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How to Prepare for Your Study Abroad Program

Studying abroad can be the adventure of a lifetime, but you have to make sure that you are fully prepared before taking off.  Here’s a guide on how to deal with important things such as obtaining your passport and visa, expenses, adapting to a new culture, and what to do before you leave.

Apply for a Passport and Visa

Even for a study abroad program, you must have a valid passport to travel overseas.  Depending upon where you’re traveling to, you might also need a study visa. If you already have a passport, be sure that it won’t expire within at least 6 months of your intended return to the U.S.
If you’re applying for a passport for the first time, you can apply for a passport at selected post offices, federal or state courts of record, or a State Department passport agency.
Because getting a passport can take anytime between 3-8 months to arrive in the mail, be sure to apply for it one!  For an extra fee, you can request express shipping.
To get your passport, be sure to bring with you:

  • A copy of your birth certificate
  • At least 2 recent passport-sized photos (You can visit your local CVS, Walgreens, or another photo-printing location)
  • A state or government-issued identification or a driver’s license
  • Your passport application
  • Payment

Buy Your Plane Ticket

Now that you’ve got your passport, now’s the time to start looking up flight deals.  A good place to start finding a flight for a good deal is Kayak, where you can select your preferred travel dates and compare prices for airline services.
You can also find cheap travel through student travel agencies such as STA Travel and Student Universe that provide inexpensive tickets for students traveling abroad.

Research Your Destination

Once you have an idea of where you plan on spending the next semester away from campus, familiarize yourself with your study abroad country’s culture, geography, government, and more!  You’ll be better equipped knowing more about your host country’s customs and be able to avoid anything culturally offensive.
Also take some time to learn about the country’s language by enrolling in a language class, using apps such as Duolingo, or even asking your fluent friends to teach you.

Get Your Finances in Order

Don’t be stuck overseas and in a jam.  Notify your bank and credit card company that you plan to be abroad, so you will have full access to your money.  Some other expenses to keep in mind include:

  • Housing
  • Transportation
  • Travel on weekends or breaks
  • Entertainment
  • Souvenirs and gifts
  • Emergencies such as medical expenses

Visit a Travel Clinic Prior to Your Departure

Make sure you’re in good health before you get ready to take off!  Visit a doctor that can perform a physical as well as provide you with any necessary travel vaccinations.  Most study abroad programs and medical centers like AFC Urgent Care can advise you on the types of vaccinations you may need (if any) during your studies abroad.

Travel Medicine in South Plainfield, NJ

At AFC Urgent Care South Plainfield, we provide travel medicine and vaccinations for those traveling for a study abroad program, work, or leisure.
Our comprehensive travel medicine program includes:

  • Medicines for malaria, diarrhea, motion sickness, & altitude sickness
  • Required & recommended travel vaccines
  • Medical screenings

For more information about the services we provide, please call to speak with one of our medical professionals at 908-222-3500.