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Pre-Departure Orientation Session

Auburn Abroad (Auburn University's Study Abroad Office) considers the health and safety of every Auburn student as a top priority. This presentation is meant to prepare students with details on how to travel safely and handle situations effectively.

Korbin Dimmick

on 19 April 2018

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Transcript of Pre-Departure Orientation Session

Session Topics

Application and Academic Paperwork
Know Your Destination
Health, Physical, and Emotional Needs and Limitations
Insurance Coverage
Money Matters
Communication While Abroad
Travel and Airport Information
Important Travel Documents and Packing
Upon Arrival
Culture Shock
Responsibilities Abroad
Handling Emergencies Abroad
Returning Home
The key to traveling abroad
safely is preparation…
Before you leave home...
Arrival at Destination
Returning Home
Complete your application and academic paperwork/materials
Every item must be checked prior to departure!
Complete your Auburn Abroad online application and submit Course Approval Form or Transfer Credit Form (if you haven't already).

Check AU Access for registration in Auburn Abroad – DO NOT enroll yourself in courses.

If your courses change abroad, notify Auburn Abroad immediately.

Understand the time frame in which your grades will be posted at the end of your program. Notify program directors of graduation plans. (if applicable).

Non-Auburn Programs: All transcripts from non-Auburn programs go though Auburn Abroad. Understand the anticipated transcript processing dates.
Know your
Learn standard phrases in language
(i.e. thank you, excuse me,
help, toilet, police, etc.).

Be knowledgeable of both U.S.
culture and host country culture

Talk to individuals who have visited the destination.

Check travel guides, Peace Corps website, etc. for customs, taboos, best ways to behave, how to express yourself, and local laws.

Check government sites for another view of your destination.
Know Yourself – Health, Physical, Emotional Needs and Limitations
Maintaining Good Health Habits Abroad

Keep prescriptions in original containers and in your carry-on.
Take enough to cover the time abroad plus 1 to 2 weeks.
Birth control and over-the-counter medications exempte
Each country has a restricted prescription list. Depending on your medication, you may need to:
Get 2 letters from physician on their letterhead with your name, prescription, and condition.
Wrap one around prescriptions listed in letter. Take 2nd letter in case you need to see a doctor abroad.

Check CDC (www.cdc.gov), World Health Organization (www.who.int/en) or AU Medical Clinic for recommendations.
Locate your vaccination record (may be electronic or print).

General Health Recommendations
Stay hydrated, get enough sleep, be careful about food and water.
Use sunscreen, bug repellent, vaccinations, regular medications.
Take 2nd pair of glasses and/or extra contacts.
Practice safe sex abroad.
Take care of pre-existing conditions while abroad

Continue treatments, support groups, and counseling.

Ask your current support group or United Healthcare Global to recommend destination country practitioners or medical facilities. Cases may be established with United Healthcare Global prior to departure.

If you are a student registered with the Office of Accessibility:
Get letter describing needed accommodation in advance.
Destination laws may not require compliance, but your program will attempt to get assistance.

Other referral services:
Nearest U.S. Consular Office
In-country program staff
Understand your Insurance Coverage:
The Auburn University International Insurance covers faculty, staff, and students on AU business and programs abroad.

Students are insured from the start date to end date of the program.

Items COVERED by Auburn University International Insurance:

1) Medical and Security Evacuation
You will be transported to nearest facility equipped to care for your condition, which doesn’t always mean flown back to the U.S.

2) Medical Clinic Visits and Hospitalization (may vary slightly by country)
Assistance with entry and release from hospital.
May need to pay costs out of pocket and be reimbursed by claim.
Additional national health insurance in host country may be required.
Family reunification and other benefits may apply.

Items NOT covered:
Costs which are above the level provided by UHG.
Stateside continuing care beyond 30 days after return to U.S.
Trip cancellation (may be included in some AU programs).
Injuries sustained during high risk behaviors.
Getting Medical Assistance and Using UHG Cards

1) Call the emergency phone number listed on the UHG insurance card.
2) Indicate that you are from Auburn University and give Group ID number.
3) State problem and obtain case number.
4) Give phone number where you or a designated individual can be reached.
5) Respond promptly to all communication from UHG.

