Skip to content

Prepare to Study Abroad

Pre-Departure Tips and Resources

Don't take our word for it. Listen to these valuable pre-departure tips from returning students. Everything from communication to travel to safety. Take a look!

Applying for a U.S. Passport

The U.S. Department of State provides a step by step guide for first time passport applicants here:
  1. Scroll down the page to find the “Forms" on the right hand side of the page.
  2. Below you will find a link for “DS-11: Application for Passport” blank PDF.
  3. Follow the link and print out the form.
*You are applying for the Adult Passport Book.
Once you have completed the form, you will need to apply IN PERSON (details below). Please bring your Certified Birth Certificate, valid Driver’s License, photocopies of Certified Birth Certificate and valid Driver’s License, 1 Passport Photo and appropriate payment. At this time the fee for an adult passport is a total of $135. Please note this fee is is paid in two installments: one for the application fee, and one for the execution fee. Check the website for acceptable forms of payment.

Applying in Charleston?
You can take your completed application to one of two places:
Coles County Clerk Office on the Square
651 Jackson Avenue #122 Charleston, IL 61920
Phone: 217-348-0501
Open Monday-Friday from 8:30-4:30
Charleston Post Office *new location
667 Windsor Road (Carrier Annex)
Charleston, IL 61920 
Phone: 217-345-2900
Accepting applications Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Applying at home?
No problem! The U.S. Postal Service provides passport application services, and sometimes, photos. Using the "Find a Post Office" feature on their website, type in your home zip code and select the office closest to you. Please note that not every office accepts passport applications. From the "Location Types" drop down menu, select "passports" for a list of those offices accepting applications. Please be aware that application hours may differ from office hours.

Renewing Your Passport?
Check your expiration date! Bear in mind that if you travel within 6 months of the expiration date, you may be denied travel. We suggest that all students renew ahead of their travel avoid this issue. Example: If your expiration date is December 31, 2020, you will want to renew in early 2020. Passports are valid for 10 years. Please refer to this link for questions:

Read through our Passport FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions


The Office of Study Abroad has a selection of books that students are more than welcome to borrow.
  • Cultural Adjustment
Glimpse Magazine
Glimpse's purpose is to provide young writers, journalists, photographers and filmmakers with a professional platform for publishing high-profile work based on their travels abroad.
World Citizens Guide
World Citizens Guide is an organization that publishes guide books on traveling,working and living around the globe.
What's Up With Culture
What's Up with Culture is an on-line resource to help students prepare for a different culture.
  • Health and Safety
Travel Safety Info for Students 
This Department of State website will you better prepare so you can feel secure while abroad.
Travel Tips for Students 
This Department of State website will help you plan what to bring, what to do before you leave, and some precautions while abroad.
Background Notes (DOS)
This Department of State website will give you facts about the land and people of the country where you wish to study.
EIU Emergency Info
EIU's Emergency Handbook has good information on how to deal in certain situations.
Emergencies and Crises
This Department of State website will outline what they can and can not do in a crisis.
HTH Worldwide (EIU Health Insurance)
International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers (IAMAT)
MedHelp is a website that "connects people with the leading medical experts and with others who have similar experiences".
Register with the U.S. Embassy
The Association for Safe International Road Travel
ASIRT is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that promotes global road safety through education and funding in low-, middle-income countries.
SAFETI Clearinghouse
SAFETI Clearinghouse creates resources to support study abroad program development and implementation, emphasizing health and safety issues.
Travelers' Health (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Travel Warnings, Consular Information Sheets & Public Announcements
U.S. Embassies and Consulates
  • Immigration/Government
Foreign Entry Requirements for American Citizens
Passport Services and Information
TDS (for visa information and requirements) 
  • Money/Finances
Currency Converter (Oanda)
Currency Converter (XE)
Mastercard/Cirrus ATM Locator
Visa ATM locator
  • Travel Advice
Flying within Europe
Mobility International (for students with disabilities)
Mobility International is a non-profit organization that offers internship programs for people with disabilities and assisting people with disabilities with international volunteer or study programs.
Monetos (helpful hints about moving to the European Union)
One Bag (tips on how to pack light)
  • Travel Resources and Guides
Kayak (book a cheap flight/hotel/car)
Eurail (information about traveling by train in Europe)
Abroad Scout
Abroad Scout is a website where people can blog about their study abroad experience and rate their program.
Hosteling International (book a hostel)
Let's Go (travel information)
Lonely Planet (travel information)
Rail Europe (information on train times/prices/destinations)
Rough Guides
Rough Guides is a publisher of travel and reference information.
Routes International
Routes International is a website that offers transportation and travel related references and travel booking information.
STA Travel (book flight, hotel/hostel and tours/expeditions)
Tourism Offices Worldwide Directory
Tourism Offices Worldwide Directory is a website that is a database of tourist information.
Transitions Abroad
Transitions Abroad is a web magazine that discusses working, studying, living and cultural immersion abroad.