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Pre-Departure Orientation: What to Know Before You Go!

CSC Study Abroad Programs
by

Lauren Huffman

on 9 April 2013

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Transcript of Pre-Departure Orientation: What to Know Before You Go!

Pre-Departure Orientation What to know before you go! Purpose Paperwork Culture Shock Money and Finances Communication Health and Safety Additional Info Cultural, Academic, Health, and Safety preparation
Get to know others who are going abroad
Learn from past study abroad students
Finish any outstanding paperwork Are you missing any? You are required to read the State Dept. Page for your country (www.travel.state.gov)
Health information, www.cdc.gov
Make sure you have the necessary travel vaccinations/ medications if you need them
Prescription meds- bring enough for your whole trip, with a doctor's letter.
Check to see if your medication is a controlled substance in your host country (example: some medications for ADD/ADHD)
May want to bring medication for upset stomach-- common in travelers unaccustomed to local foods and in areas where the water may not be as clean as ours Cash
atm fees
Credit Cards
international/ conversion fees
Contact your financial institutions to let them know where you are going and for how long
REMEMBER YOUR BUDGET
FAFSA needs to be filed while you are abroad if you are abroad in the Spring Voting abroad: make sure you register before you leave and request an absentee ballot with enough time. Absentee ballots coming from abroad need to be sent MUCH earlier than the election! Program-specific orientations you will attend once you are abroad will give you more specifics on your program and host country Acceptance Packet forms
Approval for Courses at Other Institutions
Request for Housing (Fall Study Abroad ONLY)
Agreement of Study Abroad Requirements
Study Abroad Program Flight Information
Budget Worksheet and Financial Aid Letter
Passport Copy
GET YOUR VISA!!!!! Ways to handle it: 1. Learn about the culture in advance
2. Acknowledge how you are feeling
3. Get involved!
4. Keep in touch with back home-- BUT NOT TOO MUCH!
5. Focus on the positive and meaningful experiences
6. Keep in mind that the experience has an end date Rights and Responsibilities Returnee Chat Vaccinations and Prescription Drugs Health Issues If you have a medical condition, wear a medical alert bracelet (in the native language)
Let your program's in-country staff and the Study Abroad Coordinator know of any medical issues so they can be prepared in case of an emergency
HIV/AIDS and other concerns
Practice safe sex
Learn what the local emergency procedures are and how to contact emergency services Differences and Disabilities Not every country has the same rules, regulations, and requirements that we do
Living in a stressful new environment, some accommodations you don't need as much at home become more relevant
Be in communication with your program staff and Access Resources here at CSC to advocate for yourself and help get the support and information you need Safety Basics Register with the State Department’s STEP program so the US embassy or consulate in your area can contact and support you in an emergency: https://step.state.gov/step/
Use the buddy system
Do not walk around at night by yourself or even in pairs
Behave in a respectful manner that does not attract attention
Make an effort to blend in
Never keep your money or documents in one place
At least act like you know what you're doing/where you're going
Beware of people who are overly friendly or interested in you
Avoid alcohol or other substances in quantities that could impair your judgement
Get informed of local safety issues: i.e., pickpockets, taxi safety, etc.
Do not flash money around, be discreet with your passport
Be alert to any unusual activity, do not give out your phone number or address to people you don't know In Case of Unrest Do not go to places frequented by North Americans
Keep informed of the local political and safety situations
Stay away from areas known for specific reputations related to conflict
Avoid any American logos on your clothing
Be as inconspicuous as possible
Avoid loud, large groups
DO NOT go near any demonstrations
Do not agree to any interviews Remember... The US Constitution and Bill of Rights DO NOT APPLY to other countries
You can be arrested for things you can't get arrested for here, and authorities may not give you the same rights or treatment
You may not have the right to free speech
"Doing the right thing"-- or standing up for civil rights or equality we have here-- may put you at risk You are not just an independent agent but a representative of Colby-Sawyer College. Your actions are not yours alone but reflect on the College.
The program and your presence in the country is solely a result of this programmatic purpose. Failure to meet your responsibilities could jeopardize your status as a Colby-Sawyer College program participant.
Your program and the College require you to comply with all laws, police regulations and practices of the host country, in addition to all college and program policies.
CSC and your program both have the right to expel you from your program if you do not comply with these policies or otherwise put yourself or others at risk. In an emergency... In the case of unrest, natural disaster, or other large-scale problem, the Study Abroad Coordinator will be in contact with your program's staff
