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Know Before You Go

Our online and in-person orientations and consultations help prepare students, faculty, and staff for a safe trip, and also provide resources for your security and well-being while abroad.

Harvard GSS Online Orientation

online pre-departure orientation

The Harvard GSS online pre-departure orientation helps you think through key considerations, requirements, and resources before, during, and after your trip. Although it’s intended for students, the orientation is available to all Harvard affiliates.

This orientation is required for all Harvard College students traveling abroad with Harvard sponsorship and for all Harvard Summer School study abroad program students. Certain graduate Schools also require their students to watch the orientation.

Viewing Tips

  • Plan 45-60 minutes to watch in one sitting or across multiple sessions.
  • Turn on your speakers and/or use the closed captioning.
  • Follow along with the Student Travel Checklist.

Preparing for Challenging and Remote Environments

Travel to challenging and remote environments requires extensive research, planning, and preparation. Our 5-minute videos and resources for remote road travel, natural disasters, and conflict zones help you start the process.

Watch the videos.

International SOS Online Trainings

Through our International SOS membership, you can watch additional, optional online orientations. Topics include:

  • student health and well-being
  • student safety and security
  • security as a female
  • malaria and health
  • advanced security for high-risk destinations
  • cyber and information security for travelers

Log in to the International SOS Training Hub to view any of these topics. The first time you login, you'll need to create an account with your Harvard email address.

Group Orientations

Your program may require you to attend an in-person orientation specific to your destination, particularly for elevated-risk or high-risk locations. Consult with your program or funding source to ensure you fulfill the requirements applicable to your travel.

Our International Safety & Security team can also design and deliver a pre-departure orientation specific to the needs of your program or activity. Contact us at +1-617-495-1111 or

For undergraduate students, the Office of International Education (OIE) maintains a calendar of in-person, regional, or program-specific orientations, information sessions, and panels. Graduate students, check with your department or program lead.

Individual Consultations

Prior to travel, our International Safety & Security team can provide an in-person or phone consultation to help you prepare for your Harvard-related trip and feel more confident about your international travel and activities.

Consultations are required for some undergraduate students traveling to elevated-risk destinations and graduate students traveling to high-risk destinations, but all Harvard affiliates are welcome to schedule a consultation ahead of Harvard-related travel. Contact us at +1-617-495-1111 or

The consultation is an opportunity to review your travel plans—including your communication, transportation, and lodging plans—as well as your research topic or activity as it relates to the culture that you'll be navigating within. We'll discuss your goals and concerns, address potential risks and means to mitigate them, and provide recommendations for additional resources.