Getting Ready for Your Time Abroad

Now that you’ve been accepted to a study-abroad or exchange program, you should begin preparing for your departure.
FIRST: Come by our office to let us know that you have been accepted to a program (whether it’s a Binghamton, SUNY or non-SUNY program), so we can give you pre-departure materials and help you with the pre-departure process.

If you’ll be participating in a Binghamton program:


You’ll need to view the predeparture orientation video and then attend the pre-departure orientation for your program. The program advisor will contact you to schedule the orientation.  The predeparture video is available here and has a 30 minute runtime:

If you’re participating in a SUNY or non-SUNY program:

Your program sponsor should provide you with program-specific pre-departure materials and paperwork, and will notify you if there is a pre-departure orientation for your program. If you can’t attend the pre-departure orientation for your program, consider coming to one of our general Pre-Departure Orientations— which are required for Global Studies minors participating in SUNY and non-SUNY programs: we will notify you via email of these orientations, as long as you have let us know that you will be studying abroad!

General Preparations

  • The staff in the Office of International Programs will provide each student with a pre-departure packet. This includes information on on how to get academic credit approved, health and safety, and much more. 
  • Apply for a passport. It can take up to 12 weeks to get one, so do this as early as possible. Already have a passport? Check the expiration date: if it’s going to expire within six months of your return date, you should renew your passport by mail.  For more information about American passports and to download and complete passport applications and renewals, visit the official U.S. passport website.
  • To find out whether you will need to apply for a visa before departure, contact your program sponsor, our office or visit the website of the NYC consulate for the country where your program is based.
  •  If you’re an international student, you’ll need to secure (and check the expiration) of your re-entry visa. Students who are not U. S. citizens should also be certain to verify visa status on the consulate website for the country where their program is based.

Pre-Departure Paperwork

  • Most programs require quite a bit of pre-departure paperwork. Don’t be discouraged! While the paperwork can be tedious, it’s not difficult. Our front desk staff, our administrative coordinator and our advisors are happy to help you.  Don't feel overwhelmed, and don't be afraid to come to us for help!. 
  • As a student preparing to go abroad, you are required to complete the pre-Departure paperwork. Most of the forms that you will have to fill out and then return to our office are available under this link. In addition, you will pick up a pre-departure packet from our office in which you will find the following documents that you are required to read thoroughly and carefully: CDC Country-specific Health Advising Sheet, State Department Country Specific Information, State Department Background Notes, and the Travel Warning on Drugs Abroad.
  • If you are participating in an other-SUNY or non-SUNY program, you will need to come by our office to pick up your packet. Paperwork for our office is always due on December 1 for winter session and spring programs, and on May 1 for summer, fall and academic year programs.

On-Campus Housing and Meal Plans

  • It is very important for you to notify the Office of Residential Life as soon as you know you will study abroad so your room can be made available to another student. You must notify Residential Life before their deadline to avoid being charged the $200 housing deposit. If your admission to a program is delayed beyond this deadline you may request an extension. You will need to cancel your housing within 48 hours of receiving your acceptance letter.
  • If you have extra money left on your meal plan, you may request that the money be rolled over for your use the semester you return.  The Meal Plan Office will want verification that you are requesting the refund because you will be on a study abroad program.  At your request the Office of International Programs will verify your enrollment with the Meal Plan Office--email our office to make your request!

Global Studies Minor

Consider a Global Studies minor. This new program integrates your study-abroad experience and must be started before you study abroad. Check their website to learn more!

Useful Websites

You can also find valuable tips and information to on the following government websites. We encourage all students and parents to carefully review their information.

Last Updated: 8/8/14