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Study Abroad Office

Pre-Departure Guide

We hope you are getting excited about your upcoming global learning experience. Please take some time to review the USC Study Abroad Pre-Departure Guide, which contains helpful details as you plan and prepare. 

Before You Leave

In addition to reading the Pre-Departure Guide, please be sure to complete the following steps prior to your departure:

1. Housing & Parking: Notify the USC Housing office and Parking Services that you will be studying abroad and make the necessary arrangements and cancellations. 

2. Fee Payment & Financial Aid: Regardless of the type of study abroad program you are taking part in, if you receive financial aid or scholarships from USC you must go to and apply this aid to your bill. If you have an overage, you will receive a refund from the University. 

3. Required Documents: Obtain a passport as soon as you have been accepted to study abroad. Some countries require a student visa or residence permit, in addition to your passport. A visa is written permission to visit a country granted by the government of that country. Consult your host program and the Embassy/Consulate of each country you are traveling to in order to confirm entry requirements. The Study Abroad Office is available to provide assistance, but you are responsible for obtaining the proper legal documentation. 

4. Airfare:  Arrange travel to the university overseas. You may want to start by researching fares through and, both of which provide discounted student fares.

5. Health & Insurance: Visit a doctor and dentist and take care of any health issues. Obtain any specific immunizations required for the country(s) in which you will be studying and traveling, and any prescriptions you may need plus a written copy of the prescription. By participating in an overseas program sponsored by USC-Columbia, students will automatically be enrolled in a specialized emergency medical insurance coverage plan for the duration of their program abroad.

6. Budgeting: Plan a budget and obtain sufficient funds to cover your expenses while abroad. Ensure that these funds are either accessible from abroad (credit card, ATM) or can be carried with you (cash, pre-paid debit cards). 

7. Research: Read guidebooks, watch documentaries, speak with USC international students, and take other steps to research and learn about your host country and culture before you leave. 

8. Contact: Obtain your academic advisor's and study abroad advisor's email addresses and office contact information and take it with you abroad. Obtain the address and contact information for where you will be living overseas and take it with you in your carry on luggage.

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