Found a program that interests you? It's time to plan to go abroad! Amidst all the excitement about studying abroad, it’s important to understand application expectations and prepare financially for your program. In this section, we’ll walk you through each step required to help prepare you for international travel and give you tips on what to research about your program’s location. 

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Application Process

Once you have selected your program of choice, the next step is to start an online application. On each program page in the GEO website, you will find an “Apply Now” button on the right-hand side of the screen on a desktop, and at the bottom of the page on mobile. This button will take you to the application login page for your specific program. Once you have started an application, you can login directly on the GEO Portal.


There are two login options. If you are a UO student, please use ‘UO Login’ and your Duck ID. If you are a partner university student and not enrolled at UO, please use ‘Non-UO Login’.

Application Materials 

The online application for GEO programs will require you to complete the following:

  • Application essay(s)
  • Questionnaires
  • Signature Documents: read and agree to all instructions, waivers, policies, etc.

Where is the submit button? There isn’t one! If all items are checked off, an alert will be triggered that your application is ready for review.

Application Review

Once you have completed all of the materials in the initial application, your application will be reviewed by GEO and will have the status “Under Review.” This process may take up to three weeks. Following the initial review:

  • UO Students: For competitive applications, students may be invited to an interview. Note: Most programs do not require this.
  • Non-UO Students: Students should consult a study abroad advisor on their home campus to ask about any additional application processes that may be required from their home institution

Admissions Decision

Once the application review has been completed, your application status will be moved to one of the following:

  • Acceptance Offered: Students on GEO programs who are offered acceptance will then need to confirm their participation by paying a deposit and advancing to “Acceptance Confirmed” status. This is true for UO students and most non-UO students. In some cases, students from partner universities are advanced directly from “Under Review” to “Acceptance Confirmed” once their home campus has approved their application. Consult with your GEO Advisor if you have any questions about this.   
  • Waitlist: Students may be offered a place on the waitlist in the event that enrollment in a GEO program has reached capacity. To secure your place on the waitlist, you will need to pay the program deposit. If you do not get off the waitlist, this will be refunded automatically. You may also request to be removed from the waitlist and have your deposit refunded at any time. If we are able to offer you a spot on the waitlist, you will be notified and will then be subject to regular GEO cancellation and withdrawal policies.
  • Nominated (UO students only): UO Students participating on exchange programs or third-party provider programs will be nominated by GEO. Final acceptance for these programs is determined by the host university (in the case of exchange programs) or by the third party provider program (CIEE, SIT, IE3, DIS).
  • Withdrawn/Denied: If GEO determines that your application does not meet requirements for the program, your application will be withdrawn and you will receive a letter from GEO explaining the status of your application.

Secondary Applications

UO Students

UO students participating in exchange programs or third party provider programs (CIEE, SIT, DIS, etc.) will need to complete a second application. Instructions for this process are included in the GEO online application. If you are participating in an exchange program, you are encouraged to work closely with your GEO advisor.

Non-UO Students

Non-UO students will likely need to complete an application and/or approval process on their home campus; please consult your local study abroad office for details on their process. Applications will not be moved from “Under Review” to “Acceptance Confirmed” without the approval of the home institution.

Pre-Departure Orientation

Once you have been accepted to a program, you will be invited by your GEO Advisor to attend a mandatory pre-departure orientation session. For UO students, this session will take place on the Eugene campus. For non-UO students, the session will be carried out online.

More content coming soon.

Cancellation and Deferral Policy

Students who cancel or defer their participation must notify both GEO and the program provider or the host institution in writing. Please email your GEO Advisor, as well as Verbal notification to GEO or notification given to a non-UO campus study abroad office, or a provider or host institution without notification to GEO is not sufficient.

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Academic Policies

Pass/No Pass Policy

UO Students

If you would like to change the grade option of a study abroad course from graded to P/NP, you must request permission from GEO. To make this request, email or your GEO advisor. Requests must be made before completing 70% of the course. While it is possible to change the grade option in most courses, some courses may have a locked grade option.    

For more information, see the UO Registrar’s website or the Office of Academic Advising’s website.

Non-UO Students

You should consult with study abroad advisors in your home campus to find out about policies pertaining to P/N grade options for study abroad courses.

Add/Drop Deadline

The course add/drop and withdrawal deadlines will be determined by the local institution/university in your host country. In some programs that have a set curriculum, it may not be possible to withdraw from individual courses.

