Here at CIE, we want to make sure that a student’s study abroad experience 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 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? Have you checked if there are international transaction fees?
- Do you have the necessary information for how to get to the study abroad site upon arrival?
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 a flight is included in your program. If so, your application will list details regarding airport transfers, departure date, arrival time, etc.
There are specific airfare sites where students are able to get a discounted rate on tickets to various destinations. Research online for these kinds of deals.
When booking a flight it is important that students read and understand the cancellation policies, airline baggage restrictions, etc.
Travel insurance isn’t required, but students are strongly encouraged to purchase separate travel and trip cancellation insurance that would cover unforeseen situations. It is important to read the fine print and understand what is and isn’t covered. Students should also pay attention to how much these packages cost.
The international health insurance policy (CISI) in which all study abroad students are registered does not cover non-medical situations, including, but not limited to, theft of personal property abroad, lost luggage, last minute cancellations, etc.
- Inform banks/credit unions/credit card companies all locations where you will be going abroad, when you will leave and for how long you will be gone. This includes personal travel that takes place outside the program. This will prevent your card from being cut off.
- Research the local money practice. Does your study abroad location use credit cards? Cash? Apple Pay? All of the above? It is a good idea to have some cash on-hand, in case using a card is not an option or it does not work.
- Withdrawing local currency through an ATM will often offer the best exchange rate and is very easy in most locations.
- You should confirm with your bank/credit union/credit card company if there will be international transaction fees, including ATM withdrawal fees.
- There is also the option of taking a small amount of U.S. dollars (~ $100) to exchange into the local currency upon arrival. This can be done at the airport before exiting or at a local bank. You can exchange money before you leave via a bank service as well.
- In case of emergencies, having a credit card that is accepted worldwide or having traveler’s checks can be used as a backup.
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: www.travel.state.gov or USPS.com
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
| Milwaukee Main Post Office: 345 W. St Paul Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53201-5066
| Milwaukee County Court House: 901 N. 9th St. Milwaukee, WI 53233
| North Milwaukee Station Post Office: 5995 N Teutonia Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53209-9998
| North Shore Branch Post Office: 5651 N Lydell Ave Milwaukee, WI 53217-9998
| Shorewood Post Office: 1620 E. Capitol DR. Shorewood, WI 53211-9998
- 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:
- CIE’s passport and visa photos information
- CIE’s steps to get a passport & acceptance facilities
- U.S. Department of State – Students Abroad
- Information on everything from health to smart travel and from news and alerts to voting abroad.
- U.S. Department of State STEP Program
- The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
- US Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs
- Offers information for U.S. citizens traveling and living abroad, including passport application information, destination-specific information, and travel alerts & warnings
- Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Travel Tips
- Includes information on 3-1-1 liquid rules, prohibited items and more
- UK Foreign Travel Advice
- Travel Guard
- Travel Insurance
- Oanda Currency Converter
- TSA logistics for travelers with disabilities and medical conditions
- Mobility International USA
- Provides resources for students with disabilities planning to travel abroad
- Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree Forum
- Travelers from around the world use this forum to see and give advice on everything from accommodation to culture.
- The Study Abroad Packing List
- Her Campus – The Ultimate Packing List
- Diversity Abroad – What to Pack
- Mobile Passport Control
- An app that allows U.S. citizens and Canadian visitors to use the Mobile Passport app to expedite their entry process into the United States.
- CIA World Fact Book Country Profiles
- BBC World News Country Profiles
- The University of British Colombia – Cultures & Customs
- Resilient Traveling
- Managing Stress & Enhancing your experience abroad – University of Michigan