Establishing a UHG case will:
assist in coordination of medical clinic payment, admittance, and release.
notify Auburn University staff of emergency needs.
maintain record of incident and treatment plan.

Other notes
Most AU Faculty Directors are not medical professionals and cannot give medical advice. However, inform them when you need medical assistance.
Anyone may call the emergency number and set up a case on your behalf.
Do not go to a medical facility alone.
Personal Travel Before or After a Program
Personal travel before or after program is not covered by the AU International Insurance.

It is highly recommended to obtain an individual international insurance policy for personal travel.
Money Matters
Financial Planning
Understand who will be covering your meals, transportation, and any other aspects of your program.
Understand the true cost of purchases with the exchange rate.
Plan your discretionary spending.
Tally the total cost and add a contingency amount.
Have a backup plan for lost or stolen funds.
Your program director cannot lend you money.

On-site Funds
Carry a limited amount of cash.
Use ATMs as needed. Conduct transactions during business hours.
Keep all receipts:
In case item is lost or stolen, this is proof of value.
May need for customs when returning to the U.S.

Charged for water and refills at restaurants.
Restaurants may not split checks.
May need to pay small amounts for restrooms.
Local transportation may only accept cash.
Credit and debit cards
Inform your bank/credit card company of your travel plans prior to departure.
Learn about your banks' policies on international transaction fees.
Keep copies of credit cards in carry-on.

Inquire about:
PIN number for credit cards (some vendors abroad use “PIN and Chip” method).
Phone number for lost/stolen cards.
Waiver of transaction fees.
Daily limit on withdrawals.
Purchase protection.

Grant a responsible family member access to your bank accounts while abroad.

Keep copies of documents with a responsible family member.

Grant a responsible family member Power of Attorney.

Once you are abroad

Carry a smaller wallet or bag that zips or attaches to you.
"2-second visual test."

Bring locks for your luggage if staying in hostels.

Keep your passport and valuables in a safe place.
Consider doing the following in
preparation for departure:
Communication While Abroad
Communication with Parents and Family
Set expectations for communication.
Have an established time for regular contact.

When communication is required
Any emergency phone calls or emails from your program directors, UHG, or Auburn Abroad that require your response.
In case of personal emergency or illness, inform both your faculty leader and your family at the appropriate time.
Keep faculty leader updated whenever your travel plans change, even if it’s a weekend activity or personal travel.

When communication is excessive
Spending too much time on phone/computer/social media will detract from your study abroad experience.
Being unaware of surroundings can be very dangerous.
Example: Student hit in crosswalk while texting.
In case of an emergency, DO NOT "live tweet"
Keep Communication Lines Open
Take your current phone:
Keep US number - easiest to do. Verify your calling ability abroad.
Understand all costs associated with your provider.
Utilize phone apps: Skype, Viber, Whatsapp, etc.

Change SIM card in phone:
Buy SIM card for your phone in destination country.
You may get new phone number and need to reload phone memory.
Less expensive than first option. May not suit all phones.

Rent/Buy cheap phone on-site:
Local number - in-country calling

International phone through Piccell Wireless:
New temporary phone, new phone number
$25 set-up, cheaper per-minute calling option
Phone sent to you before departure
KEY: 30-60 days before travel
Phone Options
*Phone and communication options may vary depending on your program, location, duration, and/or group decisions.
Useful connectivity
Carry-on Luggage

Important documents
Identification: passport, driver’s license, immigration forms
Flight itinerary
Housing information: address, phone, after hours contact info
Program Director’s on-site contact info
Emergency contact numbers
UHG and domestic insurance card
Medical information (allergies, medications, letters from physicians for prescriptions)
Credit cards (original and copies)


Change of clothing (luggage may be lost temporarily)

Laptops and phones
Back up your data.
Insure them before leaving. Write down serial number.
Know airline usage rules.
Have a plan to lock up.
Checked Luggage

Attire: Business, rural, religious meetings, and other sites have expectations and taboos about clothing – do your research.
Check weather for outerwear.
New shoes = sore feet. Break them in before you pack them.
Leave behind expensive jewelry and watches.
Appliances: check with your housing - you may not need bring any.
Discuss sharing appliances with other students.
If needed, take voltage adapters.
Large toiletries over the allowed volume.
Books and items for classes.

