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Before You Go

Preparing to Study Abroad

The decision to study abroad opens up so many doors for unforgettable and life-changing opportunities. Soon you’ll be headed to a different country thousands of miles from home! While you look forward to meeting new people and traveling to exciting new places, you may be slightly apprehensive: How different will it be? Will you like the food? How do you meet people? How will you know what to say? The following information will help answer those questions and much more. Of course, there are no categorical answers, nor can we answer everything. Part of studying abroad is finding those answers on your own!

Preparing for your experience should include at least:

  • Applying for a passport (see Duluth, MN Passport Offices)
  • Participation in all pre-departure orientations
  • Self-directed reading of books, magazines, newspapers, and websites about your study abroad destination

Study abroad is much more than attending class, studying, and reading textbooks. Although course work is important to your experience, a majority of learning will take place outside the classroom as you talk with students, meet locals, and share day-to-day life with them. You will not only learn about the country you are studying in; you will learn tons about yourself and the U.S.

Quick Checklist

  • Have you applied for a passport? (Processing can take up to 6-8 weeks or more, so plan ahead). You can apply for one from our UMD Campus Passport Acceptance Facility. Inquire at our front desk!
  • Learn some of the vocabulary of your study abroad destination. Even if you will be studying in an English-speaking country, learning the meaning of some simple words will help you to avoid awkward or potentially offensive communication barriers.
  • Make a list of goals. This will help make your personal growth and transformation tangible.
  • If you are staying with a host family, bring them a gift that is characteristic of home.


For UMD programs, there will be pre-departure orientations to help you prepare for your program. Visit the Orientation page or contact your study abroad coordinator for more details. If you have any questions or concerns, let us know!

UMD Study Abroad
138 Kirby Plaza
1208 Kirby Drive
Duluth, MN 55812
Phone: (218) 726-8764
Toll-Free: (877) 755-4200