door to the world

 Travel and Visas

Travel

  • You book your own flight (though some programs facilitate group travel.) Make sure to look at your program’s start and end dates; don’t plan on arriving late or leaving early!!

    • If you don’t have the cash to pay for this upfront, you can work with the SAO to get a “Bridge Loan” which is basically a 0% interest advance on your aid package. FMI talk with SAO. Other money questions like using a 529 plan, tuition insurance, and payment plans are answered by the Bursar’s OCS website.

  • Our Departing Resources page has links to several popular travel websites, including one specializing in student travel. We strongly recommend enrolling in STEP, however it is not required.*

  • Read up on your host country here.
  • If you are going to the UK (incl. Scotland and England) note: recently two Bowdoin students discovered you may not fly through Ireland (even a brief stop-over) because flights between the UK and Ireland are border-free, which means you do not go through British Border Control the way you need to as an international student visitor. Consider avoiding airlines with hubs in Dublin and Shannon (like Aer Lingus); stop-overs in any other location other than Ireland seem to be fine but check with your host program/university to be sure.*

  • Thinking about what to pack? Ask someone who went there recently! Check out our Where do our Students go? page for names of students who are in your host country now or were there last semester!

*For a list of travel agencies and for information about the STEP program please visit our Resources page.

Visas

Lots of countries want you to go through their immigration control pre-arrival to get approval (aka a visa) to study in their country. This process varies widely depending on your nationality and your host country. Your program/university (not OCS) is your point of contact for any visa questions. OCS can serve as “common sense” advisors, but it’s beyond our scope to know the visa process of every country, whereas your host institution will know exactly what you’ll need (and when and how) for your host country. If you’d like to have us be a second set of eyes on your paperwork or to use our scanner/fax you’re welcome to!

If your visa application requires a letter of enrollment confirming your status at Bowdoin, we are happy to provide such documentation on official letterhead, however we ask for at least a week's notice. If the program/university's visa advising is not sufficient, students may wish to utilize a visa processing service such as Travisa.