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Pre-Departure Orientation Session

Auburn Abroad (Auburn University's Study Abroad Office) cares deeply for the health and safety of every Auburn student. This presentation is meant to prepare students with information on how to travel abroad safely and handle situations effectively.

Korbin Dimmick

on 21 February 2017

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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
Deborah Weiss, Korbin Dimmick, Emmitt Smith, and Lauren Roalkvan
Complete your application and academic paperwork/materials
Every item must be checked prior to departure!
Complete your Auburn Abroad online application and bring your Course Approval Form or Transfer Credit Form to AUAB (if you haven't already).

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

If your courses change abroad, you will need dept. chair approval for AU course equivalent. Notify Auburn Abroad via email immediately.

TRANSCRIPT NOTES: All transcripts go though Auburn Abroad. Students on AU programs won't need to take any additional steps.

Students on Non-AU programs abroad must have the program send their TRANSCRIPT directly to the Auburn Abroad Office. Double check transcript processing dates.
Know your Destination
Learn standard phrases in language (i.e. thank you, excuse me, help, toilet, police, etc.).

Talk to individuals who have visited the destination.

Check the U.S. Department of State International Travel Site for country advisories.

Check other government sites for another view of your destination.

Check travel guides, Peace Corps website, etc. for customs, taboos, best ways to behave, how to express yourself, and local laws.
Know Yourself – Health, Physical, Emotional Needs and Limitations
Travel is a risk wherever you go – minimize your health risk:

Prior to going abroad, get a physical, complete foreseeable dental work, and consider your psychological stability.

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

Be prepared for the physical and mental challenges abroad.

Get Vaccinated:
Check CDC (www.cdc.gov), World Health Organization (www.who.int/en) or AU Medical Clinic for recommendations.
Locate your vaccination record.
Get vaccinated (preferably 2 months before travel)

When you get abroad, find suitable care/support facilities.

Don’t travel when you have a fever. Passengers are scanned in airports.
You could be quarantined in the destination country airport for 7+ days.
Prescriptions and Maintaining Good Health Habits Abroad

Be prepared to go through customs (not a guarantee):

Each country has a restricted prescription list.
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.
Keep prescriptions in original containers and in your carry-on.
*Birth control and OTC medications exempted.

Take enough to cover the time abroad plus 1 to 2 weeks.

Take 2nd pair of glasses and/or extra contacts.

Take first aid kit with OTC remedies for headache, sleeplessness, etc.

Remember: Your health affects the rest of the group.
Stay hydrated, get enough sleep, be careful about food and water.
Use sunscreen, bug repellent, vaccinations, regular medications.
Practice safe sex abroad.
Take care of pre-existing conditions while abroad:

Continue treatments, support groups, counseling.

Ask your domestic healthcare provider or support group to recommend destination country practitioners or facilities.

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.

Ask travel agent or call ahead to your host in destination country for location of medical facilities.

Other referral services:
United Healthcare Global
Nearest U.S. Consular Office
Understand your Insurance Coverage:
Items COVERED by Auburn University International Insurance:

1) Medical and Security Evacuation:
Covered by United Healthcare Global.
Definition of evacuation: You will be flown to nearest facility equipped to care for your condition, which doesn’t always mean “flown home.”

2) Hospitalization – Depends on Country
Some require purchase of national health insurance in host country.
Insurance policy may provide international financial guarantees to assist with entry and release from hospital.
Family reunification and other benefits may apply.

Items NOT covered:

Hospital and other medical costs that are your responsibility:
Costs which are above the level provided by UHG
Stateside continuing care beyond 30 days after return to USA
**Injuries sustained during high risk behaviors may not be covered by your health insurance.
KEY: Maintain your domestic insurance.

Trip Cancellation Insurance - Included in AU faculty-led programs.
Getting Medical Assistance and Using UHG Cards:

Most AU Faculty directors are not medical professionals and cannot give medical advice.

Ask local host for location of nearest clinic. If no info, call UHG.

VERY IMPORTANT: If going into a med clinic or hospital, set up a case. This will assist in coordination of payment, admittance, and release.
All AU faculty, staff and students are enrolled in same policy so any one on the program abroad can call to set up a case.
UHG benefits include family notification and reunification when appropriate.

Call UHG collect at number on the insurance card.
Indicate that you are from Auburn University and give policy numbers on card.
State problem, and give phone number where you or the individual can be reached.
Respond promptly to requests from UHG.
Stay in touch.
Personal Travel Before or After a Program
and Student Responsibility
The Auburn University International Insurance plan covers faculty, staff, and students on AU business and programs abroad.

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

Vacation travel before or after a program is not covered by the Auburn University International Insurance plan.

For personal travel, it is highly recommended to obtain individual insurance policies.
Money Matters
Plan ahead:
Understand who will be covering your meals, transportation, and any other aspects of your trip.
Tally the total program cost and add a contingency amount.
Have a backup plan for lost/stolen funds.
Your program director is NOT your banker.

Develop an on-site “use of funds” plan:
Plan your discretionary spending.
Do not carry lots of cash, use ATMS as needed.
First time you withdraw cash, do it during business hours.
Carry local currency to restaurants - they may not divide the ticket.
Understand the true cost of credit card purchase: exchange rate + transaction fee.
Travelers checks – limited acceptance in some areas.
Keep all receipts:
In case item lost/stolen, this is proof of value.
Needed for customs when returning to USA.
Reduce your financial risk:
Reduce your wallet contents – do the “2 second visual” test.
Do not carry an excess amount of cash/valuables
Keep copies of credit cards in carry-on.
Develop a spending plan.

