Independent Travel

  • Documentation (passport, visa, student identification)
  • Travel (discounts, regulations)
  • Health Issues (health insurance, immunizations, check-ups)
  • Safety and Security (travel advisories, accident insurance, precautions)
  • Legal Issues (restrictions, laws)
  • Finances (banking, currency, credit cards)
  • Cultural Differences (culture shock, stereotypes, diversity)

Consult these recommended resources for information on the above topics: 

In addition to Education Abroad, other resources include:

Special Note on Student Travel to Cuba:

  • Students seeking to travel to Cuba for educational activities are required to carry letters on official university letterhead signed by a designated representative. OVPIA can provide such letters for those IU students who have appropriate support and permission for such travel.
  • For general information about obtaining permission for educational activities in Cuba, visit the website of the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the US Treasury Department and their guidelines for license applications.

Independent students who will take only online courses – whether through IU or another institution - while living abroad should:

  1. Check country-specific regulations regarding appropriate visa status for living abroad while not being enrolled in classroom or field-based courses
  2. Enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Travelers Enrollment Program (STEP) since the only resources available to them in country will be those available to U.S. citizens in general
  3. Verify what type of health insurance coverage is recommended, including medical evacuation and repatriation
  4. Check with Student Central regarding the impact of being off campus on residency status, financial aid portability, future registration plans, repayment of loans, time to graduation, etc.
  5. Discuss their plans with an academic advisor to determine whether this is the best course of action for meeting academic progress expectations
  6. Make arrangements ahead of time with IU’s Credit Transfer Service if any of the on-line enrollment involves credit from another institution and consult an advisor since external enrollment will impact degree progress, billing issues and financial aid
  7. Not expect to room with friends in study abroad programs since providers and institutions do not allow students to share their housing arrangements with independent travelers

Students who are unsure whether living abroad independently while enrolled in on-line classes is the best choice for them should consult an advisor at Education Abroad. For instructions on how to make an appointment, see: