Preparing your Google Account to go abroad

Before you go to study abroad, it’s necessary to prepare your WFU Google account – with 2-Step Verification enabled – for use in a different country. The default “second step” is an SMS/text message, however in most situations your US phone number will not work while you are abroad. You will need to have additional steps set up prior to leaving the US. These steps will enable two alternate options for 2-Step Verification: the use of the Google Authenticator app and printing out Backup Codes.

Google Authenticator App

The Google Authenticator app is provided at no cost by Google in the Google Play and App Store. The use of this app does not require any type of data connection – whether it be a cellular or wireless network connection. This will be available to use as your second step as long as you have your device with you.

2-step verification within list

  • Scroll down and click SET UP under the Authenticator app.

SET UP under Authenticator app heading

  • Choose the type of phone you have- Android or iPhone and click NEXT.

Choose Android or iPhone

  • Now open the Authenticator app on your device.

Authenticator app icon

  • Click the + sign on the top-right of your screen.

iOS Authenticator app screenshot: + sign

  • Press Scan barcode.

iOS Authenticator app screenshot: scan barcode

  • Now point your device towards your screen and scan the barcode/QR code and click NEXT once your device reads the code.

set up barcode located on computer

  • Enter the code that is showing in the Authenticator app and click VERIFY. 

iOS Authenticator app screenshot: 2-step code

Enter code into field

  • Click DONE.


The Authenticator app is now set up and is your default method for Google 2-Step Verification. The verification code that appears in the app changes every 30 seconds.

Backup Codes

Ten backup codes can be printed/downloaded at any given time. These are good to print and keep in a separate location in the event your phone is lost or stops working.

  • From the same screen where you enabled the Authenticator app, scroll down and click SET UP under Backup codes.

SET UP under Backup Codes header

  • You will then be presented with the list of 10 backup codes. You can PRINT or DOWNLOAD the list for safe keeping.

backup codes print screen

Keep in mind that each of these can only be used one time. If you are actively using Backup Codes, make sure you generate more codes before you use your last one.

Change your password

To make sure you are not locked out of your accounts due to an expired password, it is best practice to change your password a week or so before you leave. This will allow a new password to be active for six months so you do not have to change it while you are abroad.

  • Go to and log in with your WFU username and current password.
  • Click Change your password and follow the steps.

Once a password change is submitted, it will take up to an hour for the new password to sync with all WFU systems.

Need Help?

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Last modified: March 20, 2018