Preparing to Study Abroad
It is imperative that you allow adequate time to receive your new or renewed passport. Please check the State Department website for current processing times (approximately 4-6 weeks, but can be longer).
Passport applications and instructions are available online at the US Department of State website. Instructional videos can also be found online. If you have any questions please contact the Office of International Affairs located in the Center for Student Engagement, Johnson Center.
Passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the expected return date.
Certain programs will require you to obtain a student visa in order to enter and/or study in your host country. The ISEP Country Handbooks offers instructions and links to the consulate websites. The consular websites for your host country will provide the most accurate and update information. It is your responsibility to obtain your student visa. Processing time for student visas varies (generally 4+ weeks), so please apply well in advance. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to the Office of International Affairs for support.
As you’re preparing to study abroad, you’ll find much helpful information in the Study Abroad Handbook. This guide provides information on the entire study abroad process, from selecting a program and applying, to packing and registering for classes.
All students are required to attend pre-departure orientation sessions, led by the Office of International Affairs. These orientations will cover health and safety abroad, as well as academic and cultural adjustment. Accepted study abroad students will receive more information about upcoming session dates and times.
As you prepare to study abroad, you may find it helpful to consult the following North Park University offices:
- The Career Development and Internships Office is a crucial resource for students who are thinking of completing an internship abroad, either in conjunction with an existing study abroad program or on its own.
- Counseling Support Services can help you think about cultural adjustment issues and prepare for homesickness. This office can also be a good resource for returned students who are experiencing difficulty integrating back into life at North Park and the United States.
- Health Services can provide advice on recommended vaccinations, help you make decisions on managing medication usage or chronic illness abroad, and serve as a good resource for general tips on staying healthy while traveling.
- Student Administrative Services can help you obtain transcripts, transfer credits, and understand how your financial aid package will apply to your particular study abroad program.
- Student Engagement is available for students who have general questions about how studying abroad will impact their academic progress. Students with disabilities are strongly encouraged to study abroad and should speak with the Student Support Specialist as early as possible.
- Faculty Advisors can provide information as to how to stay on track for graduation and provide recommendations for courses to take abroad. We encourage all of our students to meet with their advisors to help evaluate how studying abroad will affect their academic timeline.
- Make plans to visit your doctor, dentist, and any other healthcare providers before you leave for study abroad.
- The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has a great website with resources and recommendations for travelers.
- NPU Health Services can provide advice on recommended vaccinations, help you make decisions on managing medication usage or chronic illness abroad, and serve as a good resource for general tips on staying healthy while traveling.
- Prescription Medicines: If you take prescription medicine, bring a supply that lasts your entire stay. Be sure to have written copies of your prescriptions in you need a refill. Your doctor may also recommend medications to bring if you are susceptible to a recurrence of an illness, infection or allergy. See 10 Things You Should Know about traveling internationally with medication.
- Non-Prescription Medicines: If you have any favorite over-the-counter remedies, you may want to bring a lasting supply. For customs purposes, take all medicines in their original containers. The CDC provides a list of items to consider taking as a part of a travel health kit.
If you are studying abroad on an ISEP, CCCU, or NPU Exchange, you will need to get your courses approved to transfer back to North Park University. We suggest getting additional courses approved, in case you’re not able to enroll in your first choice courses abroad. It is normal to change courses once you arrive to your host site, and you can submit course transfer forms after your program begins.
Complete this form for each course you take abroad and submit to the Office of International Affairs. We will then submit to the Records Office on your behalf once you have finalized your course schedule abroad. All courses you take abroad will transfer back to NPU and your grades will be factored into your undergraduate GPA.
You can search for and purchase flights online with sites such as: Kayak, Google Flights, Student University, STA Travel, and many more. Note: North Park does not specifically endorse any of these websites. We recommend that you set up an automatic flight price alert as soon as possible so you’ll be alerted when your desired route price drops.
Research on your location will inform your packing list! Here’s one article that offers some advice on packing light.
Don’t forget to pack an adaptor and/or convertor! If you plan to use your phone abroad, you’ll want to read this article to learn more about your options. Many students forgo a cell phone plan abroad and just use wifi.