International Programs

Study Abroad

What should my student bring with them abroad?

We recommend that students pack light since they will be carrying their own bags. The general rule of thumb is to pack what you think you will need, let it sit, and then remove half.

Airlines have become more stringent about observing their weight and size limits on luggage and the number of bags permitted per individual in recent years. Each airline has its own maximum amount the traveler is allowed. Check with the airline to find specific baggage allowances, weight or size restrictions and a list of restricted items for both international and domestic flights. Some students will take an in-country flight after arrival to reach the overseas institution and that flight may have different weight limits than the international flight. We recommend arriving at the airport three hours before departure for international flights.

Nearly everything available here can also be purchased overseas. We recommend purchasing or renting linens overseas, so as not to use up space in luggage and also because the sizes of beds overseas may be different from the standard U.S. size. Toiletries are available all over the world. Consider buying substitutes for U.S. brands after arrival. Even if available overseas, U.S. brands can be very expensive.

We do not recommend shipping boxes overseas because oftentimes it will cost more than brining extra luggage due to the customs fees that are assessed on boxes entering the host country.


A valid passport is required to enter and leave the United States and other countries, including Canada and Mexico. Instructions for obtaining or renewing a passport can be found on the Department of State's website.

Please check that their passport has not expired and that it will be valid for at least six months beyond their planned return to the United States.

Copy of their passport  

Advise your student to keep a copy of their passport information pages and number with them in case the original is lost or damaged. Keep the copy somewhere separate from the original. The Study Abroad Office requires a copy of each student's passport to have on file in case a copy is needed.

Be sure there is a specific place for them to keep their passport. Having a designated place leads to less confusion and easier access for them. When choosing the location make sure it is not a area that can be easily accessible to other people besides the student.


Most countries in the world require foreign visitors to obtain an entry visa. A visa is usually a stamp on a page of the passport that signifies an agreement on conditions of entry. In some cases, stays of more than three months require that you obtain a residence permit before leaving the country, instead of a visa. Common visa types are tourist, student, and work. Visa fees vary.

Visa and residence permit requirements vary widely. Contact the embassy of the host country where he will be studying for verification since regulations can change without notice.

Evidence of Financial Sufficiency

Proof of proper financial support needed overseas may be requested on arrival by customs officials and/or host institution. A notarized letter from parents confirming that the student will have access to sufficient funds while away or a letter from parents’ bank on company letterhead is usually acceptable. If studying in a non-English speaking country it is beneficial to obtain a copy of the letter written in the language and currency of the host country.

Birth Certificate

An official, state-certified birth certificate with a raised seal is invaluable if a passport is lost or stolen. A copy may be useful in the purchase of air tickets restricted to specific age groups.

Electronics / Electrical Appliances

Electricity voltage and plug sizes vary around the world. Consider buying electrical appliances upon arrival, substituting with battery operated, or in some cases doing without. Alternatively the student can buy converters and adaptors for existing appliances before departure. They are available at travel, hardware or stores such as Target or Wal-Mart. Check the World Electric Guide for a guide to voltage, electricity and telephone plugs worldwide.

Cell Phones

If necessary for emergency communication, we recommend getting a cell phone after arrival overseas. Most U.S. cell phones will not work abroad. It is usually cheaper to purchase or rent a cell phone from local providers than to purchase a universal cell phone in the U.S.

N.B.: Access to cell phones is not mandatory while studying abroad! Your student should consider using land lines to be in touch with people at home. Being in constant contact with friends and family can lead to increased homesickness and may contribute to a student not engaging fully with locals and the local culture. One way to help combat homesickness and to keep in touch is to write letters to them. Having a letter to read and re-read can be a treasured gift that they can also save as a memento of their time abroad.

International Student Identity Card (ISIC)

The ISIC is a handy form of identification for any full-time student abroad. It verifies student status and qualifies the holder to discounts on travel, tours, accommodation and reduced or free admission to museums, theaters and cultural attractions.

Hostelling International Card

The Hostelling International Card is usually required for those who wish to stay in a youth hostel and is normally purchased in the country in which the holder is a resident. Cards may be purchased online at Hostelling International.

Laptop Computers

Laptops with universal power supplies can be useful for your student depending on the program or exchange location and facilities. Electrical outlet adapters will be required but these can be purchased very inexpensively. We do not recommend that the student takes a desktop computer or printer abroad.

Internet access is widely available on most overseas campuses or in inexpensive internet cafes, but not in all overseas dorms or apartments. Please make sure the laptop is fully insured if they decide to take one abroad.

Note: Laptops are easily stolen and not mandatory for study abroad. Having to negotiate local computer labs is a good way to interact with locals and to meet people. Instant communication with home can prevent a student from building local support networks. Go to for laptop mobility products as well as information and advice for traveling with your laptop.

Trip Cancellation Insurance

Students may want to consider purchasing trip cancellation benefits to cover any losses incurred when canceling or changing travel itineraries. A guide to shopping for travel insurance and a list of insurance carriers is available in the resources section of the TU study abroad website.

In addition to what was stated above, we recommend that students take:

  • Good, comprehensive bilingual dictionary if living in a non-English speaking country.
  • Battery powered travel alarm clock .
  • A good travel guide like Lonely Planet or Rough Guide.
  • Journal or diary is a good idea for a going-away gift. We recommend students keep one as it will be treasured in years to come.
  • Small photo album of the student’s family and friends.


Study Abroad Office
Rm. #408, Psychology Building
Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Phone: 410-704-2451

Fax: 410-704-4703


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