Critical Language Scholarship Program | Things To Do Before Leaving…

Things To Do Before Leaving the U.S.


  • Contact your credit card company and bank to find out about fees for overseas purchases, cash advances, and ATM withdrawals.
  • Inform your bank and credit card company of the dates of your trip so your cards are not turned off due to theft alert.
  • Bring a 24-hour emergency number for your bank in the event that you need to contact them about a lost or stolen card.
  • Make sure your debit card will not expire during your time abroad. If needed, request a new card early.


  • Consult the CDC’s country specific page ( and the U.S. Department of State’s country specific page ( to read about common diseases and other health risks. Do so before visiting your healthcare provider in order to discuss those issues with them.
  • During your doctor’s visit, discuss any physical, mental, or emotional issues that may need special attention while abroad.
  • Make a plan for staying healthy while overseas.
  • Make sure your immunizations are up to date. Talk with your doctor about recommended vaccinations and health considerations related to the COVID-19 virus.
  • Work with your healthcare provider(s) to complete all CLS Program required Medical Forms on the AIS Forms portal.
  • Make sure you have at least an eight-week supply of your prescription medications in their original packaging. Ask your doctor for a signed letter that explains that you have a prescription for this medicine.
  • Discuss which over-the-counter medications may be useful to take with you in case you have a minor illness while abroad.
  • If you have been prescribed birth control, make sure you have at least an eight-week supply of the medication you have been prescribed, as birth control brands vary greatly abroad or may not be available at all.
  • Visit your dentist.
  • When packing medication, put it in your carry-on bag in its original packaging and bring a copy of the prescription.
  • Check with your health insurance provider about coverage while you are overseas.
  • Familiarize yourself with ASPE health benefits.
  • After receiving your CLS flight information, call the airline(s) you will be traveling with to request disability-related travel accommodations and to arrange a special meal if you are vegetarian or if have special dietary needs.


  • Arrange for payment of any outstanding financial matters (for instance, student loan payments or rent) while you are abroad.
  • Research Skype, long-distance phone plans, email, apps or phone cards that will allow you to stay connected while abroad.
  • Make a plan to stay in contact with friends and family while in your CLS host city.

Downloadable Packing List

Download a full list of suggestions on what to pack.