While Abroad


Congratulations! Your hard work and planning have paid off. You made it abroad! 

Making the most of your experience abroad

You accomplished your goal of making it abroad! Now be sure to make the most of your experience while you are there. Below are some things to consider:

Build Cultural Awareness:

  • Break out of your comfort zone with small, manageable steps such as:
    • relying less on your phone and instead asking a local for assistance
    • read a book with a protagonist from your host culture

Build Self Awareness:

  • Take the time to develop your personal identity
    • build skills of adaptability, communication, and ability to deal with ambiguity

Remember that a cultural adjustment period is normal! See our Preparing for your experience page for more information on cultural adjustment and seek out support through your program/host university as needed.

Intercultural Competence Development

One of the many benefits of studying abroad is developing your intercultural abilities, those skills, knowledge, and abilities which allow you to move between different culture groups and be successful in your interactions. This mindset is prized by employers and will benefit you in your future endeavors, both personal and professional.

Culture is an umbrella term, encompassing the social behavior and norms within a society. It can also be thought of as superficial culture and in-depth culture.  One of the ways to develop your intercultural competence is to move beyond cultural aspects such as food, hair, music, language, and clothing; and instead identify the history, traditions, behaviors, and values that make meaning of and are reflected in superficial cultural aspects.

To do this, examine your LENS to interpret day to day life in your host culture, removing your subjective values of the culture, and being objective in your interpretation of different and new things:

Look objectively

When you notice something that you do not understand in your host culture, eliminate judgmental words, and describe the encounter or event objectively. Often when we encounter something new and different, we are not viewing the encounter or event neutrally, but interpreting it through our expectations and judgments, which are often conditioned by your culture

Examine your assumptions

Be open-minded and curious, and look carefully at the assumptions you’ve made to see what values, habits, beliefs, and other cultural influences have led you to view the encounter or event as you did.

Note other possibilities

Be flexible and use your knowledge of the culture to envision what other values, habits, and beliefs might be at work here, and how they might lead to a different conclusion.

Substantiate with Locals

Use your intercultural communication skills, critical thinking skills, and people skills to ask locals or bicultural people if the new possibilities you’ve generated are accurate, or if there are other parts of the culture you’ve overlooked.


View our While Abroad Resources to ensure your continued success during your international experience

    • Alert Traveler

      Ensure that you downloaded and activated the AlertTraveler app before departing for your program. This app provides country intelligence, in-country emergency contact information, and travel alerts for countries throughout the world. We recommend opting into all alerts via email and “Warning” and “Critical” level alerts via the app. 

      AlertTraveler delivers up-to-date and in-depth information to help you navigate your experience abroad with confidence. The app provides real-time destination reports and alerts, in-country emergency contact information, and check-in features that students are encouraged to utilize while abroad. 

    • Using CISI Insurance

      A month prior to departure, students covered under Clemson's CISI plan (please review our Study Abroad Insurance page for more information on who utilizes this coverage) receive an email from CISI enrollments with the subject line "CISI materials". This email will include:
        - Outline of your coverage
        - Digital ID Card
        - Consulate Letter
        - Claim Form
        - Link to create a login on the CISI participant portal
        - L
      ink to the myCISI Traveler App

      In case of a minor injury or illness - Have your insurance information with you, in case the facility is able to bill CISI directly. It is very common for students to pay out of pocket for these smaller visits and utilize the CISI Claim Form to seek reimbursement.

      In the case of serious injury or illness - Seek help from the closest medical facility first, then open a case with AXA Assistance by emailing medassist-usa@axa-assistance.us. AXA is able to guarantee and make payments when necessary or requested

      Locating a medical provider or hospital in my location - To locate a CISI pre-paid approved provider you can do the following:
           1. Contact AXA Assistance by calling the numbers on your insurance card
           2. Log into your myCISI portal or myCISI Traveler App and click on "Provider Search", select country and city to see a list of pre-payment approved providers

      It is important to note that there is no "in-network" or "out-of-network" restrictions on your insurance coverage

      Review the myCISI Participant Portal Guide and the myCISI Traveler App guidelines to ensure that you know how to get the medical support you need in your location.

      For more information please review our Study Abroad Insurance page for more information, you are also welcome to email abroad@clemson.edu to seek guidance on your international medical insurance coverage.

    • Changing Coursework Abroad

      Some students may change their course enrollment while abroad based on availability, class schedules, etc. In the event that you enroll in a course not listed and pre-approved on your Coursework Approval Form you should seek departmental approval for this course and add it to your existing form. 

      You can access your current Coursework Approval Form in your Clemson study abroad application under Documents or download an additional form. Please see our Transferring Credit page to review this process if needed. 

    • Completing your Verification of Enrollment

      Students utilizing financial aid receive a Verification of Enrollment form the Financial Aid Office. This form should be completed by your host institution or program provider upon arrival once your course enrollment is official. Until this form is returned to the Clemson Financial Aid Office your financial aid cannot be dispersed. 

    • Registering for Clemson classes

      Students studying abroad during a semester will register for the next term of Clemson courses while abroad. Be sure to continue checking your Clemson email for information from your academic advisors on pre-registration advising for your registration PIN number.  Please note your registration time will be based on Eastern Standard Time, not your local time.

    • Checking your Clemson email

      It is important to check your Clemson email while abroad. You will continue to receive regular notifications about deadlines such as FAFSA, scholarships, housing, advising, etc. as you would normally receive on campus. As noted in the AlertTraveler section, you will also receive important AlertTraveler notifications via email as well.

    • Lost your passport

      Here’s what you should do if your passport is lost or stolen while traveling abroad:

      1. Report the loss or theft of your US passport online, by mail, or over the phone and complete Form DS-64.
      2. Locate the nearest US Embassy or Consulate and schedule an appointment to replace your lost or stolen passport. You must submit Form DS-11 in person.  
      3. If you had a visa in your passport, make sure to contact the local immigration office reporting the theft/loss so that you can either transfer the visa or obtain a new one.
    • Using your smartphone abroad

      Wireless companies around the world use different technologies and networks that may not be compatible with your US phone.

      • Check your phone’s manual or contact your wireless provider to determine if your phone will work at your destination.
      • Many wireless plans don’t include calls, texts, or data while traveling internationally. Check with your provider to ensure they offer international packages.
      • Find out if your phone is a GSM (quad-band) phone and whether or not it is locked. Ask your cell phone carrier to unlock your phone so you can remove your existing cell company’s SIM card, and replace it with one from a local company (convenience or cell phone store) in your destination. SIM cards enable you to make phone calls in the country you’re in, give you data so you can get online, and provide you with a local phone number.
      • If you can’t get your phone unlocked, consider purchasing an unlocked phone upon arrival on-site, or turn off cell data and use WIFI to access websites and apps.
      • Consider using smartphone apps like Skype, WhatsApp, or Signal to stay in touch. These apps let you talk and send texts for free or cheap to anybody around the world as long as you've got an internet connection.