Prepare to Leave

A Visa: You Will Almost Certainly Need One

Most governments require students to have a student visa to study abroad. This is a very important step toward your abroad experience. Make sure you very carefully follow the instructions provided to you by your program.

Housing Is Program-Specific
A host mother shows off her Sevillian dress to her host daughters
Housing Options

You will find housing options listed as part of the information for each program. Options can range from homestays to student housing or apartments.

Two bikers bike past a historic building
Applying for Housing

Follow your program's instructions for requesting housing.

A student's dorm in Paris
Your Responsibilites

You may be responsible for arriving to your destination on your own. You also will be responsible for any damages that may occur.

FAQs Read All

Are there Cornell students I can talk with about study abroad opportunities?

Global Learning Education Abroad has a returned students contact list, which includes the names, contact information, and program information for other Cornell students who have studied abroad and agreed to share their experience. Additionally, our Global Learning Ambassadors are always a great resource if you have questions that you think only a Cornell peer can answer. Feel free to visit our "Get Advice" section to learn more.

How do I enroll in my courses abroad?

The Office of Global Learning Education Abroad does not manage enrollment for your courses abroad. Pay close attention to any instructions sent to you by your host institution/program. Some programs will instruct you to pre-enroll before you arrive. Others have an enrollment process once you arrive. 

Can I get major/minor credit abroad?

It is important to understand how study abroad fits within your major or minor. Many departments on campus do allow students to go abroad and earn credit that directly applies to major and minor requirements. Other departments are stricter. It is important that you talk to your faculty advisor or college advisor and find out what is and is not allowed. 

How is housing abroad different? What should I expect?

Some older apartments abroad may not have elevators, so you may need to climb one or more flights of stairs. Students who require ADA-compliant housing should inform their Global Learning Education Abroad advisor or program advisor for assistance as soon as possible.

It is common for students to have internet access in their housing, but connectivity may be slower than you are used to at home or Cornell. Heating may be building-controlled (and government-regulated), and central air conditioning is not as common.

Storage for personal items may be limited. Beds may be smaller than in the United States. Most housing options will either provide bedding and towels or will offer you an inexpensive bedding and towel pack for purchase upon arrival. You should not have to pack these items.

There will be laundry facilities on site or nearby, but students should expect to pay to use the machine. It is possible you may only have access to a washer and will need to hang your clothes to dry.

Why consider staying with a host family while I'm abroad?

Living with a host family can be one of the most enriching ways to learn about a new culture. Host families volunteer for the opportunity and are carefully vetted by your program, which pays them for your stay. Host families are genuinely interested in sharing their home and their culture—and often their language—with visiting students.

Your host family will expect you to share some meals and conversation with them, but they understand that you are an adult and will want time to see friends and travel. In the event of irreconcilable difficulties, students can be moved to another family. Host families are typically the most highly rated housing option by students because of the close relationship students can form with their hosts.

Staying Safe Abroad
A corner of Seville
Mandatory Pre-Departure Steps

Your Cornell study abroad application includes mandatory online modules about health and safety, and other key topics. Your program also will provide more specific location-based information.

Before you go abroad, you are responsible for familiarizing yourself with both sets of information.

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