Before departure, you will be invited to attend required pre-departure meetings and webinars. 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.

Columbia Campus

  • Complete all post-acceptance materials in your Center for Undergraduate Global Engagement (UGE) application.
  • Attend and complete mandatory orientation & pre-departure meeting(s) and webinars.
  • Register for the appropriate study abroad course on SSOL (Columbia College and Columbia Engineering only).
  • Terminate contracts with the Housing Office & Dining Services.
  • If you are a non-US citizen, consult the ISSO to make sure you can reenter the country appropriately.
  • Update your emergency contact information in SSOL.
  • Complete and be approved for School Sponsorship.
  • Create a profile and a trip in ISOS.

Program or Host University

  • Confirm your participation & enrollment.
  • Apply for housing.
  • Columbia College/Columbia Engineering: Confirm Columbia billing details with your program.
  • Columbia-Approved Programs: Request that a transcript be sent to UGE, not the Registrar.


  • Meet with your Financial Aid Officer to verify the details of your aid.
  • Clear all registration holds and make sure all outstanding balances are paid.
  • 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.
  • Collect documents required for your student visa and apply as early as possible.

Health & Insurance

  • Verify that your health insurance covers you throughout your stay. Also, 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.
  • Take your insurance card.
  • Get an ISOS card from the UGE.
  • Have a physical, dental check-up, eye examination, etc.
  • Make sure you receive all appropriate inoculations.
  • 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 & phone numbers
  • Bank account details & phone numbers
  • Insurance cards


  • Educate yourself about local customs, current events and laws.
  • 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.