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Pre-Departure Checklist

This list is designed to prepare you for your travel abroad, by providing you with helpful links and recommendations. An extended PDF version of this checklist can be accessed here

❏ Update your passport: Your passport should be valid for at least six months past the end of your travel. Take color photos of your passport ID page and visa (if applicable), bring a physical and electronic copy with you, and leave one with a trusted person.

❏ Obtain a visa (if necessary): The Visa application process can be long, so secure your visa well ahead of your departure date. Check the State Department website for more information on visas.

❏ Complete MCompass requirements: Register your travel, sign up for your GeoBlue health insurance and share your contact information in MCompass. In addition, it is recommended to share a copy of your passport information page in MCompass.

❏ Research your host country: Learn more about the local laws, customs and safety risks in your host country. Also, take into consideration how your social identities may impact your abroad experience.

❏ Obtain immunizations and discuss health concerns with your doctor: Make an appointment with the UHS Travel Clinic or your personal doctor for immunizations and to discuss health risks in your country. The CDC can be a helpful launching point to figure out what you’ll need to your destination.

❏ Utilize GeoBlue: GeoBlue insurance provides many resources on their website about local health concerns, medication translations, and finding local doctors and hospitals while abroad.

❏ Schedule a dental checkup: Visit your dentist prior to departure since dental is not covered by GeoBlue insurance. If you don’t have a local dentist, you can make an appointment at the School of Dentistry.

❏ Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP): The State Department service provides you with information on safety conditions in your host country and will help local embassies contact you in an emergency situation.

❏ Communication: Download WhatsApp to your phone and other devices, as this will be the main way LSA communicates with students abroad, along with email. Make a plan for how you will communicate with your support system back home and learn more about wifi access in your host country.

❏ Prepare your medications for travel: If you take any medications, you will need to obtain a letter from your doctor detailing your medications and why you use them. In addition, you should try to secure a supply of medication that will last for the full length of your trip. See this medication travel guide on how to start this process. Note that medications legal in the U.S. may not be legal in your study abroad destination.

❏ Consider your health needs while abroad: Go through the list of health considerations below and make a plan for how to handle these needs in a foreign country.

  • Disclose medical conditions to on-site partners (optional): In case of emergency, it is important to share important medical information with on-site partners, whether that is an instructor, program facilitator, or a trusted peer. You are recommended to share mental health concerns, allergies, medications, dietary preferences or restrictions, physical disabilities, etc.
  • Emotional wellbeing: Think of strategies to handle the stressors of studying in a foreign country. If you have mental health concerns going in, talk to your support system and doctor about what treatment you might need abroad.
  • Physical health: Do you have physical health conditions that could impact your travel? Discuss with your doctor coping methods to have a successful experience.
  • Allergies and dietary needs: Will you be at risk of exposure to an allergy abroad? What is your plan if you do get exposed? If you have dietary restrictions, will these restrictions be hard to accommodate in your location? What can you do to make sure you are healthy? These are important questions to research and talk about with your doctor.
  • Accommodations: If you require accommodations during your program, make sure to reach out to LSA and SSD to figure out your options. Accommodations are not guaranteed abroad, so do your research early on if possible.

❏ Language preparation: If you do not speak the local language, make sure to learn essential phrases before you travel. If you think you may run into language barrier issues, think about what you can do in that situation and look into the Language Resource Center resources for help.