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Pre-Departure Planning

Education abroad participants should follow these steps to have a healthy and safe experience abroad. If you have any health, safety, or security-related questions, contact us.


Use this checklist to prepare for your education abroad experience. For a comprehensive overview of all steps you should take before studying abroad, see the Office for Education Abroad Student Handbook

  • Research your destination by reviewing the relevant U.S. Department of State Country Information Sheet and monitor local news and notices from the U.S. Embassy.
  • Download the International SOS app to access important travel health and safety information. If you have any specific questions, please contact them at 1-215-942-8478.
  • Make sure your passport is current. The expiration date should be more than six months after the end of your travels.
  • Get the appropriate visa if you need one to enter your destination country. If you need a visa to return to the U.S., make sure yours will be valid when you return. International students requiring assistance with U.S. visas should contact the Office of International Students and Scholars.
  • Complete the SpartansAbroad Orientation on D2L at least six weeks prior to your departure.
  • Visit a travel health professional such as the MSU Travel Clinic or the Ingham County Health Department.
  • Make two copies of all important documents being carried. Leave one copy at home and pack the second copy separate from originals.
  • Enroll in STEP – Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.
    • The Office for Education Abroad will enroll your program in STEP so that you receive security messages from the local U.S. Embassy/Consulate. U.S. passport holders are encouraged to also register their passports individually to notify the Embassy/Consulate that they are in-country.
    • Note that individual enrollment is only available to U.S. citizens. International students should check if their local embassy/consulate offers a similar service and should take steps to enroll.
  • Keep local and MSU emergency contact information on your person or in your mobile phone. You will receive a "Staying Healthy and Safe Abroad" tri-fold card from the Office for Education Abroad or your program director. Contact them if you do not receive one. You can also print a PDF version of your International SOS membership card.
  • Ensure export control regulations compliance. For assistance, contact MSU Export Control and Trade Sanctions.