Congratulations on your decision to study abroad! This presentation will help you prepare for your trip. Please read through all of the following material and complete the short quiz at the end.
• Made the decision to go abroad
• Chosen a destination
• Applied to your program
• Secured your passport
If you already have your passport, please verify that it will be valid up to 6 months after your scheduled return. If you haven't already secured your passport, you can find the information on the following websites:
Some countries require travelers to get special permission, called a visa, before entering the country. A visa is an official stamp in your passport authorizing you to work, study, or travel within another country. For visa requirements for US citizens traveling abroad for tourism, click here, choose your country and then go to entry/exit requirements. For more information or visa application forms, contact the consulate or embassy of your destination country. Usually, you have to have your visa before you arrive in a country that has such a requirement.
The UCIE provides International SOS travelers insurance at no cost to all students who travel abroad on University business or Wright State sponsored programs. This policy provides emergency medical, evacuation, and repatriation services, as well as other information services. International SOS will notify the US embassy in your host country of your presence and the amount of time you will be in-country. It is for this reason that you must register with International SOS before departing the United States. The UCIE will assist you with the International SOS registration process.
• WSU Member Number is 11BSGC000054
• Complete Emergency Locator Information
• Print out a card to take with you.
The ISIC is optional but something that can be very useful. To learn more about the ISIC please visit: www.isic.org. Some of the benefits include:
• Proof of student status
• Discounts and special privileges such as reduced admission prices
• Being utilized as a phone card
• Basic accident and sickness insurance
To get the latest information about the country or countries you will be traveling to visit the Center for Disease Control website at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. If there are vaccines that you will need, talk to your doctor. Sometimes the vaccines will need to be administered by the county health department or in a series of injections that might be a cause of some delay. At this time, also discuss with your doctor any prescriptions that you will need while you are gone and possible drug interactions.
If you haven't already, make sure that you are going through the process to register for classes whether it is through Wright State, your exchange program, or through your third party provider. Have you filled out your proposed course sheet (everyone except ambassador programs)? Do you understand the process when going abroad through a third-party provider? If you are having trouble with any of this please contact Tracy Kingsley in the UCIE
The UCIE asks students to make their own airline travel arrangements to study abroad destinations unless otherwise stated by the study abroad program provider. The UCIE does not endorse any travel agency or travel website; however, the following are resources may be of assistance as you research your airline reservations.
|Huffman Travel, Ltd.||AAA-Beavercreek Office||www.studentuniverse.com|
|2537Far Hills Avenue||2372 Lakeview Drive, Suite 1A||www.orbitz.com|
|Dayton, OH 45419||Beavercreek, OH 45431||www.statravel.com|
|(800) 783-2009||(937) 427-5884||www.travelocity.com|
These are other things to consider two months before up until your scheduled departure date, such as registering your trip with State Department: http://state.gov/travel
Also consider assigning a Power of Attorney (i.e. to give permission to someone in order to make decisions about your financial aid while you are gone). You can make an appointment with student legal services and they can help you with drafting and filling out the appropriate form(s).
Student Legal Services, Inc.
W015 Student Union
Having some local currency of the country you are traveling to is helpful for ground transportation and snacks when arriving at the airport. It is available through banks and through AAA. Inform your bank and credit card companies about your travel plans. This can prevent a hold being put on your credit card or ATM card when you are trying to use it abroad. While abroad, keep in mind that you will find the best exchange rates at banks, for example withdrawing money from an ATM as opposed to using a currency exchange. Make a list of important info to take with you (phone numbers, account numbers, addresses, passport information, etc). Click here for additional resources.
Will you have internet where you are staying? If so, consider setting up an account with Skype, Facebook or Google. Click here for information about GoAbroad.com calling cards and mobile services, or try Pingo. Other international cell phone and calling card providers can be researched to better fit your needs.
Sometimes rail passes can only be purchased in the US before you arrive at your destination. The following websites can help guide your decision:
Check your airline baggage limits. Make copies of your passport and put them in all pieces of your luggage. Pack light, dress conservatively and only take what you can carry. Allow space to bring back souvenirs. Click here for a suggested packing list.
The following resources are available on campus and while you are abroad to assist students with information about, or help with, issues related to student health and your travels.
|Student Health Services||Counseling & Wellness Services|
|051 Student Union||053 Student Union|
|(937) 775-2552||(937) 775-3407|
For health services abroad, you often have to pay up front and then be reimbursed by your insurance company later. Make sure to get a receipt!
If you are student with a disability or traveling/studying abroad with a student who has a disability, you should contact the Office of Disability Services for further information about traveling abroad. Mobility International is also an excellent resource for information regarding international travel for persons with disabilities. You can visit their website at www.miusa.org.
Office of Disability Services
023 Student Union
• Know the location of the nearest US embassy or consulate. See the US embassy website at www.usembassy.state.gov.
