Preparing to Go Abroad

We encourage you to print or download the Study Abroad Guide and Workbook to help you navigate the process of studying abroad.  Within this section, you will find some helpful tips about how to start preparing for your journey abroad.  From the logistics of student visas and vaccines to the emotional adjustments of life in a new culture, check out the links to the right for everything you need to get started.

If your situation changes, and you need to withdraw from your study abroad program, be sure to follow the correct process to inform our office as soon as possible. See the full UM Study Abroad Withdrawal Policy here.

The UM Study Abroad Office strongly encourages American citizens participating in UM study abroad programs to sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), a free service that makes it possible for the U.S. Department of State to contact a traveler if necessary, whether because of a family emergency in the United States or because of a crisis in the place the traveler is visiting. 

In addition to signing up for the STEP program, UM advises you to do the following:

  • Visit the Travel Medicine Clinic in UM Health Services.  Students traveling to some countries will be required to visit the UM Travel Medicine Clinic during the application process, but all students are encouraged to schedule a visit and become a more informed traveler.
  • Leave a detailed itinerary with family or friends.  This will be invaluable in case they need to contact you in case of an emergency.
  • Leave a copy of your passport biographical-data page with a friend or relative in the United States.  If prompted to upload a copy of your passport within your online study abroad program application, be sure to do so.  It is always easier to replace a lost or stolen passport if a copy is easily accessible.
  • Sign your passport, and fill in the emergency information.  Make sure you have a signed, valid passport, and a visa, if required, and fill in the emergency information page of your passport.
  • Familiarize yourself with local conditions and laws. While in a foreign country, you are subject to its laws. The U.S. Department of State has useful cultural, legal, safety and other information about the countries you will visit.
  • Do your research regarding any maintenance medications you plan to bring with you.  If you are required to take medications for medial or psychological conditions, make sure that you can bring your prescription medication with you.  If your prescription is legal in your host country, be sure that you have adequate supplies of these items for your program. Brand names and measurements differ and you may have difficulty finding your specific medication and/or filling any of your prescriptions abroad. Some medications may actually be illegal to bring into your host country, even with a valid prescription.  Prescription medication that is legal to bring into your host country must be labeled with your name, your physician's name and the generic (not brand) name of the medication. We encourage students with medical conditions to wear a medical alert bracelet or pendant.