Pre-Departure Guide


Education abroad is one of the most challenging, exciting, and rewarding experiences that you can have during your college career. An international experience requires planning and preparation. CSU Education Abroad staff and your program leadership will help you prepare for your experience abroad, but ultimately, pre-departure preparation requires significant initiative from you.

Take time during your pre-departure planning to learn about your host country, including reading this pre-departure information. Preparation is key to a successful experience abroad.


Here is a quick list of the highlights to accomplish before you depart for abroad:

  • Read this pre-departure guide.
  • Complete all CSU requirements in your myEdAbroad portal
  • Education Abroad encourages students to meet with the Office of Financial Aid (OFA) to learn about how scholarships, loans, and grants are secured for your time abroad.
  • If needed, meet with a travel clinic nurse from the CSU Health Network. Make sure you have all of the necessary immunizations for healthy travel to your host country
  • If you have any pre-existing conditions or are traveling with prescription medicines, it is especially important to meet with a health professional before departure.
  • Photocopy and take a photo of important documents such as your passport, credit cards, insurance cards, etc. in case you lose these items and need to reorder them. Take one copy in your carry-on luggage and leave one copy with a trusted individual at home.
  • Contact your bank and credit card companies to let them know you will be traveling abroad. Ask about exchange rates and transaction fees for international use of your cards. There are many credit cards that do not have foreign transaction fees to consider.
  • Learn the details of your international health insurance coverage and how to access it abroad. All students registering travel through CSU Education Abroad will be enrolled in international travel health insurance, whether through their program or CSU.
  • Set up a communication plan with family and friends. Think about how and how often to be in touch. Establish a secondary plan in the event of an emergency.
  • Develop an arrival plan so you know how to get from the airport to your new home.
  • Learn as much as you can about the culture, history, language or traditions of the country in which you will be studying. Your Education Abroad coordinator will be happy to connect you with resources.
  • Register in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)




CSU Police Department 24-Hour Emergency +1 (970) 491-6425
Education Abroad Emergency Number +1 (970) 219-9940


1024 Campus Delivery
Laurel Hall, NE Corner of the Oval Fort Collins, CO 80523
+1 (970) 491-5917  


+1 (970) 491-6053 
After-hours: +1 (970) 491-7111


+1 (970)-491-7121

After Hours Emergency Care

CSU Women & Gender Advocacy Center (WGAC)
+1 (970) 492-4242

+1 (970) 492-4242

International Insurance for Student Travelers


Many cell phone options exist for your time abroad. You may decide to purchase an international plan with your existing carrier. For shorter programs, this is a flexible option. Some choose to purchase a phone once they arrive in country, although usually this is done for longer programs. Another option is to purchase an unlocked phone in the U.S. and buy a SIM card once you arrive in country. This option is convenient and SIM cards are usually inexpensive. No matter what choice you make, have a plan for how you want to stay connected abroad and set expectations for how often your loved ones will hear from you.

WhatsApp, Line, WeChat, Skype, Viber, etc. are apps that offer free or inexpensive ways to communicate internationally. Education Abroad encourages students to speak with others who have recently been abroad in the host country to determine the most efficient way to communicate both locally and with contacts at home.



In its simplest form, culture is the unique characteristics that unify a society. It is important to think about what influences a culture. How do politics, history, language, religion, and economics, for example, shape a country’s values? Furthermore, it is important to recognize that within a country’s borders, cultural differences exist.

Culture often manifests in two ways. The first is visible, apparent, or objective like art, music, popular culture, literature, food, and fashion. The second is often the hidden dimensions of culture that influence daily life like communication (verbal and nonverbal), values, and etiquette.

What one cannot see or understand is typically much greater than what can be seen. One is often unaware of the way things, such as religion, history, educational systems, and family dynamics affect the core attitudes and beliefs held by an individual or society.

