Before departing for any study abroad program, there are important travel details for which you need to review and prepare. Although many of these topics will be discussed in advising and pre-departure meetings, it is your responsibility to be aware of what is suggested and required of your travel to, and stay in, your host country. Be sure to review this information early so you are not caught off guard by quickly approaching deadlines or unexpected costs.
If you have questions about your preparations, please contact the Office of Global Education.
United States Department of State
The United States Department of State offers valuable resources to American travelers abroad and has created a website dedicated to American college students studying abroad: http://studentsabroad.state.gov. As you prepare for your program, and while you are abroad, check their website for easy registration with the nearest U.S. Embassy and the most up-to-date information including travel and safety tips, warnings, alerts, world-wide cautions, individual country profiles, and country-specific updates.
Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)
Before all travel, register your plans with the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at https://step.state.gov/step/. You also may access the STEP program enrollment from the U.S. Department of State’s website by clicking on the blue suitcase with the white check mark or from the State Department’s dedicated smartphone application.
Be sure to include all ways a consular officer can contact you, which may include residence hall phones, hotel phones, cell phones, etc. If there is an emergency in the States or in the location to which you are traveling, the consular officer will use those numbers to contact you directly.
The U.S. Department of State provides detailed information about particular countries and their current safety situations. Be sure to review the Travel Warnings webpage for up-to-date information about the locations to which you plan to travel.
The United States Embassies and Consulates offer valuable resources to U.S. citizens traveling abroad. Located throughout the world, it is important to know which embassies and/or consulates offer consular services to assist you should you need them. These services include, among other things, emergency assistance, answers, and clarification to non-emergency questions, and replacements for lost or stolen passports.
Health & Vaccinations
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Resources
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the national public health institute of the United States and offers valuable resources to American travelers abroad on their Traveler’s Health website: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/.
As a student on a High Point University study abroad program, it is your responsibility to check the CDC website to see what, if any, vaccinations and/or medical tests are recommended or required for your travel destinations. It also is your responsibility to schedule and obtain any vaccinations and/or medical tests before you travel abroad.
Know that some vaccinations may be time-sensitive and require more than one visit to obtain. Vaccinations and medical tests are not included in the program fee of your study abroad program so you will want to factor their fees into your total participation costs. Contact the HPU Student Health Services, as well as your home physician and/or a travel clinic, for more information as some vaccinations and exams may not be able to be provided on campus.
Please keep in mind that there are different categories of vaccinations of which you should be aware:
- Routine Vaccinations. Be sure that you are up to date on your routine vaccinations. These normally consist of the vaccinations you need to live on campus at HPU and are necessary for protection from diseases that are still common in many parts of the world even though they rarely occur in the United States.
- Recommended Vaccinations. These vaccines are recommended to protect travelers from illnesses present in other parts of the world and to prevent infectious diseases from crossing international borders. Which vaccinations you need will depend on a number of factors including your destination, whether you will be spending time in rural areas, the season of the year you are traveling, your age, health status, and previous vaccinations.
- Required Vaccinations. Currently, the only vaccine required by International Health Regulations is yellow fever vaccination for travel to certain countries in sub-Saharan Africa, such as Ghana, and tropical South America, such as Ecuador. In addition to vaccinations, other countries may require medical tests, such as an HIV test, prior to entry.
Your valid U.S. passport will be required for all international travel. It is important to know for how long your passport is valid and for how long you will be able to travel on your unexpired passport. Visit the HPU Passport Information page for more information and to know where you can go locally to apply for or renew a U.S. passport.
Depending on your destination, length of stay, and reason for travel, you may be required to obtain a residence permit, or visa, to enter or stay in the country. Visit the HPU Visa Information page for more information about your host country.
United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) offers a Know Before You Go resource with helpful travel tips and information about what you can and cannot bring back into the United States from your travels abroad.
Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) provides authority over travel inside and connecting to the United States. Visit their website for information about flying.
CIA World Factbook
The CIA World Factbook provides interesting background information about countries around the world.