• Express yourself with patience, diplomacy, and an unassuming manner in an effort to be perceived as a welcomed visitor.
• Use the same precaution abroad that you would use any major US city.
• Avoid poorly lit places and walking alone. Stick to well-traveled streets, and try to walk in groups at night. Be especially cautious when you are new to a city and/or not yet aware what parts of town may be less safe. International neighborhood information can be found at www.internationalsos.com.
• Be on the offensive, rather than the defensive. Be aware of your surroundings and stay alert at all times.
• When possible, avoid traveling by car. More people are injured or killed abroad in automobile accidents than through violent crimes. Driving in a foreign country is particularly dangerous and is not permitted by the University.
• Another source for information about health and safety abroad can be found through the SAFETI clearinghouse at the following address: www.globaled.us/safeti
Jet lag occurs when an individual flies across multiple times zones disrupting the natural rhythm and schedule of the body. Symptoms of jet lag include anxiety, dehydration, insomnia, indigestion, and reduced mental capacity. The following are a few tips to help you combat the symptoms of jet lag:
• Try to get plenty of sleep in the days leading up to your trip and on the flight as well.
• Once you get on the plane set your clock to the local time of your destination.
• Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water and juice before and during your flight. Avoid alcohol and caffeine as these drinks will dehydrate you.
• Move around on the plane. Try to engage in some activity on the flight such as standing or stretching in your seat in order to increase circulation. This will help to promote mental and physical acuity.
While you are studying abroad remember that you remain under the auspices of the WSU Code of Conduct and that you are expected to uphold the same standards of conduct that they must adhere to on campus at WSU. Violations of WSU policies while you are abroad can result in disciplinary action and could be cause for you to be sent home early from your program. It is for these reasons that it is imperative for all students studying abroad to familiarize themselves with the Code of Student Conduct, which may be found at www.wright.edu/students/judicial.
For the countries that you will be traveling to, register for Travel Warnings at the State Department website.
These warnings will come to you via email and will notify you if any major security issues occur during your stay. It will also tell you how to respond.
Beware of pickpockets and thieves. They often have an accomplice who will jostle you, ask for directions or the time, distract you by creating a disturbance. If you are confronted, don't fight back. Give up your valuables. Your money, passport, and property can be replaced but you cannot. Minimize the opportunity for this and reduce its impact by not wearing lots of jewelry or carrying unnecessary items. If your possessions are lost or stolen, report the loss immediately to the local police. Keep a copy of the police report for insurance claims. If you do not speak the language of the country you are visiting, carry a card at all times with your local address written in the language of the country. This will allow you to be able to get safely back to your accommodation in the event that you become lost. Have a support system; know local people you can get in contact with and know the local emergency number.
Laws are not going to be the same as in the USA. If you find yourself in a legal situation, the consulate/embassy will be able to help you find legal counsel but they will not be able to get you out of the quandary. Also, be aware of the emergency response team that is available here at WSU. The UCIE, in cooperation with International SOS, has created an International Incident Plan for emergencies that take place outside of the United States. Upon notification of an international emergency, representatives from the following campus organizations will be convened for situation evaluation and action:
• WSU Police Department
• Communications and Marketing
• Counseling and Wellness
• Residence Services
• Student Support Services
• WSU General Counsel
This group will also remain in touch with International SOS during the course of the situation and provide all information required to assist the affected person(s) and their families. Communications will remain constant between the UCIE, the Crisis Management Team, International SOS, and the affected person(s), if possible. Action follow-up and a situation evaluation will be performed after every international incident.
If you are under 21, you should not be consuming alcohol, even if the dirnking age is a younger age in the country you are visiting. If you are over 21, alcohol consumption shoudl be done in a responsible manner. Remember that alcohol can always compromise your decision making and safety. Drug usage is unacceptable. The WSU code of conduct still applies no matter where you are.
At all times, have a 360 awareness of your surroundings. Make good judgements and decisions you are comfortable with.
Sex and love abroad will be different. How will the nature of trust and relationships be different? What do you need to discuss with your friends when deciding to go out for the night with someone from a different country/culture?
Rememebr that men and women are perceived in different ways; do not assume that what you know in the USA will still apply. For example, women in Tajikistan are concentrated in the lowest paid sectors of agriculture, education and health. Overall access to education, particularly for girls, has dramatically deteriorated, thus increasing the gender gap. Girls are more malnourished than boys. The fertility rate is high, as are maternal and infant mortality rates, and the prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases among women is rising.
Ways to take control of the situation:
• Gain control of the conversation. You start asking the questions. Initiate rather than react. Change the subject to something neutral, like literature or history. Maintain a gracious sense of humor.
• Be direct and specific. Tell the other person that you want him or her to stop whatever is making you uncomfortable. Stay calm, serious, and use body language that coincides with your words. Don't giggle, smile, or apologize! This could undermine your message.
