Pre-Departure

 

SA at Scotland - Olivia L.

(Olivia L. at Scotland, Spring 2020)

Be Prepared to Start the Journey!

Education abroad is a high-impact experience. It is very important for you to be prepared to make the most of your experience, and to make the process as smooth as possible.

Before embarking on your education abroad experience, youare required to complete a self-paced online pre-departure orientation via Google Classroom. You will be invited to parrticipate in the orientation. In this orientation, we will discuss four main parts: 

  • Part I: Identifying your expectations and anticipations of upcoming education abroad experience
  • Part II: Knowing your host country 
  • Part III: Training your intercultural competence 
  • Part IV: Being aware of your safety abroad 

Below are some useful resources to prepare you to develop international competence and be aware of the safety issues, along with some suggestions from previous Study Abroad students that could help make smooth transitions and getting ready.

This is a critical step for your experience. Please complete your assignments in the orientation and read these resources carefully. 

Please contact oge@stockton.edu if you for any questions or would like to know more about these resources. 


Part I: Identifying Your Expectations and Anticipation of Education Abroad Experience

Part II: Knowing Your Host Country (History, Politics, People, Society, Economics, etc.)
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It is very important that you are familiar with the regions you will visit. 

The Council of Foreign Relations (CFR) Academic Initiative has created World101 - a series of free digital modules that can be used in a variety of Program or General Studies courses. 

Please click on the following Regions to know more about the history, politics, people and society, economics, geopolitics, and U.S. foreign policies. 

 

The Americas make up almost all of the Western Hemisphere, from the Arctic tundra all the way down to the Antarctic Peninsula. The region is home to powerful economies and vibrant democracies. However, many countries in the region experience democratic backsliding—the erosion or total elimination of political institutions that are meant to guarantee democratic principles and freedoms. 

Click here to know more: The Americas

Europe, a region with a long history of conflict, reinvented itself after World War II. It worked to create a lasting peace through economic and political integration, culminating in the European Union. Today, however, European institutions are being tested, as Europe navigates a series of challenges: mass migration, globalization, rising inequality, financial turmoil, terrorism, and a resurgent Russia. The world will watch how Europe responds.

Click here to know more Europe

The Middle East and North Africa is a diverse region that was once home to great civilizations. Today, however, this region is weighed down by several challenges, including repressive governments, struggling economies, and geopolitical rivalries that inflame local conflicts. But, in many ways, the problems that affect this region reverberate far beyond its borders.

Click here to know more Middle East & North Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa is a remarkably diverse region, with hundreds of ethnic groups speaking two thousand of the world’s seven thousand languages. It also has the world’s youngest and fastest-growing population. But many countries in the region struggle to meet the needs of their citizens. Whether sub-Saharan Africa’s growing population will be a blessing or a curse is one of the greatest issues facing the region in this century.

Click here to know more Sub-Saharan Africa

The two areas that make up this region, South Asia and Central Asia, have a rich heritage. They are home to some of the world’s oldest religions and are at the crossroads of the historic Silk Road. With over a billion people, India is the region’s largest country and the world’s biggest democracy. But India’s troubled relationship with its neighbor Pakistan looms over the region.

Click here to know more South & Central Asia

Fifty years ago, life expectancy, education, and GDP in East Asia and the Pacific were well below the global average. Today, the region is almost unrecognizable. It’s home to some of the world’s largest financial centers, most innovative tech hubs, and fastest high-speed trains. With China rising and other Asian economies continuing to grow, this region commands our attention—because what happens here will affect the rest of the world.

Click here to know more East Asia & The Pacific

USA Study Abroad Country and Regional Profile

The Department of State's USA Study Abroad provides specific country and regional profile. 


Part III: Training Your Intercultural Competence

(This critical part is presented in OGE Online Pre-departure Orientation Class.)


Part IV: Being Aware of Your Safety Abroad

Overseas Emergencies 

  • Locate Nearest U.S. embassy or consulate: travel.state.gov/destination
  • Overseas Citizens Services | Washing, D.C.:
    • U.S. & Canada: 888-407-4747
    • Outside U.S.: +1 202-501-4444
  • Stockton Campus Police: +1 (609) 652-4390 (24 hours) 

You must save the following information in your phone or take notes:

  1. Check the Department of State's Travel Advisory to check warnings or alerts affecting the region in which you will be traveling and respond appropriately. You should review and be aware of the political, health, crime, and other safety-related conditions prevailing in your host country and specific locations within it. 
  2. Identify the nearest U.S. Embassy in the location in or to which you are traveling, inform the Embassy of your stay in the country, and maintain Embassy contact information
  3. Be aware of the emergency contact (911 equivalent) for the applicable jurisdiction (please always check with the local U.S. Embassy to confirm the emergency contact number)
  4. Call Stockton Campus Police: +1 (609) 652-4390 (24 hours) if needed. 
  5. If the problem concerns a medical issue, please call your medical insurance contact number. Faculty-led program participants call +1 (610) 254-8771 (GeoBlue 24/7 Medical Assistance and Evacuation)

You are expected to abide by the legal consumption age in the legal jurisdiction, country or countries you are visiting. You are expected to practice sound judgment in both your own actions and in evaluating the actions of other students.

If you are not of legal drinking age in the host country, you may not acquire, possess, or consume alcoholic beverages during your travel. You must comply with applicable law regarding drugs and alcohol usage. 

Subsequently, being under the influence of alcohol or other drugs is not an excuse for violation of any University policy, procedure, guideline, or standard and does not reduce an individual’s accountability. 

You should check with your health insurance on the coverage whenever you are traveling abroad. If your U.S. health care plan does not cover you overseas, consider buying supplemental insurance to cover medical costs and emergency evacuation.  Foreign hospitals and doctors often require payment in cash, and medical evacuation can cost up to $100,000.   

You should check the cost of living of your host country. 


Part V: Suggestions from Stockton's Education Abroad Alum

When you are packing, consider your destination. Use an online weather website to determine what the weather will be like, and what you should be able to wear at a moment's notice. Going to England during the rainy season? You may want to bring a rain coat. What does the temperature feel like at night? Perhaps a hoodie would be appropriate.

Additionally, will the provider's apartment be furnished with pots, pans, plates, etc.? If not, are you able to contact your study abroad roommates to determine if you'll buy there, or ship it?

If you do not have a passport or visa, start that process as soon as possible. Passports last for quite a number of years, but if you have one, check to make sure it isn't expired. In most cases, it will take some time to secure these documents, and you don't want to lose the chance to study abroad because of any delays with them. 

Also, when you do your cost sheet, your visa will usually be projected in the cost analysis. However, the cost of a new or renewed passport is generally not considered, so be aware!

Please check the Department of State's U.S. Passports webpage for more details on locations, application, and timeline.

Please check Country Specific Information for visa issues. 

When it comes to funds, what is the best way to make sure you have access to cash when you need it? Also, your destination may require you to operate with the local currency rather than American dollars. Contacting your bank to inquire about access via your ATM card is a crucial element to this. Also, decide how much actual cash to have on you, versus safety. This is reviewed during the safety literature during your application process.

Most providers will provide you with a local cell phone that will make local phone calls. Many times, these costs are free, however this varies, so check with your provider. These cell phones are emergency use mostly, and carry expensive charges for US calling. Most students suggest securing a legitimate pre paid cell phone from a reputable seller at your destination; discuss with your onsite provider office for the best location for such a pre paid phone for calling home if need be.