Once your student has chosen a program, applied and been accepted, there is still much work to be done.  There is a great deal of planning and preparation that goes into a semester or year abroad and it is never too early to start.   Preparing to go abroad goes beyond buying a plane ticket and a guide book.  Relocating to another country, under any circumstances and for any length of time, is a major undertaking and the more you can prepare your student in advance, the smoother the transition will be.

Get organized


Every one needs a valid passport (not a pass book) to leave the country and enter another country.  If your student does not already have one, they must apply for one immediately, at least 4 months prior to the start of their program.

Students who have multiple citizenships should notify the Trinity College Office of Study Away since this can effect how they exit and enter the country.


Most countries requir​e students to obtain a student visa but the process varies widely by country.  Students must check in with their program about the visa requirements as soon as they have been accepted. 

International Students

Students who do not have a U.S. passport and citizenship may have different visa requirements for their country and should check in with their study abroad advisor as early as possible.  They must also be aware of the validity of their US visa and have an updated signature on their I-20.

Travel arrangements

Students should plan on getting a roundtrip plane ticket to their program destination.  Most countries will not permit a student to enter the country on a one-way ticket.  If students are unsure of when they may be leaving the program, they can purchase a "flexible return" ticket which allows them to change their return date for a minimal fee.

Students should double check the date they are meant to arrive on the program, allowing for travel time and time changes.  For example, flights to Europe generally fly overnight, leaving the US in the evening and arriving in Europe early the next morning.  Students should NOT plan to arrive early to their program without the okay from their program unless they plan on making their own arrangements for  lodging, food, transport and safety until the program officially begins.


Be sure to have your child get a physical check up before leaving, as well as a dental check up.  Dental care is typically not covered by international insurance plans.

Some countries require vaccines and some vaccines need to be taken several weeks before departure or require boosters so be aware of  this well in advance so your student can plan accordingly.

If your student is on any medication, they should check with the international insurance company and their study abroad advisor about the availability and legality of the medication in the country they are going to.  Some medications prescribed in the US are not legal in other countries (example - Adderall).  Your child should plan to take all the medication they need for their time abroad with them and not count on being able to get more abroad.  It is also not advised to mail medications to your child abroad as it will be stopped and held up in Customs.

If your child wears glasses or contacts, it can be a good idea to bring extras in case anything gets lost or broken.
If your child is seeing any doctors regularly at home, they should talk with them about their plans to be abroad and together research resources abroad should they be needed.

Important information and documents

The Emergency Information page of this section has a list of documents that should be gathered together in advance of the start of the program, in the case of an emergency.

It is also HIGHLY recommended that your child enroll in the STEP program through the US State Department (if they are a US citizen).

Make a financial plan

Create a budget

With so many new and exciting things to see and do abroad, students can easily go through their allotted funds for the semester, in a very short period of time.  Students who have come back from studying away always recommend creating a budget before even going.  Research online the costs of things your child will need (food, laundry​, public transportation, cabs for getting home safely at night) and the various attractions.  Then encourage them to stick to that budget!

Accessing money

Most students who study abroad access their money using their US bank account and debit card, although in some countries it can be easy and beneficial to open a local bank account. The program staff and study abroad adviser will have specific recommendations but some general tips are:

  • Tell banks and credit card companies that your child will be abroad, when and where
  • Make copies of the front and back of all cards (the emergency numbers are on the back in case the card is lost or stolen)
  • Have a back up card or source of money in case their primary source is lost or stolen
  • Know what fees they will be charged by their bank to use the card or make withdrawals abroad
  • Ask the bank or credit card company if they have any agreements with banks abroad that could save you money
  • Advise your student to be vary careful when using ATM machines abroad and only use the ones that are inside a bank and not on the street.  

Think globally

The more informed your student is about the program destination, the more they will get from the experience.  Before arriving at their program, your student should be able answer the following questions about their new temporary home:

1. What is a current important issue in your host country?
2. How do you think this particular issue will impact your study abroad experience?
3. What are some questions and/or concerns you have about your study abroad experience?
4. Who is the leader of your host country and what is their title?
5. What type of government do they have?
6. What is the population of the city and country?
7. Who is a famous author or artist from the country?
8. What type of transportation is available in the city?
9. What is the average income?
10. What is their health care like?
11. What is the name of the major newspaper?
12. What is a traditional meal or food?
13. What are the names of 5 largest cities in the country?
14. What safety information and issues in the country do you know?