Studies Abroad: While Abroad Questions
- Be cautious about accepting food or drink (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) from strangers.
- Students should keep in control of their situations: stay with friends whenever possible, avoid high crime areas, do not stay out past the local curfew, and remain alert and awake when they are outside their lodging/residence.
- Be conscientious of the gestures that they make, which may be offensive in a different culture.
- Remember that they will often be seen as representatives of where they are from and behave accordingly. Avoid political activities or conversations over contentious issues.
- Ask a program professor/director about what social customs/behaviors are acceptable and other safety concerns.
Many students report feeling a little jet-lagged, confused, or lonely during their first few days abroad. Fortunately, these feelings fade pretty quickly and students often find themselves not wanting to leave when the program is over! Students can settle in more easily by making friends with the people that they live with, calling home, sightseeing, and enjoying their new surroundings.
Students should look at their class syllabi and plan when they will complete major projects or papers. Also, they should arrange their trips so that they avoid busy times when many assignments are due, such as during midterm and final weeks. If a student’s schedule seems packed, they can consider taking a daytrip instead of a weekend trip or doing most of their traveling before or after the program.
If classes are taught by non-University of Portland staff, students should keep in mind that their professors’ expectations for classroom environment and grading may be different from what they are used to. Student coordinators will give program participants more information about this during orientation meetings.