To prepare for an education abroad experience, take the time to learn about the host culture and try to understand what cultural characteristics and influences remain hidden beneath the surface. Also, consider your own core values and beliefs and your home country’s culture. How do you expect these to influence your opinions and interactions while abroad?



Students will experience emotional and intellectual ups and downs as they adjust to a different culture. It is important to understand that this process is real, normal, and an important part of the education abroad experience. Culture adaptation can occur through the gradual accumulation of anxiety, frustration, and confusion that students experience with exposure to a new culture.

There are five phases of the cultural adjustment process represented in a W-Curve. The impact of each adjustment phase varies based on the individual.


The first stage of the cultural adaptation cycle is the excitement or “honeymoon” stage. Upon arrival, the language is different, the food is interesting, the buildings are charming, and everything is wonderful and exciting.


After some time, the initial euphoria wears off. It could be that the language is a challenge and translation is tiring. Perhaps one longs for home, familiar foods, and the conveniences of life in the U.S. or is having difficulty accepting cultural differences. This “culture shock” may stem from the following circumstances and others:

  • Being cut off from the cultural cues and patterns with which you are familiar;
  • Living or studying for an extended period of time in a situation that is ambiguous;
  • Questioning one’s own values


Most students move beyond culture shock to cultural adjustment. Within this stage, one’s perspective changes over time and one begins to adapt to the culture of the host country. Students are becoming more comfortable and confident with their interactions with host nationals.


Individuals may bounce between stages 2 and 3 for a while, but hopefully they are gradually moving towards adaptation. In adaptation, students develop confidence in their ability to communicate and interact with host nationals. They are open to learning and able to ascribe meaning to experiences.


It is common for students to experience similar highs and lows as described above as they transition back to the U.S. Be aware that this may happen and seek resources and connections to support you through the transition home.

This is the “W-Curve” of cultural adjustment. It may represent your experiences at home and abroad. You may have highs and lows before, during and after your time abroad. If you experience extreme reactions to cultural differences, such as depression, anxiety, or other symptoms of duress, please reach out to your program leadership or contact CSU Education Abroad.



Below are some proven techniques to help one through culture shock and the adjustment process into cultural adaptation and enjoyment:

  • Relax and be flexible.
  • Acknowledge that culture shock is normal and will get easier.
  • Reflect on your experiences through journaling, blogging, or talking with supportive friends.
  • Set realistic goals.
  • Resist withdrawing into yourself or surrounding yourself with only students from home.
  • Stay open and inquisitive to your host culture. Focus on the positive side of diversity and difference.
  • Keep your sense of humor and surround yourself with positive people.
  • Keep setbacks in perspective and acknowledge your growth.
  • Remember that you are the visitor. You are there to learn about a new culture.



CSU-sponsored, affiliated, and unaffiliated programs require students to have extra international health insurance. Many programs include the cost of insurance in the program fees. Consult an education abroad coordinator if you are not certain about what additional insurance you have. Students should also maintain their U.S. insurance while abroad.




The CSU Health Network provides comprehensive advisory consultation to assist international travelers in their preparation for healthy and safe experiences abroad. This includes any necessary or recommended immunizations and medicines for the location(s) you will travel to. Fees may apply.



The CDC states do not travel internationally until you are fully vaccinated from COVID-19. Vaccinations make you and the communities you interact with safer. You can read about vaccinations, where to get the vaccine, and CSU’s policies on Colorado State University’s COVID information and resources page. In your myEdAbroad application, you will be asked to review and acknowledge Education Abroad Pandemic Travel Preparedness.



If you have a pre-existing medical or mental health condition, consult your regular doctor to discuss how to manage your condition or symptoms abroad.   Tell your program leadership about any pre-existing conditions so that in case of difficulties abroad, they may assist you from a more informed standpoint. This is especially important for programs where you are traveling to remote locations, or are on or around water. If you need any accommodations, it is important to tell your program leadership as soon as possible so you can work together to create a plan while abroad.   You may also want to work with the insurance your program provides to ensure that you can access what you need abroad, or so you can make plans if the insurance will not work for your condition abroad.



