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Pre-Departure Information

Spending time abroad is a serious undertaking, and it is important that our students are as prepared as possible for this exciting experience.  That being said, the Education Abroad Office holds mandatory pre-departure orientation meetings at the end of each semester for our students who will be traveling overseas during an upcoming term.

The pre-departure orientation covers a number of important topics, including but not limited to: health and safety information, credit transfer, cultural preparation, how to maximize your education abroad experience, and opportunities after study abroad. The orientation gives students the opportunity to connect with other students studying abroad, as well as those who have returned from overseas. Pre-departure orientation also provides an opportunity for students to ask questions as they prepare for their international experience.

Students will be given a pre-departure guide during the orientation, which includes topics such as:

  • Registration at ISU
  • Health, Insurance, and Safety Abroad
  • Money and Budgeting
  • Billing, Financial Aid, and Scholarship
  • Passports, Visas, and Important Documents
  • Packing and Travel Preparation
  • Academics and registration Abroad
  • Cultural Orientation
  • Re-entry Information

Pre-departure Checklist

Once you have been accepted into the program of your choice, follow these steps to make sure you have everything in order for your trip abroad.

  • Book your flight.

    • You are responsible for purchasing and providing for your transportation. There are multiple travel sites where students can get good flight deals.
  • Get us copies of the following:

    • Flight Itinerary (Departure and Return dates)
    • Visa Documents
  • Review everything carefully!

    • Most programs have forms to complete and return, such as up-front housing deposits that must be paid to secure accommodations. Once you receive your official program acceptance letter and packet of information, look it over to make sure you don't miss anything.
  • Organize your finances.

    • If you are eligible for FINANCIAL AID, make sure all your paperwork has been signed, arrangements for direct deposit have been made, etc. Loan notes must be signed before you leave and they will be sent to your home address. You may also want to sign a POWER OF ATTORNEY in case your parents need to sign a check for you.
  • Clear all holds on your ISU account.

    • If you don’t do this, you will not be able to register for the following semester while you’re abroad.
  • Plan a budget.

    • A good financial plan will save a lot of headache later. Also, bring several different forms of payment on your trip. Talk with your parents about money and do some research on your specific situation.
  • Contact Residential Life.

    • Only if you need to reserve a room for when you return to ISU.
  • Check your ISU email often.

    • This is the best and easiest way to keep informed as messages are sent regularly to all students going abroad. Also, be sure to check your ISU email for messages about registration, financial aid, bills, etc...
  • Update your immunizations.

    • Different countries require different immunizations. It is your responsibility to find out which immunizations are required. Check out the CDC for more information.
  • Talk with your physician.

    • This is important regarding any medications that you take regularly. It is often possible to get a supply to last the entire time you are away. Your doctor should make a list of the prescriptions you are taking with you and may also need to provide the generic name for the medications you are taking.
  • Read!

    • Read as much as possible about your host country (climate, customs, rules and regulations, currency relative to the dollar).

    • Make two copies of the following: your passport, credit cards, ATM cards, any special visa papers, airplane tickets, and any other important documents. Take a copy with you, store one in a safe place, and leave one at home.
  • Provide your family with contact information.

    • Be sure to give the office’s email address ( and phone number to your parents. If they have any questions while you are away, direct them to the ISU Education Abroad Office. Also, give them the address and emergency contact information of your host housing and host coordinator. The local U.S. Embassy is also a good number to have.
  • Attend the MANDATORY pre-departure orientation.

    • You must attend, but parents/guardians are also encouraged to attend. The date and time will be announced in advance.
  • Download WhatsApp onto your mobile device.

    • In the event of an emergency, this will be used by the Education Abroad Office to contact you.
    • You will be required to provide us with your contact information.
  • Pack your bags and have fun!