You will need a passport to participate in any of the Gies international programs. If you already possess a passport, it must be valid until at least six-months after the date you will return from the program. That is the requirement of most countries you will visit. To order a new passport you will need an official copy of your birth certificate. Applications for new or renewed passports can be submitted at the Urbana courthouse near Lincoln Square or at the Main Champaign Post Office on Mattis Ave. Passports cost about $100, and can take several weeks to obtain. Visit the U.S. State Department website for more information.
All students participating in Gies study abroad programs are responsible for obtaining any visa(s) necessary for travel. All semester programs require a visa. Many short-term programs require a Tourist visa. To see a country's entry requirements for U.S. citizens, visit the U.S. State Department website. For non-U.S. citizens, entry requirements should be obtained directly from the government of the country you intend to visit. Each country's requirements are different. In addition to a valid passport, other documents (i.e., a letter from Gies College) may be required to apply for a visa. Depending on the country, you may need to make one or two trips to the consular office in Chicago. In some cases, you will need to make an appointment at the consulate for a visa interview. It is best to find out your visa requirements and begin the application process as soon as possible.
Travel Insurance Brochure and Claim Form
When traveling on behalf of the university, it is mandatory that you to carry travel medical insurance for the duration of your travel. You will be given more information once you commit to participate in any of the Gies study abroad programs. For more information, visit the University of Illinois, International Safety & Security website.
CDC Travel Health Information
The Center of Disease Control (CDC) is the definitive source of health risk information for any country around the world. The CDC website provides travel health tips along with updates on health concerns in specific countries. Visit the CDC website for more information.
U.S. Department of State: Travel Warnings and Consular Information Sheets
Travel advisories for U.S. citizens traveling in specific countries.
The Lonely Planet
Travel advise and information on health, maps, subway maps, observations of other travelers, etc.
This website has hostels listed all over the world with tons of reviews. The reviews can only be written by people who have booked their stay through the website which guarantees that they are actually written by people who have stayed there. You can type in any city and find listings of all of the possible hostels and their rooming options.
Good maps of nearly every country, along with good country-specific information.
As a University of Illinois student, you can receive free online foreign language instruction in 30 languages. For help setting up an account, contact the Literatures and Languages Library at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Country profiles (climate & topography), travel health concerns, preventive medications & vaccines, travel illness updates.
Know the expectations by country.
This site can be used to calculate currency conversions. I recommend that you take a “currency cheat sheet” with you.