Plan your packing – pack light!

Follow airline baggage regulations for all flights on your itinerary.

For commuter flights and budget airlines abroad, baggage limits may be lower than international flight limits.

You will be your own luggage porter at your destination and when going through customs.

Be prepared for:
lifting luggage over your head into overhead bins on trains and buses.
carrying luggage over rugged terrain.
Keep all travel documents accessible when entering the country, then store in a safe location.

Never go anywhere without money or photo ID.

Check in with your family back home.

Check in with your program.

Attend site-specific orientation.
Verify emergency contact data – keep an emergency contact card.
Review emergency protocol.
Verify primary and secondary meeting places.
Communication tree.
Understand which locations are dangerous and avoid them.
Understand health and safety risks – drinking water, etc.
Understand program rules regarding off-site travel and the process for informing program staff (Side Trip Registration).

Getting Around
DO use public transportation (subways, trains, planes, buses) – most destinations have excellent, safe options.

DO use taxis. Use the official type of taxi for your area.

Be aware of differences between day-time transit and night-time transit.

If you are in a location with questionable public transportation, ask your on-site faculty director or program staff for suggestions.

Don't hitchhike.

Don't rent cars, motorcycles, mopeds, or scooters.

Don't stay out by yourself or walk alone late at night – Use the buddy system.
Side Trip Registration
Responsibilities Abroad
Avoid the following behaviors - they carry substantial academic, health, and safety consequences:

Drinking too much
Using illegal drugs
Trusting strangers
Cheating on academic work
Taking high profile risks (public demonstrations)
Breaking rules and laws of host nation
Exercising poor judgment/decision-making
Alcoholic beverages abroad may contain higher amounts of alcohol than those purchased in the U.S.

Many locations are intolerant of public drunkenness by students.
Compare drinking habits of U.S. students vs. destination residents’ habits - the latter rarely get drunk in public.

Know your limit and stay under it.
Alternate alcoholic drinks with water or sprite with a lime
You could be arrested if you abuse alcohol

Understand that you are most likely to be drugged or become a victim of theft or assault when drunk.

**Injuries sustained during high risk behaviors may not be covered by your health insurance.
Adhere to the laws and culture of the destination country, avoiding any taboos.
The rules of AU Student Conduct Code follow you abroad.
Ignorance is no excuse

If you break the laws of the country and are arrested, you may face the following actions:
Incarceration (put in jail).
You may not be given “one phone call” before incarceration.
You will need both a U.S. and an in-country lawyer.
You may be in jail for an extended time and there is no guarantee of release.
You may not be under a system of “innocent until proven guilty.”
You may only get “cookies from the U.S. Embassy,” since U.S. government officials will have limited authority.
What is the buddy system?

Always having at least one or two people with you when you venture out into your surroundings.

Students looking out for each other for safety and security purposes.

Preventing emergency situations from happening.

Locating students quickly.

What if your buddy is engaging in dangerous behavior?

You are not expected to physically remove them from the situation.

Try reasoning with your buddy about what they are doing.

Call your program director – they have the responsibility and the authority to deal with students in situations such as this.
Handling Emergencies Abroad
Bystanders Can Reduce Sexual Assault
Caution: This video contains intense situations and is intended to demonstrate bystander intervention.
Overview of steps to take in the
event of an emergency:
Remain calm – you need a clear head.

Assess the situation and communicate with your program director to determine the type of emergency.
Personal: accident/injury, assault, arrest
Regional: natural disaster, civil unrest

Take action:
Use program emergency plan – go to 1st or 2nd (backup) safety location.
Use communication tree, call home when you can.
Contact UHG and AU – have them assist you in getting you what you need.
Be persistent.
Take care of yourself.

Stay in touch with your program director.

Follow all directions provided by your program director, UHG, and AU personnel.
Inform your program and family of where you are.
UHG can recommend in-country and U.S. lawyers. You will be advised regarding travel and use of U.S. Consular Citizens’ Section use by lawyer.

