University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Advice & Tools

Illinois Abroad and Global Exchange seeks to provide the best resources for students studying abroad.

Whether you are an experienced or first-time traveler, your time abroad will be exciting and challenging in its own unique way. We have compiled the best resources from our office, across the Illinois campus, and our partners into one page for you to reference when you need them.


Pre-Departure Checklist

  • Talk to the Office of Student Financial Aid to see how your financial aid package applies to education abroad
  • Check with your Academic Advisor and ensure that you have completed any prior course approval worksheets
  • Make photocopies of your passport/visa, credit/debit cards, prescriptions, and flight itineraries to have on hand while abroad and email copies to yourself and a family member or friend
  • Get the necessary vaccines for your host country and consult with your International Insurance provider and doctor about getting medications/prescriptions for the duration of your time abroad
  • If you have a visible or non-visible disability, understand your rights and responsibilities and arrange the necessary accommodations
  • Alert your bank of your international travel and arrange to have multiple forms of payment on hand while abroad
  • Understand your health coverage while abroad and investigate international insurance
  • Review the Office of International Safety and Security’s general travel guidelines and safety advice for undergraduate students
  • Talk to your cell phone provider about your international travel and arrange for any upgrades
    • Discuss with family and friends how you will be communicating with them while abroad
  • Label your luggage, inside and out, with your name and information
  • Attend any required meetings for your program

Housing Board

The IAGE Housing Board is a secure online message board for outgoing or incoming exchange students in search of housing in Champaign-Urbana. Whether you are headed on an education abroad program and are searching for someone to sublet your apartment or a returning student looking for housing, this is the place for you.

Important note: You must have a Net ID and AD password to access this form. We are not responsible for any theft or damage nor do we condone students breaking their lease agreements by posting an ad that lists an apartment that forbids subletting. If you would like an edit made to your post on the housing board, please contact sao-inquiries@illinois.edu.


While Abroad

Safety & Security

The Office of International Safety and Security can support you with problems concerning your health, safety, security, logistics, finances, as well as legal, personal, and behavioral issues you may face while abroad.

Health

Being abroad may cause various degrees of physical and psychological stress. Be sure to take care of yourself and learn to read the signs your body is sending. Most importantly, follow the advice and guidelines from your medical professionals and program coordinators.

Getting Help from Embassies

There are U.S. embassies in more than 160 capital cities of the world. Each embassy has a consular section. There are also consular officers at about 60 U.S. Consulates General and 20 U.S. Consulates around the world (Consulates General and Consulates are regional offices of Embassies). The consulate can provide the following emergency services:

  • Replace a Passport. If you lose your passport, a consul can issue you a replacement. If you believe your passport has been stolen, first report the theft to the local police and get a police declaration. Passport Resources from the U.S. Department of State
  • Help Get Funds. Should you lose all your money and other financial resources, consular officers can help you contact your family, bank, or employer to arrange for them to send you funds.
  • Visit in Jail. If you are arrested, you should ask the authorities to notify the Office of International Safety and Security and a U.S. consul.
  • Help in a Disaster/Evacuation. If you are caught up in a natural disaster or civil disturbance, you should contact the Office of International Safety and Security as well as let your relatives know as soon as possible that you are safe.

If you are an international student, search for “embassy” online with the name of your home country and education abroad location. Make sure to review the resources available to you from your home country’s embassy.

Culture Shock

You may find it difficult adjusting to your new environment abroad and most students will experience some form of culture shock and it is normal to have a range of reactions when adapting to a new culture. Remember to be patient with yourself and those around you. Explore the resources below for tips on how to deal with culture shock and how to better immerse yourself in your host community.

Technology

There are many options to help you communicate with family and friends, as well as online Illinois resources that you can access while abroad. Talk with your cell phone provider to see what services they can provide and what they charge for international calls. If those options are too costly, look into getting a U.S. phone card, SIM card, or an international cell phone (some programs will provide an international cell phone as part of their program costs). Explore messaging and video messaging apps like WhatsApp, Skype, and Facebook messenger. Additionally, take advantage of Illinois resources that you can access online.

Money

Protect your finances abroad by having multiple forms of payment on hand. Alert your bank and credit card company about your travel, contact them with issues you have abroad, and ask about additional international fees they may charge. If you need more money while abroad, contact your bank for recommendations on reputable banks or financial services companies in your host city. In a financial emergency, the Bureau of Consular Affairs can assist U.S. citizens abroad. International students should seek the support of their home country’s consular office.