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You will have the time of your life! Embrace the culture and be open for adventure. Speak with the office staff because they will always have amazing advice.

Kohner Vugrenes
California State University, Chico

Participant in San Ramón, Costa Rica

 

Pre-Departure Checklist

The following is a suggested Pre-Departure Checklist which is also provided in your USAC Student Handbook.

Preparations

  • Obtain/renew your passport and make sure it is signed and valid for at least six months after your return
  • Obtain a visa, if required
  • Pay remaining program balance or send a copy of your financial aid award letter to the USAC Finance/Accounting Department
  • Determine whether your file with USAC is complete
  • Sign up for the group flight through the USAC-recommended travel agency, if offered, or book your own flight
  • Send your flight itinerary to your USAC Program Advisor; complete your Notification of Arrival form
  • Check your airline for any baggage restrictions
  • Purchase traveler’s insurance for any electronics or valuables you will bring
  • Read your Arrival Update for site-specific arrival instructions and make sure that your parents or other family member has a copy

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Documents to Copy

Make two copies of the items below; leave a copy with a family member or close friend.

  • Passport/Visa
  • Front and back of all credit cards, ATMs/debit cards, and traveler’s check numbers
  • Identification cards
  • Prescriptions (vision and medication)
  • Flight itinerary
  • Arrival Update

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Legalities

  • Register with the US State Department
  • Complete a Power of Attorney form
  • Get information about absentee voting, if applicable
  • Get information about filing taxes abroad, if applicable

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Health

  • Obtain all vaccinations required for the countries where you will be living and/or visiting
  • Get generic prescription medication
  • Have sufficient quantities of prescriptions to last through your time abroad
  • Visit doctor, dentist, and optometrist for a check-up

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Insurance

  • Contact the insurance company about extending coverage if you plan to travel before or after your official program dates
  • Obtain letter confirming full-time student status, if necessary for your private insurance plan
  • Obtain additional personal property and personal liability coverage, if desired
  • Purchase traveler’s insurance

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Communication

  • Gather all phone numbers, email, and mailing addresses of friends and family
  • Gather phone numbers and email addresses of your home university advisors, financial aid office, and registrar
  • Note the on-site staff ’s contact information in your Arrival Update
  • Determine whether your cell phone will work (if you plan on using it while abroad)
  • Buy an international calling card and/or set up an international calling plan on your home phone
  • Establish an email account that can be accessed from abroad (e.g., Gmail, Yahoo, or Hotmail)
  • Create and test an account with a VoIP internet calling provider to make sure you can connect with whomever you will want to call or video chat
  • Make sure family and friends understand international dialing instructions and have contact phone numbers to reach you while abroad

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Journal/Blog

  • Buy a journal (if you want to record your memories in a written form)
  • Establish an online journal or blog
  • Begin writing in your journal or start blogging prior to departure to capture the entire experience

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Money

  • Contact your bank to make sure your ATM card and PIN will work abroad; if you don’t have a 4-digit PIN, ask how to use your ATM card abroad
  • Learn what fees are charged by your bank
  • Look into theft insurance and replacement policies with your ATM and credit card companies
  • Inform your credit card company and bank that you will be out of the country and making transactions from abroad
  • Research the local currency of the country in which you will be studying/traveling; know the current exchange rate prior to departure
  • Purchase local currency at the international terminal of the airport or from a local bank prior to departure
  • Put together a budget for your time abroad of estimated and fixed expenses
  • Sign up for internet banking option
  • Check with your bank to see if they have any alliances with other international banks to help minimize transaction fees

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Electricity

  • Determine the voltage of the country where you will be living/traveling
  • Purchase voltage converters or kits, if needed

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Course Registration

  • If you are able to pre-register, check your course registration to make sure you are in the correct courses
  • Select the courses you plan to take and some alternatives; get them pre- approved by an advisor at your home institution to determine if they fulfill graduation or degree requirements
  • Purchase required textbooks prior to departure if notified of these books in your Student Gateway account

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Culture

  • Research the country and city in which you will be living
  • Research the local weather for the timeframe you’ll be living abroad
  • Read books on the culture/general area
  • Purchase a guidebook to use abroad
  • Purchase a phrase book and brush up on some basic vocabulary

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Arrival Update

Please remember to bring a copy of the Arrival Update in your carry-on luggage. This update will contain important arrival information as well as contact numbers for the on- site staff. We also recommend leaving a copy of it at home with a family member.

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Important Notes, Email Addresses, and Phone Numbers Home University

  • Study Abroad Advisor:
  • Home University Major/Minor Advisor:
  • Home University Financial Aid Office:
  • Home University Registrar:
  • USAC Central Office: 1.866.404.USAC (toll-free in the US) or 775.784.6569
  • USAC general email: studyabroad@usac.unr.edu
  • USAC Facebook, YouTube, Twitter: …/studyabroadusac
  • USAC Program Advisor:
  • On-site Contact Information*:
  • Nearest Embassy or Consulate at Program Site*:
  • Local Emergency Services at Program Site:

*See pre-departure Arrival Update or Emergency Procedures from on-site orientation

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