If possible, bring enough of your prescription for the duration of your program. It is very important to check the US Department of State to ensure your medication is legal in your destination country; if not, discuss this with your provider. See the CDC’s Traveling Abroad with Medicine page to learn more about traveling with medications.



In the event of sexual assault while abroad, seek immediate medical attention if necessary. Education Abroad office and CSU resources are available to support you. Anyone who experiences sexual assault or sexual misconduct should notify their program leadership or CSU if they would like emotional support or assistance with navigating local resources.



It’s important to attend to your mental health and wellness as you plan your education abroad. Many students find that the challenges of living in a new cultural environment impact their sense of wellbeing and mental health. We encourage you to proactively plan for how you’ll attend to your wellness and mental health overseas.

If you have mental health concerns, follow these steps to ensure you have the support you need while studying abroad:

  • Create a self-care plan for yourself that includes regular communication with your support networks before departure and while you are abroad.
  • Discuss with your mental health professional how you plan to manage your health while abroad, including what you will do if you experience increased symptoms or concerns.
  • Meet with the CSU Student Disability Center to prepare a request for accommodation(s), if needed.
  • Disclose with your Education Abroad Coordinator if you are comfortable. Every year, students with mental health concerns go abroad and have enjoyable and fulfilling experiences, and by proactively planning for your mental health, you can too.
  • Going abroad can be stressful, and this is especially true for short-term faculty-led programs where students earn a semester’s worth of course credit in a few short weeks. Practicing stress management and getting good sleep are vital during your program abroad.






Student safety is a top priority for Education Abroad at Colorado State University. The following guidelines will help ensure students take an active role in remaining safer abroad. You are welcome to contact for more specific guidance.

  • Take responsibility for all the preparatory elements necessary for the program. This includes participating fully in CSU pre-departure and on-site orientations.
  • Read and carefully consider all materials issued by the education abroad program that relate to the safety, health, legal, environmental, political, cultural, and religious conditions in the chosen host country.
  • Conduct personal research on the country(ies) you plan to visit with particular emphasis on health and safety concerns, as well as the social, cultural, and political situations.
  • Note that the local number for emergency assistance (in the US 911) varies by country. Know what your new emergency number is before you need it.
  • Consult the United States Department of State Travel Safety Information for Students. Get country specific information by visiting for up-to-date information on travel precautions.
  • Understand and comply with the terms of participation, codes of conduct, and emergency procedures of the participating program.
  • Inform parents/guardians/families/support network about your whereabouts and activities while abroad, including plans for personal travel.
  • Always let people know where you are going, when you will be back, and how to reach you.
  • Travel in pairs whenever possible.
  • Keep all important documents such as passports, money or credit cards in a safe and secure place.
  • Obey host-country laws and understand these may vary significantly from the U.S.
  • Dress in accordance with local norms to blend in and not attract unwanted attention.
  • Find out which areas are less safe than others. Avoid being alone in unfamiliar neighborhoods.
  • Transportation choices can greatly affect your safety; know the safer options for your location and use them. Do not hitchhike, ride on motorcycles, or in the back of trucks, even if it is common in the host country.
  • Never use illegal drugs and avoid excessive or irresponsible consumption of alcohol. Students are subject to the laws of the host country. If you disobey the laws, there is little CSU or the U.S. Embassy can do to help detained citizens abroad.
  • Never travel internationally with any amount of medical or recreational marijuana even though it is legal in Colorado. Marijuana is illegal federally and in many countries. Students can be arrested, prosecuted, and deported, if in possession. U.S. airports and airplanes are federal jurisdictions and do not allow marijuana.
  • Become familiar with the procedures for obtaining emergency health and legal services in the host county.
  • Always act as an ambassador for both Colorado State University and the United States.



