Here at CIE, we want to make sure that a students’ study abroad experiences goes as smoothly as possible. We also know that traveling abroad can be daunting and may need a little guidance for planning. Below CIE has put together some helpful information to help get students started.

Questions to Consider:

  • Do you have a valid passport?
  • Have you applied for a student visa? (Required for some short-term programs and most semester programs – this process begins post-acceptance)
  • Do you need to book your own airline ticket?
  • Can the ticket be purchased for the time period needed?
  • Can you change your ticket if needed? What costs will there be if you need to make changes to the ticket?
  • Have you checked airline baggage restrictions?
  • Did you receive your study abroad insurance information?
  • Have you registered with the U.S. State Department STEP program?
  • Have you told your bank/credit union/credit card company that you will be traveling? Checked their international transaction fees?
  • Do you have the necessary information for how to get to the study abroad site upon arrival?
Flights & Travel Insurance

With most of CIE’s study abroad programs, students are generally responsible for booking their own flights to their program locations unless otherwise stated. Check with your Study Abroad Coordinator or the specific program details to see if Check your study abroad program details for departure dates to make sure that you arrive early enough to get settled into your housing.

There are specific airfare sites, students are able to get a discounted rate on tickets to various destinations.

When booking a flight it is important that students read and understand the cancellation policies, airline baggage restrictions, etc.

To help students, CIE hosts information sessions on purchasing flights, flight cancellations, how to deal with lost luggage and more. For more information about dates, times and locations please refer to CIE’s calendar here

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance isn’t required but students are strongly encouraged to purchase separate travel and trip cancellation insurance that would cover unforeseen situations.

The CISI Insurance does not cover theft of personal property abroad, lost luggage, last minute cancellations, etc

  • Take a small amount of U.S. Dollars to exchange into the local currency upon arrival. Students can exchange money before they leave the U.S., or money can be exchanged when students arrive in the host country.
    • This can be done at the airport before exiting or at a local bank.
  • Students also have the opportunity of withdrawing local currency through an ATM which will often offer the best exchange rate and is very easy in most locations.
    • Students should confirm their U.S. bank’s international transaction fees and alert the bank that they will be traveling, so the card does not get cut off.  In addition, swiping debit cards at shops, cafes, grocery stores, etc. is not as common or accepted abroad, so it is important to have cash on-hand.
  • In case of emergencies having a credit card that is accepted worldwide or having traveler’s cheques can be used as a backup.
Cell Phones
  • It is highly suggested that students talk to their cell phone providers to see what cell phone plan works best for them while abroad.
    • Phone calls to and from overseas are expensive. Students should check with their cell phone provider about international plans.
  • Students can purchase an unlocked cell phone that allows students to use an international SIM card while abroad.
  • There are free messaging apps that students can use on their cell phones, tablets or computers. Google Hangout, WhatsApp, LINE, Snapchat, and Skype are just a few of the free apps that can be used to message friends, family, etc.
  • It is important that students research country codes and share them with family so they can call in the event of an emergency.
  • Always share contact information with family, friends, and CIE.

Steps to getting a passport:

  • Complete and print a passport application online or at an authorized passport acceptance facility.
  • Get passport photo(s) taken for the application.
  • Submit the application and photocopies of identification documents at an authorized passport acceptance facility.
  • Find the application and the most up to date information online at: or

The Center for International Education offers passport and visa photo-printing services. For more information please refer to CIE’s Travel Services page.

Milwaukee Area Passport Acceptance Facilities:

Juneau Station Post Office: 606 E. Juneau Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53202-9998
(Phone: 414-289-0811)
 Milwaukee Main Post Office: 345 W. St Paul Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53201-5066
(Phone: 414-270-2142)
 Milwaukee County Court House: 901 N. 9th St. Milwaukee, WI 53233
(Phone: 414-278-4067)
 North Milwaukee Station  Post Office: 5995  N Teutonia Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53209-9998
(Phone: 414-466-3744)
 North Shore Branch Post Office: 5651 N Lydell Ave Milwaukee, WI 53217-9998
(Phone: 414-962-9854)
 Shorewood Post  Office: 1620 E. Capitol DR. Shorewood, WI 53211-9998
(Phone: 414-332-2236)
Packing is usually one of the hardest things to do when thinking about studying abroad. There are many factors that can decide on what to pack. It is important that students consider the following:

  • The location of their program
  • What seasons will they experience while abroad
  • How long they will be abroad
  • The length of the program

However, it is also important to keep in mind that students often purchase additional items (local fashion, souvenirs, etc.) while abroad, so students should leave extra space in their luggage or bring an extra bag in their luggage for the return flight.  Most basic items (toiletries, school supplies, etc.) can be purchased worldwide, so students can bring a small supply to get them started and buy more in-country as needed.

Travel Logistics Resources: