There are a few things that you will need to take care of before you leave for your Study abroad trip. You will have to organize what will happen when you are abroad with your home campus. The first step you should take is to discuss your decision with your adviser, that person you should be seeing every semester or so to make sure you are taking the correct courses to advance your major. When you go to talk with him/her you should bring a couple of things with you.

  • Information about the study abroad program (if your home campus is the one offering the study abroad that makes things a little easier)
  • The course listing for the semester you are studying abroad of your home campus, if available.
  • The course listing for the semester you are studying abroad of the study abroad university, if available.

Some advisers require you to make an appointment while others don’t mind walk-ins. When you do go to discuss your plans with your advisor, with the above things in hand, here’s what you should discuss (this is just a basic outline, so feel free to add or subtract topics as you see fit):

  • What courses are left that you need to take to complete your major
  • What forms you will have to fill out to get credit for courses taken while you are studying abroad

After talking with your adviser your next stop will probably the registrars office, or the study abroad office of your university to talk about how your courses will be handled for the semester(s) that you are in Japan. You will need to register for courses for the first semester you will be in Japan with the home campus so that you are still an active student and can continue to receive any scholarships and financial aid that you have had in previous semesters. That leads you to your next stop, the financial aid office of your college.

While at the financial aid office, make sure you discuss how to continue receiving the financial aid that you currently have. Also see if there are any other financial aid programs that you are eligible for because you are studying abroad, you may be pleasently surprised. The financial aid office should be your last stop, although they may tell you that you need to see another office, just follow their directions and you should be fine.

Your finances and your enrollment are the most important things that you will have to deal with at your home campus so that is a good weight to get off your back as soon as possible. Next time I’ll be discussing some things you should do before you receive your Certificate of Eligibility from your study abroad campus, which then allows you to get your visa, so until then!