Assault or theft:
Don’t isolate or blame yourself.
Report incident to program director and appropriate authorities.
Seek care and follow healthcare provider instructions.
Counseling can be provided through host, UHG, or AU personnel.
Police reports may have to be translated from destination country language into English. UHG may be able to assist.
You may be asked to keep a journal and/or to write down events.

Natural disaster or civil unrest leading to security evacuation:
Get to a safe place and contact your Faculty Director/Program Provider to inform them of your location/situation.
Respond to any phone calls or emails as soon as possible.
Keep your passport with you at all times - it will be needed to board plane and cross country borders.
You may be taken to a safe location prior to flight out. UHG personnel will ID themselves – make sure you see ID.
Special Case Notes
Prepare to Return:
Getting through customs
Keep all itinerary and receipts for purchases in your carry-on.
Wrap physician letter around applicable prescriptions.
Follow airline limits/regulations.

Academic reminders
Verify that transcript will be sent to Auburn Abroad Office (and get estimated mail-out date).
Bring copies of work back in case it needs to be reviewed by AU faculty.
Register for AU classes for your next term on campus.
Verify that all grades have been posted correctly to your records. DO NOT WAIT!

Submit a Global Tiger Tale (to be published on AU website).

Update your resume with your global experience - consider creating an ePortfolio.

Check out www.auburn.edu/eportfolios and www.auburn.edu/career for more info

Collect photos, videos and plan to submit best ones to the Auburn Abroad Photo Contest.
Once you are back in Auburn:

Q & A Panel Available
Understand the coursework requirements and grading system of your host country.

Use the support resources available to you: tutors, study groups, writing centers, etc.

Participation in scheduled excursions may impact grades.

Letter grades appear on your transcript (not pass/fail). Use wes.org for conversion scales.
Video 1 - Chronic Illness issues
Video 2 - Mental Illness issues
Website updates include a newly revised 4 level Travel Advisory

Regular safety and security updates from U.S. Embassy about local travel areas

Extra level of safety preparation

Country specific information
Register with the U.S. Department of State
Peace Corps
Culture Matters Workbook
Travel Guides
*Instructions are located within your Auburn Abroad application.
Itinerary registration is located within your online application.

Select 'add new itinerary record' to list your location(s).
Register your itinerary if doing individual travel during program outside of 100 mile radius of program location.

This will include your travel in the Auburn Abroad emergency locator search.
*Detailed coverage information can be found within your
Auburn Abroad online application.
Culture Shock
Symptoms may include:

Body aches
Constant criticism of host culture
Tips for Overcoming Culture Shock
Remember, homesickness and culture shock are normal!
Be aware of the symptoms, but don't dwell on them.
Give yourself time to adjust to your new environment.

Keep an open mind!
Comforts you take for granted in the U.S. may not be available in your host country, but embrace these differences and enjoy them.
Don't be afraid to go outside of your comfort zone.
If you’re in a homestay, be flexible and adaptable.

Document your travels:
Keep a journal.
Write a blog post.
Take photos or videos.
Talk to friends and/or your host family.
Get out and explore! Get involved!
*Especially if you have been away for a month or more
Expect Reverse Culture Shock
You will be different when you return, as will your family and friends.

You may find yourself comparing U.S. culture with the culture of your host country.
Talk to others who have traveled and share your stories.

Get involved with international organizations.
Things You Can Do:
Keep in touch with friends you made abroad.

Join the Global Tiger Peer Advisory, an SGA organization.
Apply for an internship with the Auburn Abroad Office.
Send a postcard from your destination!
Mass updates / following
Email newsletters
Start a blog, or contribute to program’s blog or vlog.
Create a unique hashtag
It is OK for bystanders to make different choices in HOW they will intervene, as long as they intervene.

Don't change who you are, change the situation.

Check-in yourself
"Are you OK?"

Get someone else to intervene
Police, Faculty or Staff, Friends

Create a diversion to diffuse the situation
Use humor, text your friend, stick together and move locations
Bystander Intervention:
Please encourage them to call UHG and connect with Auburn University representatives.

UHG can be used to report the assault as well as to get support through counseling and other avenues.