• Cultural differences never excuse verbal or physical abuse. If you find yourself in such a situation, try to remove yourself from it as quickly as possible, confront the person, or ask others (your program director, other women, or local authorities) for help.
Read up on customs and traditions, get a guidebook, etc. The CIA World Factbook is an excellent resource to learn about your country. Read an online paper from the region where you will visit. Talk to your family about how to cope—before, during, and after your time abroad. Use the "Iceberg Analogy": This chart uses the analogy of an iceberg to demonstrate the nature of cultural artifacts and assumptions. A small number of cultural artifacts, such as literature, fine arts, and games, are at the top of the diagram. They are labeled "Primarily in Awareness." A large number of cultural assumptions, such as conception of justice, incentives to work, and body language, are at the bottom. They are labeled "Primarily Not in Awareness."
Before you go, brush up on the native language and buy a pocket dictionary. The following websites are also helpful:
It is important to understand that there are several phases to culture shock. The more you familiarize yourself with these phases, the better you can understand the feelings that you may experience. The best tool you can use to help yourself through culture shock is to educate yourself on what it is and how you can get through it.
• Honeymoon Phase — This is the romantic phase that you experience upon arrival in your host country. You may love your surroundings, the culture, and everything else that goes with ending up in a place you might have always dreamed of. If you have never been away from home before, your newfound freedom can contribute to this phase, as well.
• Negotiation Phase — At this point, the differences between the cultures in your host country and at home become very apparent. Simple things that you might have overlooked upon your arrival can take a much less romantic appearance and you may begin to feel the inconvenience of not being at home anymore. You may be longing for simple things that your life included at home that you do not have access to in your host country. The newness of being in a foreign country is over and you may find yourself wondering why you are even there. Mood swings and possibly depression are common at this point.
• Adjustment Phase — It is important at this point that your life starts to balance out and new routines start to form. You find yourself much more adjusted to life in your host country and begin to feel like you belong there.
• Understand that as the homestay guest, it is your responsibility to adapt.
• Be attentive to the meal times and other routines within the family
• Respect the family's preference of TV shows, where available, and kinds of music
• Treat any pets appropriately
• Receive visitors with respect and discretion
• Be attentive to what the family likes and does not like to talk about
• Be willing to interact with their host family, both in the home and in family and/or community events, while understanding that there are many aspects of the intimate and personal lives of the family in which you should not expect to share
• Be aware that the family may not be able to provide voluntary dietary choices
• Be aware that the family may not be able to provide as much privacy or comfort as the student is accustomed to
• Understand that household phones are usually for emergencies, not for convenience, and certainly not for un-reimbursed long distance calls
• Plan on keeping your possessions in a neat and tidy manner, make your bed each morning, and to look after your own basic housekeeping
• You should help out, when possible, with routine household chores, as do other members of their household
• You should communicate your plans clearly -what meals you will be away for, when you expect to be home-and you should keep to that plan as far as possible
• You should understand that homestay families are not sources of pocket money, loans or financial responsibility of any kind. They are not there for counseling or therapeutic attention. They are not there to provide unusual services or treatment such as special diets that have not been pre-arranged by the provider, telephone time, maid service, clothing, recreation facilities, excursions, etc.
• You should consume resources (electricity, hot water) sparingly—they are not cheap or abundant in most countries. Do not shower at hours that will disturb the household.
• You will be financially responsible for any damage to the homestay property
• You will be expected to behave as a respectful and responsible adult member of the household. Be sensitive and aware of how their presence can contribute something to the household, through an active interest in the family and participation in family activities. Ultimately, you are goodwill ambassadors, whose behavior must reflect positively on themselves, your university and your country.
• Please read the following link about being sustainable and being green on your study abroad. Think about what you can do differently and how you can make less of an impact. Link
• Be an Ambassador from WSU & from the USA
• Familiarize yourself with what to expect
• Have an open mind
• Allow time for yourself and stay rested
• Try new things
• Leave the USA in body and in mind
• Journal & Photograph - you'll want to remember everything
• Be flexible and laugh at your mistakes
• Meet people and show your appreciation
• Adapt to new surroundings
Don't get upset when things happen differently than you are used to or expect. Be prepared for things to change. It's okay to be frustrated. Know your limits and what you are comfortable with doing - physically, emotionally, and socially.
Be in contact with housing, registration, etc. to be in place when you return back to campus. For information about customs/purchases click here. For information about reverse culture shock click here. Find people that are genuinely interested in your experience. They will be eager and happy to listen to your thoughts and feelings about your time abroad!
• Survival Kit for Overseas Living, a book by Robert Kohls
• Distant Mirrors, a book by DeVita & Armstrong
• NAFSA: Association of International Educators
• The Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC)
• Peace Corps Resources
• The Center for Global Education