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Study Abroad 301: Pre-Departure
Transcript of Study Abroad 301: Pre-Departure
1) Course Planning Sheets
Drugs & Alcohol
Health, Safety &
2) Registration at Tech
3) Final grades
4) Your bill & Financial Aid
If you change any courses upon arrival abroad, let IPS and your advisor know
Make sure you complete this form
You will see a placeholder in Banweb:
_____# IEX (International Exchange) credits
For spring or fall: 15 IEX
For summer: 6 IEX per track
Actual number of credits being taken will not be reflected until
we receive your transcript
you must stay full-time
=12 credits/ semester, varies in the summer
You will receive an "
" for "
" or "
" for "
Grades earned abroad are
not included in your overall GPA
*Faculty-led students will receive a letter grade, and will effect GPA.
You must get a U.S. "
" or better to pass
Grades are converted to the U.S. scale
Any classes not listed on your course planning sheet must be evaluated by your advisor
Your summer bill is due May 4th
Your fall bill is due August 24th
Please consult Financial Aid for questions about aid, scholarships, and financing your study abroad
Financial Aid Advisor
Study Abroad Specialist
Tips & Tricks to Life Abroad
Host Country Culture
Talk to others, read blogs, visit libraries, watch videos, etc.
Things to think about:
Where/if you can attend religious services
What to wear
How receptive the culture is to discussing religion
Make note of religious holidays
What is the host country's attitude towards/knowledge of Americans?
...towards people of different ethnic backgrounds?
...towards citizens of surrounding countries?
What is the government like?
How do people greet each other?
Is tipping common? How much?
What about taking pictures?
What time do people eat dinner?
In Australia, "
" are common
Your entire grade may depend on one or two exams.
It is completely normal to feel...
...even all at the same time!
It helps to realize that you intend to change your life for the better and remember your goals
Try to stay focused on the
Pre-departure research is one of the most important steps to take:
What and how much discussion is appropriate?
Consider business/professional etiquette
Role of family
Food and dining etiquette
Conservation of natural resources
Any other tips from study abroad alums?
The role of your professors may be very different, and there may be greater focus on independent learning
Both grading systems and study habits may be very different in your host country
Even English-speaking countries have different idioms and vocab.
Prepare to find a difference in what you have learned here versus actual spoken language abroad.
It will get better!
Hand signals and gestures go a long way.
Shea St Cyr
Research local currency conversion
Create a budget and financial plan
Consider completing a Power of Attorney
Ask your bank and credit card companies about international ATM and usage fees
Let your bank and credit card companies know the exact dates that you will be abroad and which countries you will visit
Make copies of all cards front and back - one set for you and another set for a trusted family member or friend
do not touch it unless in case of emergency
To-Do Before You Leave
To-Do While Abroad
Devise a safe plan to keep your money and copies of cards - make sure they are accessible
Take out small amounts from the ATM -
stay out of the public eye
Always carry some cash as cards are not widely accepted abroad
Be aware that cards may not work abroad
Determine what makes more sense for you:
Keep your American bank account to use abroad
(International ATM fees add up)
Open a local bank account to use abroad
(Residency requirements may apply)
Costa Rica 2013
1) Contact your health insurance provider:
inform of upcoming travel
inquire about coverage abroad
permission to cover advance supply of medication
2) Plan for medical needs abroad:
request any necessary prescriptions well in advance
request doctor's notes for all medication, translated
availability of other needs such as chiropractic and counseling services
administration of medication (epi pen)
Apply for an ISIC card with IPS
Let others know of allergies and pre-existing health conditions you may have
Immunizations & Exams
Make sure you research all required immunizations and medical exams
Sometimes you need these for dormitory staff abroad or your visa
South Korea - students cannot live in dorms without proof of a negative tuberculosis exam
Adapters & Converters
Consider the following:
local climate and season
special activities, such as sports, hobbies, etc.
master the roll technique!
Do people dress more conservatively?
What is acceptable for a man or for a woman?
Gift giving can be a very important aspect of culture abroad
, especially in Latin America and Asia.
Gifts do not have to be large or expensive
, just a token of friendship. Some great gift ideas are:
Collectibles, such as magnets or spoons
A coffee mug from your hometown or state
American candy or sweets
A book, puzzle, or game
Personal experience: best gifts we have ever seen given
Your family and friends back home will want to know when you have arrived and hear about your time abroad...here are some options:
Check into a local cellphone
Call your current provider and ask about service abroad
-- AT&T has a study abroad package
-- International texting packages can be cheap
Consider buying a local SIM card at
Skype (invented in Estonia)
calls as cheap as a few cents per minute
similar to Skype, use your MTU ISO
Melt (iTunes app - "Twitter for voice")
WhatsApp, Viber, WeChat, and Tango
primarily for messaging and sending media
Kakaotalk for South Korea
before you go!
