Learning Abroad Center

Pre-Departure Planning


The Learning Abroad Center will bill your student account according to the UofM's spring Billing & Due Dates

Books & Materials

Your program leader will contact you about books and other reading materials required for your Global Seminar. You will need a notebook and pens/pencils. It is best to purchase these before you leave so you have them for the first day of the program.

Course Registration

Note that you must add your Global Seminar to your course enrollment. You will receive course registration instructions via email from the Learning Abroad Center. Once you receive the instructions, please self-register immediately to avoid any complications. 

Financial Aid & Pre-Departure Checklists

Look over your pre-departure checklist to ensure you are prepared to depart.

If you are planning to use financial aid, follow these steps, if you haven't already.

Passports & Visas

By now, you should have your passport in hand and it should be valid for at least 6 months past your return date. If you do not have your passport, contact your Learning Abroad Center program contact immediately. More information on passports can be found here as well as at travel.state.gov/passport


Visas vary by program. See individual program pages for specific information. 

If you are not a US citizen, you should let your LAC contact person know and they can provide resources to obtain proper documentation for your learning abroad country. It is your responsibility to obtain the proper visa.

Non-US Passport Holders

Students who are not traveling under a US passport may have to follow different visa procedures in order to enter your Freshman Seminar Abroad country. Contact the the LAC Visa Assistant at l[email protected] for assistance in determining the correct visa process.

Safekeeping Documents

Always keep your passport in a safe place. If your passport is lost or stolen, contact the local police, the American Consulate or Embassy, your program leader, and the on-site staff immediately. Make copies of the following documents so you can easily report and replace them if they are lost or stolen. Scan and email a copy to yourself for easy access, leave a copy with someone in the US, and store a hard copy in a safe place (such as your carry-on luggage).

  • Passport
  • Visa, if applicable
  • Driver’s license
  • Insurance cards
  • Front and back of credit and debit cards

Travel Resources

Check out the Learning Abroad Center's Travel Resources for information regarding packing, navigating the airport, technology abroad, and more! 


Personal spending habits vary, so be aware of the budget estimate for your program, but also know yourself and your habits when budgeting for this program. Keep these tips in mind when planning for your experience and while you are abroad.

  • Diversify the ways you access your money—have a debit card, credit card and some cash.
  • Alert your bank that you will be abroad so they don’t freeze your account.
  • Check with your bank about international fees and work them into your budget.
  • Make copies of your debit and credit cards in case you lose them.
  • Research the exchange rate and local currency of your host country at XE.
  • Make a cheat sheet of the exchange rate to carry with you ($1=0.81 Euro, $5=4.06 Euro, and so on).
  • Understand the cost of living in your host country by consulting a guideboo or Expatistan.com
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Pickpockets exist and generally strike when you are in a crowd.


It is important that you pack light, as you will be carrying your own luggage during the program, often for long stretches in airports, bus, and train stations. Take only as much as you can carry easily by yourself.  

  • Pack medications, important documents, electronics, and a change of clothes in your carry-on luggage in case your checked luggage is lost or delayed.
  • Take clothing that needs a minimal amount of care.
  • Rolling your garments reduces wrinkling and saves space.
  • Packing your clothing in plastic bags inside your suitcase can prevent rainwater from leaking into your clothing.
  • Pack everything you want to bring, pick it all up, and walk around the block. If you are not comfortable, reevaluate what you have packed.
  • Pack for the weather and note that you will be spending more time outside than usual. Check www.weather.com for average temperatures and precipitation.
  • Most toiletries and personal items can be found abroad, but if you have favorite brands, you may want to bring enough for your stay.
  • Consult with your program leader for specific packing needs.


Avoid taking electric appliances such as hair dryers, straighteners, curling irons, shavers, and so on, since these types of appliances will not operate without converters. Voltage is different abroad, and electricity converters often don’t work correctly and cause the appliances to malfunction.

In addition to different voltage, most countries have different outlets, so you will need to bring an adapter to plug in any appliances you pack. Most computers, cell phones, and camera chargers have the electricity adapters built in, so you will need to research the plug type and buy the appropriate adapter.

Consult a travel guide to determine your adapter/converter needs.

Parent Resources

Direct family members to this resource page.

The Learning Abroad Center is student-centered. We purposefully strive to communicate with and send all correspondence to students. Students are the individuals who will be abroad and are responsible for themselves in a foreign country. While we are pleased to meet with parents and family members to answer questions, in many cases, we cannot share information out of respect for FERPA student privacy regulations. As the student, questions should be funneled through you and the student should serve as the family representative.


Under Federal Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), Minnesota Government Data Practices Act, and University policy, college students are considered responsible adults and are allowed to determine who will receive information about them. As a result, the Learning Abroad Center does not share academic, personal, or financial information with a third party (including parents, spouse, guardians, etc.) without the student’s written permission. As part of their application, all students designate two emergency contacts who will receive information only in the case of an emergency.