Terrorism is difficult to anticipate, and each person should evaluate their own risk tolerance when selecting a program and country. For concerns related to terrorism, the U.S. Department of State recommends that students avoid large public gatherings and use caution in and around popular tourist destinations. In all circumstances, it is important to be vigilant and report any suspicious behavior to authorities.



Check with your on-site program coordinator or international office to determine what safety procedures should be followed in case of natural disaster, and if there are any advance warning signals of which you should be aware.



Do not attend protests and public demonstrations. Public protests can turn dangerous, and the protester and police responses could vary greatly by country. In the event of an emergency or potential emergency, please heed advice from local government and program leadership regarding safe behaviors and emergency response.



Every country in the world has unique risks. This may be ocean safety, dangerous animals, or unsafe areas for travel. Research the locations you will travel to, learn about the risks you may encounter, and how to mitigate those risks. In the event of a crisis or emergency, please contact loved ones, the on-site program coordinator or international office, and CSU Education Abroad for assistance and assurance of your whereabouts.



If you choose to consume alcohol, you can reduce risks and harm to self by:

  • Being mindful that excessive alcohol consumption lowers inhibitions and often can put one at risk
  • Not accepting drinks (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) from strangers or new acquaintances. Also, by watching the drink being poured and not leaving it unattended.
  • Going out and staying out with friends helps everyone come home safer.


Your identity is essential to your education abroad experience. CSU encourages and supports students of diverse backgrounds throughout the education abroad process while striving to provide accessible, supportive and inclusive education abroad opportunities. Education Abroad staff can answer questions and provide resources for specific locations, seek out returned students from a similar background, help find the right program with you, talk with family and others involved in your decisions, and help manage expectations for your time abroad. All CSU students are encouraged to take advantage of education abroad opportunities.

For more information and resources:

  • Resources & support for students of diverse and underrepresented identities
  • Diversity Abroad: CSU is an active member of Diversity Abroad which provides a place for students to access curated resources, build community and get connected to global programs and career opportunities from colleges and companies who are committed to ensuring more young people from traditionally marginalized and underrepresented backgrounds are positioned to thrive in our interconnected world. The website is a wealth of information including programs, destinations, funding, student forums and more.


In our ongoing mission to support the diverse needs and interests of students through housing options provided on education abroad programs, some program locations offer All Gender & Open Housing in designated spaces by request. All Gender & Open Housing provides students with a community where roommates and/or suitemates of any gender can live together in a more integrated environment. Gender-inclusive housing is not intended for romantic couples.

Some examples of students who may be interested in All Gender & Open Housing include but are not limited to:

  • Students with a disability wishing to room with a student attendant of the opposite sex
  • Students who identify as transgender or gender non-conforming requesting a roommate based on comfort and support rather than biological sex (i.e. friend or ally)
  • Students seeking a mixed-gender housing option
  • Students requesting specific housing accommodations (such as a single room*) to support their wellbeing

Currently, not all education abroad locations offer All Gender & Open Housing or single rooms. To request a single room* or discuss options for All Gender & Open Housing, please email or make an appointment to speak with an Education Abroad Advisor about possible options.

*Please note that a single room may incur an additional cost. Connect with the CSU Student Disability Center to discuss types of housing accommodation.



Study Abroad and Graduation

Prior to selecting and applying for a study abroad program, all students should consult their major/minor academic advisors to review any course requirements they must fulfill abroad in order to stay on track for graduation.


Academic Accommodations

Once accepted, students should work closely with their program leaders or host institution, education abroad coordinators, and the CSU Student Disability Center to arrange academic accommodations prior to departure.


Withdrawing from a Study Abroad Program

Most programs require deposits and pay expenses on a student’s behalf long before going abroad. Before withdrawing from a program, be sure to notify CSU Education Abroad and/or your program provider to inquire about potential financial implications.