Expert tip: Create a communication plan before you go
I will call/text/send an email within 3 days of arrival
Register with the US Department of State
Refer to Safety and Emergency Procedures:
Share with your parents and loved ones
Register with the U.S. Embassy in your host country
Make a sheet of important numbers to
carry with you at ALL times -- including Michigan Tech's Public Safety
-- and email it to yourself
Make pick up arrangements and research the cost of transportation (normal rate for a taxi ride from the airport to your hostel, etc.)
One week before you go...
Prepare all travel documents in an easy-to-reach folder, include:
passport and visa (if applicable)
proof of finances (bank statement)
local address --
phone number of local contact
flight itinerary (include return flight)
Download helpful travel apps, such as Gate Guru or apps through your airline
Download e-books and music for the trip
Check-in online for flights and check delays
New Zealand 2014
Remember that you signed the Illegal Drug Use Form as a part of your Study Abroad Application.
Drug use during your time abroad is
The drinking age in some countries starts as early as 16. Please drink only in moderation, or not at all.
While abroad you are subjected to the laws of your host country. Neither Michigan Tech or the American legal system can assist you if you have legal trouble.
Few foreign countries provide trial by jury, and
consequences can be severe
EXAMPLE: Sentences for possession or trafficking of drugs range to 25 years or more and possibly heavy fines. In some countries like Egypt, Turkey, Malaysia and Thailand -- conviction may lead to life imprisonment or even the death penalty.
Know the laws...
if you need an international license
regarding sex and consent
There have been many highly publicized
cases of study abroad students in legal
trouble abroad. Think before you act!
Know the host culture’s attitude towards the sexual consent and interacting with the opposite sex:
What is appropriate interaction
What is acceptable/tolerated
How people respond to it
An important part of adjusting to life abroad is maintaining good overall well-being. If you do not feel well:
1) Let someone know how you are feeling immediately
2) Make sure host university has list of your medication allergies, food allergies and other pre-existing medical conditions you may have
3) Contact the resident director, main contact within the international office, or mentor to help you find a hospital nearby
4) Check in with your family to let them know
Also called time zone change syndrome
Can affect anyone who quickly travels across multiple time zones
Caused by a disruption to your body's circadian rhythms — which tell your body when it's time to be awake and when it's time to sleep
Usually takes about one day to adjust for each time zone traveled
Culture shock can be an extreme emotional and physical roller coaster. Prepare yourself to ride it out.
It's okay to feel...
Before you leave
The first few weeks
Before you come home
like a local
Hola Better Internet
free Google Chrome extension that allows you to
access websites blocked or censored abroad, such as Hulu, Netflix, Spotify, and others
2) Get a VPN
going to China
low cost options include ExpressVPN, IPVANISH, vyprvp, bolehvpn, and more.
Healix Travel Vaccinations app
3) Keep a blog, vlog, or travel journal
great way to record your experience AND prevents you from retelling every adventure 10+ times
SitORSquat: Restroom Finder
Free app -- just point the app at text and watch Word Lens instantly transform it into English
Enter each expenses on the fly and keep track of who paid and how much -- you can also define several currencies and their exchange rates
Live rates and charts from every world currency, even stores the last updated rates so it works without Internet
Database currently has over 100,000 bathrooms, interactive, location-based map
A flashcard app with text to speech audio in 18 languages, spelling tests (listen to audio and use keyboard to answer), and the ability to include pictures and sounds -- over 4 million cards in the database
Using Wi-Fi instead of 3G is often your best option abroad. With Wi-Fi Finder, quickly and easily find free or paid Wi-Fi in over 650,000 locations in 144 countries worldwide
Whatever you do...pack lightly!
What is the difference between an adapter and a converter?
Make sure to find the right adapter and converter/transformer
you leave the U.S., as they can be cheaper here than abroad.
Using a device without a converter can short the fuse or kill the battery -- a very expensive and often unfixable problem!
Brands of medication, contact lenses, deodorant, extra pair of glasses, toiletries that you can’t live without
Pack all medication in their original containers and in ziplock bags. Include doctor's notes and translations.
Laptop + Adapter or Converter, plus chargers
Photos, maps, U.S. magazines and books to show off your host culture. If you will be around children, you may consider a small U.S. board game and/or language learning game
Comfort food items, such as peanut butter or macaroni and cheese
Important Tips from Tech study abroad alumni:
1) bring contact lens solution -- often difficult to find and/or expensive abroad
2) ladies -- tampons are not widely available abroad, so bring those if you want them
3) Latin America, Asia, and Africa -- carry tissues/wet wipes with you AT ALL TIMES
4) remember your holy trinity abroad: Immodium, Dramamine, and aspirin.
Study resources may not be as widely available,
but contact your provider or IPS if you are
struggling while abroad
Semester at Sea 2015
4) Check out
such as Eurail passes (25 years and younger)
5) Plan trips in advance, but be flexible for last-minute deals
Tech students speak out on the good, the bad, and the...
What do you consider the low point of the program?
Having to say goodbye to everyone and leave at the end.
