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GW England: Pre-departure orientation FA13/AY13-14
Transcript of GW England: Pre-departure orientation FA13/AY13-14
Goals & Objectives:
What's up with PDO?
Logistics: Getting there
Goal: Prepare students to successfully immerse into their host culture and reintegrate back to GW.
Fall 2013 / Academic Year 13-14
Expectations: What will happen abroad?
What can happen abroad?
In small groups, come up with tips on how to avoid/respond to the scenarios assigned to you:
Health & Safety
Returning to GW & Next steps
Who does what?
What to pack
6 months or shorter
No work, interning, or volunteering
Receive at airport upon arrival
Tier 4 Student Visa
Must apply if AY student or want to work, intern, or volunteer
Takes 4-6 weeks – cannot apply until 3 months prior
Must report to biometrics center
Will need a CAS number
For more information on student visitor or tier 4 UK visas visit the UK Border Agency website: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/visas-immigration/studying/
Tier 4 visa video
Remember: It is your responsibility to get your visa. Check your PDO packet for a list of the necessary requirements and paperwork!
UK Border Agency
GW's Office for Study Abroad DC
Chrissy & Sarah
University-specific questions (housing, courses, arrival, departure) – check their website first!
Concerns before going and while abroad, clearinghouse (can direct you to who you should get in touch with), and study abroad processes
GW's England Study Program
Geeta & Laurie
Specific questions about immigration and visas
Issues on the ground, pastoral care, academic concerns, safety/security, and can serve as a clearinghouse (can direct you to who you should get in touch with) while abroad
Chrissy Hyde, Executive Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sarah DeNapoli, Program Assistant, email@example.com
Office hours - no appointment required - Monday - Wednesday 2pm - 4pm
Open over the summer!
GW England on-site orientation + Scheduled events, which may include:
Trip to Bath
High tea @ The National Portrait Gallery
GW England on-site orientation
October 4-5, 2013
RSVP through your GW Study Abroad application:
St. Anne's College, Oxford:
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org (logistics) or Dr. Anne Mullen (academics)
Pembroke College, Oxford
Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies
Contact: email@example.com (Fiona Kilby)
King's College London
University of Sussex
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org (Elisabeth Akerblom)
School for Oriental & African Studies
Contact: email@example.com (Sophie MacLeod)
University College London
University of Leeds
London School of Economics
What to bring?
What not to bring?
Avoid going through Ireland
Plan on how to travel to your accommodation
Your arrival date in the UK is the day after the day you leave in the U.S.
Have the contact numbers of your university with you
Contact your family ASAP after arriving
Finances & Money
The UK Explained
Which four countries make up the UK?
Cost to Study Abroad
Fixed Tuition Rate
Tier fee to GW
food & entertainment
housing (see below)
*Tier 2 & 3 = Includes housing (King’s, Sussex, St. Anne’s, Pembroke, LSE, CMRS & RHUL)
*Tier 6 = You pay housing directly (Leeds, UCL & SOAS)
Host university-specific - see handout
Other (Butex, etc)
Most ATM & credit cards work abroad
Special banking relationships
Tell your bank & credit card companies you are going overseas!
Walk around the room and write your expectations under each topic
Accepted to the university based on academic merit and take introductory courses in any department with no prior background
Complete several electives and general graduation requirements in a wide variety of disciplines
Expect 24/7 access to libraries and computer facilities with support from staff
Utilize office hours for one-on-one attention and instruction from faculty
Given specific texts and detailed syllabi that outline expectations
Attend classes and participate…because these things usually count toward the final grade
Tested regularly and earn grade based on many variables over the course of the semester
Accepted to a particular course of study (major) at a university
Few elective course options and no general university requirements
Do not have 24/7 access to campus facilities or staff
Office hours are not always mandated for faculty members and UK students don’t tend to seek out individual help
Receive reading lists and choose resources based on interest
Attend classes, but don’t “participate”
Students are tested bi- or annually and earn their grade based heavily on one end-of-year exam
Remember: US students can (and do) earn “F”s in the UK.
Tips to be successful in the UK classroom:
1. Choose the right level classes!
- assumes you have little to no knowledge of the subject
- assumes you have at least the equivalent of four - six semesters in the subject
(similar to a grad-level class) - assumes you have eight semesters in the subject
2. Participation/attendance don’t count, but do matter
3. Effort isn’t graded – writing and independent research is. You will be in class less time, but are expected to be studying outside of class. Stay on top of your readings!
Reframe your expectations:
Look at your term in the UK as a way to prepare for graduate/law/medical school & the world of work
How to deal with culture shock?
Reactions to culture shock
Most of you will be staying in university dorms, which are usually single rooms with a shared bathroom and kitchen. Please remember:
You MUST apply for housing by the deadline!! When you are offered a place, you must confirm it quickly.
Will have a commute to class like the UK student (sometimes up to 40 minutes)
The U.S. & England: Two countries separated by a common language!
Language (word usage, slang, grammar, spelling)
Indirect, formal, and polite - similar? different from your experience in the U.S.?
Customer service viewed differently; humor dry and sarcastic - similar? different from your experience in the U.S.?
Remember why you are going abroad - to immerse in a new culture!
Don't just be a tourist! If you travel every weekend, you won't build "community."
