Skip to main content

Pre-Departure Requirements

Congratulations on your study abroad approval!  This page outlines your next steps as you prepare to leave campus. 

All students approved to study abroad must complete the following requirements prior to departure. Additional details regarding program requirements and planning steps will also be communicated via email and through Canvas. It is your responsibility to read and respond promptly. If you do not complete your pre-departure requirements by the deadline, you risk losing your eligibility to study abroad.

Required Pre-Departure Steps

Step 1: Complete Required Modules on Canvas

Approximately one month after the confirmation deadline for your term(s) abroad, you will be enrolled in the Global Learning Pre-departure Orientation course on Canvas, consisting of  modules covering Northwestern credit transfer policies, billing and financial aid, as well as topics pertaining to health, wellness, identity, and travel safety. Reviewing the modules and completing the quizzes on Canvas is mandatory. You will receive instructions for accessing the Canvas course via email.

Step 2: Make Travel Plans

For most programs, you will be responsible for making your own flight reservations to and from your study abroad destination. For students participating in Northwestern Programs, GLO will provide more details about travel planning, such as a suggested flight itinerary and/or required arrival times, after confirmation. For exchange and affiliated programs, students should refer to materials from their host institution regarding appropriate arrival and departure dates.

Consult Pre-Departure Expenses for information about paying for up-front costs, such as program deposits, airfare, visas, and other pre-departure expenses.

Step 3: Apply for a Visa

Many program locations require a student visa for entry. To learn more about entry requirements, refer to, the Chicago-based consulate for your host country, and/or any additional guidelines provided in Canvas or via email.

All students must obtain a visa if required to do so by their host country in order to participate in their program. GLO is not responsible for visa complications, delays, or denials, nor do we have any control over visa requirements or granting visas. The decision to issue visas rests solely with the consulate or embassy of your host country.

Step 4: Purchase GeoBlue Global Health Insurance

Northwestern University requires all undergraduate study abroad students to have GeoBlue Global Health insurance coverage (or a Northwestern-approved equivalent) for the entire period of time they are studying abroad. Review Study Abroad Health Insurance to determine if the program in which you are participating requires you to self-enroll in GeoBlue.

Step 5:  Register Your Travel Online

After you have your flight itinerary register your travel with the U.S. state department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

Students on Northwestern Programs

In addition to the requirements above, students participating on Northwestern study abroad, exchange, or JR programs abroad must also:

Complete Program Requirements

Once you have confirmed your place in your Northwestern program or exchange, GLO will enroll you in a Study Abroad Pre-departure Orientation course in Canvas. Through Canvas, you will receive information about pre-departure requirements, forms, and other paperwork that must be submitted for your program.

Attend Your Program's Mandatory Pre-Departure Orientation

This in-person session will cover program-specific details and will give you the opportunity to meet and talk with past and current program participants.

Northwestern Study Abroad & Exchange Program Pre-Departure Orientation Dates
Winter and Winter-Spring 2019 November 14, 2018, 6pm - 8pm
Spring 2019 February 12, 2019, 6pm - 8pm
Fall 2019 and Full Year 2019 - 2020 May 20, 2019, 6pm - 8pm
Summer 2019 May 21, 2019, 6pm - 8pm

Pre-departure Reminders for all Students

Learn About Your Host Country

Take significant time to learn about the culture of your host country and the experiences of students who have studied there. Spend time researching your host country and reflecting on aspects of your identity and how these may be perceived and treated in your host culture.

Review Money Matters

Review the Program Costs section of your program page for the estimated cost of attendance. Review Billing & Payments for information on your Northwestern invoice and billing date.

If you are receiving Northwestern financial aid, make sure to review information about the various forms of financial assistance available for study abroad.

Do Not Register for Northwestern Courses for Term Abroad

GLO will register you for a “placeholder” course for the duration of your time abroad (view exceptions), so you should not register for any classes at Northwestern. We will not be able to register you for study abroad if you are already registered for any classes on campus.

Do Not Hold Registration Spots for Your Friends

This is considered a breach of Northwestern's academic integrity code.

Remove Holds

We will not be able to register you for study abroad if any holds are placed on your registration. Update your emergency information on CAESAR and pay all bills due to Student Accounts, Student Loans or the library.

Per the student agreement you signed in your Northwestern application, you are required to clear all holds on your account prior to the registration period of each study abroad term. This is mandatory in order to maintain your approval to study abroad and be eligible to transfer credit back to Northwestern.

Maintain Satisfactory Academic Performance before Going Abroad

Complete any outstanding incompletes.

Students placed on academic probation after their applications were approved may not be permitted to study abroad.

Maintain a Clean Student Conduct Record

Students may not be permitted to study abroad if they (a) were on housing or disciplinary probation when they were approved and did not successfully complete the probation, or (b) incurred housing or disciplinary violations after their applications were approved.

Students who will be on disciplinary probation during the term(s) in which they are scheduled to study abroad are not eligible to study abroad for academic credit at Northwestern, even if their Northwestern application had been previously approved. Review study abroad eligibility policies for more information.