3-5: Binder

by Jon SenderBack to Guide

It’s crucial to have all of your important documents in one place, and I think the easiest place happens to be a binder, to be kept in your backpack when you fly. You’ll thank yourself when you need quick access to something and you know where to find it. Take a standard 1-inch binder, get some dividers, and section it off. Organize and print out the following items as you obtain them, and keep them in their respective sections:

  1. Planning Materials – contact info of the university abroad, goal sheet, pre-departure notes, any relevant planning info you’ve been sent, packing advice
  2. Important Documents – emergency contact card, boarding passes, itinerary, original acceptance letter, latest tuition invoice, copy of passport, copy of visa, copy of ID cards, list of credit card hotlines
  3. Lists – packing list, SIM card information, list of toiletries and room supplies to buy upon arrival, any how-to guides you like
  4. Academics – orientation schedule if you have it, program guidelines, course approvals, tentative course list, scholarship information
  5. Contacts – list of contacts, contact info of person picking you up, info on any professionals you have networked with, résumé copies
  6. Insurance – copies of insurances policies (US and international), copies of drug information for prescription drugs, copies of glasses and contacts prescriptions (these you can get from your eye doctor)

In the binder, also keep a few extra passport photos, which come in handy if you randomly decide later on to visit a place China and start a new visa app from abroad.

I recommend copying an extra set of the “important documents” to leave with your parents, and also uploading a set to a password-protected Google Drive or DropBox.

End of Part 3, tasks to complete in the weeks before your trip

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