» Checklist to Prepare for a Semester Abroad

The following is a checklist of items to think about completing before you go abroad:

Toggle Section

Six Months Before

  • Apply directly to your provider/host institution for your program. You can find these instructions on the Global Gateway in your application.
  • Apply for your passport if you do not already have a valid one. Your passport must be valid for one year upon return from your semester or year abroad.
  • Complete the Global Studies 101 online pre-departure course in Blackboard. This course will prepare you for the cultural undertakings of study abroad. Earn a certificate from Chapman at the completion of the course.
  • Review billing & cost policies for study abroad.  You will NOT pay for your program directly to your provider for included costs. Rather, you will remain a Chapman student and pay Chapman tuition, room, and (sometimes) board, and a $500 study abroad fee through the Chapman Business Office. You may need to pay the provider application fee and damage deposit if required, as well as any supplemental items.
  • Apply for additional scholarships for study abroad.

Three Months Before

  • Apply for a student Visa: Check your host country's Consulate website in the U.S. for the most updated information about visa requirements. Your program provider/host institution may also provide you with resources.
  • Obtain course pre-approvals on your Academic Planning Form: You can use your Preliminary Course Selection sheet that was submitted with your application to determine which courses you plan on taking while abroad.  Your final course approval request will be officially submitted on your Academic Planning Form in the semester prior to your departure, following a meeting with the Academic Advising Center and sometimes your Department Chair.
  • Attend a mandatory pre-departure orientation. You will have a chance to meet other Chapman students going abroad and learn more about how to prepare. There will be more forms that you must complete after the pre-departure meeting in order to study abroad.
  • Most of our study locations do not require any special immunizations. See WHO or CDC for more information on your specific country.
  • View Travel Resources for advice and tips for traveling and living abroad.
  • Purchase your flight. Check with your program providers if they offer group flight options.

One Month Before

  • Make tuition, room, and board (if applicable) payments to the Business Office.
  • Pre-select classes through your provider or host institution. In most cases you officially register for classes at your host institution once you arrive to the study site.
  • Inform financial institution of travel plans so your accounts do not freeze; check to see whether they charge service fees for international transactions or ATM withdrawals.
  • Obtain a small amount of the local currency before leaving or use an ATM at the airport upon arrival.
  • Photocopy any important documents you are taking with you such as your passport, I.D., credit card, and debit card.  Scan copies to yourself and a family member.
  • Register with the U.S. Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to receive updates and information about your host country from the U.S. embassy.
  • Locate the contact information of the closest U.S. Embassy in your host country and places you plan on traveling to in case you need to use any of their services.
  • Set up online banking for access while abroad. Select a Power of Attorney on your account if you choose to do so.

Day Before

  • Pack any valuables in your carry-on, including your passport/visa, money, credit cards, medications, vital toiletries (e.g. contact solution, glasses), and one change of clothes.
  • Place your medication(s) in your carry-on luggage, clearly identified by the label or prescription.
  • Double-check you have all documents you need for your semester abroad.
  • Print out any phone numbers or directions to the provider or host institution you may need while in transit.
  • Pack light, you will have opportunities to purchase clothes and other souvenirs and you will want space in your luggage to bring them home! Almost anything you forget to pack (besides your passport) can usually be purchased in your host country.
  • Say goodbye to loved ones and get excited for the journey of a lifetime!