Information Sessions | Pre-Departure Orientation | Passport | Visas & Residence Permits | General Study Abroad Tips | Money Matters Abroad | Safety Abroad

Ready, set, let’s go!

Studying abroad can be one of the most exciting and life-changing experiences of your life, and we understand that it can be a big step. The Office of Global Affairs (OGA) works closely with the students for study abroad planning, including offering support during the application, pre-departure, overseas, and return experience. All students are advised to refer to his or her application frequently for program updates, to submit required program materials, to ask questions, et cetera.

Student Expectations:

  • Communicate: with us, your parents, and with the host university (if applicable)
  • Meet deadlines: it is important for students to submit forms on time and make payments according to the payment schedule. Our deadline for most winter/spring programs is October 1st and for most summer/fall programs is February 15th. Specific application deadlines are available on the individual program pages.
  • Make the most of your time abroad: studying abroad can be life-changing and we hope all students take advantage of all the opportunities offered to get the most out of his or her experience.

Information Session

There are information sessions or campus tabling events throughout the semester to help you learn about the different programs that we offer and will cover the basic information you need to know about studying abroad. Session details are announced on the Facebook page and Events page.

Pre-Departure Orientation

All students are required to attend the Pre-departure Orientation. Usually the Pre-departure Orientations are scheduled in April for fall/summer programs and in November for spring/winter programs.


All participants must have a valid passport. If your passport will expire within six months of the program end date, you are encouraged to apply for one immediately. The processing time for a passport is approximately 4-6 weeks. Current timelines for routine and expedited service and information on passport requirements may be found on the United States Department of State website. Please note, all students will need to supply a copy of the passport information page as part of the study abroad application process.

Visas and Residence Permits

A visa is a stamp in the passport that allows the individual to enter a country for a specified period of time. Without this stamp, he or she could be turned away at the border. To learn more about student visa requirements, please visit the United States Department of State website. It is the student’s responsibility to comply with the visa requirements of the host country. Depending on the country, the visa application process can take up to three months to complete. The application process can be unpredictable so it is a good idea to start the process early. The study abroad office will help advise with the visa requirements and process.

A residency permit is something the student applies for once they enter the host country. Students will receive more information as it pertains to specific countries during pre-departure orientation.

General Study Abroad Tips

  • Stay informed: Read over your acceptance materials and check your email often.
  • Talk to your family: Be sure that they know about your plans for the upcoming term; including the program costs, your budget, the dates that you will be abroad, and so on.  Consider submitting a FERPA waiver form, which allows us to share information with your parents.
  • Get your travel documents together: It is your responsibility to make sure that you have obtained the necessary travel documents prior to departure.
  • Plan for your program expenses: The costs of each program vary by program type, length, and location.  Be sure to read the program costs carefully and to check the budget sheets for information about cost of living, as well as expenses that are not included in the SHU billable total cost.  If you are thinking about increasing the amount of aid you take out for the semester, be sure to talk to Student Financial Services.  Look over our Finances and Scholarships pages for more information about funding and the Withdrawal Policy.
  • Cancel your housing and meal plans (for semester programs): Once you have received official word of your acceptance from the OGA and your Host Institution, you should go ahead and cancel your housing and meal plan.  This can be done by completing your Study Abroad Checklist form, available after your acceptance to a SHU study abroad program.
  • Review the Health and Safety information and complete your mandatory Online Health and Safety Orientation located within your study abroad student account
  • Conduct independent research: You should read all that you can about your destination.  You can read guidebooks, non-fiction, newspapers, explore internet sites, and you can even talk to a Global Ambassador.  Also take some time to read about Culture Adjustment.

Money Matters Abroad

Currency Exchange

It is a good idea to keep abreast of the official currency used in the host country and of the approximate rate of exchange to the United States dollar. You can find the current exchange rate for most international currencies at

Debit or ATM Cards

Most of the time, students will rely on credit cards and ATM withdrawals. Remember, depending on your bank, there may be an international transaction fee or currency conversion charge each time your student withdraws from the local ATM.

Credit Cards

Most student travelers should carry a minimum of one debit card and one credit card. Visa and MasterCard are very widely accepted around the world; American Express is less commonly accepted, too. Discover is rarely accepted abroad. Be sure to inform your credit card company of your travels.

International Student Identity Card

The International Student Identity Card (ISIC), available through STA Travel, is issued and recognized in over 90 countries and gives one access to student benefits around the world. This card can provide students with largely discounted rates on travel and hotels/hostels, admission to local cities of interest, such as museums and festivals, a free emergency hotline that provides legal, medical or general emergency advice and more. There is the option for an ISIC card with MasterCard features; you can put money on your student’s card and he or she can use it as a debit. Please see here for more ISIC card information.

Local Currency

If desired, you can order small amounts of foreign currency from a commercial bank or AAA prior to leaving the United States (allow a few days processing time), or your student can obtain it at a currency exchange window in the airport prior to leaving the United States or upon arrival in the host country. Check with your bank for this service.

Important Tips

  • You should always contact your bank and credit card companies to let them know you will be abroad for “x” amount of time and visiting “x” countries;
  • The money withdrawn abroad will be in the local currency;
  • Ask your bank about daily spending limits, rates and fees for international use of your cards, and possible locations of your bank or its affiliate branches abroad;
  • Leave a photocopy of both sides of credit and debit cards at home so if necessary, you can quickly report any card problems and initiate the replacement process if a card is lost.

Safety Abroad

Your health, safety, and well-being is our primary concern. In the event of a political, social, or natural emergency, the SHU Crisis Management team will be in close contact with the on-site director for any of our overseas programs.

For the safety of students and faculty abroad, the OGA does NOT permit study abroad in countries under a U.S. Department of State issued Travel Warning. For a list of current travel warnings, please visit the U.S. Department of State’s Travel Warnings web page.

SHU Emergency Contact Information

In case of extreme emergencies, the OGA can be reached 24 hours a day by calling SHU Campus Public Safety Department at 203-371-7911. Although most emergencies are better managed by working with local authorities and your program support staff abroad. During standard business hours, Mon-Fri, 8:30AM to 4:30PM, please call the Office of Global Affairs at 203-396-8028 (or 8022).

GeoBlue International Health Insurance

As part of the study abroad program all students are enrolled in a GeoBlue health insurance plan which will provide you with service and protection in the event you become ill or injured during your program. The cost is included in the payment of the study abroad fee. Prior to your departure, you will receive an insurance card along with a description of GeoBlue benefits and covered medical expenses.

Helpful Outside Resources