Pre-Departure Self-Orientation Worksheet

Use the study abroad orientations, past program participants, your study abroad advisor, the Internet, campus and local libraries, guidebooks, and other links on this website to fill out this worksheet.

Registration & Classes

  • What school will you be attending?
  • When does the academic term begin?
  • When do classes start?
  • When do classes end?
  • When are final exams scheduled and when are final papers due?
  • How do you register at the University of Illinois for your term abroad?
  • How will you get the courses you want to take abroad approved for University of Illinois credit?
  • If you decide to take different classes once you’re abroad, how do you get them approved for University of Illinois credit?


  • How much will your program cost?
  • How will you pay for it?
  • If you will be applying for financial aid, have you taken a budget to the Financial Aid Office?
  • How much money will you take?
  • In what form will you take the money? (Ex: U.S. or foreign currency, traveler’s checks, credit cards)
  • How will you carry your money?
  • How will you get additional money if needed?

Medical Issues

  • What health risks are present in your host country?
  • Do you need to get inoculations before you leave? (Check the Centers for Disease Control)
  • Will you need any prescription medications while you are abroad?
  • If yes, do you have enough of the medications to last you the entire time abroad?
  • Have you received your CISI health insurance card?
  • Will your insurance cover any instances directly or will you need to get reimbursed?
  • Who will you contact if you have questions regarding insurance while abroad?
  • If you wear eyeglasses or contacts, do you know your prescription?
  • Can you take an extra pair of glasses with you?

Host Institution & Country

  • Will someone meet you at the airport/train/bus station when you arrive?
  • If so, who will this be and what is their contact information?
  • What will you do if that person is not there?
  • Where will you be living while you’re studying abroad?
  • How are students usually evaluated academically in the country where you will be studying? (Ex: tests, essays, papers, discussions, group projects, participation)
  • Who is your advisor at your host institution? (Name, address, and phone number)
  • What kind of visas, if any, do you need to enter your host country?
  • How do you apply for the visa?
  • What is the political situation in your host country?
  • What are the dominant religions in your host country?
  • What are the local views about sex, birth control, homosexuality, etc.?
  • Are you comfortable with these views?
  • What are the customs regarding drinking alcohol in the host country?
  • While abroad, you will be under legal jurisdiction of the country you will be in (or traveling in). Do you know the penalties in your host country for using illegal drugs?

Travel & Current Events & News

  • Where would you like to visit while you are abroad? (i.e., adjacent countries, different parts of your host country)
  • Will you need any other visas where you want to travel?
  • If so, how will you get the visas?
  • Do you have a guidebook about your host country? If not, consider investing in one (e.g. Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, Let’s Go)


  • What specifically will you pack? (Create a list and then revise if needed.)
  • Could you carry this luggage by yourself if you needed to walk 10 blocks with it?
  • Should you take appliances, or can you buy them overseas?
  • If you are taking appliances, do you have the appropriate converters for the country?

Staying in Touch

  • How will your parents and friends contact you?
  • Do they know your phone number and how to dial it?
  • Do you have the phone numbers/email addresses you will need or want during your time abroad?