Staying Enrolled as a Full-Time CSU Student

Staying registered as a full-time CSU student while abroad provides many benefits, including

  1. use of institutional, state, and federal financial aid
  2. waiver of an AUCC Requirement (pending successful completion of at least 3 credits abroad)
  3. continuous registration at CSU
  4. emergency support services from the CSU education abroad unit while abroad


Enrolling in Classes

Depending on the program type, there are two different ways students register for classes during their term abroad.

Type 1: Faculty/Staff-Led Programs & Semester at Sea

Type 2: All Other programs


Details for Faculty/Staff-Led Programs & Semester at Sea (Type 1)

  • Students on CSU faculty/staff-led programs should visit their program brochure pages, and Academics tabs, to see which classes they should enroll in at CSU. Students will receive instruction when it is time to register. Courses are taught by CSU staff & faculty members.
  • Students participating in the Semester at Sea program should enroll in classes at CSU based on the course offerings for the voyage in which they are participating.
  • All credits and grades earned abroad are factored into their CSU GPA.


Details for All Other Programs (Type 2)

  • SA 482: Study Abroad Placeholder Course
    • Students will enroll at CSU in SA 482 (undergraduate students) or SA 682 (graduate students) for each term they are abroad.
    • SA 482/682 is a placeholder course that ensures students stay a full-time enrolled CSU student while they are abroad.
    • Education Abroad coordinators will work with students when it is time for students to enroll in SA 482/682.
    • Financial aid will not be disbursed until students register for SA 482/682.
  • Grades, Credit Minimums, Pass/Fail
    • Coursework completed abroad is eligible for transfer to CSU provided the grade earned is equivalent to “C-” or higher. Coursework taken on a pass/fail basis abroad will not transfer. CSU does not calculate host institution grades into student GPAs at CSU.
    • In order to keep financial aid and be in their host country legally, students on semester programs need to take a full course load abroad that is the equivalent to a minimum of 12 credits at CSU (9 credits for graduate students). Students on summer programs must enroll in the equivalent of six credits at CSU (5 credits for graduate students).
  • Course Credit and Equivalents
    • All students must complete and submit a Transfer Credit Form to ensure they receive credit for courses completed abroad.
    • Bring back your course syllabi, reading lists, and copies of papers, exams, etc. This will facilitate the transfer of credit should there be any questions about the content of your courses once you return to CSU.
  • Studying Abroad and Graduation
    • If you go abroad in your final semester, there may be a delay in conferring your degree until the Registrar receives and processes transcripts from overseas institutions.
  • Academic Culture Abroad
    • The number of assessments/exams, how papers are written, siting sources, classroom culture, amount of homework, and attendance expectations may look very different at a university abroad than it does at CSU. Students should expect these differences and use available resources, before departure and upon arrival, to succeed in a different academic culture.



Banking and money matters are your responsibility. The program does not have the means to aid you if you find yourself without sufficient funds. Because the transfer of funds from the U.S. to other countries through the banking system can be difficult, it is recommended that you have a plan for your expenses while abroad. Be mindful that activities or travel outside of the program that will be at your own expense. It is not recommended that you open an account in a foreign bank.



  • To be eligible to utilize financial aid for study abroad, students must be enrolled at CSU in a degree seeking program and be participating in a University-approved education abroad program.
  • Students must complete the Financial Aid/Education Abroad Certification in their myEdAbroad portal and register in the appropriate number of credits in order to receive financial aid.
  • Disbursement of financial aid for Education Abroad participants is at the same time as for on-campus CSU students (typically mid-August for fall semester, mid-January for spring semester, and mid-May for summer semester).
  • Financial Aid advising for Education Abroad is available and encouraged. Connect with Financial Aid advising options at Contact Education Abroad.



