Congrats! You’ve been accepted to a study abroad program. So, what needs to happen next to make sure your study abroad goes smoothly? Follow the steps below to keep on track towards a great experience abroad!
If somehow you have made it this far and still don’t have a passport, now is the time to act and get one, fast. Find out from the US Department of State what steps you need to take to apply for your passport.
Once you have a passport, you may need to apply for a visa, as well. Programs typically send instructions about visas along with acceptance materials. While some visa processes can be as simple as an online application, others require visiting a consulate (many of which are in Chicago) or sending documents back and forth. Getting appointments and waiting for documents to be processed and sent back and forth can take a while, especially when systems are backlogged. So, we encourage you to familiarize yourself early with what you need to do and get on top of whatever process you will need to follow.
If you plan to receive Truman Scholarships, Loans, or FAFSA Grants or Loans you will need to make sure to complete the appropriate forms below and return them to the Study Abroad Office via email at email@example.com or in person to Baldwin Hall 106.
- All students who want their Truman Scholarships to apply to their Study Abroad charges must complete and return a Study Abroad Scholarship Renewal Form.
- All students who want FAFSA Grants and Loans or the Cultural Loan to apply to their Study Abroad charges must complete and return a Study Abroad Funding Sheet.
- Students receiving the Pershing Scholarship to Study Abroad must complete this form.
- Students applying for the Cultural Loan must complete the full loan application found here.
Pay close attention to the information sent to you in your acceptance packet from your program. Often programs ask students to return various forms or give them additional information. In some cases, a deposit may also be due that must be paid directly to your program, and so you should make sure to arrange for on-time payment to avoid any disruption to your enrollment and participation in your program.
With program providers (e.g. ISEP, CIEE, etc.) you will enter into agreements with them, essentially a registration contract, when you pay your program deposit. Read all information carefully as they outline all policies and procedures. Be sure of your plans to study abroad on the program as there are often withdrawal/cancellation penalties involved and you will be responsible for these charges.
After acceptance to your program, you will receive an email from your Study Abroad Advisor that will include billing details, an explanation of your charges, and information about payment due dates. Please pay close attention to this information and honor the deadlines listed by making the correct payment to Truman’s Cashier. In many cases, students are asked to make an estimated payment based on anticipated program charges and incoming financial aid. Any over-payments will be refunded to the student.
Our Study Abroad Office works with our partner institutions to have as many program charges appear on the student’s bill as possible in order to help maximize the availability of financial aid and scholarships. However, certain charges, deposits, and fees may have to be paid directly to a host institution. Where we are aware of such costs, we will work to help you know what to expect to pay out-of-pocket.
For the purpose of ensuring our office is able to assist in any emergency situation that arises while a student is abroad, you designated emergency contacts and authorized to receive records and information when deemed appropriate by CIEA staff.
The road goes both ways, though. Inform key people in your life (parent, partner, etc.) of emergency contacts at your host destination in case there is some emergency back home and they need to get in touch with you. When you get on site, send your people such information as: your local host institution coordinator’s name, email, etc., the name of the building/location you’re living, room number, nearest landmark, etc., phone number for the nearest police station, etc.
We ask all students studying abroad to make an appointment with a physician before going abroad. This gives you an opportunity to discuss your plans to study abroad, be advised of any necessary vaccinations, and formulate a plan for managing any ongoing health concerns or prescriptions while you are out of the country. Ask your physician to complete our Study Abroad Medical Form.
Students participating in summer/semester direct-enroll and exchange programs will complete this Study Abroad Medical Form and return it to the Study Abroad Office.
Students participating in Faculty-Led programs will complete the Faculty-Led Medical Form.
Faculty-led programs will have their own orientations, specifically designed to address the particulars of their programs. You will be contacted via email regarding meeting time and location.
For confirmed participants in Summer and Semester provider programs participants will be notified of the date and location via email after your application has been approved. At our orientations we discuss both Truman policies and give a general orientation to life, classes, and safety abroad.
Near the end of the term ahead of your study abroad, Truman State’s Study Abroad Office will automatically enroll you in CISI insurance, an international travel and medical insurance policy required by Truman State University for all study abroad participants. Following the enrollment, you will receive details about this insurance policy sent directly to your Truman email address from firstname.lastname@example.org. This email will include instructions on how to access CISI’s online portal where you can print your ID card, view and print the policy brochure, claim form, applicable consulate letters, how to find embassy-recommended doctors and country-specific information through the “Resources and Links” page, as well as how to research up-to-the-minute travel safety information through the “Personal Security Assistance” link. We also encourage you to watch this video overview of CISI Insurance to learn more about this insurance policy and the services it offers you while abroad.
In some cases, students will also be required to enroll in an additional insurance program that is required by their program. In these cases, students will receive information about this insurance directly from their program director.
Students needing to withdraw from their program should complete the following steps:
- Notify your Study Abroad Advisor. It is crucial that you inform the Study Abroad Office in writing of your decision to officially withdraw from your program. You can do so by completing the Study Abroad Withdrawal Form. All withdrawals are final and cannot be reversed.
- Students withdrawing from their programs 45 days or more before the start date of their program will not be assessed any additional charges.
- Students withdrawing within 45 days of the start date of their program will forfeit the Truman study abroad administrative fee ($600).
- Students withdrawing on or after the start date of their program will be charged 100% of their program charges.
- Notify your program provider. Please be aware that your program provider may have their own separate policies and procedures for withdrawals and refunds. The Study Abroad Office cannot guarantee that any money paid to the program provider will be refunded. Fees and penalties for withdrawal from programs will be outlined in your provider’s contract.
