Critical Language Scholarship Program | Things To Do Before Leaving…
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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 ATM card will not expire during your time abroad. If needed, request a new card early.


  • Consult the CDC’s country specific pages and the U.S. Department of State’s country specific pages to read about common diseases and other health risks. Do this before visiting your doctor in order to discuss those issues.
  • 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 about health considerations related to COVID virus.
  • Visit your doctor and complete all CLS Program required Medical Forms on the Accepted Student Portal.
  • Make sure you have an eight-week supply of your prescription medications in their original packaging.
  • Discuss which over-the-counter medications may be useful to take with you in case you have a minor illness in country.
  • A special note to women travelers: If you have been prescribed birth control, make sure you have an eight-week supply of the medication you have been prescribed as birth control brands vary greatly 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 to arrange a special meal if you are vegetarian or if you have special dietary needs


  • Arrange for payment of any outstanding financial matters (for instance, student loan payments or paying 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 country.

Downloadable Packing List

Download a full list of suggestions on what to pack.