All Study Abroad participants must have a valid passport before they travel. In some cases, students will need a passport in order to obtain a visa or residence permit to study abroad. Passports may be due at the time of application or due at a later date. Failure to obtain a passport or submit proof of having acquired a passport by a program deadline may lead to ineligibility to participate in study abroad.
Students with passports that are valid until six months after the program ends will not need a new passport. Students with expired or expiring passports should plan to reapply and do so prior to the study abroad application deadline.
Those needing a U.S. Passport can apply in the Continuing and Global Education office, located in Kremen Education building, room 130. Due to potentially long delays in processing time, you must apply for your passport as early as possible. For more information visit the Fresno State Passport Place
You must be accepted into a study abroad program before you apply for a visa. You will also need to consult with your study abroad advisor and program advisor about your program's requirements. Depending on which country you study abroad in, you may be required to apply for a visa. A visa is a document provided by the country where you will be traveling. It gives permission for you to enter the country. The country issuing a visa typically attaches various conditions of stay, such as the territory covered by the visa, dates of validity, period of stay, whether the visa is valid for more than one visit, etc. In some instances, you may need to apply for a visa in person at a consulate.
If you are not a U.S. citizen, please inform your study abroad advisor immediately. Visa requirements are often different for non-U.S. citizens. If you are an international student, be sure to consult your immigration advisor in the office of International Student Services and Programs.
Information relating to all visas may be obtained from the embassy or consulate of the country or countries in which you will travel. U.S. citizens may also consult the U.S. Department of State website for entry requirements. If you are an international student, you can visit your home country’s equivalent institution.
Applying for a visa
You must have a passport before you can apply for a visa. Your visa application may need to include special letters or documents (such as a letter of acceptance from the educational institution or program). Apply early for your visa to provide ample time for processing. Embassies and Consulates can usually issue your student visa 120 days before your program registration date.
Students studying in Europe: If you are traveling to the Schengen Area (most of Western Europe), we advise you to familiarize yourself with the restrictions on periods of stay and the ability to do back-to-back programs or extended travel before or after your program. You can consult the U.S. Department of State website for Schengen area borders agreement information.
Visas are granted only from the issuing Embassy or Consulate of the host country. The Study Abroad office is not a visa provider and does not have control over visa regulations or denials.
Taking Medication Abroad
If you take prescription medication or over-the-counter medication on a regular basis, research its availability and legality in your host country before going abroad. You should never abruptly discontinue your medication. Prescribed medication regimens are important to your health and well-being. Below are some things to consider when taking both prescription and non-prescription medications abroad:
Before You Depart
- Do not assume that prescription and over-the-counter medications available in the US are approved or legal in another country. Consult with your treating physician at least two months prior to departure about specific medications, and obtain a list of comparable, generic names — including their dosage, composition, and the chemical names of active ingredients, which determines the permissibility of the medication in the foreign country. Plan to travel with “requisite medical documentation,” which includes a letter from the prescribing doctor.
- Obtain a translation of your documentation, if possible.
- Some countries do not allow certain medications (including both prescription and non-prescription) and/or may require that you obtain a medical provider note or prescription documentation. Pain medications, ADD/ADHD stimulants, steroids, sedatives/anxiety medications, and injectable medications of any type may need additional documentation or may be illegal in certain countries. If you are in possession of illegal medications (even if you obtained them legally in the U.S.) or do not have the proper documentation, your medications may be confiscated and you could be arrested or deported.
Traveling with Medication
- Medication should be packed in its original container with the traveler’s name on them. Do not combine different medications in one container in order to save space.
- Pack your medication in a carry-on bag, because your checked baggage is occasionally lost or delayed.
- Third parties should not carry prescription medication for another person.
- Travelers should not travel with more than personal-use quantities. This generally means no more than a 90-day supply (in some countries 30 days).
- Declare all prescription medications on the Customs form when you arrive in country.