Depending on the destination, students often rely more upon cash transactions while abroad. The primary source of cash overseas will be ATMs. ATM machines will allow one to withdraw local currency, although generally there is a transaction fee and a daily limit for withdrawal. Education Abroad encourages students to research the most favorable fees on debit and credit cards before departure. Use ATMs in well-lit, well-travelled locations and go during the day or with someone else to reduce risks. ATMs inside airports, banks, and hotels are often safer options.



Most student travelers should carry a minimum of one debit card and one credit card. Visa and MasterCard with a chip is generally widely accepted around the world. Be sure to inform the bank and credit card company of international travel to prevent security holds.  Ensure you know the PIN for any card you bring.

Obtain the phone numbers for the global customer assistance offices for each credit/debit card and financial institution. Know exactly how to report a damaged, lost, or stolen debit or credit card and how to replace them if needed.



If desired, students can order small amounts of foreign currency from local banks prior to leaving the United States (allow a several days processing) or can obtain foreign currency at an exchange booth or ATM in the airport.




For most programs, students are responsible for booking their own round-trip international airfare,  If a program has a group flight, students will be informed by program leadership. Plan to arrive at the airport three hours before departure for an international flight. CSU has organized some tips to address some important considerations when purchasing airfare.




If you haven’t already applied for a passport, you should do so immediately. Passport applications can take up to 8 – 11 weeks to process. Ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months beyond the end date of your program. How to get a passport.



Loss or theft of a valid U.S. Passport should be reported immediately online, by phone or in writing to:

U.S. Department of State Passport Service

Within the United States: +1 (877) 487-2778

Outside the United States: Contact the nearest United States Embassy or Consulate



A visa is your official permission to enter a specific country and is granted by that country’s government. Not all permissions to enter require a person to apply for a visa in advance of arrival. Review these travel resources for select country visa guidance.


         DO I NEED A VISA?

  • Check with the program leadership to see if a visa is required.
  • Depending on the country, the visa application process can take up to three months. The application process can be unpredictable, so it is a good idea to start the process early.
  • You MUST have a passport before you can apply for a visa.
  • Travel to other countries outside the host country may also require a student or long-term visa.
  • You will find information on visa requirements at

NOTE: Non-U.S. citizens or international students should familiarize themselves with entry requirements based on their home country. Alert CSU International Student & Scholar Services of your travel plans before you depart.



When your plane lands in your host country, immigration officials will ask about the purpose of your visit and how long you plan to stay in the country. Most customs forms will ask you for the following:

  • Your passport number and expiration date
  • The address of where you will be staying

We suggest taking a picture of the information page of your passport and the address where you will be staying with your phone so that you do not need to dig through your luggage or money belt when filling out the documents on the plane.

After Immigration, you will go through Customs. You will be asked to declare if you are carrying certain items in your luggage. Be sure to declare any restricted items, as luggage may be opened and checked. Always be respectful and polite. Never make jokes about bombs or illegal drugs.




Students returning from education abroad usually say that they took too much. Pack at least one week before departure. Several days later, go back and remove half of what was packed. Moreover, remember, there may not be convenient transportation, elevators, escalators, etc. abroad, so be prepared to carry everything independently over various terrain.

Here is some advice on packing:

  • Connect with program leadership on items to pack that are unique to your program location, activities, duration, etc.
  • Choose luggage carefully, keeping in mind cost, durability, capacity, ease of carrying/toting without assistance. Consider airline limits (and extra costs) regarding weight, size, and number of pieces for checkable and carry-on items.
  • Check with Transportation Security Administration (TSA) about carry-on restrictions for liquids and other articles when departing and re-entering the US. Airports outside the US will have different restrictions.
  • If traveling on a shorter program, consider traveling with just a carry-on.
  • Take clothing that is lightweight and layer-able; low maintenance and easily cleaned; and flexible in terms of fashion, occasion, and weather.
  • Include footwear that is durable, suitable for wet weather, comfortable for long walks, and flexible in terms of fashion and social occasions.
  • Include a scarf, tie, or similar, to dress up a bit when appropriate.
  • For longer programs, minimize the packing of toiletry items. Plan to purchase these abroad.
  • Avoid electric items that require power conversion, especially hair dryers and flat irons. These items are better off purchased abroad.
  • A portable phone charger and electrical adapters are helpful purchases prior to departure.
  • Do not take a lot of bedding and towels, even if they are needed. Buy them upon arrival.
  • For many climates, take an inexpensive travel umbrella or buy one upon arrival.
  • Below is an example of a checklist you might create for yourself, depending on where you are going, what you will be doing, how long you will be gone, etc.



