The Center for Global Education maintains a list of study abroad-related links to sites you will find helpful as you prepare to study abroad. These sites range from insurance providers to discount airfare vendors. Although this list is not intended to be comprehensive, it does furnish the prospective traveler with a starting place.
Your safety and health abroad are important to us. The best way to be safe is to educate yourself by doing research on your current physical and mental health and on your study abroad destination. Get a check up. See the dentist. Seek out host-nationals to speak with regarding what life is like in country. Do you have faculty or friends who have been to the country? Get a good recent history of the country and read it before you go. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle here before you go will be important to remaining healthy while you are abroad.
- State Department Students Abroad website:
Register your time abroad here!
- CIEE Personal Health Check-list
- HotSpots - US Department of State (Bureau of Consular Affairs)
- US Department of State (Drug Warning)
- Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)
A student who wants to study abroad for any length of time will need a valid passport. If you do not have a passport, apply for one as soon as you have decided to study abroad.
Many countries also require a visa for entry. A visa is a document issued by a country allowing an individual to enter the country for a specific purpose during a specific period of time. It can be stamped inside a passport or issued as a separate piece of paper. You will need your passport to apply for a visa. Contact the Embassy or Consulate of the country where you are planning to study abroad for specific information regarding visa requirements and how to obtain one if required.
Many of your health insurance plans may not cover general health care while abroad. For Center for Global Education programs, we insure each student for emergency evacuation and repatriation of remains. This coverage does not include less severe medical expenses, such as doctors' visits for the flu, medications, or a sprained ankle. The International Student Identity Card also provides students with emergency medical and repatriation coverage. If your medical insurance does not cover you abroad, we recommend you purchase additional insurance to cover medical expenses.
Before you depart for your program, it is important that you understand your coverage and how it works. Be aware that in many countries, the cost of medical services must be paid in advance by the patient (and then reimbursed by insurance). Many study abroad program insurance plans only cover you for the duration of the program; you want to be insured if you are traveling independently before or after the program. Look into liability insurance to cover any valuables your will take on the trip, such as a laptop computer, camera, or video recorder. Also consider tuition, trip, travel, and luggage insurance. Do not bring irreplaceable objects, such as family jewelry.
It is recommended that you retain your US health insurance while abroad. Should you have an accident or illness abroad that requires long-term care, you will have health insurance upon your return home to cover these expenses. Otherwise, you may find it difficult to purchase a health plan if you return to the United States with an illness or injury that insurance companies consider to be a pre-existing condition.
- Department of State Study Abroad
(medical insurance information)
- Access America
- ASA, Inc.
- Clements International
- CSA Travel Protection
- Gateway Plans
- Health Care Global
- International Medical Group (IMG)
- Multinational Underwriters, Inc.
- Travel Guard
- Travel Insured International
- Travel Insurance Services
Culture shock refers to the anxiety a person feels when moved to a completely new environment. The anxiety manifests as a physical and emotional discomfort. Culture shock is a process that evolves over a period of time, and its stages affect people differently. It covers the progression from not knowing to knowing what to do or how to do things or what is appropriate in a new environment.
Although one can experience real pain, culture shock is also an opportunity for redefining one's self, for learning and acquiring new perspectives. Culture shock can make one develop a better understanding of one's self and stimulate personal creativity.
Students who have spent time abroad often experience a similar process upon their return home, which is known as reverse culture shock or re-entry.
Learn more about the process and better prepare yourself for your experience by reviewing the following sources:
The plethora of Internet search engines and frequent flyer miles has made it more common for students to prefer to book their own travel arrangements to their study abroad destinations. Therefore, international airfare is not included in many of our program fees. Here is a list of a few of the search engines out there:
Make sure you understand all the restrictions and costs that apply to your fare. Many tickets are non-refundable or you cannot change your return date. Often additional taxes and fuel surcharges apply.
The Center for Global Education is authorized to issue the International Student Identity Card (ISIC) and the International Teacher Identity Card (ITIC). These cards are recognized worldwide as proof of status and offers various travel discounts and limited insurance around the globe. Students who are not participating in a Mason program can still purchase the ID card at the Center for Global Education office.
If you are a full-time student at school, college or university, aged 12 or over, enrolled for the current academic year at an accredited institution and matriculating towards a diploma or a degree, you can apply for an ISIC.
The ISIC card is only for full-time students, so you need to bring the following documents:
- One document that proves that you are currently studying full time at a recognized school, college or university (Course Schedule, Tuition Receipt or most recent Report Card for non-university students)
- Proof of date of birth (driver’s license, passport, or copy of birth certificate)
- a recent passport-sized photo
The ISIC is valid one year from issue date and costs $25, payable in cash only.
Note: Continuing education and language school students are not eligible.
You must be a teacher or a faculty member teaching for the current academic year at an accredited institution.
Please bring proof of your faculty status (i.e. a letter on school stationery from the Department Chair verifying current faculty status; a school ID card is not sufficient), one passport-sized picture, and the application fee of $25 (cash only). The Center for Global Education can only accept exact change.
Should you have any questions, please contact Center for Global Education at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ISIC/ITIC can only be processed between 10 am and 3 pm, Monday through Friday.
Additional information about the various benefits provided through the ISIC can be found at www.myisic.com.
The following sites are good sources of information that you will need abroad. The CIA World Factbook is a good place to get a quick overview of a country's political and social structure. The Department of State Study Abroad site provides useful information on health, safety, US consulates and embassies abroad, and how to prepare for your trip.
A currency converter can help you figure out local currency costs in US dollars. Bookmark one for future reference!
The Center for Global Education invites students to browse through our resource library, which is open to students and the general public Monday through Friday from 9:30 am - 5 pm. We have a large selection of study abroad materials, college and university guides, and a variety of travel literature and videos available for students thinking about studying abroad. Flyers and applications for our short-term programs are always on display at the office. The Resource Library is located in the Center for Global Education, Johnson Center, Room 235.
Once you have explored the various Center for Global Education programs, you may find that you have an academic need that is not met by our programming. This does not mean that you cannot study abroad! Mason will allow students to participate in any accredited program and bring back transfer credits. Please see the Non-Mason Program page [link to page] for the specific application procedures. Or maybe you have returned from a successful education abroad experience and now wish to research opportunities for after your graduation.
The following web sites may help you research appropriate programs and organizations.
- Alliance for Conflict Transformation
- American Councils
- Association for Int. Practical Training (AIPT)
- British Council US
- Council on International Education Exchange (CIEE)
- Go Abroad
- IIE Passport
- Institute of International Education (IIE)
- Peace Boat
- Peace Corps HOTLINE
- Semester at Sea
- Society for International Development
- Study Abroad
- Transitions Abroad
- Women For Women International
- World Affairs Council
Center for Global Education
Johnson Center, Room 235
George Mason University
4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030-4444
We are located on the second
in Room 235 in the Johnson Center above the food court.