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Living Abroad

Living Abroad

Acclimating to a New Location

Studying abroad comes with challenges, as well as benefits. You'll be experiencing a lot of different emotions before, during, and after your trip. From excitement to nervousness, homesickness, to stress - there will be a lot of change. One of the biggest challenges is culture shock. We've collected some resources to educate students and their parents on what culture shock is, and how you can prepare yourself.

Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs: Adjusting to a New Culture

International Student Exchange Program (ISEP): Adjusting to a Different Culture

Packing for Your Trip

Every study abroad trip is different, be sure to consider where you are going and what season they are in when you are visiting. We have listed out a starter checklist of things you will want to have on your international adventure.

Carry-On Bag

  • Passport and ID
  • Airline Tickets
  • American and Foreign Currency
  • Credit and Debit cards
  • Copies of important information
  • Contraceptives and Prescription medication (It is not always possible to fill prescriptions abroad; for this reason, you may want to bring enough of your prescribed medication to last your entire trip.)
  • Camera
  • Laptop
  • Chargers
  • Spare change of clothes
  • Travel soap/wipes
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, and deodorant
  • Glasses or Contacts, if needed
  • Earplugs (optional)
  • Snacks
  • Refillable Water Bottle
  • Watch

Checked Baggage

  • Extra copies of important information
  • Clothing that can be layered, and is culturally appropriate
  • Undergarments and swimsuit
  • Shoes and flip flops
  • Jacket
  • Sunscreen and towel
  • Toiletries
  • Laundry items
  • Feminine Hygiene products
  • First Aid Kit and Hand Sanitizer (Optional)
  • Small umbrella, if no rain jacket
  • Insect repellent
  • Alarm clock
  • Small everyday bag/ day pack
  • Sunglasses
  • Key locks
  • Travel/Phrases Guides
  • Journal
  • Power Adapter/ConverterExtra copies of important information
  • Clothing that can be layered, and is culturally appropriate
  • Undergarments and swimsuit
  • Shoes and flip flops
  • Jacket
  • Sunscreen and towel
  • Toiletries
  • Laundry items
  • Feminine Hygiene products
  • First Aid Kit and Hand Sanitizer (Optional)
  • Small umbrella, if no rain jacket
  • Insect repellent
  • Alarm clock
  • Small everyday bag/ day pack
  • Sunglasses
  • Key locks
  • Travel/Phrases Guides
  • Journal
  • Power Adapter/Converter

Travel Documents

Students traveling abroad should keep their passport and visa on their person while traveling abroad. It is recommended that you store a physical copy of these documents in your checked baggage, as well as maintain secure digital copies that can be accessed across your devices. Visit travel.state.gov for instructions on what to do if your passport is lost or stolen.

Staying in Touch While Abroad

There are many different ways for you to communicate with friends and family while you're abroad. It's recommended to establish multiple communication channels with friends and family, and verify that they will work while abroad. This way, you can stay in touch if one service becomes unavailable.
The most popular forms of communication include:

  • Cell Phone: You won't need a new cell phone to travel overseas. Contact your service provider to see if they offer international plans or alternate SIM cards.
  • Local telephone lines
  • Voice, Text, or Video apps to use on your digital devices and cell phones such as Skype, WhatsApp, and Google Voice.
  • Social media and blogs

Communication in an Emergency

For your safety, it is vital to have an emergency communication plan in place with your family. Before you travel, write down the names, phone numbers, and email addresses of family members to contact in case of an emergency. We recommend keeping both a physical and digital copy of this list. We also ask you to obtain the most current emergency contact information for the Office of International Programs.

Staying Safe Abroad

  • Be Informed: Be a well-informed traveler by utilizing the resources available from the U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs
  • Safety in Numbers: Establish a trusted group of people abroad and stay with the group as much as possible.
  • Healthcare Access: Keep the phone numbers for both your home physician and a hospital near your study abroad location on-hand at all times.
  • Public Safety: Determine what types of city and campus safety services will be available to you while traveling abroad.
  • Travel Safely: Learn both the safe and unsafe ways to travel in and around your study abroad location.
  • Threat Awareness: Learn what types of threats occur most often in your study abroad location, the best ways to prepare for them, and what you should do if something happens. (International Travel Country Information Pages)
  • Reporting Crime: If you are a victim of a crime while studying abroad:

Get Safety Alerts and Notifications

Download the Doane Crisis Management App for iOS or for Android

Step-Smart Traveler Enrollment Program

This program allows students to register with the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate of their study abroad country. This is a free service that helps the student and their family to receive relevant information about the safety conditioned within your host country. The service enables students to make essential travel decisions and will help parents and families contact them during emergencies.

Staying Healthy Abroad

Visit CDC.Gov for more tips on staying healthy while traveling abroad.

Vaccinations: Depending on which country you are visiting, students may need immunizations to help ensure their safety. Visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to determine which vaccines they will need for the journey.

Hydration: Be sure to drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration while adjusting to a new climate and environment.

Banking and Finances Abroad

Costs vary depending on where you choose to study abroad. To estimate how much it will cost to live overseas, research the cost of living in your host country, and consider your spending habits. Once you have budgeted, you must decide how to pay for things while living abroad.

Cash: Cash is the most commonly accepted form of currency. It is also the easiest to lose or have stolen. Many travelers choose to place American dollars across different areas of their luggage and carry-ons, then exchange it to local currency in small increments, as needed.

Credit Cards: It is a good idea for students to have a credit or debit card that can be used abroad - especially in the case of an emergency. Your bank or credit card companies may offer a card without international fees. Please note; not all cards are accepted in all countries.

Check Out 7 Things to Consider When Using Credit Cards Overseas

Foreign Banks: If your trip is long enough, you may want to consider setting up a foreign bank account to manage your money while living abroad.