- Students with diabetes and those who use any injectable medications should obtain and carry, at all times, a doctor’s letter explaining the need to carry needles and syringes.
You may find that you need to refill your prescription while abroad. Many pharmacies in other countries will only fill prescriptions written in that country (i.e., that are prescribed by doctors who are licensed to practice in that country). It will be critical to have a letter from a US doctor during this appointment that explains the diagnosis, treatment, and medication regimen.
- International Association for Medical Assistant for Travelers (IAMAT) provides health information by country. https://www.iamat.org/country-health-advice
- Your Health Abroad is The Bureau of Consular Affairs’ website for guidance on various topics, including medical emergencies. https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/before-you-go/your-health-abroad.html
- CDC website provides immunization requirements by country. https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/
- Arizona State University Study Abroad Office Traveling Abroad with Prescription Medication offer helpful tips on traveling with medication legally. https://mystudyabroad.asu.edu/students/traveling-prescriptions
Study Abroad Packing Tips
Deciding what to pack for study abroad is no joke. You only have a few bags to fit all the essentials for your time abroad, plus airline weight restrictions to keep in mind! After many student stories on what to pack for study abroad we put together a helpful study abroad packing tips list.
DO pack over-the-counter medications if you have strong preferences for certain brands. Some countries may not carry the brands you are used to.
DO learn about the weather and culture of your study abroad location in order to decide what type of clothing you should pack.
DO consider bringing a gift unique to where you are from if you are living in a homestay.
Important Travel Items
- Passport and/or visa (plus copies or scan copies just in case)
- Plane Tickets info
- Printed insurance card info
- Credit/debit cards
- Cell phone and charger
- Pen or Pencil
- Hand sanitizer
- Antibacterial wipes
- Few snacks
- Prescription (if needed)Bring enough for length of stay. If longer than three months, you will need to see a doctor abroad to re-prescribe. Speak with your doctor before you leave—prescriptions cannot be transferred.
Money - Check the currency of the host country and what would be the best to use
- Cash – for the trip from the United States to your destination. Keep in a safe place/money belt.
- Credit cards – Notify bank/credit card companies that you are going abroad. Not all credit cards will work in train stations/stores abroad. Consider using a card with a special chip embedded or bringing a Travelex card.
- ATM card – take note of the international fees charged by both your bank and the ATM. Consider withdrawing a large amount of cash at a time and storing in a safe place.
Clothes - Bring clothes that are easily layers for various climate conditions, do not need ironing, can be drip-dried, and are comfortable and durable. Check your program for special dress requirements.
- Jeans – A few pairs. Levi’s are very expensive abroad.
- Coat/jacket (check the weather in your host country)
- Pajamas – two pair at most
- Walking shoes – Find a comfy fashionable shoe – walking is a major part of everyday life.
- Money belt
- Flip flops – Good for showering in hostels. One pair is enough.
Toiletries - Do not bring hair blow dryer-American products use a lot of power and can fry circuits.
- Hair brush/comb
- Hand sanitizer
- Portable Kleenex
- Contact lenses solution
- Sunblock/Suntan lotion
- Menstrual hygiene items
- Preferred skincare/makeup
Electronic - Bring all you electronics with you in the carry on
- Cell phone and charger- Your cell phone will not work abroad, unless you can buy a SIM card faring cell phone. A cheap cell phone can be purchased abroad – pay by the minute. Ask your onsite program coordinator to take you to the local phone store.
- Laptop and charger
- Power strip with converter
- Flash drive
- Carry-on luggage – Check your airline – usually you are allowed one carry-on size bag as well as a personal item, such as a laptop bag, purse, etc. Some airlines charge for a second checked bag. Pack a few outfits in the carryon in case your luggage arrives after you do.
- Toiletries in your carryon – All must fit in a quart-size bag and be 3.4 ounces or less.
- Have on paper a contact person you can call in case of an emergency.
- Electronics – For major American phone companies, texting and calling rates are extremely expensive. Use text messaging when contacting family members abroad through free apps that work through Wi-Fi.
