Things to Consider
Start reviewing the FSU Pre-departure Handbook for answers to your questions as you plan for study abroad. Check out some of these travel apps you may want to start loading to your mobile devices to help you while you are abroad.
Plan on receiving and gathering lots of information specific to your location and program. Many third-party providers conduct an online orientation you will be expected to complete. Framingham State University requires that you participate in our general pre-departure orientation. The more you prepare, the more successful your experience will be!
Booking your Flights
Most study abroad programs do not provide international flights, so students are expected to take care of their own transportation to and from their host country overseas. If you happen to be enrolling in a study abroad program that does include your international transportation, be sure to communicate with your program to confirm all the details ahead of time. Otherwise, follow these steps to book your own transportation.
- Check with your study abroad program or host institution abroad to verify the exact dates and times of the day when you are expected to arrive at the start of the program, and depart at the end of the program.
- It's usually not a good idea to arrive very early before your study abroad program has begun. You don't yet know anyone in the country, you haven't yet learned the lay-of-the-land, and your host program staff members aren't yet available to provide any assistance to you. If you're planning to pursue any personal travels while studying abroad, it is usually best to plan those travels for your mid-semester breaks, long weekends, and/or for the end of the semester once your academic work is completed.
- If you are planning to travel after the end of your studies, you could book airline tickets with a later return date to allow for this. Remember that you are responsible for all your own expenses after your program has ended, and be sure to consider the length of the student immigration status which you will have in your host country so that you don't unintentionally overstay your allowable time. Talk to the Office of International Programs and your host study abroad program if you have questions about this.
- Once you know the particular dates that you will be departing and returning, visit websites like Google Flights and Student Universe to review available flight schedules and ticket prices. From there, it's also a good idea to check with airline websites directly. As well, you may choose to contact a local travel agency for assistance with finding flights that align with your schedule and budget. Students are advised to shop around for their flights. Always pay close attention to what your ticket includes (are there checked bag fees? are in-flight meals included? etc.).
- Given the uncertainty caused by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, you are advised to purchase a refundable and changeable airline ticket. You can check about the terms and conditions of your itinerary with the website or travel agency that is selling your tickets. In the event that you need to change your return flight to an earlier or later date, changeable tickets will enable you to change your dates without incurring major fees from the airline. Be aware that Framingham State University is not able to provide assistance with airline change fees.
- Share a copy of your international flight itinerary with your study abroad program or host institution so that they know when to expect you. Many study abroad programs offer an airport pick-up service, but only for students who provide their flight information and who arrive during a designated window of time on the program start date.
Other Things To Do before Departure
There are a lot of things to think about before you study abroad and it can be a little difficult to remember everything. Here is a list of necessities which are frequently overlooked before leaving the country.
Don’t forget your medications. If you do have prescriptions or need large quantities or any medications don’t forget to talk with your insurance and get the amount of medication you’ll need while abroad. Sometimes the process can take some time to complete, so be sure you get this figured out ahead of time. And be sure to pack prescriptions in your carry on bag.
How are you getting your money? There are multiple options on banking while abroad. ATM's are everywhere and the most common way to access funds, but be aware of any surcharges your bank may impose. Some banks in the U.S. have relationships with banks in other countries, so it’s always a good thing to ask what your options are. There are also travel credit cards that you can apply for that don't charge international transaction fees. If you apply for a credit card, make sure to get one with a microchip in it if you are going to a European country. But most importantly don’t forget to let your bank know where you will be and for how long! The last thing you want to happen is for your accounts to be frozen once you’re in a different country!
Will you need a visa? Depending on the country you’re traveling to and the amount of time you’ll be spending there, you may need a Student Visa which will allow you to enter and study in the country. The requirements for every country are very different, so you’ll need to research what you need to do or you can go to the study abroad office to have someone help you!
Make a budget plan. This goes along with how you’ll be getting your money. Will you pay for things only with cash or do you plan on using a credit or debit card? It’s good to plan ahead on how you’ll be obtaining and spending your money.
Know simple phrases in the native language. If you’ll be traveling to a country that speaks a language you do not, it’s good to know basic phrases and words. Even if you aren’t fluent, it shows respect for the people and culture of the country you’ll be visiting if you at least try to learn a little of the language and use it.
So those are just a few things to do and think of before you leave the country. Happy travels!