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There are many details to think about as you prepare to study off-campus, especially if you are traveling internationally. On-line travel tips can be found in abundance, helping you prepare for your study away from Whitman.

The resources in this section may answer some of your questions.  However, if you need further assistance please contact an adviser in the Off-Campus Studies Office.

Certain documents are required of all people while traveling abroad.  You will definitely need to obtain a passport, if you do not have one already.  Some countries also require you have a visa to be a student there, so be sure to verify whether or not your host country has this requirement.  Without these official documents, you will not be traveling abroad legally.  You can consult with the OCS staff if you need clarification on applying for passports and visas.

Passports

We highly recommend that students planning to study abroad apply for a passport at least 6 months prior to when they will go abroad.  Did you know that you can get official passport pictures taken at Whitman in the Security Office, Mem. 137?  Call Whitman Security at 527-5777 to get your official passport pictures taken.  Read on for further details.

Visas

Most countries require students to obtain a student visa before entering the country to study there. Since you will need to submit your passport to the Consulate or Embassy up to two months before you depart for study abroad, you should NOT plan to travel outside the United States during that period of time. Read on for further details.

Students are responsible for making their own travel arrangements for off-campus study. Programs that offer group travel options will inform you of those options after acceptance. Many programs have a recommended arrival date and program housing is not usually available until then. We recommend that you not book your tickets until your program has informed you of the arrival date.

Airport Security

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is part of the Department of Homeland Security and is responsible for security of the nation's transportation systems. TSA has strict guidelines relating to airline travel and security. If you do not travel often (or even if you do!), the OCS Office suggests that you review all of the guidelines regarding airline travel on the TSA website. Please note that outside the U.S. security regulations may be different. If you have any questions about what is allowed and what is not, please check with the airlines you are travelling on.

Packing Tips

When packing for your semester off-campus, you should visit the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) section for travelers. It offers good advice on what you can and cannot carry on, especially as it pertains to the amount of liquids allowed in a carry-on bag. You will want to keep in your carry-on bag any essential items that you must have with you upon arrival, as sometimes checked luggage is occasionally lost of delayed in transit. We recommend you take the following with you in your carry-on bag(s):

  • Passport
  • Important documents such as letter of admission into the program and fee letter from Whitman (if applicable)
  • Program contact information
  • Whitman emergency contact information
  • Your money and/or ATM/debit/credit card
  • Prescription medications
  • Items you will need during flight such as contact lens case, warm jacket, etc.
  • Change of clothing if your luggage is lost

It is important to remember that airlines do have weight limits on both carry-on and checked luggage. You should consult with your airline to see what their weight and size restrictions are. You should definitely try to travel light. Bring as little as you can and never more than you can carry comfortably. You will have to carry your own luggage and may need to go up and down stairs with them. Keep in mind that you will undoubtedly accumulate things during your stay that you will want to bring home. Shipping can be expensive, so it is wise to leave some space in your luggage or bring a small duffel bag that can be empty in your luggage on the way over that you can fill upon your return.