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Preparing to Leave

I’M ACCEPTED!  WHAT NOW?:

Step-by-Step Guide to Preparing to Leave

 

You did it!  You have been accepted into the program and you are ready to go!  Well, not yet.  There are many other things you have to prepare for before leaving.  Remember to keep in close contact with your program of choice, as they should help you with most of these. But if not, here is a guide for you!

  1. 1. CONFIRM THAT YOU ARE OFFICIALLY ENROLLED INTO THE PROGRAM

-Contact the program you have applied to and ask them what the next steps are.

- Clearly communicate to your program your expectations of them.  Find out how much assistance you will be getting in-country.  Are they helping you find housing?  Will they pick you up from the airport? Will they help you with any in-country needs you have, such as obtaining internet or a phone?  Make sure every little detail is in order.

-Clarify your work schedule and who you will be reporting to.

  1. 2. IF YOU DON’T YET HAVE A PASSPORT, GET ONE!

-Quickly too, as it can take over 6 weeks for it to be issued to you.

-Follow these instructions: http://travel.state.gov/passport/get/first/first_830.html

  1. 3. REVIEW PROGRAM DATES AND BOOK YOUR FLIGHT

-If flight is not included, this means you have to book your own.  Websites such as www.kayak.com and www.studentuniverse.com often give the best prices available.  Try to book your flight 2 months in advance.

-Many airlines offer insurance for your flight.  Get it!  This is important just in case something comes up and you need to change your plans.

-Make sure with your program leader what time you should arrive in country, especially if you are to be met by somebody else at the airport, and what the proper transportation is to get on-site to your new job/internship/volunteer work!

  1. 4. FIND OUT IF YOU NEED A VISA

-Find out EARLY if you need a visa in order to ensure that you will get it on time.

-To find out if you need a visa, you need to search on the country you are going to embassy’s website.  A list of embassy websites can be found here: http://www.state.gov/s/cpr/rls/dpl/32122.htm

  1. 5. FIND OUT IF YOU NEED ANY VACCINATIONS/IMMUNIZATIONS

-Check out the Center for Disease Controls website to find out if you need any vaccinations/immunizations: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/

  1. 6. GET TRAVELER’S INSURANCE

-On the rare chance you get hurt overseas, it is always important to have travelers insurance to keep you covered!  Here is one option: http://www.hthstudents.com/

  1. 7. LEARN ABOUT YOUR DESTINATION

-There are many websites & guides out there that will help you learn more about where you will be living the next few weeks/months.  So go to your local bookstore or try one of the websites below!

http://www.tripadvisor.com/

http://www.culturecrossing.net/

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/destinations

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/

http://www.worldtravelguide.net/

  1. 8. FIGURE OUT HOW YOU ARE GOING TO GET MONEY WHILE ABROAD

-There are many different options for obtaining money while you are abroad.  Depending on how long you are staying, you need to figure out which one is the best for you:

a. Keep your current bank account and use ATM/Credit cards abroad.  ATM fees can be pricey, but if you take out large amounts at once OR talk to your bank, you may be able to figure something out that will work for you.  This is probably your safest bet as this means you will not be carrying around a lot of money at once. Make sure you let your bank know ALL the countries you are travelling to.

b. Open a bank account abroad:  you will need help to do this, research online to see how you would go about it in the country you are going to.

c. Exchange money once you get in the country:  go to a bank or AUTHORIZED exchange bureau to do this.  To check out exchange rates go to: www.xe.com

 

  1. 9. FIGURE OUT HOW YOU WILL CONTACT YOUR FAMILY WHILE ABROAD

-Find out from your program how you will get internet, cell phone, etc.

-Figure out if you want to buy a cell phone abroad or get an international plan

-If you have internet abroad, download Skype to keep in contact with family and friends:  www.skype.com

10. PACK!

-Packing for a long trip can be a daunting experience, but don’t worry- there are many resources out there to help you:

Universal Packing List: http://upl.codeq.info/

http://www.independenttraveler.com/packing/

http://wikitravel.org/en/Packing_list

http://theluggageblog.com/free-downloadable-packing-list/

http://www.studyabroaddomain.com/study-abroad/travel/packing

http://www.uwosh.edu/oie/abroad/handbook/packinglist.pdf

http://www.wordtravels.com/forum/comments.php?DiscussionID=1506&page=1

-Here are some other tips to consider when packing:

a. Pack enough on your carry-on to last you a few days, just in case your checked luggage gets lost.  All important documents & items should be in your carry-on.

b.  Do NOT forget electric converters AND outlet converters.  Both the outlets and wattage are different abroad and it is important you have the right materials to keep your electronics running.

c.  Do NOT forget any chargers for electronics you are bringing.

d.  Bring a pack of small tissues, just in case you go to a bathroom where toiletries are scarce!

e.  Pack liquids in zip block bags and bring extras!  This is to prevent any spillage on the rest of your luggage.

f. Make sure both your carry-on and checked luggage follow your airlines regulations.  Go on their website to find this out.

g. Check what the weather is going to be like!

h. Do NOT overpack!  Remember you can buy things you need in-country also!

11. LEAVE FOR THE AIRPORT!

-Get to the airport AT LEAST 2 hours before your flight is scheduled to depart.

-Make sure you have all your important documents (passport, visa, tickets, itinerary, etc.)

-Make copies of all your important documents and keep them with you AND your family.

-Make sure someone is meeting you at your destination, or you know where to go from there.

Next: Culture Shock: While You Are There

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