Before You Go

Once you have applied to a study abroad program and have dedicated yourself to studying abroad, you will be required to attend a study abroad orientation. This orientation covers important things to consider when studying abroad, such as cultural differences, culture shock, living on a budget, travel restrictions, cell phones and currency exchange.


If you already have a passport, make sure it won’t expire while you are abroad. If you don’t have a passport, you will need one before you can go. Passports last for 10 years and are easy to renew. Even if you decide not to study abroad, having a passport can be handy for any future international travel.

To help you apply for a passport, we at the Office of Global Engagement have created this step-by-step guide on applying for a passport.


How to apply for a visa and whether or not you need one is going to depend on the country you are going to and the length of time you will be there. For information on your country of interest, visit the U.S. State Department website.


Searching for affordable airline tickets can be daunting. There are a couple of websites, however, that offer discounted tickets for college students. They are Student UniverseJustFlySkiplagged, and Expedia. Experiment with your departure and destinations. Costs can vary quite a bit, even between nearby airports. 

Health and Accident Insurance


Nebraska Wesleyan University requires that participants be covered, during the entire length of their time abroad, by adequate health and accident insurance, including medical evacuation and repatriation coverage.

International Health and Accident Coverage

Many university students are covered under a parent's insurance policy. While that may be sufficient in the United States, many insurance policies do not cover treatment administered outside the U.S.  The “Portability of Insurance Form” is used by NWU to assure that parents have checked with their insurance company about accident and sickness coverage outside the United States. In the case that the parent´s insurance does not provide coverage outside the United States, participants are required to purchase this insurance through NWU.

Following are some suggestions for questions to ask your insurer. Be sure to get their answers in writing.

  • Coverage Abroad and During Travel
    Most study abroad insurance will cover the student for accident and illness while they are in any country outside the one listed as their permanent domicile—as well as while the participant travels from country to country.
  • Pay Attention to the Definition of Preexisting Conditions
    Some insurance policies will restrict or exclude coverage for preexisting conditions. For example, one insurance policy defines a preexisting condition as, “any injury or sickness which manifested itself or for which a licensed physician was consulted or for which treatment or medication was prescribed in the 12 months prior to the effective date of this insurance.” Preexisting conditions could include allergies, acne, diabetes, epilepsy, sports injuries, physical therapy, etc.
  • Look for Exclusions
    Read carefully through the exclusion section of the insurance policy. Dental care is almost always excluded from study abroad insurance policies. Preexisting conditions may or may not be excluded.
  • Accident vs. Sickness
    Some insurance policies will separate the two and provide different coverage for each.
  • Deductible
    Always know the amount of the deductible, which will be applied to each new accident or sickness.

No Coverage While in the United States

Do not to let the domestic insurance lapse during the period abroad. Study abroad insurance usually does not cover the insured while in their country of domicile, so the participant is not covered:

  • Before they leave the U.S.,
  • If they return to visit during the exchange, or
  • When they return to the U.S.

It is the responsibility of the participant to read the insurance policy carefully to understand when and where the coverage is in place.

Payments for Treatment Overseas

Forms of payment and recognition of insurance will vary widely from country to country. Most countries require full payment for services when treatment is given. Also, medical services overseas will not recognize a foreign insurance company.

  • Some hospitals require full payment of all bills before being released.
  • Students will need access to emergency funds, either by carrying a credit card or some other form of immediate payment.
  • Medical service providers will not file the insurance claim for the patient, as is done in the United States.
    • Patients will be required to pay the bills in full; then, seek reimbursement from the insurance company.
    • Make sure you carry your insurance card with you at all times.
    • Take some claim forms with you.

24-hour Travel Emergency Assistance

This type of coverage is NOT health insurance, but services which will assist you in finding English-speaking doctors, the nearest medical facility, etc. Many study abroad insurance policies now contain these types of travel assistance in addition to the sickness and accident insurance.

Carefully read the policy so that you know what the service will do for you. Carry the card at all times so that you have access to the phone numbers in an emergency.

  • May have toll–free numbers.
  • Often can be called collect 24 hours a day and have employees who can speak many languages.

Medical Evacuation and Repatriation of Remains

Medical evacuation and repatriation of remains insurance is provided free of charge to any Nebraska Wesleyan student participating in an approved study abroad program, through NWU´s insurer EIIA.

  • This coverage begins on the first day of the trip and ends on the last day of the trip.
  • If you travel independently before or after the trip you are required to purchase insurance that covers medical evacuation and repatriation of remains.

Medical evacuation insurance will cover up to the amount specified the cost of transporting the patient to the nearest medical facility providing adequate treatment. This may include transportation by plane, helicopter, ambulance, or other means of transportation. This does not mean that the patients will be transported back to their homes—only to the nearest medical facility able to treat them.

Repatriation of remains will cover the cost of cremation or embalming and flying the body home in the event that a participant dies while overseas.