This is a general packing list. Other items specific to program activities may be needed. Please check TSA and your airline’s guidelines for packing restrictions and luggage size requirements and fees. If taking a connecting flight outside the US, note that luggage restrictions may vary.



  • Passport and state driver’s license or ID
  • Airline ticket(s) and itinerary
  • Local currency (preferably in a money pouch or belt)
  • Credit and debit/ATM cards
  • Copies of important travel documents and emergency contact information. Always carry an emergency card containing important emergency phone numbers, including the number of the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate and your insurance cards, and COVID vaccination card if applicable
  • Prescription medications in their original containers, with written prescriptions
  • Camera, memory cards/film
  • Laptop and any small electronic devices
  • Chargers or extra batteries
  • Extra change of clothes and undergarments
  • Wash cloth and soap in a travel case or travel wipes
  • Toothbrush and travel size toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Contact lenses and travel size solution, glasses
  • Earplugs
  • Books/magazines
  • Snacks, gum or mints
  • Watch
  • Reusable water bottle



  • Extra copies of important travel documents and emergency contact information
  • Seasonally and culturally appropriate clothes that can be mixed and matched and layered
  • Undergarments, shoes and accessories
  • Jacket or coat appropriate for host country climate
  • Flip flops for the shower
  • Poncho or rain jacket
  • Work shirt and pants
  • Closed-toed hiking/walking shoes
  • Sunglasses
  • Toiletries
  • First-aid kit (including over-the-counter pain reliever and motion sickness and anti-diarrheal medications)
  • Extra pair of prescription glasses or contact lenses
  • Feminine hygiene products (if applicable)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Small day trip bag/backpack
  • Power converter/adapter (if applicable)
  • Small flashlight
  • Combination or key locks (to secure luggage in accommodations, if necessary)
  • Travel guides
  • Diary or journal
  • Music/photographs



Use this final Pre-Departure Checklist pdf to ensure that you have your essentials organized & taken care of before departure. Print the checklist and check off items as you prepare to depart!




At first, you may be excited to return home – seeing friends and family members, eating at your favorite restaurants and sleeping in your own bed again. This initial excitement eventually wears off, and you may find yourself feeling out of place in your own culture. This unsettled feeling is called “reverse culture shock” and is a common reaction for students coming home from abroad. Feelings can range from the sense that nobody understands how you’ve changed, to feeling panicked that you will lose part of your identity if you don’t have an outlet to pursue the new interests that were sparked abroad.

Remember that change is a positive thing — new ideas and insights give you a better sense of yourself. The trick is to figure out how to incorporate your new perspectives into your life on your home campus. Do not consider education abroad a singular experience; instead, look at it as the start of a lifetime of international experiences. Find ways to continue pursuing newfound interests; make the most of the resources that exist for you on your home campus and in your local community.

Explore ways to get involved with the international community and CSU Education Abroad when you return from abroad on Returning to CSU .



When you return to campus from abroad, come join our workshops. These sessions focus on strengthening the intercultural skills and competencies you will have gained as returnees and alumni, while also exploring a mixture of academic and professional opportunities around the world. We offer workshops on how to effectively communicate the skills that you gained during education abroad in your job search or grad school applications, search for graduate schools abroad, finding opportunities to teach English as Second Language (ESL), and many more. Visit Returning to CSU for Post-CSU International Opportunities and our events calendar.