Preparing to Go

In order to make the most of your experience abroad, you will need to spend some time prior to departure doing the research necessary to be knowledgeable and prepared for travel.

Some things to consider include:

  • Will I need a passport and/or visa?
  • How much money should I plan to bring and in what form?
  • Should I bring a laptop and cell phone?
  • What will the weather be like and what should I pack?

These are a few of the many questions you will need to answer prior to travel. Please take some time to review the information we have provided in this section, in the Resources section, as well as doing some research on your own.

Pre-departure Sessions

Students planning to enroll in a Babson Elective Abroad or International Consulting Experience are required to attend all course pre-travel sessions including:

  • All faculty-led, pre-departure academic sessions
    • Convey key academic concepts and prepare students for their experience abroad through lectures, group work, and student presentations
  • Glavin Office pre-departure orientation sessions (UG: In Class, GRAD: Online)
    • Convey information that will be relevant to both pre-departure planning and time abroad, including intercultural concepts, career services pointers, logistics, and health and safety
    • Answer any logistical/travel questions

The date and time of the pre-departure sessions are listed on the specific Elective Abroad course brochure pages.

NOTE: All pre-departure sessions are mandatory and attendance is factored into your final grade for the course (see course syllabus for specifics). If, for whatever reason, you anticipate a conflict with any portion of the course (i.e. pre-departure/orientation sessions, travel dates, or wrap-up/final deliverable requirements), please contact the faculty member and program manager before you apply for the course to see if accommodations can be made.

Travel Documents

  • Make copies of your passport, visas (if applicable) and other travel documents. Leave one copy with a family member/friend in the U.S. Carry one copy with you during your travels.
  • Make copies of flight itinerary, tentative schedule, Babson contacts, accommodations, etc.
  • Leave one copy with a family member/friend in the U.S.
  • Carry one copy with you during your travels.

If you are an international student studying at Babson on a F-1 or J-1 visa, be sure to:

  • Meet with ISSS to confirm your travel documents are in order.
  • Make sure your I-20 has the proper signature (please remember if you need a signature it could take up to 24 hours to process).
  • Confirm any other documents and travel requirements for travel outside the U.S. have been reviewed.

Money Matters

It is important when traveling abroad to consider how you will handle your finances.

Below are some guidelines to assist with preparation for international travel:

  • Make copies (both front and back) of the credit/debit cards you plan to take with you. Leave one copy with family member/friend in the U.S. Carry one copy with you during your travels.
  • Notify your credit card/debit card/bank that you will be traveling abroad. Let them know your dates of travel and the countries you will be visiting or transiting through.
  • Confirm the international customer service numbers for your credit card / debit card / bank and note any international fees you may incur while using your cards abroad.
  • Research the best methods for payment (e.g. cash, debit card with PIN, credit card) and the best way to exchange money in the destination country (e.g. ATM, Foreign Exchange bureau, etc.). If appropriate:
    • Exchange some money prior to traveling so you arrive with some cash in hand. Options for getting local currency include: Travelex Currency Services at the Natick Collection and/or Logan Airport, local banks, and credit unions.
    • Research partner banks and ATM/foreign transaction fees associated with card purchases
    • Change your debit/credit card PIN to four digits
    • Find a credit/debit card with no foreign transaction fees
  • Estimate your personal expenses and ensure you have enough money available for the course. Estimated out of pocket expenses can be found under Financial Considerations on your course brochure page.
  • Visit the Resource Page for additional information

Health and Safety

Taking time to prepare yourself for healthy and safe travel is essential especially when traveling abroad. Please visit both the Health and Safety information as well as the Resources information for more details.

Communication Abroad

There are many ways to communicate while abroad, so it is important for you to investigate all the alternatives and make a decision on which method will work best for you. Below are some suggestions to consider:

Cell Phone

  • Check with your phone carrier to determine if they provide service in the destination country. If yes, be sure to check:
    • If you can add a short-term international plan
    • If there are additional fees per minutes/data/text/roaming
    • If your phone will not work in the destination country, check to see if your carrier offers short-term international rental phones
  • Bring (or purchase) an unlocked cell phone with you to your destination and purchase a local SIM card upon arrival.

Skype / Facetime / Google Hangout

  • Check to make sure that the hotel has internet available (free of charge or paid).
  • Using Skype to call another computer is free. Calling a cell phone or landline will require buying Skype credit.

It also is important to have a communication plan in place:

  • Carry your emergency contact card (paper) or KeynectUp card (electronic) with you at all times. Make sure you know the emergency number in your destination country (e.g. 911 in the U.S.).
  • Develop a communication plan with family member/friends back home and make sure to follow it while abroad. It is easy to get involved and distracted once you arrive and forget to communicate as planned and this can lead to unnecessary anxiety for those back home. Do your best to communicate as planned.
  • Learn some of the local language, this will help you in getting around and will demonstrate to local residents your interest in their culture.

General Packing

Below are some general guidelines with regard to packing when traveling abroad. Please check the Learning Content section in your application page for packing suggestions. Additional packing information will be made available by your program manager prior to departure.

  • Put your name, address, and telephone number on the inside and outside of all your luggage pieces.
  • If you are traveling with your computer/other electronics, be sure you have the correct travel adapter or converter. Check airline website before traveling to determine whether you will need to pack any of your electronics in your checked luggage.
  • Pack light (in some cases you will be carrying luggage on and off buses in multiple cities—keep it simple).
  • Rain jacket / poncho / small umbrella for the occasional shower, layers for changing climates is always a good choice
  • Pack your carry-on like you will lose your luggage—it happens!
  • Check your airline for baggage regulations and fees (weight/size limits, number of suitcases, cost per suitcase).

If you have any specific questions with regard to your program, please contact your program manager.