Pre-departure Planning

Pre-Departure Orientation

All students who are studying abroad are required to attend a mandatory pre-departure orientation, which is held in mid-April for summer and fall Education Abroad students, and mid-November for spring and winter break Education Abroad students. Check in with the Center for International Education (CIE) to get Orientation dates for upcoming semesters, or find the dates on CIE’s website under “Events.”


Apply for a passport immediately. If you already have a passport, be sure to check the expiration date. It must be valid until six months AFTER your program end date. Passport application forms are available at the U.S. State Department website. If this is your first passport, you can download the application on-line, but you will need to apply in person at a passport acceptance facility.


Depending on the country and the duration of your study abroad program, you may need to obtain a visa. You can find out if you need a visa by looking through the U.S. State Department’s Country Specific Information.  Students may refer to CIE’s Updated Visa Guide for information about obtaining a visa, but should consult the country’s embassy website for the most up to date visa requirements.

International Health Insurance

UMW requires all students to have comprehensive international health and medical insurance while studying abroad.  Coverage must include emergency extraction for natural disaster or political events, as well as repatriation of mortal remains. These coverages are beyond what the typical US health insurance policy covers and are available through UMW’s contract health insurance provider at a reasonable rate. Some education abroad providers include international health insurance as part of the program cost.  If health insurance is included as part of your program fee, you may show proof of such to CIE and be exempted from UMW’s health insurance.  All other students will be enrolled in UMW’s international health insurance plan and your student account will be billed for the insurance fee.

To read more about why international health insurance is required and what your domestic policy may not cover overseas, please visit the U.S. State Department’s Students Abroad website. Students should familiarize themselves with conditions that could affect their health. The most useful source for health information is the Centers For Disease Control website.  You may also want to download the Department of State’s Smart Traveler App for iPhone.

Flight Arrangements

CIE does not serve as a travel agency. Students are responsible for arranging their own transportation, unless they are participating on a program with a group flight. Students are expected to arrive at their abroad location on the day the program begins. Pre- or post-program travel is optional as long as program dates are respected.  Useful air travel tips are available from the US Department of Transportation.  Stop by CIE (Lee Hall Room 434) to pick up information on flight arrangements.