Registration and “Placeholder” Credits

UO Students

GEO works with the UO Registrar to manage registration for your program. You do not need to register yourself for anything in DuckWeb related to your program. While you are abroad, you will be enrolled in a number of “placeholder” UO credits. These credits simply serve to keep you enrolled in the UO while abroad and thus able to receive financial aid. After you return, these placeholder credits will be replaced with the names of the actual classes that you completed abroad, along with the corresponding grade and number of credits. The number of placeholder credits for which you are registered does not necessarily reflect the final number of credits that you will earn on the program.


Please make sure that you have resolved any holds on your regular UO registration. For example, the UO Collections Department may have a hold on your account due to unpaid fees/tuition owed to the UO. If you have a hold on your account, GEO will not be able to register you for study abroad credits.

Non-UO Students

You should consult with study abroad advisors in your home campus to learn more about your registration status while you study abroad in a GEO program.  


You may not arrive late to, or leave early from, the academic program without approval from your local program staff. Approval will be granted only in highly exceptional circumstances beyond your control. While on site, you are expected to attend all classes and required academic activities, including required excursions and events. Personal travel that causes you to miss class is highly discouraged. In fact, such a decision could affect your grade in the missed class. Individual instructors may have specific attendance policies and sanctions for absences. Students who must miss academic activities due to illness or injury must inform the on-site director or faculty leader where applicable. Continued absences in violation of the GEO policies and behavior agreement may lead to disciplinary action, including dismissal from the program.

Course Approval Process

UO Students

You can review the courses already approved for your program in the UO Registrar’s Course Equivalency Database.

For NEW courses (that do not currently appear in the Registrar’s online database) send course syllabi to the relevant academic department at the UO to establish course equivalency. For instance, for a political science course, reach out to the UO Political Science department (undergraduate coordinator, faculty, departmental staff, etc) to learn who should be receiving the syllabus for evaluation. For this process, please follow the detailed instructions provided in the GEO Study Abroad Course Equivalency Form. Note that this step is primarily for programs that are exchange, direct enroll, or third-party programs. If you are participating in a GEO Center or faculty-led program, those courses are likely already approved.      

Non-UO Students

Talk to your campus study abroad advisor and/or Registrar’s Office about the courses you are completing with GEO and how they might count towards your major/degree.


You should not plan to graduate the same term/semester in which you plan to study abroad. The study abroad credit evaluation process can take several weeks/months, in particular when students take courses directly from a university/institution abroad. You should plan to graduate at least one term after the end of your study abroad program. For example, if your study abroad program finishes at the end of spring term, plan to graduate in summer or fall term.

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Financial Matters

Financial Aid Disbursement

Non-UO Students

Please consult with your university’s Financial Aid office about using your university scholarships and financial aid to pay for your study abroad program.

UO Students

The disbursement of Financial Aid funds occurs on the following schedule:

  • Fall: Oct. 1
  • Winter: Jan. 1
  • Spring: April 1
  • Summer: July 1

Most forms of financial aid can be applied toward the cost of study abroad. In order to receive your financial aid, you must also complete the Study Abroad Financial Aid Adjustment Form.

Following completion and submission, Financial Aid will send all students receiving aid an updated award statement to reflect program costs for the term you are studying abroad. After the statement is received, you may then see a Financial Aid counselor to discuss whether further revisions are possible.

For more information, please visit the Financial Aid for Study Abroad Page.


GEO posts budgets for all listed programs in our website. The GEO budgets include estimates for most common expenses. The range of expenses can vary depending on the time of overseas study, but may include:

  • Airfare
  • Meals
  • Cell Phone Expenses
  • Visa/Passport Expenses
  • Transportation
  • Miscellaneous daily expenses (hygiene products, souvenirs, etc.)

GEO budgets estimate student expenses while abroad, and may not reflect how individual student spending, particularly should students have restrictive dietary concerns.

To plan your budget, read through your program budget, as well as program page, to understand what will be provided on the program, as well as where your accommodations will be, and what they provide in terms of kitchen space.

Then, create a budget of your weekly expenses in the US, as well as their costs abroad, factoring in what will and won't be provided, as well as the exchange rate. For example, restaurants may cost more in many countries due to the cost of labor and facilities but may be necessary if your accommodations offer limited kitchen amenities.

