It might be exciting and safe to study abroad, but it’s vital to understand that you are subject to the laws and customs of the host nation. The Office of Overseas Services has provided some advice on how to be safe and organized.
Despite the fact that most journeys abroad are trouble-free, being prepared will help you greatly reduce the likelihood of experiencing major difficulties. Prior to your trip, familiarize yourself with the fundamental laws and customs of the country you intend to visit.
Preparing for Your Trip Abroad
Apply for your passport and any relevant visas early. Most nations across the world require passports for entry and/or exit. As soon as you can, submit a passport application. Additionally, several nations demand that US citizens seek visas in order to enter. Most nations demand that travellers who intend to study or work abroad acquire visas prior to entry.
Check with the embassy of the foreign country that you are planning to visit for up-to-date visa and other entry requirements. (Passport and visa information is available on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov )
Learn about the countries that you plan to visit.
Do some research on the people and their culture before you go, as well as any issues the nation may be facing that could have an impact on your vacation plans. Background Notes are published by the Department of State on approximately 170 nations.
These brief, factual pamphlets contain information on each country’s culture, history, geography, economy, government, and current political situation. Background Notes are available at www.state.gov.
Read the Consular Information Sheet.
Consular Information Sheets give you the most recent travel advice for any nation you intend to visit. They discuss things like the rules for admission, the crime and security situation, drug laws, the state of the roads, and where to find the US embassy, consulates, and consular organizations.
Check for Travel Warnings and Public Announcements.
Due to unsafe conditions, Travel Warnings advise US residents to postpone travel to a particular nation. Public Announcements give quick updates on generally short-term conditions that could endanger the safety of travelers.
Register with the nearest US embassy or consulate.
Through the State Department’s website for travel registration, register with the nearest US embassy or consulate. By registering, you’ll allow people to know you’re there and where you are in case they need to get in touch with you in an emergency. According to the Privacy Act, no information on your well-being or whereabouts may be disclosed without your explicit consent. Don’t forget to give a friend or relative in the United States a copy of your passport or other citizenship credentials, as well as a comprehensive itinerary. (U.S. embassy and consulate locations can be found in the country’s Consular Information Sheet.)
Your relatives can leave a message for you at the Office of Overseas Citizens Services at (202) 647-5225 if they need to contact you urgently. This agency will get in touch with the embassy or consulate in the nation you are visiting and deliver a letter from your relatives to you. Keep in mind that consular employees cannot pay checks, make loans, or represent you in court. However, if the need arises, they can help you get an attorney, locate medical aid, replace your lost or stolen passport, and help you collect emergency finances from your family.
Find out what information your school offers.
Find out whether your institution provides any extra resources for students looking to study, travel, or work overseas. You can get information on studying or working abroad from a variety of student counselors.They may also be able to provide you with information on any travel benefits for students (e.g. how to save money on transportation and accommodations, and other resources.)
Learn more about the organization and what it offers before investing your time or money. Most privately run trips, study abroad, or employment abroad programs are respectable and financially stable. Some, however, have outrageous costs, make blatantly misleading “educational” claims, and offer employment conditions that are significantly different from what is represented. Even genuine organizations’ programs may have subpar management.