Protect your credit cards:
Inform your bank/credit card company of your travel plans 1 MONTH prior to travel.
Learn about your banks policies on International Transaction Fees.

Ask for:
PIN number for CREDIT cards (some vendors abroad use “PIN and Chip” method). This will be mailed to you.
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 purse that zips or attaches to you.

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:
Discuss type and amount of communication with family prior to departure.
Have an established time for regular contact.
Have family get international calling plan and call you.

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

When communication is excessive:
A student is unable to adjust to new culture and uses phone/computer/social media as crutch.
Don't let social media interrupt your study abroad experience!
A student is unaware of surroundings.
Example: Student hit in crosswalk while texting.
In case of an emergency, DO NOT "live tweet"
Keep Communication Lines Open
Take your phone current phone:
Keeps USA 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.
Alternative Communication Methods
Carry-on Luggage

Important documents:
Identification: passport with visa, driver’s license
Flight itinerary
Housing information: address, phone, after hours contact info
Program Director’s on-site contact info
Emergency contact numbers
Insurance cards: UHG card, domestic insurance card
Medical information (allergies, medications, letters from physicians for prescriptions)
Credit cards
Pack 2nd copy in carry-on.
Give family members at home a copy.


Change of clothing (luggage may be lost temporarily)

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, items for classes

Plan your packing – pack light!

For international flights:
Follow airline limits/regulations for baggage, etc. for all flights on your itinerary.

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

For commuter flights at destination:
Flight baggage limits may be lower than international flight limits.
Have luggage that meets both requirements.

For connecting trains/buses:
Be prepared: You may need to lift luggage over your head into overhead bins.
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 on-site orientation.
Verify emergency contact data – keep an emergency contact card.
Review Emergency Protocol.
Verify primary and secondary meeting places.
Communication tree
Understand program rules regarding off-site trips and the process for always informing program of travel off-site (Side Trip Registration).
Understand locations that are off-limits or dangerous and avoid them.
Understand health and safety risks – drinking water, etc.

Getting Around
DO use public transportation (trains, planes, buses) – most AU students travel abroad to destinations with excellent, safe options.

DO use taxis. Use the official type of taxi for your area. Check out their license.

When traveling long distances by train or bus, attach your bag to the luggage rack with a bike chain or lock.

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

Don't hitchhike.

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

Don't stay out late at night alone 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
Warning: Alcoholic beverages abroad may contain higher amounts of alcohol than those purchased in the USA

Trend: Growing intolerance in many locations for displays 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:
You will be incarcerated.
You may not be given “one phone call” before incarceration.
No one may know where you are for several days.
You will need both a U.S. and an in-country lawyer.
You may be in jail for an extended time before seeing a lawyer.
You may not be under a system of “innocent until proven guilty.”
You may only get “cookies from the U.S. Embassy,” and you probably won’t be released to U.S. Consular officers, U.S. government officials, congressmen, Auburn University officials, or your family any time soon.
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 minor to major 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
Culture Shock
Prepare to Return:
Getting through customs:
Keep all itinerary and receipts for purchases and hotels in your carry-on.
Wrap physician letter around applicable prescriptions.
Follow airline limits/regulations.

Auburn University 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.
Verify that all grades have been posted correctly to your records. DO NOT WAIT!

Collect photos and videos, and plan to submit best ones to the Auburn Abroad Photo Contest.

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.
Once you are back in Auburn:
Regional Small Group Discussion

Q & A Panel Available
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?
Video 1 - Chronic Illness issues
Video 2 - Mental Illness issues
Regular safety and security updates from U.S. Embassy about local travel areas in country

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.
Located within your Auburn Abroad online application.

Select 'add new itinerary record' to list your location(s).
Registered in the Auburn Abroad locator search in case of emergency.
Complete this registration if doing individual travel during program outside of 100 mile radius of program location.
*Insurance coverage information can be found within your
Auburn Abroad online application.
What is it?
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!
Cell phone apps for communication
Start a blog, or contribute to program’s blog.
Understand privacy and safety issues with shared info.
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 the UHG Emergency Line and connect with Auburn University representatives.

This line 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 services: 1-410-453-6330
(try to have your the Auburn group number ready)
Auburn University Public Safety: 1-334-750-9795
Auburn Abroad Director's (Deborah Weiss) cell phone: 1-334-524-4921
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!
Source: Wendy Williamson, Director, Study Abroad, Eastern Illinois University
specific interest group safety information available within your online application.
Auburn University International Insurance is now provided through UNITED HEALTHCARE GLOBAL (UHG).

Travelers can access UHG services using the UHG group number of 361061 (former FrontierMEDEX #35592) and the emergency phone number of +410-453-6330 listed on the back of the UHG card.
Learn more at
Tweet your adventures!
Tag us on instagram!
Managing Expectations
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.
View the presentation on your device:

Returning to your application
Complete -->
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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.

Verify all of your arrangements are in place.

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)

Upon arrival, prepare to pass through immigration and customs.

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

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


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