Practical Matters

Once students are approved to study abroad, they need to get ready to go! This information points to some of the most important preparations.

Pre-departure Orientation Requirement

  • All semester/academic year participants are required to take a 1.0 credit pre-departure orientation course (IDS-210 for all students with the exception of those going to Japan, who take EAS-398) offered in the semester or academic year prior to study abroad. Students take the course only once.
  • Short term summer or winter interim program participants must attend a general pre-departure orientation session offered on campus prior to departure. Contact the Abroad staff for more information.

Passports and Visas

  • Passports. A passport is an internationally-recognized form of identification. Available in booklet (or now in credit-card style) form, it is an official document that serves as proof of citizenship. It must be valid a minimum of 6 months after the expected return date. Students should apply for or renew their passports as soon as possible! For information on applying for a U.S. passport, click here
  • Visas. The (student) visa is a document, typically affixed to the inside of a passport, whereby the government of the host country authorizes a foreigner to enter that country for a specific period of time for the purpose of study. Students cannot apply for a visa without a valid passport! The Center for International Programs can provide some assistance, but students are responsible for applying for and receiving their passports and visas in time to study abroad.
  • Costs for passports and visas. Students pay their own passport and visa fees. Students who have very high financial need may qualify for financial support to help curb these costs. Contact the Abroad office to learn more. 

Health and Other Insurance

  • Health and Property Insurance. Just as students must have insurance in order to study at Ursinus, students must carry insurance that covers them during their time abroad. Students are advised to contact their primary health insurance to find out what it covers while they are abroad as well as how to file a claim or use benefits. They should also contact their homeowner or renter insurance company to learn to what extent their belongings (including laptops and other electronics) are covered against theft, loss and/or damage while abroad.
  • Supplemental insurance. Many study abroad programs include in their fees or require students to purchase a supplemental medical, accident and/or travel insurance policy. This coverage may be limited. Read the fine print to understand the policy and what it covers.
  • Individual needs. Students and their families are responsible for determining if they need to purchase any additional coverage for their particular needs.
  • Insurance costs. All insurance expenses are the responsibility of students and their families.

Inclusive Study Abroad

Ursinus students of all backgrounds, identities, and abilities are encouraged to study abroad. Our aim is to support all students who choose to engage in this valuable and challenging educational experience by providing them with information and resources. All students can contact the Program Adviser of their chosen external program to discuss confidentially any needs or concerns they may have for their program or location. In addition, we provide below contact information for resources available on campus.

Students with Disabilities

Laws and attitudes related to disabilities vary from one country to another. Students with disabilities may contact the Institute for Student Success, Director of Disability Services, in the Center for Academic Support, Myrin Library, Lower Level. He can assist students with the process for requesting accommodations and help determine the type of accommodations for which they qualify. Shammah is also the main contact person for students requesting accommodations who are participating in any Ursinus-run programs such as the Biology of the Neotropics program in Costa Rica.