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Predeparture Planning

Congratulations on deciding to spend your next semester or 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 Colorado College 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.

Logistical Planning

Prep List

Visas (see below)

Packing List

Disability Accommodations and Off-Campus Study

Safety Issues for Women Travelers

LBGTQ Issues and Resources Abroad

CC Housing After Studying Off-Campus

Smart Traveler Enrollment Plan (STEP)

Voting Overseas


Cultural and Language Learning Prep 

CC Language Learning Opportunities, predeparture and post-reentry

Language Learning Strategies to Prepare Yourself

Basic Things To Know Before You Go / Strategies for Interaction Abroad 

What’s Up With Culture? (self-guided course for preparing for cultural learning)

Responding To Stereotypes About You

Culture-Specific Learning

Visas for Study Abroad

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 up to 12 months past your return date. If you do not currently have a passport with this validity, you should apply for a new passport immediately. Regular passport processing times are typically 4-6 weeks. Please see for more details.

Expedited passport services are available for an additional fee. General expedited services take 2-3 weeks door-to-door. However, there are faster expediting services if you are traveling within 14 days or need a passport to secure your visa within four weeks. You can find more information on passport expediting here:

Applying for an Entry Visa Is an Independent Process

If you will be studying abroad through a program provider (such as IES, CIEE, IFSA-Butler, 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. The Office of International Programs 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 A VISA if required of their host country to participate in their program. Failure to obtain a visa will result in you not attending the program.

Independent Travel Prior to the Start of Study Abroad Programs

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.

Planning Ahead

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.