There will be several meetings on the Cornell campus this spring to prepare you for the program. Topics to be addressed are purchasing airline tickets, what to pack, course materials to bring, behavior expectations, emergency contacts, in-country travel, and forms to be completed. Attendance at these meetings is required. For off-campus students, meeting updates will be provided.
Travel insurance: We strongly advise you to purchase travel cancellation insurance in case the program is cancelled or you find you are unable to attend.
Below are a few general tips to help you prepare for your program.
In addition, the Cornell Study Abroad office has prepared a handbook for Cornell students studying abroad during the fall or spring semesters. Although much of the information in this publication does not apply to Summer/Winter Session students, you may still want to check out the more general sections on money, health and safety, and international travel.
For more information, please contact your program director.
Passports and visas
If you don't have a passport, we encourage you to apply for one immediately. If you do have a passport, please check it to be sure it has not expired. For information and passport forms, visit the Office of the Tompkins County Clerk in downtown Ithaca (320 N. Tioga Street) or the U.S. State Department Web site. Contact your program director for visa requirements.
We suggest that you plan to carry your passport/visa on you in an inside pocket. It's also helpful to make two photocopies of these and other important documents before you leave home. Bring one copy with you (stored separately from the originals) and leave another copy at home with your family and friends in case of an emergency.
Money and bank cards
The unit of currency in Spain is the euro. To see the current value of the the U.S. dollar in euros, please consult a currency converter.
Consider taking the equivalent of about $200 in euros to tide you over when you first arrive in your host country. Options for obtaining money while abroad can include ATM cards, credit cards, travelers checks, and wire transfers. ATM cards are the most common method for getting cash, but you may incur high usage fees. Check with your bank and/or credit card company before leaving to find out more about ATM locations and fees.
We also suggest you consider getting a money belt or pouch to carry your cash.
Health matters and medications
If you take prescription medications, bring enough to last for your entire stay. Some programs suggest making sure that these medications are clearly marked with your name, your doctor's name, refill instructions, and the drug name, dosage, and purpose.
Although many non-prescription medications and toiletries will be available in your host city, you may want to take favorite brands of some items.
In addition to your usual toiletries, consider packing an extra pair of eyeglasses and a small first-aid kit.
Cornell Study Abroad offers the following safety tips:
- Be as inconspicuous as possible in dress and behavior.
- Stay in touch with the staff of your study abroad program/university.
- Be careful about divulging information about yourself and your program to strangers.
- Be aware of the people and circumstances around you and report any suspicious behavior to the program staff.
- When you travel, leave your itinerary and contact information with the program staff, your family, or someone who can be contacted in case of an emergency.
- Have sufficient funds to purchase a ticket home.
- When traveling, do not leave your bags unattended and do not transport a package or suitcase for anyone.
- Avoid political demonstrations.
- Keep copies of your credit cards, passport, and other important documents to expedite cancellation and replacement in the event they are lost or stolen.
We also remind students to familiarize themselves with the International SOS information they will receive after registering for their program.
Computers, cell phones, cameras, and other electronics
If you plan to take a computer, cell phone, camera, or other electronic device (MP3-player, hair dryer, etc.), you will most likely need to take an international voltage converter and/or plug adaptor. Check with your local electronics store.
It's also helpful to take extra batteries and USB flash drives/SC cards for computers or cameras.
Options for calling from abroad include international cell phones, international calling cards, local pre-paid calling cards, or using the Internet. You also might want to prepare for calling home by finding out the access numbers for the countries where you will travel. We also suggest you contact your credit card company for the phone numbers you might need to cancel your credit card if it's lost or stolen.
We suggest you pack about a week's worth of clothing that is appropriate to the weather and cultural norms of your host city.
It's often helpful to pack items that match, can be layered, have multiple uses, and don't wrinkle easily. In addition, clothes should be hand-washable and drip-dry.
We recommend that you bring one nice outfit and a comfortable (non-white) pair of walking shoes.
Additional packing tips:
Before packing, check with your airline for luggage weight and size restrictions. In addition, student travelers suggest packing lightly, labeling everything, and leaving anything at home that you'd hate to lose.
In your carry-on luggage, include important documents (passport, visa, arrival instructions, itinerary), medication, toiletries, maps, phone, valuables (such as laptop, camera, jewelry), and a change of clothes in case your luggage gets lost. And don't forget your airline tickets!
Other items to bring:
- travel alarm clock
- maps and guidebooks
- small backpack for day trips
- small gift items