Predeparture Planning

Congratulations on deciding to spend a block, a partial semester, a full semester or a full year studying off-campus! We think you'll find it to be a stimulating, challenging, and rewarding experience. We hope that your sojourn away from our beautiful Colorado campus becomes one of many to all corners of the world, and that you choose to continue your study of other cultures and languages when you return to Colorado College.

The process of preparing for a time off-campus goes beyond just packing. There are logistical things to be taken care of on campus, as well as preparation for cultural and language learning.


As you plan a semester or year away, we have put extensive resources into a self-guided Predeparture Orientation Course in Canvas for you to work through as you prepare. This is your first starting point step and is required for all students to work through, as this course covers many important preparation specifics and all FAQs.

This course is not password-protected, nor does it require login, and we encourage students to share it also with any parents or friends who may have questions about your study abroad/away and are supporting you in this endeavor. We also recommend the "Information for Parents" page of the U.S. State Department's study abroad website.

It is important that you know what visa requirements will apply to you so that you can prepare for this well in advance. Many consulates, for instance, now require that students appear in person to apply for their visa. Some students even take these visa requirements into consideration when choosing the country where they want to go when spending a summer, semester, or year abroad.

If you need a student visa, applying for it can be an involved process that requires your careful attention. You should begin to do research about the student visa requirements for the country or countries you will be visiting and living in even before you know you have been accepted to your program. Gathering the required documentation for your student visa can take as much or more time than your study abroad application itself. 

Passports Are the First Step in International Travel and Applying for Entry!

In order to apply for entry into another country, you must have a passport in your possession which is valid for 3, 6, or even 12 months past your return date. The standard requirement CC proposes for its faculty-led programs is a 6-month cushion between the end of the program and the expiration of the passport.  If a country requires a longer valid period, you will be notified of this as part of your predeparture orientation.

If you do not currently have a passport with adequate validity, you should apply for a new passport immediately.  It can take several months to obtain a new or renewed passport, so an early start on this process is essential. 

Applying for an Entry Visa is an Independent Process

While most travelers on individual CC Block Away programs can enter the destination countries without an entry visa, using their passport alone for up to 90 days, this is not always true for international students studying at CC, and is often not adequate for longer programs.  It is important that you determine either with your faculty or your program sponsor if a visa is required.

If you will be studying abroad through a program provider (such as IES, CIEE, IFSA, etc), typically they (or the host institution abroad) will provide you with the documentation and information you need in order to obtain your student visa, in most cases. It is important that you carefully and thoroughly read all information available to you about this process, deadlines, and what is expected of you. If your program offers a group visa processing service, we highly suggest that you utilize this.

The Center for Global Education at Colorado College is not responsible for obtaining student visas nor can we be responsible for visa complications, delays, or visa denials. Unfortunately, Colorado College does not have the ability to change visa requirements, nor does it help if we call consulates or embassies on your behalf. Though we're happy to help you in whatever way we can, the decision to issue you a visa rests solely with the consulate or embassy.


ENTRY REQUIREMENTS CAN CHANGE AT ANY TIME. We advise that you pay close attention to consular updates, as you are responsible for knowing and addressing the requirements for your host country and study abroad program. All students must obtain an appropriate visa if required of their host country, in order to participate in their program. Failure to obtain a visa will result in you not attending the program. 

Please be aware that the visa application process for some countries may require students to surrender their passport for several weeks or months prior to the start of the study abroad program. These consular requirements may impact students' independent travel plans. Visa requirements should be investigated and considered by all applicants prior to planning independent travel (including travel over breaks or arriving early to your program site). All students are required to be in possession of the proper visa documentation in order to participate in our program.

Country-specific visa instructions and resources are available, and students should investigate requirements well in advance. You can find your host country's embassy webpage through the U.S. Department of State's webpage. You should ALWAYS refer to the visa instructions on your host country's embassy webpage, as information and deadlines can change with no advance notice.

European Union flag

The European Union has instituted a new a travel authorization required of anyone from one of the global nations which do not require a visa to enter EU nations. It is essentially a "no visa needed travel authorization", called ETIAS for short. ETIAS travel authorisation is an entry requirement for visa-exempt nationals travelling to any of these 30 European countries. It is linked to a traveller’s passport. It is valid for up to three years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first. If you get a new passport, you need to get a new ETIAS travel authorization.