Click to view an example of a budget and payment schedule:

Sample Study Abroad Budget


Before you go abroad, make sure to:

  • Make copies of important documents, cards, etc. that may get stolen or lost. You may consider leaving this information with someone you trust in the US, who may be able to assist you in the case of emergency.
  • Notify your bank of travel locations and dates, to ensure your bank account will not be frozen due to perceived suspicious charges.
  • Ask your bank if there are transaction fees or currency conversion fees when using your bank card at an ATM. Some banks charge a flat fee while others may charge a percentage of the amount being withdraw.
    • To reduce transaction fees, ask your bank if there are any affiliated banks or “sister banks” in the host country.
  • Visit your bank to make sure your card and PIN number can be used to withdraw money abroad. Be aware that when you use your ATM/Debit card abroad, local currency is withdrawn from your US account, and will apply an exchange rate.
    • There may be some quirks when you first try to use an ATM card, depending on your situation. Know your PIN number by the number itself and not alphabetically (if your PIN includes letters). You may find that other countries do not put the alphabet on their keypads
  • Consider bringing a credit card in case of emergency, such as for medical expenses that require payment up front.
  • Contact your local bank for instructions on how to send wire transfers, if you intended to establish a bank account abroad.

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Planning Your Travel

Learn About Your Location

Before you travel abroad, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with the country or countries in which you will be traveling by doing the following:

  • Review online resources: There are many students who document their studies abroad through videos on TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube, as well as posts on Reddit and WordPress. Go through these platforms for helpful tips! It may be useful to research American students who have studied abroad in your program location, as well as local students to contrast experiences.
  • Talk to people who have lived or studied there: Reach out to your GEO Advisor, who may be able to put you in touch with other UO students who have studied on your program, or in your program location!
  • Consult travel and language sites:
      • Travel websites will provide many tips for different kinds of travelers. Many have their own focus audience, be it relaxing, adventure, commerce, or budget-consciousness.
      • Language websites and apps may also offer great resources to test your current language or maintain fluency during gaps in studies.
  • Read local news sources: It’s always important to stay up-to-date on current events in your program location, as they may impact your studies.
  • Follow these safety tips:
    • Learn about the cultural and political environment of the country you will be visiting. Explore perceptions of Americans and people with diverse identities.
    • Research public transportation where you are going and its reliability.
    • Save all emergency phone numbers in your phone.
    • Be aware of cultural norms and how they may differ from those in the US.
    • Educate yourself about sexual harassment, violence, and gender dynamics where you are going.
    • Learn how to ask for help in the local language.

Value-Added Tax in Europe

VAT is Value-Added Tax, is a general consumption tax assessed on the value added to goods and services. It applies to all goods and services that are bought and sold for use or consumption in the European Union.

You can learn more about Value-Added Tax here:

What is VAT?

Travelers to the EU can sometimes waive VAT, depending on the cost and merchant. You can either get a VAT refund directly from the seller, or at large airports from the Customs office.

For instructions on how to get a VAT refund, please visit:

Guide to VAT refund

Get a Passport

Every student must have a valid passport before leaving the country to travel abroad. You will need a passport that is valid for at least six months after your program officially ends. If you do not yet have a passport, you should start the process immediately. Processing time can take up to sixteen weeks in the US for US citizens.

Students at UO can apply through a local post office, or at the EMU Passport Service Office. The Division of Global Engagement and the EMU Ticket Office have joined efforts to provide UO students, faculty, and staff with a UO Passport Center. No appointment necessary, just drop by. Photos available on site. All conveniences of the EMU while you wait. The UO Passport Center has all necessary forms and offers expedited service.

What all applicants should bring to the passport service office:

  • DS-11 form completed in black ink only (we only process DS-11 applications dated 2016 or newer)
  • Previously issued passport, certificate of naturalization, or original birth certificate
  • Government issued photo ID
  • Payment for passport book or card (personal or cashier’s check, or money order)
  • Payment for UO Ticket Office (credit card, cash, personal or cashier’s check)

Prepare for Customs and Immigration 

When entering any country, you will need to go through an immigration and customs check before you can exit the airport. Some countries have instituted e-gates, wherein the customs check is automated by machine, while others still rely entirely on officers.

You will need to provide:

  • Passport
  • Visa (if applicable)
  • Immigration/Customs forms (if applicable)
  • (Depending on country) Additional documentation

What to expect: The immigration officer is the person who reviews your documents and authorizes entry by stamping your passport. You may be asked:

  • Purpose of your visit
  • How long you plan to stay
  • Where you will be staying
  • Whether or not you will meet anyone
  • What you plan to do

After your passport has been stamped and you have collected your luggage, you must pass through a customs inspection. A customs officer may examine your baggage, to ensure that you properly declared all required items, and that no restricted or illegal items were brought in country.

You will also have to pass through Immigration and Customs when you return to the United States, which will follow the same process.

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