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How to Prepare for Your Study Abroad Program

study abroadWhile it feels like the semester just ended, if you’re planning to study abroad, now is the time to start preparing for your stays overseas.
Read on for our best tips on how to prepare for studying abroad!

Apply for a Passport and Visa

You must have a valid passport to travel overseas, even if it’s for a study program.  If you already have a passport, be sure that it’s not expired and that it won’t expire within at least 6 months of your intended return to the U.S.
For passport newbies, you can apply for a new passport at selected post offices, federal or state courts of records, or s State Department passport agency.
As it can take anywhere between 3-8 months to get a passport, make sure you apply for it now!  You can always ask for express shipping for an extra fee.
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
  • And payment

In addition to having a passport, you might need a visa to study abroad.  Be sure to look up your intended study program’s destination regulations to see if this is a necessity.

Buy Your Plane Ticket

Now that you’ve got your passport, now’s time to book your flight!  Finding cost-efficient airfare has turned into an art of timing and luck, so a good place to start on finding a decent rate for your flight can be Kayak, which will highlight a comparison of flights for your preferred dates.
There are also student travel agencies such as STA Travel and Student Universe that provide inexpensive tickets for students traveling abroad.  

Research Your Destination

Take some time to better familiarize yourself with your study abroad country’s culture, geography, government – everything!  Your experience will be much more enriched by knowing more about the culture as well as being able to avoid any inadvertent offense.
There’s nothing like immersing yourself in a new culture like learning the native tongue.  Take some time to learn or freshen up your language skills by either enrolling in a class, using apps such as Duolingo, or asking fluent friends for help.
You can also register with the nearest US embassy to make your presence and whereabouts known in case of an emergency.

Get Your Finances in Order

Be sure your finances are taken care of so you’re not caught in a jam while you’re away.  Notify your bank and credit card company that you plan to be abroad. Some other costs you should keep 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 board that plane!  Before you leave, visit a doctor that can perform a physical as well as provide you with any travel immunizations.  Most study abroad programs and medical centers like AFC Urgent Care will advise you on the types of vaccinations you need (if any) while you’re overseas.

Travel Medicine in West Orange, NJ

At AFC Urgent Care West Orange, we provide travel medicine and vaccinations for those traveling for their studies abroad, 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 973-669-5900.