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Tips from Gonzaga’s Director of Study Abroad, Richard Menard

In a few weeks, students will be traveling home for Christmas break.  Some students, a few weeks later, will board a plane and travel even further away to their new home for the semester in a foreign country. While the idea of living abroad for a semester can be exciting, daunting, and downright scary to some, it is actually manageable.  Here are a few travel tips: 


Make sure your student contacts the airlines to confirm how many bags they can take with them for free. 

Encourage them to pack light, as they will buy clothing, shoes, and other items to remember their time abroad. 

Once they pack, make them walk around the block with their suitcases to see how they handle.  Then ask them to repack.

Medication: make sure that if your student has prescription medication that they take enough for an entire semester and that they put it in their carry-on bag. 

Money and Banking: Make sure that your student calls the bank to alert them that they will be traveling abroad so they can use their ATM and credit cards. Don’t give them any American cash because if they have to exchange it, they will lose about 25% to fees for exchanging. The best place to get money is at the ATMs in the airports. 


Make sure that they have an international plan on their smart phone so that can contact you when they arrive. Make sure that it works for at least a week.

Here are some recommended apps for their smart phone and your smart phone for communication and other useful tools for getting around.




Your student has attended multiple pre-departure sessions with Gonzaga and hopefully you were able to attend the Parent and Family Pre-Departure orientation. We think you and your student will be prepared for their travel abroad. This is one of the greatest college adventures; however, we know there will be ups and downs. So, at the Study Abroad office and the Center for Global Engagement, we will be here to assist.

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