Preparing the Next Generation
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Handling Your Personal Business Before You go Abroad

Posted on November 29, 2019

While you’re studying abroad, the world as you know it will change. Nevertheless, daily life back home will continue, and you’ll still have personal business there. Take care of as much as possible before you leave—you will feel less stressed when you arrive in your host country.


Designate a family member or trusted friend as your Power of Attorney. Your Power of Attorney is your representative who can handle legal and financial matters on you behalf. Visit Nolo for more information on Power of Attorney.

  • Take care of your financial obligations prior to leaving. If available, opt to receive all financial statements online; it’s easier to manage your accounts this way.

  • Ask the post office to forward your mail to your family’s home or a trusted friend. Visit USPS to learn how to forward your mail.

Consult the Federal Voting Assistance Program website and your local election officials to find out what steps you need to take to vote absentee.

  • Most embassies have personnel who specialize in absentee voting for U.S. citizens.

Once You’re Abroad

Some personal business cannot be settled before you leave. Taxes come to mind. If you are abroad during the spring semester/quarter, you will be abroad on tax day, April 15th. You have a couple options for filing your taxes:

  • Ask your Power of Attorney to file your taxes for you. You must send a power of attorney form to the IRS.

  • File for an extension. You must file your extension before the April 15th deadline. Visit the IRS website to learn more about filing an extension and general information about filing your taxes while you’re abroad.

Note: Consult the IRS or a tax professional for more advice on filing taxes while abroad.

Preparing for the Next Term

Depending on when and how long you’ll be abroad, you may need to sign up for classes while you’re away. For instance, if you usually register for classes online, you’ll want to make sure that you will have access to the Internet during your trip. If you think it will be a problem to sign up for classes while you are gone, or if you aren’t sure what classes you should sign up for, talk with your academic advisor before you leave. In addition, take care of any other necessary arrangements for your next term, such as housing.

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