I'm currently trying to understand the DS-2019 form that I need to fill for a J1 visa.
One thing I don't understand is this:
What is a "travel validation"? What does it (in this context) mean to be "in good standing"?
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Travel validation, in this case is basically referring to that very sheet of paper, which will validate your travel.
This form is being used to validate whether or not the person in question (you?) is able to travel as an exchange student.
The "good standing" portion is going to be subjective and up to the educational institution to decide what that means. Typically someone is in "good standing" who has made passing or decent grades, paid all their fines, not been in trouble etc. They're trying to ensure the exchange student isn't a mess.