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What You Need To Do If You Are Going To Study Abroad (A College Student Perspective)

What You Need To Do If You Are Going Abroad, Michelle Lewis

The first thing to do after you have been accepted to a study abroad program is apply for a passport or renew your passport (My program recommended your passport expiration be more than 6 months after you plan on leaving your host country. If you are unclear on how to apply for a U.S. passport visit and click on passport; there you will find all of the forms, requirements, fees, and photo requirements. For my program they also gave us information on how to apply for a visa for the host country, it is in your best interest to also carefully read all of their requirements and policies of what the country requires which you can find on their government website.

Before leaving it is important that you know you will need in the country you will be traveling to. One of the most informative websites on safety including crime rates and alerts is You can check to see what is going on in the your host country. They recommend you register for the free Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) on that website which will send you the most current information on your country and advise you if there is an emergency. This website will inform you of the circumstances your host country has. It also lists the emergency numbers for your country.

When traveling abroad it is also best to consult your health-care provider and receive any necessary vaccinations at least 4 weeks before your trip (If less than this still see your provider). When I study abroad I will be going to Switzerland and thus will not have to get any country specific vaccinations. I have traveled to Costa Rica and received recommended vaccinations as a precaution. You can find if your host country has recommended vaccinations on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website

If you are on any prescription medication make sure you bring enough for the duration of your whole stay. Make an appointment with your health-care provider and get them to write a letter on official stationary verifying that the medication is yours. Also I would suggest you bring enough over-the-counter medication for while you are there; such as ibuprofen, allergy medication, tums, aspirin or any other medications you use. Bringing it with you means that you won’t have to buy a brand you are unsure of or pay more for these types of medications. If you wear contacts or glasses be sure to bring enough for the time you are there and you may want to bring an extra pare. Look into the price of contact solution and its availability, as you may want to bring enough of it also.


*Michelle Lewis is from Danville, CA and currently studying Peace Studies, Environmental Science and Sociology at Chapman University. Michelle on Unigo

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