Before departing on a program, students will meet with Off-Campus Study staff to prepare for their new environments, discuss methods to stay safe, and review program details.
Below, you can find an overview of these pre-departure topics.
If you have any questions, please contact email@example.com.
- Plan to meet with your academic advisor to discuss courses you could take that would fit in with your overall academic curriculum and goals.
- Complete all necessary paperwork and forms (such as the transfer course form).
A visa grants a traveler permission by the host country to enter, leave, or stay for a specified period of time. Different kinds of visas are issued for different situations. Not all passport holders need visas for all host countries. Work with an OCS program manager to obtain your visa.
Part of making a successful trip involves making sure your travel advisor has all of the information needed regarding your personal information and preferences. Beyond confirming the flights, hotels and cars needed are several things you can give your advisor:
- Name as it appears on your passport (plus passport number and expiration date)
- Date of birth
- Cell phone number and email address
- Seating preference and any frequent flyer numbers
- Meals and special assistance
Colgate's Travel Agent/Student Accounts
Colgate University’s travel agent, Christopherson Business Travel (CBT), can assist students with arranging their travel arrangements. Students who receive financial aid are encouraged to use CBT’s services, since the price of the flight can be added to their university bill directly, without having to pay for the arrangements in advance.
Packing Tips - Checked Luggage
- Plan to bring one large suitcase that weighs no more than 50 lbs.
- Bring versatile clothing that can mix and match, and be easily layered.
- A raincoat and sensible shoes for walking long distances are a must.
- Lay out everything you plan to take, then put half of it back!
- Pack an empty duffel or collapsible suitcase to bring home the treasures / gifts / cool clothes you bought while abroad.
- Do not pack your passport, money, jewelry, medications or other valuables in your checked bag. Keep those items with you
Packing Tips - Carry-on
- You will be allowed one carry-on (a small roller is great) and one personal item (purse or backpack) for the plane. Your personal item must fit under your seat.
- A great tips is to use a carry-on bag (“hand luggage”) that will double as your short-trip luggage for independent travel on the weekends and short excursions. Check your airline for size limits.
- Pack a change of clothes and a toiletry kit, including prescriptions, in your carry-on bag in case your checked luggage is lost or delayed.
- Put liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes in a quart-sized Ziplock bag. These are limited to travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item. Items that are in containers larger than 3.4 ounces should go in your checked baggage.
- Pack your electronics (laptop, iPad, chargers) in your carry-on and be prepared to take them out at the security checkpoint.
- You can carry an empty water bottle through security and then fill it at water fountains as you travel. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated while flying.
Culture Shock is the feeling of disorientation experienced by someone when they are suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes. Remember, culture shock is normal.
Five tips for avoiding culture shock:
- Keep familiar things, like photos, around.
- Find a supplier of familiar foods.
- Not only is exercise a great way to keep fit, but also a way to meet people.
- Make friends with international students, whether from your own culture or another. They’ll understand how you’re feeling. Also speak with home local students to learn about each other’s cultures.
- The local institution will have a range of support to offer, including orientation programs. You’ll meet new people, and learn about your new home town.
A stereotype is a held, but fixed, oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing.
Stereotypes of Americans
- Boastful and arrogant
- Disrespectful of authority
- Extravagant and wasteful
- Ignorant of other countries and cultures
- Think they know everything
- Think every country should imitate the US
- Rude and immature
- Loud and obnoxious
- Rich and wealthy
Mark Kantrowitz, www.edupass.org. 2016
Learn as much as you can before you go!
- Students Abroad (Country reports and more)
- Culture Crossing Guide (Culture/customs wiki)
- CDC (Country-specific medical guides)
For information about cultural differences around identity (gender and gender expression, race, ethnicity, sexuality, religion):
- Share your program cost estimate with your parents/guardians.
- If you have an award from Financial Aid, you might have an overage that can be used for daily living expenses. You will need to email them to ask for this money to be released to you and give directions where you want it deposited.
- Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to talk to someone about specifics of your package.
Money tips while abroad
- Purchase and take some local currency to use on arrival (online, some banks, AAA).
- Alternatively, withdraw money through an ATM on arrival (cheaper) or exchange money at the airport (more costly).
- Take at least one ATM and one chip/pin credit card with you (Master Card/Visa work best).
- Notify your bank/credit card companies that you are traveling and where you will be before you leave. Learn about international fees or partner banks.
- Develop a budget and stick to it–this will vary from person to person, but cost estimates will guide you. Live like a local to save money and gain a new perspective.
Tips for living frugally
- Avoid ATM fees by taking out chunks of money at one time rather than smaller amounts more often.
- Walking is free. Book travel off peak times to save on fares.
- Look and ask for student discounts - they are everywhere!
- Think ahead and prepare now to ensure your well being while abroad.
- Use this Self-Guided Healthcare Action Plan to help you prepare for your needs for health care and medication while abroad.
- Colgate physician Dr. Merrill Miller will review your Confidential Physician's Report. Be sure to complete the form honestly and accurately. Contact Doc Miller with any questions about your health and medical care.
- Confirm travel immunizations. Consult your student health center and the Center for Disease Control.
- Before departure, visit any health care providers you see regularly (physician, dentist, optometrist, therapist, counselor, etc).
- Share pre-existing medical conditions and any need for medical or academic accommodations with your study group director.
- If you will need prescribed medicine while abroad, make plans now.
- Take enough of any regular prescriptions to cover the time you will be away.
- Carry all medications in your carry-on luggage in their original containers with your name on the prescription label.
- Take written copies of each prescription.
- Make sure the prescription includes the drug’s generic name, dosage, instructions, and reason for prescribing the drug.
- Be prepared to make alternate arrangements.
- Not all prescription drugs are legal in all countries.
- CISI will help you determine if your medication is legal in your destination and will offer assistance in making alternate arrangements.
- DO NOT SHIP MEDICATIONS and do not plan on having U.S. prescriptions filled while abroad.
- NY Times: "How to make sure you travel with medication legally."
- Maintain a keen awareness of your surroundings.
- Keep an eye on your luggage!
- Do not invite acquaintances to your living quarters.
- Keep informed about local events and safety conditions.
- Enter ICE (In Case of Emergency) contacts in your smartphone.
- Know the local equivalent of “911” and other emergency phone numbers, including that of the U.S. (or your home country) Embassy or Consulate.
- Know how to reach your program staff in an emergency.
- Know your address and different ways to get to your residence.
- Use common sense in divulging information about yourself to strangers. Remember, not everyone has your best interests in mind.
- Develop a communication plan with your family and practice before you depart.
- If you travel independently, communicate your plans in advance to your study group director.
- Let your friends know of your travel and regular comings and goings.
- Be sure you are reachable by cell phone and/or email at all times.
- Continue to check your Colgate email.
- Register all travel with I-SOS and heed travel advice.
- Do not carry your passport with you on a normal day in your study group site. Use your student ID for non-travel days.
- We recommend that you carry your travel documents with you every time you travel out of the area.
- You will be automatically enrolled with the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) https://step.state.gov/step/ (for US citizens).
- Review state department travel advisories at www.travel.state.gov
- Access the Colgate University Global Assistance Program through International SOS for country-specific information and international security and travel assistance. Colgate’s member number is 11BSGC000073.
- At the member portal homepage, select the country you are traveling to and learn more.
- Select “Email Alerts” to sign up for automatic safety and security alerts in your Study Group site or locations you are traveling to.