credit cards, your acceptance letter and any other important entry documents.  Also, take a copy of any prescription or doctor's notes. Keep all the originals in a safe place for travel. Keep them together in a folder, Ziploc bag, or whatever works for you.

Make sure they know how to contact you in case of emergency.  Let them know where you are going and who you are studying with. Discuss how to communicate with one another while you are abroad.

Get informed about its history, customs, important cities, places and politics. The more you know about your host country, the easier your transition will be.  The U.S. State Department country guides can help get you started.

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