- Google Voice – Get a Gmail account. You can set up Google Voice from Google to calltext family members for free while abroad. Registering in the United States is free while registering abroad is not.
- Zoom – is a great free way to talk and see your family> download the application and keep in touch with your friends back home as well as those you make abroad.
- Trains – Buying train tickets is similar to buying plane tickets. The further in advance you buy them the cheaper they are. Consider planning your trips at least a month in advance.
- Rick Steves’ Europe – Useful traveling advice. Book and website www.ricksteves.com.
- Ryan Air/Easy Jet – Cheap plane tickets in Europe. Buy in advance to save more.
- Ear plugs
- Travel pillow
- A book
- Backpack or purse
DON'T overpack clothes. Imagine that you’re only packing for a two-week trip. You’ll rarely need more than two weeks’ worth of clothes because you'll have access to laundry. Chances are you’ll want to buy more clothes while abroad.
DON'T pack bed linens, kitchen utensils, or other household items before reading the Housing section of your Pre Departure Information. Most housing options are furnished, so most of these household items are not necessary to bring along.
DON'T bring more than you can carry. Only pack what you are willing to carry up multiple stairs by yourself! When in doubt, pack lighter—Center staff can help you find whatever you may need in your host country.
Parents are very important supporters of students' international experiences. Browse the resources available on this site and talk to your student to better understand the process. You may want to review information about the program your student has selected as well.
The Study Abroad Office adheres to Fresno State’s policy regarding communicating with parents under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (http://www.fresnostate.edu/studentaffairs/financialaid/parents/ferpa.html), the federal legislation that governs the privacy of student records. While the Study Abroad Office is happy to answer questions from a student’s support network, in many cases we are not able to share information due to FERPA regulations. Under FERPA, the Study Abroad office and the university may NOT release any of student information listed below:
- Contact information while abroad
- Student's program status
- Grades and transcripts
- Course and/ or schedule information
- Medical information
The Study Abroad Office is committed to preparing and supporting your student in studying abroad. We encourage parents to talk with their students throughout the study abroad process, to gain relevant information from them, and to maintain contact with their students while abroad.
For additional information about FERPA, please go to: https://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html
Adapted from The University of South Carolina, University of Chicago and Brown University.
A study abroad experience can be an immensely rewarding academic, personal and professional pursuit. It is your chance to explore the world, learn about a new culture, push your boundaries and grow as a person. It also challenges you to think about your own identity in a new cultural context. You may find that aspects of your identity that you may not have thought about or may have taken for granted here in the United States are now a defining part of who you are in a new environment. Some of you might have the experience of being in the minority for the first time. Others might be concerned that their race, sexual orientation, language, ethnicity, religion, gender, etc. will impact their experience.
Below are a few things you can do to prepare yourself:
- Read up on the host country’s history, culture, laws, and demographics. If reading news articles, commentaries, or blogs, consider the lens through which the information was written.
- Reach out to students who have studied abroad in your host country (Our office can provide names of former study abroad students).
- Make use of online resources, (even social media which may be less "filtered" than news sources in some countries, or may include current events/stories that aren't "news-worthy") that offer advice, personal narratives, and other information.
- U.S. Department of State: www.travel.state.gov, www.studentsabroad.state.gov
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention: wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel, www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu
- Flu.gov: www.flu.gov
- International Society of Travel Medicine: www.istm.org
- World Health Organization: www.who.int/mediacentre/en
- SAFETI Clearinghouse: www.globaled.us/safeti/aboutsafeti.html
- Diversity Abroad: https://www.diversityabroad.com/
- Women Abroad: https://www.diversityabroad.com/articles/women-going-abroad
- Religious Diversity: https://www.diversityabroad.com/articles/religious-diversity-abroad
- Adults Studying Abroad: https://www.diversityabroad.com/articles/must-ask-questions-adult-students-traveling-abroad
- ISEP Identity Abroad