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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/State ID, 1 Passport Photo and appropriate payment. At this time the fee for an adult passport is a total of $165. 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 
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 William V. Weber Program in Study Abroad has a selection of books in our office that students are more than welcome to borrow.

Cultural Adjustment 
  • Matador Creators Community
    • Matador Creators Community'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.
Health and Safety Things to do before you go abroad: Immigration/Government Money/Finances
  • Currency Converter (XE)
    • XE can convert US Dollars to any currency you wish (ex. Costa Rican Colones) and can also convert from your desired currency to US Dollars. It gives currency rates in real time so you know how much your money is worth in the US and abroad.
  • Mastercard/Cirrus ATM Locator
    • If you have a MasterCard or Cirrus Card, you can use this link to find ATMs that use your card around the world.
  • Visa ATM locator
    • ​​If you have a Visa Card, you can use this link to find ATMs that use your card around the world.
Travel Advice Travel Resources and Guide