Checklist for Student Travel Abroad

6-12 months before:

  • Schedule a meeting with your program mentor discuss project opportunities, and explore the resources available through your program.
  • Visit the Pathway to Discovery in Global Health  website. Review their Educational Opportunities in International Health by region webpage.
  • Discover which UCSF researchers are working where.
  • Determine the hierarchy of the organization where you will work
  • Ask if any special procedures need to be followed (e.g. credentialing, registration of licensure, etc.).
  • If you are planning to participate in research, check the Research Human Subjects Protocol and IRB status. Ensure the UCSF (or UC Berkeley) IRBs and in-country review are in place. Human subjects review at international universities is often a longer process than that at UCSF. 
  • Is your partner institution under affiliation with UCSF? There must be a contract in place, it is simpler to work with established partners.
  • Assess your need for funding. See research funding opportunities at UCSF
  • Obtain or update your passport

4-6 months before:

  • Confirm participation and dates. Stay in contact with your project mentor. Will your involvement will be included in your student records?
  • Reaffirm contact information of your onsite advisor. Get phone numbers and local (descriptive) addresses for all your contacts. Print them for your wallet and luggage tags.
  • Purchase air tickets. Talk your programs financial staff to ensure you do this correctly.
  • Register your travel. You will get an email link to edit your profile. Include a program staff contact amongst your 3 emergency contacts. If you know what phone you will have, get the text address for the phone and have emergency alerts sent to your handheld. The system will generate a report of your travel destination, and begin sending you reports via email on everything from traffic problems to political issues. You can adjust the frequency and alert levels  so put that link, plus your login info on your contact sheet. Use the report to begin research on cultural norms. What are the dress codes, religious practices, and codes of conduct between sexes?
  • Obtain a visa if required. (this may require travel to an embassy outside San Francisco)
  • Research housing arrangements. Has someone lived there before? Don't save money on location and then spend it getting to and from the site.
  • Schedule a travel health consultation to assess medical needs, vaccinations, and medications. Some vaccinations need multiple visits. Students schedule an appointment with UCSF Student Health Services at 415.476.1281.

3 months before:

  • The UC Travel Insurance you recieve when you register is for urgent and emergency care. If you will be abroad, and need access to routine health care- that is covered by your normal health insurance provider. See the Insurance section for Investigators and for Students for more details, but best to get all your meds etc in order before you go
  • Think about communication. Will you use your cell phone? Buy a local one? Buy a phone card? Bring your computer? What will you need, and what can you carry? What are your backup plans? Do you have a scheduled check in with your program advisor? Who do you notify if you plan a side trip? If you feel something is "not right" when you get there, who do you feel comfortable sharing that with?
  • Do you need an international drivers license? 
  • Contact your bank to get your credit card PIN. Discuss limits and fees, where there are ATMs and currency exchange rates. Provide your itinerary so they don't freezing your account. Photocopy your cards and leave with someone you trust, if they are stolen you will need those numbers.

1 month before:

  • Confirm housing arrangements. Communicate this information to family, friends, and advisor and staff.
  • Research and inquire about the basic living conditions. Where will you eat? How is water being supplied? What is the best mode of transportation?
  • Photocopy itinery, passport, visas, travel insurance card, immunization proof, letter of agreement from host site, ontact info for each location, and drivers license student ID. One copy for you- one copy for your program, and an e-copy stored online.
  • Obtain a post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) kit from your program. Do not rely on the resources of your host.
  • Begin to pack clothing, supplies, and medications. Review the checklist
  • Review the Travelers’ Health Kit section.

1 week before:

  • Confirm travel arrangements and itinerary.
  • If you are ill, immediately contact your advisor.
  • Pack your bag. What is the maximum allowed on each leg of your trip? In-country flights have lower weight limits. Be alert to airport security restrictions and carry-on limits. Don’t forget your ticket(s), passport, visa, ATM/credit cards, travel insurance card, state and student ID, folder of photocopies, and emergency contacts wallet card. Carry local country currency at all times in case of an emergency.
  • Ensure your emergency contact list and insurance card are in multiple bags and your carry-on.

 Download a print-ready copy of the Checklist for Student Travel Abroad. 

Last updated: November 20, 2018