Study Abroad Orientation and Travel Tips


Study Abroad Orientation and Travel Tips

Orientation and Travel Tips

This online orientation is designed for students intending to study abroad. The information should serve as a complement (not a replacement) to the pre-departure orientation planned by the faculty member leading the study abroad experience.

Culture 101

  • Learn as much as you can about your study abroad destination. Search the internet, read novels, newspapers, nonfiction, travel guides, etc., from your host country.
  • Visit you library for information.
  • Brush up on your foreign language skills.
  • Meet international students and faculty on your campus and others from your community!

Adjustment 101

  • Be open minded. Observe, listen and learn!
  • Understand yourself and how the study abroad experience and being in a different culture will affect you. Consider journaling or keeping a record of your thoughts and experiences. Cameras are indispensable! Some students bring video recorders or computers. (Remember however these items can be heavy!)
  • Culture shock does occur and you will experience it but it won’t last forever. You will have various adjustments and readjustments as a result of your study abroad experience.

Passports 101

  • Passport applications can be obtained at the U.S. Post office or online.
  • If you have a passport, make sure it will be valid for at least 6 months after the end of your study abroad experience.
  • Don’t forget to sign your passport.
  • Make copies for yourself. You should carry a photocopy of your passport while you are studying abroad and leave one at home. RCTC faculty are required to collect and carry copies of passports for all study abroad course participants.

Visas and Permits 101

  • Many countries require a visa or residence permit upon entry to the country.
  • Faculty will advise you about visa requirements for all countries you plan to visit while abroad.
  • Some countries have online visa applications; others may require you to apply upon entry to the country.

Travel Insurance 101

  • RCTC study abroad courses include required MnSCU travel insurance.
  • Additional travel insurance is strongly recommended. Be sure you have adequate health insurance and understand your policy and what is and isn’t (or may not be ) covered outside the US. Make sure your policy is paid in the case of a medical emergency.
  • Personal liability insurance against inquiry or damage caused to enrollment in any program is recommended.
  • Should you require medical attention abroad, it may be necessary to have evidence of insurance at the time of treatment. Be sure to keep any receipts for reimbursement upon return to the US.

Immunizations 101

  • Immunizations may be required (prior to travel) where specific health concerns and conditions in various countries may be required.
  • Faculty will outline specific requirements for immunizations well before departure. You can demonstrate that you have had the required immunizations with a
  • Certificate of Vaccinations” form. This form is issued by the US Department of State and the World Health Organization. Your personal physician will be able to help you with immunizations and documentation.

Food and Water 101

  • In areas where chlorinated tap water is not available, students are advised that safe sources of water include beverages made with boiled water, canned or bottled carbonated beverages.
  • Limit yourself to fruits and vegetables which you have peeled yourself and cooked items which are still hot.
  • Travelers should avoid foods such as under cooked and raw meat, fish and shellfish, cooked food that has been allowed to stand at room temperatures for several hours, and milk products that may not be pasteurized.

Prescriptions /Medicine 101

  • Bring all medication, prescriptions, saline solutions, extra glasses, feminine products, etc.
  • Check with your personal physician when you plan to study abroad. If you need medications, take an adequate supply (clearly labelled original bottles) with you. Prescription medicines should be accompanied by a letter from your physician.
  • The faculty member leading the study abroad program will have the medical authority to seek assistance when attention is requirement. Participants will be required to complete a medical history form upon acceptance into the study abroad program.

Money & Currency Exchange 101

  • It is not recommended that you carry large amounts of cash with you.
  • Traveler’s checks are available in various denominations and can be obtained in advance at most banks or upon arrival in the host country.
  • In some countries credit cards make currency transactions easy and are invaluable resources. However, students should USE THEM WISELY; overspending is easy to do and theft of a credit card abroad can be a huge inconvenience. In the case of all financial transactions abroad, be sure to have adequate identification.
  • Plan a budget for your study abroad experience. Bring an emergency fund.

Additional Health Resources

  • Health Conditions/
  • US State Department Overseas Citizen’s Emergency Center:
  • International Association for Medical Assistance for Travelers

Adapted from Handbook: A Guide to Going Abroad, abroad field. 1977 Liberty City Promotions.