Preparing for Study Abroad
What to Do and What to Bring
Much of the information below also can be found in the Pre-Departure Manuals for Semester/Summer Abroad and the E&H Abroad Faculty-led Programs.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for copies.
These documents are mandatory for travel abroad:
You will need a valid passport to travel outside the United States. Obtaining a passport is your responsibility. It usually takes 10-12 weeks to process a passport application, but please be aware that the process may take longer, especially during peak travel times. Many local post offices will accept applications for passports. See More information to find a location that accepts applications In the Emory area, you can apply for a passport at the Abingdon post office.
You must have the following documents to apply for a passport:
- Two passport photographs (You can get these at CVS, Wal-Mart, Walgreens, or other photo shops that advertise this service.).
- Either an expired passport or proof of US citizenship, typically a certified Birth Certificate. A certified birth certificate generally has an embossed seal (If you need to obtain a certified copy, visit the CDC Center for Health Statistics and choose the state in which you were born. Depending on the state, copies cost about $15). You can also get this from your hometown courthouse records department.
- Proof of identification with photograph (e.g., driver’s license).
- Fee: $135 ($110 + $25 processing fee) for first-time applicants or $110 for renewals.
A travel visa is an official government document that temporarily authorizes you to be in the country you are visiting. Some countries require a visa to gain entry. The visa usually is in the form of a stamp or sticker placed in the passport and is obtained from the country you are visiting. Your program will let you know if obtaining a visa before your travel is necessary and how to get one. Use country-specific information about visas or contact the embassy or nearest consulate of the country(ies) you plan to visit. Most countries will not allow visa application more than 90 days before the date of your planned visit.
Obtaining a visa can be a long and complicated process (weeks to months). You cannot get your visa until you have a passport. Begin the process as soon as possible. You will need an acceptance letter from your host institution before you can apply for a visa.
You may be required to visit the embassy in person to apply for a visa. Make time for this.
Important: If you are traveling on a passport other than a U.S. passport, you should check with the nearest consulate of the country to which you are traveling in order to determine whether a visa will be required. Do this as far in advance as possible and notify the Office of International Education (OIE) of the documentation you will need to apply for your visa. You should check with the local consulate of your home country to determine whether there are any passport or travel regulations of which you need to be aware. You should also investigate whether you will need to apply for a new visa to re-enter the U.S. upon completion of the program.
Health Insurance for Travel Abroad
Any Emory & Henry student, faculty, or staff member who is traveling internationally with an approved E&H program is covered by our EIIA Health Insurance. Study Abroad participants will receive information about this policy in their pre-departure materials. If a student wants to purchase additional health insurance or trip cancellation insurance, please contact the Office of International Education at
For more health information, see: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. State Department — Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad
Site-Specific Country Information & Safety Related Sites
Essential help from the US government, for everything from travel safety advisories to crisis assistance for US citizens abroad, as well as contact information for all US embassies and consulates abroad. Also lists foreign embassies and consulates in the US.
Frequently-consulted parts of this very comprehensive web site include the following:
- Travel Warnings and Advisories
- Tips for Traveling Abroad
- U.S. Customs & Border Control
- Tips for Studying Abroad
- Locate US Embassies and Consulates
- Emergencies and Crises (for crises involving US citizens abroad, the number to call is +1 202-501-4444)
- Traveler’s Checklist
- Information about visas, passports, illnesses & outbreaks in various areas, and many more resources for U.S. travelers
Photocopies of Passport
You need to take a photocopy of the information page of your passport. This is handy in the event you have to replace a lost or stolen passport. Pack these copies in your carry-on bag or a bag you will not have on your person. You should also leave a photocopy of important documents with your family or other people at home.
It is advised that instead of carrying your passport with you at all times, carry a photocopy of your passport and be certain your official passport is in a safe location. The program site supervisor will have suggestions about where to keep your passport during your time abroad.
Most countries have readily available ATMs where you can access cash via your bankcard (with Visa logo) or credit card. Using the ATM is the easiest and least expensive way to get cash. Avoid carrying large amounts of money. Using an ATM card allows you to have someone in the U.S. deposit money in your checking account while you are abroad. Keep the following in mind:
- The transaction will debit the money from your checking account in the United States at that day’s exchange rate. Know the exchange rate before withdrawing money to stay within your budget.
- There are usually transaction fees, and the fees vary significantly. Be sure to call your bank and check on the fees charged per each transaction. For larger transaction fees, be sure to withdraw larger amounts each time to avoid multiple fees.
- Before leaving home, be sure to inform your bank that you will be traveling abroad so that activity in a foreign country does not cause them to close your account due to suspected identity theft.
- Ask your bank about special procedures such as an international PIN number.
- There may be a limit in the amount that you can withdraw at one time.
- A family member should have access to your account from the U.S. in case of access problems.
