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Preparing to Go

Banking Abroad

Managing your money while abroad is very important. We suggest that you create a budget before you go to keep you on track. Keep exchange rates in mind while planning these costs. Be sure to meet with Financial Aid to review your Budget Worksheet which will give you an idea of your expenses and see if financial aid can be applied.

We suggest that you convert enough money to the local currency before you leave to get you through your first 3-4 days traveling and in country while you get to know the area where you will be staying. Consider buying a money belt to keep cash safe, but if you don’t, travel with your money in multiple locations on your body and carry-on bag while traveling to your host country. Once in your host country, only carry the amount of money you will need for each day.

ATMs and debit cards are the most convenient way to access your money while abroad. Be aware of extra fees for doing so. Contact your bank to tell them when and where you will be travelling internationally. If you do not, they may suspect fraudulent charges and cancel your card. Find out if your bank has ATMs in the city where you will be staying or if they have relationships with foreign banks which may make it cheaper to access your money. We don’t suggest using traveler’s checks.

Currency Conversion

ATMs

Budgeting

Health & Safety

You should be familiar with all circumstances in your host country that could affect your health. This will require you to have an understanding of medical facilities, required immunizations, pharmaceutical availability, unique altitude or pollution issues and more. Most importantly you should verify that your current health insurance will cover you while you are abroad by calling them directly and asking for proof in writing. If you will not be covered, you will need to buy your own temporary international health insurance.

Country Specific Information

General Traveler Health & Safety

Tourist & Traveler Risks

Medical Care & Insurance

Culture Shock

GLBT Students

Students with Disabilities

Women's Issues

Host Country Research

Getting to know your host country is an integral part of your preparation. Learn about your country’s history, international affairs, culture and safety issues. You should also familiarize yourself with transportation options to and within your host country. Here are few places to begin.

Country History

Embassies and Consulates

Current News & Travel Warnings

Travel Guide Book Sites

Flight Websites

Rail Companies

Subways

Bike Sharing

Local Resources

In our office lobby we have a portion of the RIT Library’s travel books for loan for RIT students and faculty. Our office also offers a Language Lab with computer courses in French, Russian, German, Spanish, Croatian, Albanian, Japanese, Arabic and Italian. This is free for the RIT community. Contact our office for current lab hours.

You can also contact Study Abroad Peer Mentors who have visited your country or a country like it. They can help you understand what it’s like to study abroad, feel culture shock or be home sick. They can also give you advice about what to do outside of the classroom, what places you should visit in your city or what the academic culture is like abroad. Click here to meet our current Peer Mentors or email goabroad@rit.edu to ask for Peer Mentor contact info.

Below are some departments or organizations in Rochester or at RIT that may have a unique perspective on your host country and may be willing to help you prepare to study abroad. The missions of these groups differ and it is up to you to reach out to them to ask specific questions about your research or to find someone who would be willing to help you. Be respectful of their time. In particular, we suggest you think about looking for an international student living in Rochester who might be willing to teach you about their country or help you practice your language skills.

On Campus Resources

Local Resource

Planning to Go

A successful study abroad program takes planning. The links in this guide are meant to help you prepare for your overseas experience.

To begin, visit this site from the State Department which has a great set of tips to consider before going abroad and can help you outline your research. Before you go abroad make sure to register your travel plans with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. By doing so, you will receive the most current information from the State Department about the country to which you will be traveling. You will also be made aware of new Travel Warnings or Travel Alerts and resources available to American citizens during emergency situations.

See the Essential Study Abroad Questions on the study abroad home page for detailed information about choosing a program, academic credit, billing, financial aid and more.

 

Stay in Touch

Communicating with your family and friends is an important part of a successful study abroad experience. You must evaluate what method is best for you. Check with your mobile phone carrier to find out if they offer international calling and what costs would be associated with using your phone abroad. You can use phone cards or install a new SIM card in some phones or it may be less expensive to purchase a pre-paid phone in country. Contact the affiliate or your faculty-director for their advice on the best method for phone or texting services in your host country and for the location of the most convenient internet cafes. Know your country code so loved ones can call you successfully.

Blogging is not for everyone, but can be a good way to communicate with a large number of your loved ones in less time, so that they can stay engaged in your study abroad experience. Should you decide to blog or photograph while abroad, please share your journey with our office! Send your blog or photos to goabroad@rit.edu. We will share appropriate and good quality blogs on our Facebook and website. If you share photos we will use them to recruit more students to study abroad!

Like our Facebook page to stay in touch with our office and learn about opportunities for study abroad alumni.

Phones

For Computer Use with WIFI

Smart Phone Apps For Use with WIFI

 

Travel Documents

Passports

You will need a passport to go abroad. You should start the process of applying or renewing your passport at least 3 months before you depart. Our office hosts two Passport Drives annually in the Fall and Spring semesters. During this event the Monroe County Clerk is on campus to take passport photos, process passport applications and renew passports. See the links below to find out what forms of ID are required and the associated costs. The paper applications will be available at the event. Like our Facebook page to stay up to date on our events or email us to find out when the next Passport Drive is scheduled.

Visas

Visa requirements for US Citizens differ greatly by country. Make sure you are aware of any visas you might need. If you are traveling to RIT Global Campuses your Study Abroad Advisor will direct you to the RIT staff member that will assist you in the visa application process. If you are going through an affiliate program, contact them to verify whether or not you need a visa.