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ISEP Benefits and Obligations
Before You Go
While You are Abroad
Health and Safety
Your Return
Additional ISEP Resources

Preparing to Go Checklist

For a printable pdf version of this checklist, click here.

Complete Pre-Departure Evaluation

ISEP Pre-Departure Evaluation. Complete before you go abroad. click here.


Make sure your passport is valid for six months past the end of your program.

Make a photocopy of your passport to take with you; this can help you get a replacement if your passport is lost or stolen.

Apply for a visa if needed. This can be a very lengthy process, so don't wait!

Register at your home country's Embassy so they know you're abroad. U.S. students can do this online.

Make two copies of all travel documents, ID cards, credit or debit cards, and other essential papers. Take one set with you, and keep one in a secure place at home.

Share travel arrangements with your family, and make sure you know where to go once you arrive in your host country.

Memorize the address and telephone number of your residence abroad.

Exchange information with your home and host emergency contacts.

If you have specific medical concerns, review the Health and Safety section of this handbook thoroughly. Bring an adequate supply of any prescription medicines along with a written copy of the prescription.

Establish how you will pay your bills for school and personal affairs while you are away.

Use the Quick Fill-in ISEP Reference List in the Student Handbook to record important contact information.

Buy an international calling card for emergencies. Research affordable services like Skype or cell phone options.

Set up a power of attorney so a parent or relative can help with finances or emergencies.

Make sure that your family or guardians are aware of your wishes in the case of serious injury or death.

If applicable, register to obtain an absentee ballot so you can vote in your home country’s elections while abroad.

ISEP Specific

Read your host institution IIS carefully! Carry one copy abroad and leave one with someone at home.

Enroll in required  ISEP health insurance.

If you are participating in an ISEP-Direct program, please speak with your coordinator about fee payment.
Click here for more information

Read your online Country Handbook to learn about your host education system and culture and to understand the visas you need to obtain. Links to other resources are provided there as well.

Read your Student Handbook and the information sent to you from your host institution thoroughly. There may be additional steps you need to follow such as completing housing or class registration forms.

Check out the photos and essays from past students, and use the ISEP Facebook Group to contact ISEP Ambassadors or alumni.

Host Country

Purchase a guidebook about your host country to read and bring with you. See the Resources section of your online Country Handbook for suggestions.

Research the cost of living and quality of life in your host country.

Find contact details for your home country’s embassy in your host country.

Research postal service options in your host country.

Learn as much as you can about your host campus and neighborhood.

Mental Packing

Define and write down your goals for your ISEP experience.

Familiarize yourself with the customs, social norms, and laws of your host country and other countries you will be visiting.

Understand that you will be viewed as a representative of your home country, and prepare yourself accordingly. Be especially aware of current events and political news that people in your host country may want to ask you about.

Plan strategies to cope with culture shock ahead of time. Have confidence that you will be able to adjust and adapt to the new culture, but remember that it takes time. Be patient with yourself and others during this process.

Practice speaking, reading, and writing in your host country’s language. Learn vocabulary that you will specifically need for a university setting.