Understand British (and American) politics - it will come up in conversation!
Be sure to expand your social circle to include English and other international students:
Join local clubs, societies and/or the student union to meet other students
Cook dinners with your flatmates
Be aware of your body language and use of technology. Are you approachable?
Culture shock is
"the loss of emotional equilibrium that a person suffers when he moves from a familiar environment where he has learned to function easily and successfully to one where he has not."
So, remember studying abroad is not supposed to be easy! If you are doing it "right" your assumptions, norms, and expectations will be challenged. And that is
Can range from mild uneasiness, homesickness, and unhappiness to panic, severe irritability, and loss of perspective.
The disorientation can produce feelings of isolation.
It is important to remember that symptoms and reactions vary from one individual to another!
What makes up your identity?
What "pieces" of your identity are most important to you?
How are these pieces of your identity perceived in England? Other countries?
How will it make you feel to have your identity challenged?
Be prepared to have the nationality, ethnicity, and political components of your identity challenged
Find a friend that is part of the local culture - He/she can help add perspective to your experience. Be sure to utilize the GW England on-site staff!
Talk to family/friends that understands your culture too - lean on family/friends if you need to vent. Please be careful not to start making "judgements" about the local culture though! This is unproductive.
Find something you like about the culture each day
Carve out some alone time to reflect - journal, go for a walk, listen to music
Do your research - become familiar with the issues/culture of the country - read the local papers, watch the news, etc.
If you are still having trouble, let us know! We can direct you to additional resources/services. For example, your host university's counseling center
Stolen phone or laptop
Protest/riot near dorm
Lost or stolen passport/wallet
Accident while traveling outside of England
Who do you call in an emergency?
Emergency number in England is 999 or 112
You are hospitalized in a foreign country while traveling and you don't speak the language.
You get sick and need to go to the doctor.
You need to know what immunizations to get before you leave/while traveling.
You are injured while intoxicated.
You are traveling throughout Europe after the program ends and break your arm.
You get food poisoning and need to go to the emergency room.
You are in Italy for a long weekend during the semester and twist your ankle.
short-term, reimbursable health insurance
GWU enrolls you automatically.
Nothing for you to do.
Travel assistance program (emergency evacuation and repatriation insurance)
You have to enroll yourself.
You can find the link to enroll & directions on your GWU study abroad application.
Find out the generic name of your prescription at
(it will likely be called something different abroad)
Please note that some medications that are legal in the United States are may be considered “controlled substances” in the UK. Research your medications and know how much you are permitted to bring into the UK.
Do not send medication through the mail.
Be sure to care your prescription in its original packaging (with your name on it) as well as copy of your prescription. If you are carrying a 6-month supply, have a note from your doctor with you stating this!
If you need medicine while abroad, you can go to Boots (equivalent CVS) and ask the staff at the counter to help.
Be sure you know (or can can access to) all the ingredients in your medication. No doctor in the UK will administer medication without this information.
Please consider coming to talk to us before you leave if you:
Need extra accommodations abroad due to a medical issue or special need
If you have any other questions/concerns or wish to discuss anything privately, come talk to us!
Keep in touch!
We want to hear how you are "getting on"
Join the Fall 2013 Facebook group!
Send us videos of your experience abroad!
You are in the driver's seat!
What we need to transfer your credit:
(signed off by your academic advisor/department head
(will be mailed directly to our office)
You can work on getting course approvals…
(if you have the course descriptions and know what classes you are taking)
via email (once you have your syllabi and have registered for your courses)
When you get back
(bring back your coursework and syllabi)
*Look at automatic approvals (available in the “learning resources” section of your application after PDO)!*
Remember: Getting the course approval form filled out is your responsibility.
It takes 2-3 weeks for your credit to transfer once you have turned in your completed course approval form and we have your official transcript. Do not wait until you need to register for classes to turn everything in.
Need more information on credit transfer? Try these resources:
Office for Study Abroad (OSA) Credit Transfer Page:
OSA Pre-departure Handbook (pages 7 & 8)
Look at you host university one-pager (in your PDO packet) for how many GW credits each class is worth abroad.
Still have questions? Contact us!
GW England-specific + OSA PDO guides – Read these!
Important host university-specific information
Summit America & International SOS information/cards
UK Visa information
List of forms to submit before going abroad
GW finance support letter
GW Office for Study Abroad
Clear all GW holds
Drop all GW fall 2013 courses & GW housing (
If you are conditionally approved do not drop courses or cancel housing until you have met your condition!
Complete & summit online forms
As soon as you are official accepted, Withdraw all other program applications
Click COMMIT button online by
Bring copy of passport to OSA (if you haven't already)
Apply for OSA-specific scholarships by
Check your host university email regularly!
Complete & submit all required forms (including housing) by the deadlines
Work on gathering documents for your UK visa
Apply for specific-host university or other scholarships by deadlines
You've made the decision to study abroad. Not everyone makes the choice to move out of their comfort zones into a completely new environment.
Don't forget to register with the health center at your university abroad!
Pop Quiz! Who are these people?
Provide resources and guidance on navigating the British systems
Learn about cultural perceptions, differences, and identity
Discuss health & safety concerns
Understand how to transition back to GW
Double check your personal details on the GW finance support letter now!