Academic Programs Abroad

Student Checklist

We've thought of everything!

After referring to the Getting Started Section, please examine these detailed checklists to ensure you are ready to begin your study abroad adventure!

Program Checklist: No matter what program you have chosen the starting point is the same. 

  • Select a Study Abroad Program
  • Complete the application forms. This may require getting references from faculty. Be sure to provide the faculty member with the reference form and allow time for it to be turned in.
  • Complete the budget form. Understand how program payments are made and be realistic about the costs involved. This will help to avoid disappointing surprises later in the process.
  • Contact your academic advisor. You will need to meet with your advisor to review possible courses and make sure they match up with your degree. It is your responsibility to discuss your program with your advisor.  Bring the Study Abroad Course Approval Form to your advisor for signatures.
  • Get a copy of your official transcript. This can be done by going the Registration and Records office in the basement of Parsons Hall. You may speed up the process by ordering  them online before hand from their website at Be sure it is in a sealed envelope.
  • Apply for your passport.  If you don’t already have a passport, apply as soon as possible! It can take up to six weeks, and remember, you cannot leave the U.S. without one. Click here for application info. 

Pre-departure Checklist:

  1. Review everything carefully! Most programs have forms to complete and return, such as up-front housing deposits that must be paid to secure accommodations. Once you receive your official program acceptance letter and packet of information, look it over to make sure you don't miss anything.
  2. Sign and return the following documents to the Study Abroad Office:
    • Waiver of Liability
    • Health Information
    • Information release
    • ISEP ( if applicable)
  3. Check to see if a visa or residence permit is required and what you need to do to obtain one. This is very important since many countries have strict requirements, and this may take time. Follow this link to find the requirements for your host country.
  4. Book your flight. You are responsible for purchasing and providing for your transportation. Students often find good fares through websites like, and .
  5.  Organize your finances. If you are eligible for FINANCIAL AID, make sure all your paperwork has been signed, arrangements for direct deposit have been made, etc. Loan notes must be signed before you leave and they will be sent to your home address. You may also want to sign a POWER OF ATTORNEY in case your parents need to sign a check for you.
  6. Clear all hold on your ISU account, or you will not be able to register for your semester abroad or via the web for the following semester.
  7. Plan a budget. A good financial plan will save a lot of headache later. Also, bring several different forms of payment on your trip. For example, bring credit cards, debit cards, and cash (local currency) so that if one doesn't work then you have a backup way to make purchases.
  8. Contact Donna Fagg in Residential Life if you need to reserve a room for when you return to ISU.
  9. Check email often. This is the best and easiest way to keep informed as messages are sent regularly to all students going abroad. Also, be sure to check your ISU email for messages about registration, financial aid, bills, etc...
  10. Update your immunizations.  Different countries require different immunizations. It is your responsibility to find out which immunizations are required. Check out
  11. Talk with your physician, especially regarding medications that you take regularly. It is often possible to get a supply to last the entire time you are away. Your doctor should make a list of the prescriptions you are taking with you and may also need to provide the generic name for the medications you are taking.
  12.  Make sure you understand how the Health Insurance plan you have actually works.
  13. Read! Read as much as possible about your host country (climate, customs, rules and regulations, currency relative to the dollar).
  14. Check out the International Student ID Card, especially if you are traveling in Europe. You may purchase the ID Card from
  15. Obtain rail passes if needed. For traveling in Europe is a helpful website.
  16. COPY, COPY, COPY. Make two copies of the following: your passport, credit cards, ATM cards, any special visa papers, airplane tickets, and any other important documents. Take a copy with you, store one in a safe place, and leave one at home.
  17. Provide your family with contact information. Be sure to give Chris’ email address ( and phone number to your parents. If they have any questions while you are away, direct them to the ISU Study Abroad Office. Also, give them the address and emergency contact information of your host housing and host coordinator. The local U.S. Embassy is also a good number to have.
  18. Attend the mandatory pre-departure orientation held during finals week. You must attend, but parents/guardians are also welcome. The date and time will be announced in advance. 
  19. Pack your bags and have fun!