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Study Abroad

Preparation & Safety


Important Note: This is simply a guide. Please check the U.S. Department of State for the most current and accurate information before going abroad. Please visit this website.

Obtaining a U.S. Passport

You must apply in person if:

  • You are applying for your first U.S. passport.
  • You are under the age of 16.
  • Your previous U.S. passport was issued when you were under the age of 16.
  • Your previous U.S. passport was lost, stolen or damaged.
  • Your previous U.S. passport was issued more than 15 years ago.
  • Your name has changed since your U.S. passport was issued and you are unable to legally document your name change.

Before you start, please note:

Seven-Step Checklist


A student visa is required to study in most countries, and it is your responsibility to understand visa requirements. As the application process may be lengthy, you should investigate visa requirements as soon as you are approved to study abroad. You must send a valid passport with your visa application so make sure that you apply for a passport well enough in advance to allow yourself ample time for acquiring a visa. Visa application processing times can take as long as 90 days or more.

Visa applications and process information can be obtained from the consulates of the country in which you will be studying. For detailed information on entry requirements, visa types, the location and contact information of consular offices, visit the website of the country's embassy in the United States or the U.S. Department of State's database of country-specific information.

Health care/immunizations

Plan ahead for health care, immunization and other required documentation for the countries you will visit. Get all necessary dental work completed before you travel. Take an extra pair of eyeglasses (or contact lenses) and a copy of your prescription. Check consular information for regulations and restrictions on the transportation of medications within your host country. Research the availability of medications you may need during your stay. Remember to bring a copy of any prescriptions for medications as you may be asked to show them in order to bring prescription medications across the border.  Consult with a medical provider about which immunizations are suggested or required for your host country – they can take several weeks to complete. Allow for ample time for scheduling. Don't crowd vaccinations appointments. Please be sure to check the Centers for Disease Control's website for the most up-to-date information on your study abroad location. Also check your host country's information sheets for any restrictions on importation of both over-the-counter and prescription drugs.  See the "Health and Safety" section for more information. 

International Travel Appointment

International Programs and Services strongly recommends that you make a travel appointment with a health care professional before studying abroad. This appointment is intended to help you assess any and all health issues relevant to your upcoming study abroad experience. Such issues might include vaccinations or boosters, or might be as simple as reminders about healthy living while abroad. Either way, we encourage you to take this appointment seriously and to start making arrangements for such an appointment sooner rather than later.

Travel Clinics in Chicagoland

If you would like to explore other options, the Illinois Department of Public Health provides a list of travel clinics on its website. Below is a list of a few local travel clinics.

DuPage County Health Department 

111 N County Farm Rd.
Wheaton, IL 60187
Phone (630) 682-7400 TDD (630) 932-1447

Travel Clinics of America

Dr. Eugene Muzykansky 
215 Remington Blvd., Unit I 
Bolingbrook, IL 60490 
Phone: (630) 378-9191

Other Resources:

For the most current health information, please visit the following websites:
Illinois Department of Public Health:
Centers for Disease Control:

Counseling And Consultation Service

The BenU Student Health Services counseling center can provide Initial consultation and assessment, focused individual psychotherapy, referral to outside services, emergency services and hotline information, consultation and outreach. For many chronic or cyclical mental health conditions, changes in diet and schedule can trigger an acute episode. It is important for you to discuss your plans to study abroad now with the BenU counseling center or with your therapist. For Benedictine University students, there is no fee for counseling services.

Students With Disabilities

Just as cultures differ from country to country, so do perceptions of disability and accommodations. Some countries may have a wide range of services for students with disabilities, others may rely on peer or family support, and some may have limited disability accommodations available. The most important quality for any study abroad participant is flexibility and an open mind. As a study abroad student, you are going overseas to experience a different way of life, which may also include a different way of dealing with your disability. If you are a student who requires academic accommodations through the Academic and Career Enrichment Center (ACE), you MUST communicate this to the education abroad coordinator and your resident director or host institution so that we have an opportunity to consider alternative ways to meet those needs. Your education abroad coordinator and a counselor from your host institution can assist you in determining the type of accommodations possible for your program and what other considerations you ought to think about before studying abroad.


Academic Career Enrichment Center
Jennifer Golminas
Goodwin Hall, Room 224
(630) 829-6041

Prescriptions and Prescription Letters

When studying abroad, it is important to take with you an adequate supply of the medication(s) you regularly use. IPS can provide you with a prescription letter to take to your pharmacy or physician, so you can request to receive a supply of medication for the duration of your program. Please ask for this letter from your education abroad coordinator in advance of your trip. When traveling with your medications, it is vital to keep your medications in the original, labeled containers. Be sure the information on the container has your name, your physician's name, and the name of the medication. It is imperative that you take your medication exactly as prescribed by your physician. Discontinuing medication or changing the dose could result in negative consequences for your health. If the required medication is habit-forming or a narcotic drug, or if you are required to carry a large quantity, we recommend you take a doctor's letter certifying your need for this particular medication.

Jet Lag

Jet lag is something that occurs when people fly over multiple time zones rapidly, disturbing their physiological and psychological rhythms. Some symptoms of jet lag include general discomfort, sleep disturbances, reduced mental and physical performance, and disturbed appetite and eating patterns. Here are a few tips to help lessen the effects of jet lag:

  • Try to get enough sleep the week before your trip and     try to sleep while on the flight. Bring an inflatable neck pillow for     those extra-long flights, which you can also use when you have layovers     and need to rest at an airport.
  • Reset your watch at the beginning of your flight to the     local time of your destination. This will help you adjust to the new time     zone.
  • Drink fluids! Airplane cabins are very dry places, so     drink lots of liquids like water and juice while on your flight. Avoid     alcohol and caffeine, which both cause dehydration.
  • During the flight, take a break by getting up and     walking around the cabin frequently or do stretching exercises in your     seat. Activity will help your body's circulation and allow you to feel     less sluggish after the flight.
  • As soon as you arrive at your destination, adjust your     meal times and sleep schedule to the local time. This will help your body     adjust to the new time zone more quickly.
  • Be aware that you may feel sluggish, drowsy and     experience reduced performance for a few days after you arrive.


Additional Country Information


Your local tourist office may also be able to help you locate descriptive brochures and maps of your particular host city, giving you the opportunity to orient yourself somewhat before your arrival. Also check the websites of your host country, city guidebooks, and online and print newspapers published in or about your host country. Go to the library and ask the reference librarian for suggestions. Additionally, we highly recommend that you contact students on campus who are citizens of or have studied in the country in which you will be studying.