Please contact us ASAP in the even of an emergency, do not assume that we have heard about it
Contact your in-country staff first because they can more easily provide assistance and have more in-depth knowledge of emergency procedures locally
Contact your friends and family to let them know you are okay and what is happening With CSC Housing If you are studying abroad in the Fall: Give housing preferences at the CSC Pre-Departure Orientation
If plans or preferences change, clarify with Karen Berthiaume or Mary McLaughlin
They will contact you through your CSC email to confirm your housing in November/December If you are studying abroad in the Spring: Check out of your current room, turn in your key
Will need to register for courses on time
Participate in room draw online, same as other students
Need to access your College email, if you can't, contact ResEd ASAP
If you would like an apartment, you will need to work with an apartment group and apply for one
If you want to change to off-campus status, and you do not participate in room draw, YOU WILL NOT BE GUARANTEED HOUSING IN THE FUTURE. Registration Once you are in classes, tell the Study Abroad Coordinator what classes you actually ended up taking.
It is your responsibility to make contact with your regular academic advisor before online course registration for the next semester
The Study Abroad Coordinator will serve as a resource to aid your communication with your advisor and other parts of the college, but will not take the place of your regular faculty advisor
You will go through the same online registration process The Study Abroad Coordinator can be of assistance if you are having trouble contacting a campus office or have concerns that are not being addressed by your in-country contacts
They always like to get any kind of notes, email, facebook messages, pictures etc about how your experience is going!
They are not there to solve problems that you yourself can manage
In accordance with FERPA, (Family Education Rights and Privacy Act), we do not speak with parents about student’s study abroad program unless there is an emergency situation or we have specific permission to do so.
Throughout the semester, the Study Abroad Coordinator may pose reflection questions via email. . The Study Abroad Coordinator will use these reflections to evaluate your experience abroad and to better serve future study abroad participants, and may use them to help promote study abroad on campus. Staying in Touch With Our Office With Everyone! Phone
Cell phone while abroad
Skype
be aware it takes up a lot of bandwidth
with this and phone calls to home, make sure you aren't bothering your roommates with it in the middle of the night because of time zones!
Email
Social Networks
Snail Mail Do you want to blog about your semester and have the College highlight it? Do you want to be an admin of our Facebook page so you can post pictures or updates from abroad? Do you want to help us promote study abroad? Do you want to help us build this office and these programs? WE'D LOVE YOU TO! Inquire within! For individuals participating in programs authorized by Colby-Sawyer College, we reserve the right to expel an individual from a program if the individual’s conduct violates the law of the host country, city, host institution or otherwise, in the estimation of the program leader, does damage to the program or to Colby-Sawyer College. In such instances, participants will be entitled to the same guarantees of due process established on campus by the Code of Community Responsibility. Read your Pre-Departure Guide for details on your responsibilities Packing Before you pack, research:
the climate
what events/activities you'll want to participate in (i.e., hiking, athletic teams, swimming)
the culture
always better to err on the conservative side Things to consider:
homestay vs. apartment or residence hall
may need to dress more conservatively for a homestay
bring a gift for your host family
bring at least one nice outfit
bring things you'll be okay wearing often!
remember the voltage differences Academics Academics may be very different than what you're used to at CSC.
often larger lectures
fewer graded assignments might feel like less work, BUT those assignments are often worth most of your final grade
keep on top of your work and reading! Remember, your grades DO count in your Colby-Sawyer GPA! Who are you? "Travelers never think that they are the foreigners."

-Mason Cooley CULTURE: the "set of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual, and emotional features of society or a social group, and... it encompasses, in addition to art and literature, lifestyles, ways of living together, value systems, traditions, and beliefs." (UNESCO definition) Everyone on earth has a culture and an identity. What is yours? Where did it come from?
How does this cultural background affect the way you interact with others?
What do you think is "American culture"?
Many countries have multiple strong identity and cultural groups.
What is the relationship between culture and stereotypes?
How can you be aware of how your own cultural background affects your experience in a new culture?
Not everyone has this same experience though!
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