Education Abroad

Pre-Departure Orientation

The Center for International Education offers pre-departure orientation for students participating in study abroad programs. Orientation dates will be announced to students during the applicaiton phase. It is important for students to make orientation a priority. During orientation, we cover important topics such as academics abroad, health and safety, cultural adjustment, identity abroad, finances and more. 

You will also have the opportunity to meet the other Xavier students participating in your program, country of study, or general region. In addition, the CIE will invite alumni from your program or study location to discuss the logistics you will need to know to make your study abroad experience a success. 

What might students need to be thinking about before orientation? 

Passport & Visa 

All students studying abroad will need a passport. It is often important to not plan travel in the 3-4 months prior to the start date of your program. This could jeopardize your ability to apply for a visa, if it is needed to enter your study abroad destination. 

Students looking to study abroad within 6 months should apply for a passport immediately. Information on Applying for a Passport.

Did you apply for your passport before you were 16? You may need to renew your passport before you study abroad! If your passport expiration date is less than six months from your return date to the United States, you should renew your passport. Many countries will not allow you to travel to and from the US without an expiration date at least six months into the future. For example, if you study abroad for the month of June, return to the United States on June 20th, your passport cannot expire before January of the following year. If you have additional questions, please contact the CIE. 

Also, you might need to apply for a visa to study abroad. Most US students who enroll in a short-term experience do not need to apply for a visa. If you are not a US citizen, you may need to apply for a visa to study on a short-term program; please consult with International Student and Scholar Services and Study Abroad staff. However, there are some countries that require a visa for any length of study. Lastly, most semester programs do require students to apply for a visa either before departure or once they have arrived in country since their duration of stay is longer than 90 days. 

All processes vary. Nevertheless, most student visa processes cannot begin until you have been officially accepted into your study abroad program and/or host university. Additionally, most visa processes cannot begin more than 90 days before your departure date. For more information about visas, contact the CIE or your study abroad program. 


All students participating in Xavier-led study abroad programs are enrolled in international health insurance through CISI (CISI insurance policy brochure). CISI coverage can be used for emergencies, accidents, and illnesses that occur while abroad. CISI also includes trip delay, which provides coverage, e.g. lodging, meals, travel expenses, in the event that a participant’s trip or return home is delayed. Details about trip delay are in the attached brochure. 

Many semester programs have their own health insurance included that is equivalent or exceeds Xavier's policy expectations. Some also have CISI as their coverage, while others might use other policies. 

Preparing for Your Time Abroad 

It is important for you to take time in preparing for your time abroad. The semester before you go abroad is going to be busy. You will have your courses, clubs, employment, social life, and the necessary requirements to complete before going abroad. It is going to be busy. Nevertheless, it is important to prepare yourself for your experience and what you want to accomplish during your time abroad. 

Tips from the CIE on how to prepare: 

  • Set 3 SMART goals to accomplish 
  • Spend some time with a travel or culture guide book -- we recommend Lonely Planet, DK Eyewitness, and Culture Smarts
  • Consider how you will become involved at your host university and local community (e.g. volunteering, clubs, community centers) 
  • Push yourself outside of your comfort zone!