With a valid ETIAS travel authorisation, travelers can enter the territory of these European countries as often as you want for short-term stays - normally for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. However, it does not guarantee entry. When you arrive, a border guard will ask to see your passport and other documents and verify that you meet the entry conditions.
The ETIAS will be required for all short-term (90 days or less) travel to Europe for those traveling with passports from countries that do not require a visa for entry.  That list includes:
  • United States of America
  • Canada
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Mexico
  • New Zealand
  • Peru
  • Singapore
  • Taiwan
  • and many more.  
To see if your passport requires an ETIAS authorization, visit the ETIAS website here.
If the country whose passport you use is not on this list, that means that you are required to obtain an entry visa, a process which may require significantly longer to process and may necessitate a trip to your destination country's embassy or consulate in another city in the USA.
Those who require a visa to enter EU nations will not need to purchase the ETIAS authorization, but will be expected to seek out and acquire the appropriate entry visa (often the Schengen Visa) in order to enter the EU. 

The ETIAS will have a €7 fee (as of 2024) and will be completed online.
It will require information about your travel which you can obtain from the faculty leading your program, as well as some passport information and you will have to answer some questions about past travel or felony violations of the law.  
Once you have an ETIAS authorization for your passport, it is valid for 3 years or until your passport expires (whichever comes first). If you obtain a new passport before you travel, you will need to purchase a new ETIAS authorization. 


Traveling and experiencing new places can be an exhilarating and transformative experience, but it can also be stressful, both to your body and your mind.  Travel rarely goes exactly as planned, and with so many new experiences, climates, foods, and living conditions, it is possible to throw your body and your mind off its usual rhythms.  The following are recommendations for you to consider before you travel to help you best plan for the inherent stresses that travel places on you. 

If you regurlarly take any medications, prescription or othwise, it is advisable to plan well for your travels by considering the following options to maximize consistent care. 
  • Be sure to travel with enough of your required medications for the full duration of your program.
  • Always pack your medications in carry-on luggage to avoid potential loss.
  • Always pack medications in the original bottles and never mixed together.
  • Bring along a copy of any prescriptions with the full chemical name of the medication, not the brand name, as those can change region to region.
  • Never alter, reduce, or go off of prescription medications that you normally take while traveling.  


Before you travel, take some time to consider the coping mechanisms that you most often and most successfully use to help you deal with stress, anxiety, depression, and other negative feelings.  Travel can be quite stressful and you want to ensure that you have strategies in place to help you cope with difficult times.  It is especially important that you consider what strategies will be available to you while you are away from home and to "pack" those strategies with you. 


If you regularly work with medical or mental health care professionals at home, be sure to speak with them before you travel to discuss strategies and recommendations to maximize your wellbeing while you are in a new, often challenging, environment.  This may include discussion of current treatments and medications, recommendations based on the location, inoculations which might be recommended, and any strategies to help you better cope with the insecurities and stressors of travel. 

Colorado College Staff and Faculty will never require any inoculations or preventative medications (ex. anti-malarials) unless proof of inoculation is required for entry to the program's destination country.  All decisions about which, if any, preventative treatments a student should acquire are decisions between the studnets and their physicians.  

We do, however, recommend that you visit the Centers for Disease Control travel health advisory pages for all countries you will be visiting and discuss the information found there with your physician to develop a plan for illness prevention that works for you. 


Students traveling on CC Blocks, Half-Semesters, or Full-Semester programs often opt to extend their travel during breaks prior to or following the official CC program.  When students opt to do this, they should be aware of the following understandings:

Colorado College is not responsible for travel assistance for students who are traveling independently outside of the dates of a CC Group program.  All arrangements for travel, lodging, meals, and wellbeing are the responsibilty of the student.  Students participating in a partner-led program should also confirm with the provider any policies related to independent travel that they may hold as part of the agreement with the student. 

The travel and health insurance included with all CC study away programs provides coverage for the duration of the program as well as 24 hours on either side of the official program dates. Students traveling outside of these dates are encouraged to purchase their own short-term travel and international health insurance. 

While CC's coverage through International SOS is limited to the program dates of each study away program, students can always access the informational resources of International SOS, even while traveling on their own. 


The following are trusted travel information resources which you might wish to consult before embarking on a study away program, either through Colorado College or one of our approved partner organizations:




  • International SOS: The organization CC uses for travel advisories and support.  Requires log-in with CC Membership ID.
  • Worldpackers: 15 TRavel Safety Tips Everyone Should Know. 
  • Penn State U.:  They have put together a very nice, concise package of advice for student travelers


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Report an issue - Last updated: 09/26/2023