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Communication & MFA

Consider how you will communicate with new people you meet abroad and stay in touch with your friends and family back home. Keep in mind that there is a time difference between the U.S. and your host country. Be sure to set clear expectations regarding your frequency of communication, and notify them in advance if you will not be reachable for a period of time. 

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) remains active on CAESAR and you will need a phone (either a smartphone, cell phone or landline) to verify your identity when logging in from abroad. 

Visit the Office of Global Safety and Security for more communication tips

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

As you prepare for your study abroad experience, please note that Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) remains active on CAESAR and you will continue to need a phone (either a smartphone, cell phone or landline) to verify your identity when logging in from abroad. The IT Support Center recommends that you register your phone with the Duo Mobile app. Instructions for setting up Duo Mobile are available in the IT Knowledge Base.

If you know the international phone number that you’ll use while abroad, it is strongly recommended that you add that number to your Duo account before you leave the U.S..

If you only have a U.S. phone number registered and that phone won’t be available to you while traveling or you won’t have an international number until you arrive onsite, you will need to email the IT Support Office after an international phone and number have been established. The email should be sent to and include:

  • A scanned copy of a current, valid photo ID (e.g., passport or Wildcard) in order to confirm your identity, and
  • The U.S.. phone number you wish to have removed from your registration.

Your U.S.. phone number will be removed from your registration by a MFA administrator. Once your receive a confirmation via email, you may register your international phone number. Note: If you would prefer to call the IT Support Center at 847-491-4357 (1-HELP), please call during regular business hours Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CST.

If you have any questions, please review the MFA Quick Guide

Cell Phones

You must be reachable in case of emergency. It is advisable to get a local SIM card, so that you have a local number and can keep in easy contact with Northwestern and local students, as well as with your on-site program administrators. Even if your U.S. phone is compatible, and you sign up for an international plan, it is quite expensive for others to call a U.S. number. Cell phones in most program locations are fairly inexpensive, but if you would prefer to obtain a phone before you go, be sure that it is unlocked and compatible. Once you arrive, you can purchase pre-paid SIM cards and “pay as you go” credit at markets and telephone stores. Contact previous students for tips on cell phone purchase and use. (You might even be able to purchase their phone!)

*Planning Tip: If you intend to bring a phone from the United States, rather than purchasing a phone in your host country, be sure that the phone is unlocked and compatible. Consult this resource for information about compatibility:

You will be responsible for providing your cell phone number to your on-site administrators in case of an emergency. GLO also collects cell numbers from students participating in Northwestern Programs and Exchanges. You should also provide this number to your own emergency contacts.

Email & Internet

Any official Northwestern communications will come through your Northwestern email address. Failure to receive, read, and/or respond to communication sent to your official email address may result in penalties, including possible removal from your study abroad program. We recommend installing the Northwestern VPN (Virtual Private Network; onto your laptop before you leave, so that you can access Northwestern’s network and services.

You will most likely have Internet access in various facilities at your host institution and in your accommodations. For locations where internet access and reliability can be challenging, additional information and instructions will be provided by your program. 

Northwestern participates in eduroam (education roaming), a secure federated wireless network for the international research and education community. The service allows Northwestern students, staff, and faculty to use their NetID credentials to access wireless network services while visiting eduroam-participating institutions located throughout the world. With hundreds of thousands of wireless access points sharing a common SSID, eduroam acts as one large, world-wide, wireless hotspot.

Before leaving campus to travel abroad, students are encouraged to set up eduroam on their laptops and other wireless devices to ensure that wireless access at any other eduroam-affiliated institution will be automatic and will not require extra configuration. Before leaving campus, choose “eduroam” from the list of wireless networks on your device and use your Northwestern NetID credentials to log in following the format below:

  • Username: Your (e.g. This is not the same as your University email address.)
  • Password: NetID Password