- Contact Truman Housing (if needed). A list of students who have been accepted to study abroad will have been sent to Residence Life and will have had their housing cancelled for the semester they will be abroad. Contact the Office of Residence Life (email@example.com) to secure a place to live on campus for the upcoming semester.
- Register for classes on campus. Students who have already been enrolled in a study abroad “placeholder” courses will be dropped from the course by the registrar. Students should then work with their academic advisor to enroll in courses for the upcoming semester.
If you have any questions, please contact the study abroad office (firstname.lastname@example.org , 660-785-4076).
Learn as much as you can about your host country.
Apply for a credit card and debit card that can be used abroad or check with your current banking company to notify them of your travel plans.
Talk to your academic advisor about registration for the semester after you return.
Resident requirement: If eligible, prior to departure from the U.S., a student may apply for graduation to occur in the semester following his or her return to Truman State University. (Due to the delay in receiving grades, it is typically not possible to graduate in the semester concurrent with a study-abroad program.) Studying abroad in a student’s last semester does not require a waiver or special permission to be off-campus.
Visit the Residential Life Office before you leave if you plan to live on campus the semester after you study abroad.
Make arrangements with your landlord and roommates before you leave if you are living off campus.
Update your email address and permanent mailing address with the Center for International Education Abroad.
Buy plane tickets to your host country and back to the U.S.
If you are living with a family in your host country, contact them before you leave.
Check out these pages for useful information on studying abroad:
Do not put all of your eggs in the same basket! You should use a combination of a debit or credit card, traveler’s checks and a small amount of cash to pay for your expenses abroad. Here are some helpful tips.
CREDIT CARD vs. DEBIT CARD
Please remember that credit cards usually charge a very high interest rate on cash transactions. In addition to this they usually start charging an interest rate from the day of the transaction (no grace period). Because each issuing bank has a different set of rules, check with your bank to see what their policies are.
A debit card (also known as a bank card or a check card) is really the best option (as long as you have money in the bank!) because it does not charge you interest on the cash withdrawal and usually allows you for multiple withdrawals during the same week.
Make sure that your debit card works worldwide and call your bank to see about fees for overseas use.
In most if not all countries around the world today you can use a credit card to pay for a wide range of services and to get cash money at an ATM machine or in a bank. The credit card companies also offer the best exchange rates although they do charge a transaction fee for it in most cases. VISA and MASTERCARD are the most widely accepted cards around the world. American Express is also widely accepted. DISCOVER cards are not accepted in most countries outside the United States. Click here for information on credit cards without international transaction fees.
*Truman State University does not sponsor any of these sites or the information presented on them.
In the USA, ATMs make you take your card before giving you your cash. This isn’t so in most overseas locations – and it is common for Americans abroad to forget their ATM card in the machine, or to have the machine “eat” your card because it thinks you forgot it. Get in the habit of taking your card before counting your cash!
- The Cirrus and Plus networks used by Visa and MasterCard offer over 1.5 million ATMs around the world.
- You can locate an ATM for a Visa card by clicking here!
- You can locate an ATM for a MasterCard by clicking here!
- Find an American Express office around the world by clicking here!
TALK WITH YOUR BANKERS
Because each issuing bank has different policies you should check with each issuing bank the following things:
- How much do they charge per withdrawal? Remember that you will probably be charged for cash withdrawal by your credit card issuer AND by the local bank as you are in the U.S.
- Do they charge a currency exchange fee? Most bank charge 2% or more for that service.
- How much money can you withdraw per week?
- Find out what number you should call if you lose your card, have it stolen, or have any other problem? Remember that except in North America, you cannot access a 800 number from abroad, so you need another number. Most Banks print it on the back of the card an International Collect number to call.
- Make two photocopies of your credit cards front and back and leave a copy with someone you trust at home, take the other copy with you and store it in a safe place but not with your credit card(s).
Traveler’s checks are issued by a financial institution and functions as cash but is protected against loss or theft. Traveler’s checks are useful when traveling, especially in case of overseas travel when not all credit and debit cards will be accepted. A charge or commission is usually incurred when a person exchanges cash for traveler’s checks, though some providers issue them free of charge. The charge is minimal averaging $1.00 per $100.00 of traveler’s checks.
You can obtain Traveler’s checks from your bank or a travel agent. Traveler’s checks are available in several currencies, but, usually, you get a better exchange rate if you get Traveler’s checks in U.S. dollars and exchange them in your country of destination.
You should have Traveler’s checks as a backup plan in case you have problems using your credit/debit card, or if you need to pay rent, and/or a deposit upon arrival since there is a limit on how much money you can withdraw from an ATM machine per week.
Bring a minimal amount of money in cash! $200.00 is probably the maximum amount of money that you should carry in cash in U.S. currency. You can change money upon arrival. There are ATMs at most, but not all airports around the world as well as currency exchange offices.
Should you buy foreign currency before arriving in your country of destination? In most cases the answer is no because you usually do not get a good exchange rate, but you can if you want.
Wire transfer is a very safe way to transfer money between the U.S. and your country of destination. You can transfer money from a U.S. bank account to a bank account in the country of destination. However, banks on both side will charge you a fee ($30.00 to $50.00 on the U.S. side alone per transfer) and, in most countries, opening a bank account is often a long process.
You can also transfer money via Western Union and many other emerging services.
HOW TO GET THE BEST EXCHANGE RATE
Center for International Education Abroad
Truman State University
100 East Normal Avenue
Kirksville, MO 63501