The low points were missing my family, friends, and the food from back home. I missed American food so much.
Adjusting to a new place with new people and a new way of living all at once.
Balancing academics and cultural immersion.
Dining hall food was not the best, not as many options as the US.
Getting sick with traveler's diarrhea.
Worrying about the final exam and trying to study for it when there are so many fun things you want to do.
What do you wish you had known before you studied abroad?
It is not as cheap as some other Central American countries. Prices are comparable to the U.S.
I wish I would have saved more money ahead of time.
How expensive London would be.
How stressful it was going to be. It is a huge adjustment when you first get there. And it doesn't meet all of your expectations but it's still worth it and tons of fun.
You don't need to bring very much.... Leave room in your suitcase to bring home souvenirs!
How much drinking out costs!
Get a passport card. It's way easier and safer than taking your passport everywhere, and it's a much more widely accepted form of ID.
How to read subway maps.
That I needed more spending money.
Overall, how would you describe what you gained abroad?
I think I became more open and comfortable in new situations and talking to people.
I gained so much more abroad than I could have ever gained from Michigan Tech...I learned way more being able to perform research projects in the rainforest and ocean than I could have in a lab here at Tech.
I gained a different perspective on life.
I explored an entirely foreign culture, became more independent by getting myself through difficult situations without my default resources - including language - to fall back on, saw so much beautiful, world-renowned art, and expanded my pallet by gorging myself on tapas.
I believe study abroad should be a requirement to receive a degree at Michigan Tech. What I have learned about people and the world through experience will serve me leaps and bounds more than anything I could learn in a classroom.
I have gained more abroad then I ever could have at Tech. I feel like a new person!
It is really not comparable...mixing things up and expanding your learning experience is priceless.
Be at the airport at least
before your flight departs.
NOTE: Even if you will be departing the US from another US city.
Houghton to Chicago to London
Make sure bags are checked all the way through your final destination (check the tags)
Know bag and weight limits -- and their metric limits
Pop quiz! Anyone know the standard weight limit in kilos?
Wear socks, put toiletries under 3.6 fluid ounces in zipped bags, and do not wear belts or other metal clothing/accessories
Always bring a pen! (Or several)
Note the time zone you are in (Eastern to Central, Central to Mountain, etc)
Check monitors AND apps regularly for change in flight times, gates, or terminals
Don’t eat, shop, or rest
until you have reached your gate
Sometimes you may have to take a train or bus to reach the international terminal. This can take anywhere from 5 minutes to 20 minutes
Sometimes you must
exit the airport and re-enter
Don't forget to set up a frequent flier program!
The night before you go...
Transiting through another country
If you have to fly through another country to get to your final destination, ask the flight attendant for instructions.
have to go through customs.
to go through customs.
Sometimes…you will need to pay an airport tax or transit tax.
During your flight, you may receive an arrival or customs card. This card will be handed to customs when you land. You may need to know:
Your Passport #
Your Flight #
Your local address
Your estimated length of stay
Have a pen handy!
You have reached your host country. Most likely, you will be flying into the largest city or the nearest largest city. This called the
port of entry.
You will need to go through customs.
Be prepared to show:
Proof of admission
Proof of finances
Proof of insurance
Going through customs
Even if you have one more flight to go to reach your final destination, you may still be required to pick up your luggage at the port of entry and re-check it.
Your bags might be inspected.
Large amounts of cash
Plants or animals
Weapons or anything that looks like weapons
Disturbed sleep — such as insomnia, early waking, or excessive sleepiness
Difficulty concentrating or functioning
Stomach problems, constipation, or diarrhea
A general feeling of not being well
Menstrual symptoms in women who travel often
Some airlines require that you show your passport and visa to staff
...even an hour before the flight departs
When you check-in you should have your boarding passes for all legs of your journey. If not, talk with the customer service agent right away.
Houghton > Chicago > Tokyo
Make sure you know the time of your arrival
in local time
Find your designated meeting spot, or ask for help
If taking local transportation, know the kinds of dangers specific to your host country -- or ask an airport employee
Crash course in international airports and travel
length: 15 minutes
Smart traveler items...
1) Money belt/pouch
4) Internal pocket clothing
What would you do?
Carry a list of all emergency contacts' names, phone numbers, and email addresses
Keep a physical list and virtual list
Keep copies of your health insurance cards with you at all times
Ensure that a trusted person has your passwords to your laptop, tablet, cellphone, email, social media, and bank accounts (you can always change them later)
What's in your folder?
Confirmation of full-time enrollment
Power of Attorney
Case studies activity
Health tip for long flights:
Try exercises or yoga to prevent blood clots
fbi Special agent, Matt Hellman
"911" doesn't work abroad the same as it does in the U.S.
You want to refer to your host country's emergency 911 list
Culture Shock During Study Abroad
Rachel Stern, Chile 2016
Janelle and Kaila
Australia Spring 2016
China Spring 2016
Around the world
activity: What will you miss the most?