What to Know Before you Go
Your journey abroad begins before you even leave campus. Careful planning, exploring logistics, and familiarizing yourself with the country and the culture are just a few of the details you will need to take care of before you even step onto the plane. Following are some helpful links and information to help you begin your journey:
Obtaining a passport
You will want to apply for a passport as soon as possible. Some programs require passports when you apply. Moreover, you will need to do this immediately if you haven't completed this process.
DO IT NOW!
- Check the Education Abroad and International Programs Event Calendar to see when passport services will be on campus.
- Download a passport application; note it takes 6 - 8 weeks to obtain a passport after you apply.
Obtaining a visa
Many countries require that you obtain a visa to enter their country. Make sure you know the rules for your country:
- Check with your program to find out details about the visa process for your particular program. Rules can vary between individual program even within the same country.
- Explore the Visa and Embassy Web Page for links to visa information and embassies in various countries.
- Apply as early as possible; the process can take weeks or in some cases months!
- Be prepared; you may have to travel to places such as New York or Washington D.C., for example to apply for your passport.
- If you have difficulty or an unusual situation, you may want to use a visa service organization to help you with the process. There are fees for this.
Fingerprinting for background checks
- Department of Safety does fingerprinting for students who need to secure background checks in order to study abroad. (Note: not all countries require this - your program provider will alert you if you need fingerprints/background checks)
- You can contact Safety at X 6005 to schedule an appointment to be fingerprinted
- You will want to download a fingerprint card to bring with you to your appointment:
Instructions for securing an FBI background check can be found at:
All students who study abroad must carry insurance that will cover them internationally. Students should:
- Check with their family medical insurance to determine if and how it covers them when they study abroad
- Consider carrying Messiah's student health insurance which does include international coverage.
If you are interested in carrying trip insurance, please check with a travel insurance company. One option is Insure My Trip.com.
Messiah also is an issuing office for International Student Identity Cards. Contact the Intercultural Office for more information on how to apply.
Academic Planning Information:
It is mandatory!
Four sessions will be scheduled; check Education Abroad Events Calendar for more information.
Additional links to help you prepare:
- Study Abroad Student Handbook
- Students Abroad: U.S. State Department
- What's Up With Culture ?
- Culture Shock 101