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The Ohio State UniversityOffice of International Affairs

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Independent Pre-Departure Checklist

As you prepare to depart the United States, there are a number of tasks you'll need to complete before you leave. Review the items on this pre-departure checklist to ensure that you have everything in order before you go abroad.

  • Apply for your passport immediately (if you haven’t already done so) and a visa, if required.
  • Complete the online individual travel registration.
  • Read any materials you are given thoroughly.
  • Participate in any pre-departure orientation(s) offered by the program.
  • Complete the Consortium Agreement process for Federal Financial Aid (if applicable.)
  • Work with the Transfer Credit Center to complete the Independent Education Abroad Credit Transfer form.
  • Schedule a Travel Consultation at the Student Health Center (online via My BuckMD Connection or by calling 614-292-4321). You may also choose to meet with another trained travel medical professional. Check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to learn about recommended or required vaccinations for your host country.
  • Plan how to handle your money while abroad. This includes notifying your credit card company and bank of the dates and locations of your travel, being aware of foreign transaction and ATM fees, planning how much money to take and knowing how to access emergency funds if necessary.
  • Review your plan for communicating while abroad. Contact your cell phone provider to arrange an international calling plan for the duration of your program. Alternatively, students may opt to buy or rent a cell phone while abroad.
  • Pay all required fees and clear all registration holds on your university Statement of Account.
  • Familiarize yourself with the history, economy and culture of where you are going.
  • Make copies of important documents (passport, visa, GeoBlue insurance card, prescriptions, credit cards, etc.), both to carry with you and to leave at home.
  • Register with the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
  • If you take prescription and/or over-the-counter medication(s), check with GeoBlue insurance to verify that the medicine is legal to bring into the country. Verify if you can carry enough to last the duration of your trip, plus several days extra in case of travel delays during your return.
  • If you are an international student, consult an immigration coordinator in the Office of International Affairs to make sure your visa and other documents are in order. Be sure to read the FAQ: Study Abroad for International Students.
  • Make sub-leasing plans (if necessary) for your time abroad, as well as housing arrangements for after your return from your study abroad program.
  • Consider visiting Student Legal Services to draft a power of attorney to appoint someone to handle your business and financial matters while you are gone.