Before you leave for the United States, there are lots of details to attend to – important documents you’ll need, items to bring with you, travel and living arrangements to situate, and practical things to learn about living and training in America.
Take the time to learn about important program documents, what you can expect upon arrival, and tasks you’ll need to complete soon after you arrive in the U.S. You may also want to check Living in the United States to learn about things like housing, banking, travel, health care, and insurance.
Here’s a short – but very important – list of “must do” items:
- Obtain a passport for yourself (and dependents, if they’ll be accompanying you)
- Secure a visa for yourself (and any dependents)
- Research housing (your host organization may be able to help with this)
- Visit your doctor and dentist for a final checkup
- Arrange your travel
- Complete your CIEE online orientation
Start your journey in good health
If you take prescription medication, bring a supply that will last for your entire stay in the United States, along with a doctor’s note listing all prescription medications and why you need them. You’ll need this information if you need to see a doctor while in the United States.
If you take prescription medication, bring a supply that will last for your entire stay in the U.S., along with a doctor’s note listing all prescription medications and why you need them. You’ll need this information if you need to see a doctor while in the U.S. You can learn more about CIEE medical insurance coverage here.
Plan your finances
If not paid by the host organization, you’ll be responsible for all living expenses while in the United States. When you arrive, U.S. Customs might require proof that you have enough money with you. Acceptable proof includes cash and current bank statements.
Pack and go!
Get in touch with your host organization as soon as you’ve made your travel arrangements. Double-check the dates on your DS-2019 form, and make sure that those dates fall within your actual travel dates. Be sure to share phone numbers and flight information with your host organization and with your CIEE international representative. Let your host organization know how you’ll be traveling from the airport to your destination.
It is worth repeating: Keep important documents, money, prescription drugs, and valuables with you. Do not put them in your checked luggage!
First time traveling?
If this is your first time traveling abroad, here are some helpful tips to make your journey as smooth as possible:
- Check with your airline about luggage fees and restrictions
- Bring a change of clothes in your carry-on bag, in case your luggage is delayed
- Make sure prescription drugs are clearly marked, and include a note from your doctor
- Do not bring any perishable foods
- Get to the airport early, and keep your bags with you at all times