Preparation Checklist for Barnard Students

Before departure, Barnard students are invited and encouraged to attend pre-departure meetings hosted by the program and by Barnard. The program pre-departure meetings are an excellent way to make sure your questions are answered and to meet your peers on the program. In some cases they are mandatory. Program academics, housing, health and safety as well as culture will be discussed in these sessions. Below, you will find additional steps to take prior to departure.

In all cases you should consult with Barnard Global to make sure you haven't missed any important steps.

Barnard Campus

  • Complete all post-acceptance materials in your Columbia-Led program application by the due dates.
  • Attend and complete mandatory orientation and pre-departure meeting(s).
  • Make sure you have attended to all of the steps required by Barnard.
  • If you are a non-US citizen, consult the ISSO to make sure you can reenter the country appropriately.
  • Complete and be approved for School Sponsorship.
  • Create a profile and a trip in ISOS.


  • Be sure you review how finances will work for the program and also for Barnard. Meet with your Financial Aid Officer at Barnard to verify the details of your aid.
  • Clear all registration holds and make sure all outstanding balances are paid.
  • Pay the Columbia-Led deposit and program fees as instructed in your acceptance materials.
  • Plan your budget.
  • Bring an emergency fund (minimum $300) and $100 in local currency with you on the plane.
  • Plan to bring appropriate credit cards & bank cards as recommended by your program.
  • Call your bank(s) so that a notification can be put on your account that the card will be used overseas.


  • Apply early for your passport or passport renewal, if necessary. Check to ensure that your passport will be valid 6 months beyond your anticipated return to the U.S. Also, research how many blank pages you need in your passport prior to departure on the local consulate webpage.
  • Follow all program instructions for your visa and make sure to adhere to program deadlines.

Health & Insurance

  • Attend the mandatory Study Abroad Health Session at Barnard.
  • Discuss any mental or physical health concerns with your program adviser as soon as possible.
  • Schedule an appointment with your physician for the required program medical clearance. If recommended, schedule a visit to a travel nurse to receive information about your host country and any required inoculations.
  • If you receive accommodations through the Office of Disability Services, make sure to discuss them with your program adviser and be sure to upload a letter after you have been accepted into the program.
  • Verify that your health insurance covers you throughout your stay and call your insurance company to learn about how to use your coverage while abroad, if needed.
  • Inform yourself of health and safety issues in the country abroad and discuss them with your family.
  • Bring medication, prescriptions, etc. for your entire duration away if possible. You may need to submit documentation to prove to your doctor and insurance company that you are abroad for an extensive period of time, so start this process as soon as you learn you are going abroad.
  • Have a physical, dental check-up, eye examination, etc.
  • Consider purchasing additional insurance for personal liability, property loss, trip cancellation, etc.


Make copies of important documents and phone numbers and keep them in a safe place. Include:

  • Passport and visa
  • Medical/immunization records
  • Credits cards and phone numbers
  • Bank account details and phone numbers
  • Insurance cards


  • Educate yourself about local customs, current events and laws. Your program adviser will likely have some location-specific instructions.
  • Get a guidebook such as Lonely Planet or Rough Guides.
  • Explore your communications options abroad: will you use a local cell phone, Facetime, Skype, etc. to stay in touch with home? Make sure you think about how you will call landlines directly so that you do not rely only on wifi or internet access. Make sure you know how to make phone calls in your host country.