Preparing to Depart

This page is to guide students who have been selected or nominated to study abroad. If you have not yet received a nomination email from or, then please wait before moving forward. 

The best things to do while waiting to hear about your status is to talk with study abroad alumni and international students in IEEC, research your study abroad country, and (if it is a non-English speaking country) learn the language or basic phrases. 

Students are notified of their nominated status via email to their SF State account. Please routinely check the account, including spam folders. It is advised that your add to your list of safe senders in your email account. 

It is common for SF State Abroad and partner universities to send you important and time-sensitive information that you need to act on quickly.

Once you receive your nomination from SF State, you may contact the partner university. Please do not email them for any reason before you have been nominated. SF State Abroad will remain in touch with you throughout the process and guide you. Please copy on all emails to the partner university so that we may be able to best assist you. 

All nominated (or selected) students must attend three mandatory meetings to remain in good standing and prepare to study abroad.

  1. Nomination Meeting
  2. Pre-departure Orientation 
  3. SF State Abroad Ceremony 

Once you are nominated, the dates and times of the events above will be shared with you. It is important that you note them on your calendar, request time off from work, and plan to attend. 

In your nomination email, it will outline what steps are needed for the partner university. Most universities required a host application, which should only be completed when instructed by SF State Abroad in your nomination email. Often this is copying what you have already written in your study abroad application in Horizons and putting it into the partner's system since they do not have access to Horizons. Follow the instructions in your nomination email as the steps are different for each program. 

Note: Not all programs required this step. 

Once you are nominated, there are new items for you to complete in your Horizons application. 

CSU IP students will need to complete this in Horizons and the CSU IP application. 

This will be discussed at the Mandatory Nomination Meeting. Save your questions for this meeting. 

SF State Exchange Programs: 

It is required that you speak with a doctor before studying abroad. Make an appointment with your primary physician as soon as possible, as you may not be able to get an appointment right away. Before you go to the appointment, download the medical form from Horizons you need to have signed so that you do not need to make two appointments.

This will be discussed at the Mandatory Nomination Meeting. Save your questions for this meeting. 

CSU IP Programs: 

While this is not required by CSU IP, SF State Abroad still recommends that you speak with your doctor to discuss where you will be studying, what immunizations are recommended, and any medication you are taking since not all medication can be taken with you abroad. 

This will be discussed at the Mandatory Nomination Meeting. Save your questions for this meeting. 

In the post-acceptant part of Horizons, you will find Overseas Course Approval forms that you will want to have signed before you study abroad for your major or minor. 

Getting Major and Minor Classes Approved:

Make an appointment with your department to see if they agree with your matching. It is your responsibility to come with potential courses and their descriptions. 

For most departments, you will be working with the chair and should reach out to make an appointment. BECA, Kinesiology, and DES (School of Design) and study abroad advisors in their department that you will need to work with for course approvals.

Getting Language Classes Approved:

It is only necessary to have language classes approved if you have a language major or minor. If you are taking them for personal or professional reasons, then they will come back and appear on your transcript filling units but not necessarily a degree requirement. You do not need to have them signed off. 

Getting GEs Approved:

See the Academics page for details about taking LD and UD GE classes abroad. 

Approval for GE classes comes once you are actually enrolling in the class abroad. For many programs, this will be after you arrive abroad while some of you will be doing this online beforehand at various times. Then, you will work with your College's Student Success Center advisor. Be sure to wait until you are actually enrolling. If you have questions beforehand, ask them during the Nomination Meeting. 

All students are required to purchase insurance for study abroad through SF State's Risk Management. Specific details will be provided at the SF State Abroad Pre-departure Orientation after selection.

This is a mandate from the CSU Chancellor's Office. This is required regardless of current coverage here or abroad. This is included in program budgets. 

  • For SF State Exchange Programs, please put together a budget,

  • For CSU IP programs, find your program on the CSU IP Website. After you click on your program, select the "program cost" tab to see IP's estimated cost for your program. 

To apply for a student visa, you must first be accepted into the program by both SF State Abroad and the partner university. Once you have been officially accepted by the partner university, they will give you an acceptance letter that you need to apply for the visa. 

You can research the process now on the country's embassy or consulate website. Many partner universities provide guidance on this with their acceptance letter. It is a good idea to note how much the visa will cost and what documents will be needed. It is not possible to apply for a student visa for more than 3 months prior to the start of the program. You will be given enough time, but not extra time. It is not possible to ask to obtain the visa early. 

The majority of student visas required that you give the embassy or consulate your passport for them to process your student visa. Therefore, you should not plan on arriving early or any other international travel within 3 months prior to the start of your program. 

This will be discussed at the Mandatory Nomination Meeting. Save your questions for this meeting. 

It can be difficult to imagine what you will need or want during an entire semester or year abroad and then squeeze it all into one or two suitcases.

Place everything you want to take with you in front of you. Then, put half of it away. Try putting what you have in a suitcase or two. Next, take your luggage with you outside and walk around the block. How heavy is it? Could you carry it up a flight of stairs? Also, you will want to buy gifts and new clothes abroad. How will you fit those items into your bags to bring everything home?

  • Check the weight limit for your airline so you do not have to pay extra for an oversized bag.
  • Many places may have cobblestone sidewalks and no elevators to help you with your luggage. 

Once you have returned from your walk around the block, try to take another half of your belongings out of your suitcase(s). 

Be sure to keep in your bag a good pair of walking shoes. For other suggestions, wait for the pre-departure orientation to hear from alumni and international students.

Try not to bring too many clothes with you, as most students prefer to buy them abroad to fit in better with locals. Many items (like toiletries) can be easily acquired abroad (though feminine products may not always be as easily obtained in every country). 

This will be discussed at the Pre-departure Orientation. Save your questions for breakout sessions of the orientation.