Students accepted into off-campus programs are required to attend all scheduled orientation sessions. Orientation provides practical information about the cultures and countries where you will study. It’s also a valuable opportunity to learn information that will keep you safe as you navigate new, potentially dangerous experiences like traffic and public transportation.
Passport: Apply for a passport right away if you do not already have one. Processing time can take up to eight weeks, so start today. If you need information on how to obtain a passport or how to renew one, you can find that information in the State Department’s website.
You will need a passport that is valid for at least six months after your program officially ends. Be sure to make a copy of your passport and leave it at home.
Students will need to purchase their own insurance. You might also want to purchase trip cancellation / interruption insurance. Click here for more information.
Check with the airline you are flying with for baggage size and number restrictions. The best advice about packing is to take only what you will need. No matter how much clothing you take, you will be tired of it after few weeks, so pack basic wardrobe items that can be mixed and matched, layered, and worn again and again. Casual clothes are appropriate for classes, but you will need at least one dressy outfit for special occasions.
Please do not take extremely valuable jewelry or watches with you when you travel. It is difficult to keep track of them while you are away, and you will have less to worry about if you leave them home.
Do not pack your passport or your plane ticket in a bag that you intend to check.
The best way to manage your money is to use your account at home. Your ATM card should work in most banks abroad and you will be able to access your U.S account and withdraw the local currency. If you don’t wish to take a lot of traveler’s checks, you can arrange for your family to deposit money to your U.S. account on an agreed-upon basis. Keep in mind that traveler’s checks will be useful during the break and after the term when you may be out of reach of ATMs. Your bank will assess a fee for every ATM withdrawal, usually $3 or more per transaction. Certain banks will reimburse these ATM fees or international charges.
Another easy way to obtain money while abroad is to use a major credit card such as Visa or MasterCard. You can get cash advances on one of these cards in an emergency, and your family can pay into the account to take care of the money you have withdrawn. This enables you to make use of the worldwide communication network of these major credit cards and saves you the expense of sending money by wire transfer.
You should take a small amount of local currency ($25 – $50 can be withdrawn at banks or the airport) until you can either withdraw money abroad from an ATM or establish your own bank account and cash your traveler’s checks.
It is important to have a comparative perspective of the United States and the world. The United States is known around the world as a comparatively dangerous country.
Our street crime statistics back up this view. No country has as many guns or gun-related injuries and deaths. The abuse of drugs and alcohol in the U.S. is among the highest in the world.
Yet, the perception is often that life at home is safer than life “over there.” U.S media coverage of events overseas often focuses on political upheavals, violent strife and natural disasters and overlooks the positive social developments and cultural advancements. Students who study abroad often comment how “normal” life seems abroad, in spite of cultural differences. This discovery comes when you can look past the stereotypes and misperceptions and see people and cultures with your own eyes.