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PreDeparture - What to Expect

How to prepare for your Annenberg study abroad semester experience.

A semester abroad is an opportunity for you to build on the skills you have developed through your career at Annenberg, to experience a part of the world or culture outside of the USC campus, and to further learn about yourself and the endless possibilities of life. 

At Annenberg International Programs we are committed to ensuring the health, safety, and success of every student in our study abroad programs. Below you will find information on the expectations we have of students selected for our programs and how our office will support you in the pre-departure phase of your semester abroad. 

These resources complement and expand upon information that is presented at mandatory pre-departure orientation sessions. By reviewing this information, students will be better prepared when they arrive in their host countries.  

Communication Policy and Cultivating Independence 
Making the decision to study abroad is an important one and it requires a high level of commitment, maturity, and responsibility. In efforts to reinforce these attributes, we maintain a policy of direct communication with students in regards to program dates, deadlines, finances, visa requirements, etc. Please read through all emails from our office carefully, as they will contain these important details. Students are responsible for sharing this information with parents or any family member supporting their intent to study abroad. 

Prior to going abroad, students are expected to closely follow and adhere to the instructions provided. This allows students to maintain a sense of ownership over the decision and cultivates a sense of independence that is a critical skill while abroad. 

Health and Safety Resources 
Overseas Health Insurance - USC Overseas Health Insurance is required on all USC-approved study abroad programs. If a student is already enrolled in USC (domestic) Health Insurance there will be no additional charge for Overseas Health Insurance; students will be charged the domestic, on-campus rate. Coverage will include the regular benefits as part of the annual plan, plus the additional benefit of a zero deductible for eligible medical expenses while overseas (up to $250,000).

If a student is normally covered otherwise and waives out of USC Health Insurance on campus, students will be charged Overseas Health Insurance at a rate of $97/month (2019-2020 rate). 

International SOS - Every study abroad participant is automatically enrolled in the University’s medical and security services program. Students can use International SOS to find and schedule a doctor's appointment, check the safety of a country they plan to visit or talk to a medical professional directly over the phone. 

STEP - All students of U.S. citizenship are required to enroll in The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), a free service offered by the U.S. Department of State that provides travel advisory updates and information from U.S. consulates and embassies worldwide. In the case of a country emergency, STEP allows family and friends to locate and assist any U.S. national abroad.

Mental Health - Through the USC Overseas Health Insurance and International SOS, students have access to mental health professionals, therapists, and emergency care. Some programs also include partnerships with local mental health professionals. 

Emergency Preparedness - In the event of a national or international emergency while abroad, Annenberg International Programs follows policies, protocols, and directives set forth by the central USC administration. The University activates and relies on the guidance of entities such as International SOS, the U.S. Department of State, our partner institutions, and their host countries to safely plan for and execute our students’ safe return home.

Annenberg International Programs will communicate directly with students and student emergency contacts with pertinent information and travel guidance. Prior to going abroad, students need to discuss the possibility of this type of outcome with their families and establish a communication and travel contingency plan.

Pre-Departure Orientation: How We Prepare Students to Go Abroad  
All study abroad students participate in multiple Pre-Departure Orientations with our office and your cohort to prepare for a successful time abroad. In these sessions we cover: 

  • Health and safety tips relevant to your study destination
  • Cultural insights and ways to immerse more deeply in the local culture
  • What to expect academically at the local university
  • Tips on budgeting, packing, electronics, phones, and staying connected 
  • Resources for students of color, LGBTQ+ students, first-generation students, and students with differing abilities

Finances: Understanding the Costs of Study Abroad
Each program varies in cost. Total costs include tuition, program fees, health insurance, housing, and estimated expenses, which can be found on each program page. 

All federal financial aid, university grants and scholarships, and loans can be applied to a semester abroad.

  • USC Financial Aid may readjust the financial aid package according to semester costs

Scholarships may be available through our office and external opportunities. Students can view our Funding Opportunities page for a comprehensive scholarship database. Students are advised to book an appointment with our team to discuss scholarship recommendations

ADDITIONAL PRE-DEPARTURE RESOURCES: Please click on the links below to read about each subject.

Health & Safety
U.S. Passports
U.S. Department of State Travel Alerts & Warnings 
U.S. Department of State Overseas Citizens Services 
Fire Safety While Abroad 
Prescription Medication While Abroad

Banking & Budgeting 
Using Credit Cards when Studying Abroad
How to Budget for Study Abroad

Mobile Phones & Electronics
How to Find the Best Cell Phone Plan for Study Abroad

PDF icon AIP London Semester Packing List
PDF icon ​AIP Rome Semester Packing List
PDF icon AIP Hong Kong Semester Packing List
PDF icon AIP Sydney Semester Packing List

Physical & Mental Wellbeing
Mental Health and Preparing to Study Abroad 
Self Care While Abroad 
Mobility International USA 

First-Generation Students
The Study Abroad Guide for First-Gen Students 
Navigating Study Abroad as a First-Gen Student 

Diversity & Inclusion
Underrepresented Students and Study Abroad 
Travel Noire: Global Community of Black Travelers 
Study Abroad for LGBTQI+ Students 
LGBTQI+ Country-Specific Guide

Budget Travel 
International Student Identity Card 
STA Travel 
Student Universe 
Hostelling International 

Students with Disabilities 
USC Office of Student Accessibility Services 
Studying abroad with Disabilities 
7 Tips for Studying Abroad with Disabilities and Chronic Conditions 
The ultimate guide to studying abroad with a disability
How to Study Abroad With a Disability

For Parents 
Parent Guide to Study Abroad
Communication Tips
Parents Guide to Health Insurance for Study Abroad

Additional Resources