Studies Abroad: After Acceptance and Initial Departure Questions
Yes, the program cost covers insurance so students will not need to purchase their own insurance. The University of Portland insures all of its students through CISI (Cultural Insurance Services International). Students will receive information about the policy and what it covers during the orientation process, including a claim form to be used if an injury does occur, and an insurance card, which the students should carry with them at all times while studying abroad. If a student will be participating in a program within the U.S., insurance coverage will not be provided. The student’s personal or current insurance supplied through UP will still hold.
Yes, all of the programs require that participants get a physical before they go. Students can do that with their own family physician or at the University Health Center. Students should check with their physicians to make sure that they are all up to date with their vaccinations and see if their doctors would suggest any additional vaccinations for the countries they will be traveling to. If a student is having his or her physical completed by his or her personal family physician, they need to send the completed physical form to the University Health Center. Additionally, it is a good idea for participants to get an eye exam and a dental check-up before they go.
Just as students can get sick in Portland, it is not uncommon for students to get sick abroad. To avoid illness, the same principles apply at home as abroad in terms of basic hygiene. Additionally, students should be mindful of food and water safety. Students should check to see if the water is safe where they are going. Additionally, poor refrigeration, undercooked meat, and roadside/outdoor vendors could pose problems related to food contamination. If a student gets diarrhea or food poisoning, she/he should drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. Students should make sure to give themselves time to adjust to new types of foods that they will be eating. Also, students should be sure to notify their program’s student coordinator if they have any food allergies or other health concerns.
No, the program cost will not cover plane tickets.
The student is responsible for purchasing his or her plane ticket. The University of Portland does not in any way deal with plane tickets in regards to studying abroad. All tickets must be researched and purchased by the program participant themselves. Often, program coordinators will make referrals to travel agents that students have had success with to help other students find good deals on travel expenses. Students should check with their individual program coordinator for travel agent referrals.
Generally, yes! Most of the programs provide places for students to have computer access with internet, and people have become so accustomed to laptops, it is virtually no problem traveling with one. Students will need to find adapters for their laptops because voltages are not the same. Interested students should check with their program information to learn about what facilities their site has to offer in terms of computers. When a student brings a laptop to another country, he or she also risks the chance of it getting stolen, so make sure to have insurance on the computer if possible.
- Students should make sure that their parents have a copy of all important documents including credit/ATM cards, passport, and driver’s license.
- Students need to bring a copy of their visa acceptance letter, the customs letter, their International Student Identity Card, Cultural Insurance Services International insurance card, their passport, and a copy of their birth certificate with them as they travel.
- Students should be sure to also have copies of the aforementioned documents somewhere with them, but carried separately from the originals. An extra set of passport photos is useful for replacing it in case the student’s passport is stolen or misplaced.
- Students should have a tag visible on the outside of their luggage. Also, writing the student’s name on a piece of paper and placing it within his or her luggage is useful in case the outside tag is lost.
- Students should keep important prescriptions including contacts and glasses in their carry-on luggage. They should pack an extra pair, just in case.
- Students need to keep all prescriptions in the marked containers from the pharmacy. If a medication is unusual or contains narcotics, the student should carry a letter from his or her doctor attesting to his or her need to take the drug. If the student has any doubts about the legality of carrying a certain drug into a country, he or she should consult the embassy or consulate in that country. Useful common first-aid items like bandages, aspirin, anti-diarrhea tablets, etc., are also an important thing to pack.
- Students should remember not to carry knives, mace, pepper spray, metal nail files, fingernail clippers, or other prohibited items with them in their carry-on luggage.
- Very casual, baggy, or revealing clothing items may attract attention or mark the wearer as a tourist. Students should only bring shoes that they can walk comfortably in.
- Students should speak with their phone companies about international service options. There are also many apps that allow for texting and calling when a phone is connected to WiFi, such as "Viber" and "WhatsApp". Program coordinators should be able to offer some advice as to what the best options are in each country.
- Students should always try to pack as lightly as possible. They will be able to move around more easily, risk losing fewer items, and have room for more souvenirs.
- It is important that students carry the minimum amount of valuables necessary for their trip and plan a place or places to conceal them (money belts, pockets in luggage, etc.). They should not bring important cards (Social Security, library, credit, etc.) that they will not use. Also, they should not bring any expensive or sentimentally-valuable items that they would hate to lose.
The best way to do this is to learn about the country (or countries) that they are going to be visiting, particularly health and safety issues in those countries. This includes reading about cultural and political climate, as well as learning about how others view people from their country, race, ethnic group, religion, gender, and sexual orientation. Additionally, they should make sure that they are aware of both the regulations of the study abroad program as well as the local laws and customs of the countries that they will be visiting. They should understand that they will not only have to conform to the legal system of the country they will be visiting, but also obey the codes of conduct required of study abroad program participants.
The Studies Abroad office pays close attention to state department warnings and would not ever send a student to a country that is not safe. Safety is also a personal responsibility! Students must be aware of their surroundings, not travel with expensive items, and avoid drawing attention to themselves as tourists. Students can check the state department website for country specific concerns.
- Keep hydrated (Drink plenty of water!)
- Get plenty of rest.
- Avoid caffeine or alcohol on the flight.
- Eat light meals.
- Set watches to the time of the destination.
Research has proved that taking certain amounts of melatonin helps reduce jet lag.
- Don't go to bed too early or sleep too late once you arrive in the country, following a normal sleep schedule will help you adjust more quickly.
Students will generally use ATM machines to take out money overseas. They should check with their banks before leaving abroad to make sure they can use foreign ATM machines and whether their debit/credit cards will even work abroad. It is recommended that students carry small amounts of foreign currency to cover daily expenses (food, tips, taxis etc.).