Before You Go
- Pre-departure preparation ensures that you have a successful, productive and safe experience abroad.
- Below are the tools that you need to prepare for your time abroad – everything from registration to medication precautions and insurance.
- Use the pre-departure checklist to get organized.
- Read how to adapt and adjust to a new culture.
- Pre-departure orientation includes a mandatory in-person session with students who have studied abroad and with the Director of Study Abroad. Between the in-person and the Prep-to-Go tutorial, topics will include health and safety, credit transfer, cultural adjustment and more. You will be contacted with the date and time of your region/program-specific session.
- If you have already identified a program, or are ready to begin your search in earnest, visit and explore the Study Abroad Office website and Create an account.
- You are always welcome to contact us or stop by for advising if you have questions. Once you have narrowed your options to a few programs or locations, visit the Study Abroad Office and meet with Yin Star, to discuss your selections and ask questions. Download our brainstorming worksheet to help you prepare for your advising session. You can also read program testimonies written by former study abroad participants.
- Meet with your academic advisor to see how study abroad will fit into your academic program using the course approval form. Ask if you will need course syllabi in addition to course descriptions. Complete the form and take them to the Registrar’s Office.
- Apply to study abroad through your study abroad account.
- Once you are accepted to study abroad, apply online for the program and follow all application and enrollment
- Am I eligible to study abroad? You may travel on most Shepherd trips your first year. For Shepherd faculty-led programs, you must be in “good academic standing”. Please note that individual departments and instructors may require higher standards and/or additional requirements as pre-requisites. Contact the individual department for details. For non-Shepherd programs, you must have completed 30 credit hours (15 hours at Shepherd) AND have a GPA of at
least 2.5 for undergraduates. Graduate students need a minimum 3.0 GPA. Non-Shepherd programs may require a higher GPA. You must be in good judicial standing.
- When calculating the costs of a study abroad program, it’s important to consider the program’s duration, the number
of credits you can expect to receive, and what the program’s price does and does not include. Be sure to have a look at our study abroad Budget Planning Worksheet to help compare costs for different programming. Some things to consider when thinking about cost:
- Does the program fee include housing, food, transportation, and books?
- The costs of your round-trip airfare, passport, visa, and insurance are generally not included in study abroad program fees.
- When considering affordability, review the financial resources available to you and create a personal budget to include personal savings, job earnings, parent contributions, financial aid, and confirmed scholarships.
- Check with Danielle Duvall DDuvall@shepherd.edu in financial aid to determine whether you qualify for additional assistance.
Get your passport
- If you don’t have a passport, apply for one as soon as possible.
- If you do have a passport, verify that it is valid for at least 6 months after the end of your program.
- If it is not valid for at least 6 months after the end of your program, you will need to renew your passport.
- For U.S. Citizens, please visit travel.state.gov to renew or apply for a new passport.
- For Non-U.S. Citizens, please visit the embassy/consulate website of your destination country to find out your specific requirements.
- You may need an entry visa or other travel documents to study in your host country. It is your responsibility to verify the visa requirements of your host country and to obtain a visa if needed.
- Visit the embassy/consulate website for your destination country to find specific visa information
Purchase Student Abroad Insurance
The Global Medical Plan sponsored by Shepherd University is a short term travel accident and sickness policy. This plan is
designed to cover students, faculty, staff, chaperones, and participants of Shepherd University who are temporarily engaged in educational activities outside of the United States and Home Country in school sponsored education abroad programs. Please click here to review rates and a copy of the plan benefits.
In the event of a medical emergency, one simple phone call to the number on your Assist America identification card will connect you to:
- A state-of-the-art Operations Center
- Worldwide response capabilities
- Experienced crisis management professionals
The Assist America Operations Center is staffed 24-hours-a-day, 365-days- a-year with trained multilingual and medical personnel, including nurses and doctors, to advise and assist you quickly and professionally.
If you require medical assistance and are outside your country of permanent residence, call Assist America’s Operations Center at:
1-800-872-1414 (inside USA) +1-609-986-1234 (outside USA) Or e-mail at: email@example.com
Order prescription medications
If you take prescription medications regularly, there are some things to consider when studying abroad.
- Bring enough medication to last throughout your time abroad, if practical.
- Obtain a letter from your home physician or pharmacist describing your medicines, dosage, a generic name for them,
and a description of the condition being treated.
- Think about having your prescription translated into the language of your destination country in order to have it filled properly.
- Let your doctor know that you intend to travel abroad so that he/she can provide the appropriate documentation you will need to fill the prescription while away from home.
- Tell your program director or program provider about your medical needs so that they are aware of your condition and medical needs.
- Make sure all drugs carried with you while travelling are in the original pharmacy containers and are clearly labeled.
- Carry copies of the prescriptions to avoid problems with customs.
Register your Trip
Register your trip in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. STEP is a free service of the U.S. Department of State. Through it, you can provide information about your trip so that they can better assist you in case of an emergency and provide important health, safety and security updates for your host country.
Taking Care of University Business
- If you are abroad during the Fall or Spring semesters you will need to register for classes while you are still abroad.
- Please be aware of when advisement and registration opens – this is your responsibility! You have access to RAIL through your Shepherd account.
- You will need your student ID (Rambler) number
- Register for classes with RAIL — http://www.shepherd.edu/rail/
- Think ahead!! Stop by the Resident Life Office PRIOR to your semester study abroad experience to
complete a housing contract and make the $100 advance room deposit for the semester of your return. The Office of Residence Life is in the basement of Miller Hall.
- If you do not register for Shepherd housing prior to leaving for your study abroad experience; contact Robin Hosby, Assistant Director of Residence Life firstname.lastname@example.org
Sending Transcripts back to Shepherd:
- It is important that you have your transcripts sent back to Shepherd at the completion of your study abroad experience. Please have them mailed to: Ms. Tracy Seffers, Registrar, Shepherd University, 301 N. King St. P.O. Box 5000, Shepherdstown, WV 25443
- Grades awarded by the host institution will transfer back to Shepherd along with the associated credits and will be utilized when calculating grade point averages (GPA).