- ATM cards should be tied to checking (NOT savings) accounts.
- Bring a duplicate card or backup card along with you in case the card gets taken in a teller machine, as can happen anywhere. For example, you may plan to bring your ATM card, but bring a credit card just in case.
- Finding an ATM machine:
- Worldwide MasterCard ATM Locator
- Worldwide Visa ATM Locator
Note: Most European countries have changed to the “chip and PIN” credit card technology. Check with the country where you will study to determine if this is required. Then, check with your bank to find out how to obtain this technology.
Checklist of Copies to Bring
Make at least two copies of these important documents. Leave one copy with your family or loved ones and take the other with you. Keep them separate from the original documents.
- The information page of your passport
- Any entrance visas you may have
- Insurance card
- The numbers from your credit/ATM cards you take with you. Do NOT list the names or expiration dates from these cards.
- The names of the banks and international toll free numbers for credit/debit card replacement (usually found on the back of the card).
- A list of the contents of your wallet
- Prescriptions for medication and eyeglasses, etc.
- Your flight itinerary
Other Useful Resources
- Information for Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) travelers
- Information for women traveling abroad
- Information on Sexual Harassment & Assault While Abroad
Travelers with Special Needs (Disability, etc.)
- U. S. Department of State Information for Persons with Disabilities
- Mobility International, www.miusa.org/
- Moss Rehab Resource Net (Info for Travelers with Disabilities - trains, buses, etc.),
- University of Minnesota Access Abroad
Emergency telephone numbers around the world
CIA World Factbook provides detailed information on geography, people, government, economy, communications, transportation, military and transnational issues.
The SAFETI (Safety Abroad First – Educational Travel Information) Clearinghouse Project creates and disseminates resources to support study abroad program development and implementation, emphasizing health and safety issues.
General Travel Resources
- Currency Converter
- Lonely Planet guidebooks (Good “Getting There And Around” sections for countries and Subway section.)
- Tourism Offices Worldwide Directory
- US Customs Office, Traveler Information - Know Before you Go
- Travlang’s Travel Resources
- Rail Europe has information about point-to-point tickets and rail schedules, in addition to information about Eurail and regional or country rail passes.
- Routes International provides links worldwide for all modes of transportation.
- Sustainable Travel and Study Abroad
Budget Travel Guidebooks & Travel Information
- Frommers Budget Travel Online, www.frommers.com
- Let’s Go guidebooks, www.letsgo.com
- Lonely Planet guidebooks, www.lonelyplanet.com
- Rick Steves’ Europe Through The Back Door guidebooks, www.ricksteves.com
- Rough Guides guidebooks, www.travel.roughguides.com
- South American Explorers Club, www.saexplorers.org/explore
- Tourism Offices Worldwide Directory, http://www.worldtourismdirectory.com
Transitions Abroad magazine, www.transitionsabroad.com
- STA Travel, www.statravel.com is a large student travel agency (the largest, according to STA), with branches worldwide, specializing in student-rate airfares, rail passes, and other products for student travelers.
- www.easyjet.com (cheap flights from the UK to other parts of the UK and Europe)
- www.ryanair.com (same as above)
- AESU Travel, www.aesu.com, is a student travel agency which specializes in student-rate airfares, rail passes, and other products for student travelers, particularly for European destinations.
- Expedia, www.expedia.com, sponsored by Microsoft assists in finding the cheapest airfare. Note that (possibly lower) special-status fares offered by student travel agencies may not be indicated by this site. Site also provides general information country-by-country. May not work with Netscape browsers.
- Orbitz, www.orbitz.com, sponsored by several major airlines, assists in finding the cheapest airfare. Note that (possibly lower) special-status fares offered by student travel agencies may not be indicated by this site.
- Student Universe, www.studentuniverse.com, Online student travel agent with cheap tickets.
- Travelocity, www.travelocity.com, sponsored by the Sabre Company, which provides the databases used by travel agents—assists in finding the cheapest airfare. Note that (possibly lower) special-status fares offered by student travel agencies may not be indicated by this site.
- Mobissimo, www.mobissimo.com, searches many other search engines.
- Cheap Tickets, www.cheaptickets.com
- Priceline, www.priceline.com, will let you search for discount fares, but also has an option where you can name your own price and see if the provider will accept it. May not be able to choose flight times.
- Kayak, www.kayak.com
- Cheap Flights, www.cheapflights.com
- United Airlines, www.united.com
- American Airlines, www.aa.com
- US Airways, www.usairways.com
- Continental Airlines, www.continental.com
- Delta Airlines, www.delta.com
- AT&T Country & city dialing codes (AT&T), www.usa.att.com/traveler/services/codes/index.jsp
- Roadnews, www.roadnews.com, tips for internet connectivity and power for your laptop while traveling.
- Zaptel, www.zaptel.com/, purchase phone cards for international calling.