Also encourage your friend to contact Auburn University Safe Harbor at 334-844-7233 or safeharbor@auburn.edu.

Safe Harbor serves Auburn students who experience any interpersonal violence which includes sexual assault, stalking, and domestic violence.
If a friend experiences sexual assault
or other violence while on Study Abroad:
United Healthcare Global Emergency Assistance services: 1-410-453-6330
(try to have your the Auburn group number ready)

Auburn University Safe Harbor: 334-844-7233, safeharbor@auburn.edu
United Healthcare Global Emergency Assistance services: 1-410-453-6330
(try to have your the Auburn group number ready)
Auburn University Public Safety: 1-334-750-9795
Auburn Abroad Emergency Phone: 1-334-524-4921
United Healthcare Global Emergency Assistance: +1-410-453-6330
(try to have the Auburn group ID number)
At this time, you must have your Passport

Double check the expiration date of your Passport (Passports must be valid for 6 months past the end date of your program)

Non-U.S. Citizens should check in with International Student and Scholar Services
You are now under the laws of the host country!
Adapted from: Wendy Williamson, Director, Study Abroad, Eastern Illinois University
Auburn University International Insurance is provided through

Group ID:

Learn more at
On-site Considerations
Common Issues
Problems with housing arrangement or homestay.

Conflict with internship colleagues or supervisor.

Loss of passport or other important documents.

General adjustment difficulties.

Illness or medically related need.

Unusual circumstances occurring back home.
View the presentation on your device:

Returning to your application
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Travel and Airport Information
Day Before Travel

Check in for your flight 24 hours before departure. You will need a boarding pass which you can download to your phone or print at time of check in, or collect at the airport the next day.

Check the flight status for any possible delays.

Confirm travel arrangements to and from airport.

Day of Travel

Plan to arrive at the airport 2-3 hours before your flight.

Remember Atlanta airport is in the Eastern Time Zone!

Collect your boarding pass, drop your luggage at your airline's counter, and go through security.

Locate your gate and wait for boarding.
Day of Travel (continued)

Complete all immigration forms and answer questions to the best of your knowledge.

Upon arrival at destination, prepare to pass through immigration and customs.

Refrain from photography at customs

Collect your luggage and meet
up with your group (if not
already traveling together).

If any questions arise, ASK!
www.auburn.edu/studyabroad > Go > Travel Resources
There are many great tips and resources for packing on YouTube and Pinterest!

Review TSA guidelines for luggage: www.tsa.gov
Get Involved While Abroad
Email your snaps to


and get featured on our story!
follow us!
Auburn University
Medical Clinic
Remember: Your health affects the rest of the group!
Other Insurance Notes
Maintain your domestic insurance throughout the entire time abroad.

Trip cancellation insurance may be included in some AU faculty-led programs.
(334) 844-4416 | auburn.edu/medical
Travel is a risk wherever you go – minimize your health risk:

Be prepared for the physical and mental challenges abroad.

Prior to going abroad, complete a travel health consultation, complete foreseeable dental work, and consider your psychological stability.

Notify your faculty director/program provider of any necessary accommodations (Health and Emergency Treatment questionnaire).

Don’t travel when you have a fever or are visibly ill. Passengers are scanned in airports (specifically in Asian countries).
You could be quarantined in an airport for 7+ days.
Common apps
iMessage and Facetime
Facebook Messenger
Google Hangouts
Country-specific apps

Wi-Fi is abundant in many places around the world.
Send snaps to be featured on our story!
In a web browser on your phone, go to
Emergency Contact Information
Phone Download
Store Auburn Abroad's contact card and detailed safety information on your phone
Have safety information always in hand
No app to download

Instagram Winner: James Harris
We all have various identities that make up our view of self.

These identities may be more pronounced depending on the situation.

Situations will cause you to think deeply about the competing identities that make up your concept of self.
What are my expectations for this experience?

You are now an international student!

Feeling of being the 'other' instead of part of a dominant culture.

How might I react to stress and stereotypes?
specific interest group safety information available within your online application.
Managing Expectations
Contact Faculty Director and/or on-site support staff.
Get ready to go!
Full transcript