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Mandatory Pre-departure Orientation
All students studying abroad are required to attend Pre-Departure Orientation. The orientation will provide you with pre-departure information, health and safety advice, and other important preparation materials. You will also learn cultural information and connect with other students preparing to study abroad.  Parents, guardians, and spouses are welcome to attend!

Pre-departure Forms
Once you have been accepted to a program, there will be more application items. Complete the additional Material Submission(s), Signature Document(s), and Questionnaire(s) online.

Apply for Passport and Visa
Passports serve as your international identification papers and allow you to enter other countries legally, as well as return to the United States after your travel is complete.  If you are an American citizen, you must possess a U.S. passport to leave and return to the United States.  International students must gain their passports from their native countries. Not every student who studies abroad will need a visa.  Visa requirements depend on the laws of the country to which you travel, the length of time abroad, and other factors. Please refer to the U.S. Department of State website for more information about the passport application process.  Note that you will be charged a fee for a passport application.

Be sure to apply for your passport early!  The U.S. Department of State may take up to six weeks to process your application or renewal.  It's a good idea to apply for your passport as soon as possible, even before you have decided on a specific program.

Plan Your Budget
There are additional costs associated with studying abroad.  With planning, though, you can have an affordable and safe experience.  Start early calculating your budget and the amount you need to safe to make you study abroad program a reality.

Consider Health & Safety
Whereas you may not think twice about your health and safety abroad, we strongly advise that you plan ahead to ensure that you take every precaution necessary to stay healthy, safe, and happy.  Before you leave the United States, make use of the following resources to prevent illness or crime.

U.S. Department of State Website:
  • Sign up for the SMART Traveler Enrollment Program.  You will receive travel safety advisories and inform the embassy of your location in case of an emergency in the United States or a crisis in the host country.
  • Specific safety information on countries
  • US embassies and consulates abroad
Center for Disease Control:
  • Schedule dental and physical check-ups prior to departure. Discuss any relevant health concerns with physician
  • Review country specific health information on CDC Website
  • Obtain any necessary medications, prescriptions or vaccines

Research the Host Country
You should familiarize yourself with the host county to ease your transition and reduce culture shock.

Get to know your host country

  1. Major religion/spiritual beliefs
  2. Political structure and leaders
  3. Economic conditions
  4. Food preference and rules concerning consumption
  5. Nonverbal communication patterns and gestures
  6. Age and gender appropriate dress styles and behavior
  7. Ideas of what time is and its importance
  8. Conceptions about personal space and privacy
Learn about Diversity Abroad

You should thoroughly research the attitudes and tolerance towards diversity in the host country.
LGBT students may find that some cultures are more accepting, whereas others can be dangerous for free sexual or gender expression.

UMKC LGBTQIA Programs & Services
Gay and Lesbian Wikitravel
NAFSA Rainbow Resources

Students of color
may face more overt discrimination abroad, even in places where they may least expect it.

UMKC Multicultural Student Affairs
PLATO Project
Diversity Abroad

Students with disabilities may find that other countries are not as equipped, physically or psychologically, to accommodate them as many areas in the United States may be. 

UMKC Disability Services
Mobility USA

Women may face starkly different gender norms, either more egalitarian or more discriminatory, when they travel abroad.

UMKC Women's Center