In the 2-3 months before you leave:
- Complete all items in your UMassAbroad account
- Attend a Financial Aid for Study Abroad workshop and complete required Financial Aid paperwork
- Cancel your UMass housing and complete a Housing Eligibility Form if you wish to live on campus when you return
- Submit a completed Senior Year in Absentia Form to the Registrar's Office (if you will be abroad during the last semester of your senior year)
- Complete your program’s enrollment paperwork, which may include housing applications and course selection forms
- Clear any holds on your SPIRE account
- Attend your pre-departure conference and any other orientation(s)
- Apply for a visa, if necessary
- If you have any learning or physical disabilities, contact your host institution/program and your Study Abroad Advisor to request accommodations
- Purchase a plane ticket
- Plan a budget and monitor exchange rates
- Understand your primary health insurance, your UMass International Travel Accident and Sickness Insurance and any coverage your program provides
- Make appointments for routine physical, dental and eye examinations
- Talk to your health care practitioner about your study abroad plans and make arrangements to obtain any prescription medicines you take; many medications common in the U.S. are not available overseas
- Designate someone as your “Financially Responsible Person” in SPIRE and consider giving them Power of Attorney. For more information, contact the Student Legal Services Office
- Give your parents/guardian/spouse information about the program including contact information of the program and/or host institution
- If you will be abroad during an election, arrange for absentee voting
- If you will be abroad during the spring semester, determine how you will complete your FAFSA and file your US state and federal income taxes. For more information, visit the IRS Taxpayers Living Abroad website.
In the 2-3 weeks before you leave:
- Plan how you will get from the airport to the program site and print hard copies of arrival information to take with you (e.g., transportation options, where to report, contact phone numbers etc.).
- Register with the US State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) Non-U.S. citizens should register with their own government
- Notify your bank and credit card companies that you will be using your ATM and credit cards abroad
Packing for your time abroad
The best advice is to travel light. Choose luggage that is easy to carry and travel with. A backpack may be useful for weekend travel.
Use this helpful Study Abroad Packing Checklist as a guide to pick and choose what is essential for you. You should also consult the specific information provided by your program, as well as recommendations from former participants.
After you are done packing, make sure you can manage all of your luggage yourself. Keep in mind that you may need to carry your luggage on uneven surfaces, on and off public transportation, and up and down stairs, so it is important to pack light. Check with your airline for size and weight restrictions on luggage and with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for prohibited travel items.
Expensive or valuable items such as jewelry, iPads, iPhones, and laptops can mark you as a target for pick-pocketing and theft. Safeguard your personal items and don’t leave them unattended.