Once you confirm your participation in a Summer Abroad program, you must complete all required program preparation before departure.
Program and country information may not be immediately posted online by Berkeley Study Abroad. It is important that you actively research and ask appropriate questions to get the answers that you need. Essential information can be obtained from the following sources:
- Pre-departure orientation
- Welcome packet
- Pre-departure packet
- Berkeley Study Abroad staff
- Program Director
- Books on your destination country (recommended: the Culture Shock! series)
- U.S. Department of State, Center for Disease Control, and Embassy websites
You are required to attend the pre-departure orientation for the individual program in which you are participating. If you are from outside of the San Francisco Bay Area or if you are unable to attend the orientation for any reason, it is your responsibility to notify the program advisor to ensure that you receive the information and materials covered during the orientation.
A valid passport is required to travel to all international program destinations. Ensure that your passport is valid for the duration of your program and for at least six months beyond your travel dates; otherwise, you must renew your passport before the program starts. Passport renewal can be a lengthy process and it is strongly advised that you start the process as early as possible. You may apply for a passport at the Recreational Sports Facility or downtown Berkeley post office.
An entry visa may be required for travel to your program country, depending on your citizenship and length of stay. Visa requirements can be obtained from the embassy or the consulate of the country you are planning to enter. There may be different requirements for U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens. It is important to obtain information pertinent to your citizenship status and to begin this process as soon as possible to avoid delays. It is your responsibility to prepare any travel documents (i.e. passport, visa, etc.), pay any related fees, and complete the steps that are necessary to enter your program location(s). Berkeley Study Abroad is not responsible for ensuring that you have the appropriate visa or documentation. Inability to obtain the appropriate travel documentation to participate in the program may not be considered as a basis for a refund of program-related fees.
When traveling to participate in off-campus activities sponsored and supervised by the University, registered students will be covered worldwide, 24 hours a day, for a wide variety of accidents and incidents. This coverage is provided at no cost to students; however, you must register for health insurance in order to be covered. You will receive registration instructions in your confirmation packet. This coverage includes:
- Emergency Medical Evacuation
- Security Extraction
- Accident/Sickness Medical
- Accidental Death, Dismemberment or Paralysis
- Repatriation of Remains
- Other Travel Assistance Services (when traveler is 100+ miles from campus)
Some countries may require certain vaccination or health clearances for visa or entry purposes. Participation in the program is contingent upon your obtaining the required visa. Failure to obtain a visa based on a failure to obtain necessary vaccinations is not a basis for a refund of program-related fees The Center For Disease Control details vaccination requirements and other traveler's health information. The UC Berkeley Tang Center also offers an International Travel Clinic that includes a personal travel consultation and immunizations.
It is strongly advised that you do not purchase airfare until your participation in the program is confirmed, meaning that you have already been admitted into the program and have submitted all confirmation documents.
When purchasing an airline ticket, you may want to consider purchasing a refundable ticket or trip cancellation insurance to prepare for the unexpected. STA Travel has an airfare deposit program, which allows you to lock in the price of your ticket with a $300 deposit wait until seven days before your flight to pay the rest.
An optional group flight may be available through a travel agency designated by Berkeley Study Abroad. Information will be provided to you as it becomes available. Please keep in mind that the price of group airfare is not guaranteed to be the lowest. You may be able to find a cheaper fare through travel websites or by redeeming frequent flyer mileage. It is your responsibility to make reservations and pay for all airline tickets.