Agenda•Introduction•Logistical Information•Cultural Information•Refreshments•Country-Specific Break-Out Sessions•Completion of Forms
Education Abroad OfficeEric Miller, Director of Education AbroadJenny Sax, Assistant Program Director (Europe, Africa, Middle East, LatinAmerica)William Pruitt, Coordinator (UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Asia)Matthew Creasy, Graduate InternShannon Dove, Administrative Support SpecialistKevin Shutta (Estonia)Sarah Schneider (Chile and Spain)Carey Bald (South Africa)Tina Miles (Italy and Sweden)Venkat Subramanyam (Dominican Republic)Caroline Ickes, Graduate Assistant (Spain, Chile and Dominican Republic)Chloe Quivers, College of Engineering Student Representative (Australia)
The Basics•Passport •Do you have one yet?? •Do you need to renew it? •Make 2 copies of picture page•Visas •Varies for each country, but generally required for stays longer than 3 months (and some rules have changed!!) •Some countries now require student visas for summer programs as well. •You must apply for a visa yourself; the Education Abroad office can help you understand requirements, but we cannot apply for you. Look into what you need to do IMMEDIATELY! •Check requirements for your country on your country’s embassy or consulate website•Airfare •Check many different websites for the best airfare rates. •kayak.com, expedia.com, airgorilla.com statravel.com, studentuniverse.com, are some options (some airlines have unpublished student fares and you must call to get them) •Make sure that you are aware of any cancellation and itinerary change fees. •With all the concern about flu pandemics, coups, natural disasters, perhaps it would be wise to purchase travel/evacuation insurance??
Money and TravelMoney •Traveler’s Checks/Debit Card/Credit Card •Bring some cash in local currency •Tell your credit card company where you will be! •Interest on cards? •Transaction fees?•Travel Arrangements •Cheap student flights and train travel •Eurail Pass? Low-cost European airlines? ISIC Card? •Do you need a special visa for tourist travel to a different country??? •Airport Security Measures •Make sure you know of any changes or special security requirements •Different countries often have different regulations•Airport Security Measures •Make sure you know of any changes or special security requirements •Different countries often have different regulations
Financial Aid•Complete FAFSA and Education Abroad Program Document Form ASAP.•You must also fill out a Summer Aid application through Financial Aid•Discuss your financial aid and loan options with your financial aidcounselor.•If you are on a Non-VT program, the overseas international office mustcomplete the Verification of Enrollment form and fax or scan it back tous. Then aid will be disbursed.
VT BillYou will see an administrative fee on your bill.•Bilateral Program $300.00•Summer Bilateral $100.00•VT Direct $300.00•Non-VT and ISEP $50.00
The classroom is where?...and I’m getting credit for this?!?!
Academic IssuesCourse Registration Abroad •Different setting, different expectations – tricky registration •Be patient and ask questionsGet pre-approval for your courses—”Authorization to Take Courses Elsewhere”form through your academic dean’s office •You’ll earn “T” credits – but grad schools will possibly ask for original transcripts! •If you change classes, then another form must be completed (you can list more classes on the form than you plan on taking).You must take your classes for a letter grade (not pass/fail), and get an equivalentgrade of C or higher (B for graduate students) •If “pass” is one of the options for a letter grade, you need to get a letter from your coordinator explaining this and have the letter sent with your transcript.
Course Withdrawals/Resignations/Registration•Bilateral Exchange, ISEP or on Financial Aid, youDO NOT register for VT classes•We’ll register you for a special class #•If you already have classes on your schedule, we’lldrop them for you
Withdrawals/Resignations/RegistrationIf you haven’t registered… don’t.You’ll be taking a leave of absence simply by notsigning up for classes.Note: IF YOU ARE NOT GONE FOR MORE THAN 3CONSECUTIVE SEMESTERS, YOU’LL STILL BE AVT STUDENT, AND WON’T HAVE TO REAPPLY!
Transcripts and Future Registration at VT•Before leaving host campus, be sure you’ve done everything necessary foryour transcript to come back to VT•Have your transcripts sent to the Education Abroad office. If you getyour transcript, do not open it. It must be in a sealed envelope.•You should definitely arrange to get some extra transcripts in sealedenvelopes in case you apply to grad school or if future employers requestthem.•While abroad, you’ll register online for your return semester. We’llremind you, but you’re responsible. Plan ahead!
Credit Transfer•It is CRUCIAL that you save all course information,including syllabi, exams, reading lists, course descriptions,etc.•You may need this after coming back to Tech to finalize thecourse equivalency/ transfer process•If you are on financial aid, you need to work with the hostschool to get a final transcript sent to Tech within 6 monthsof the end of your program
Communication•Leave your contact info with OIRED•Set up a communication plan•Bring all necessary numbers… •…for your family, Academic Advisor, emergency contacts, home doctor, Ed. Abroad Office•Parents/family members/significant others/friends will worry •save the gory stories for your return •contact them in case of crisis, but avoid alarming them about minor issues—everything sounds worse when you are far away
Suggestions•Phone Cards (shop around!)•It is unlikely that your cell phone will work overseas, or itwill be very expensive•Purchase a cell (mobile) phone abroad•Prepaid “top-up” cards•Reminder: you likely won’t have your own phone in yourdorm, and you should not use your host family’s phone – theypay for local calls, too!
Healthcare•You must have health insurance that covers you outside of the U.S. …and OIRED needs it on file!•You’ll likely have to pay up front for doctor visits, hospital, service, etc.•Check amount and nature of coverage•Prescription medications – bring label with scientific name and note from doctor•Is it legal to bring your medication to your host country???•Avoid putting medication in plastic bags! ALWAYS use the original container!•Do you need any special immunizations and or vaccinations???•Check out these sites: • http://www.cdc.gov/ •http://www.who.int/en/
The nuts & bolts of Safety AbroadDon’t accept rides from strangers!!Don’t Be A Fool!
Safety and Prudence•YOU DO NOT TAKE YOUR RIGHTS AS AN AMERICAN WITH YOUABROAD!!!!•Safety – Be on alert until you feel comfortable with your area. Protectyour valuable documents.•If you’re traveling – do your research! Travel with a companion.•Avoid demonstrations (strikes, protests, etc…)!•Know the laws of your host country – you will be held accountable! VTCode of Conduct Applies too!
Safety and PrudenceCheck out these websites for more safetyinformation: www.asirt.org www.studentsabroad.state.gov www.saraswish.org www.travel.state.gov
Help Us to Help YOU•VT can help you with other personal and confidentialissues/challenges before you leave… •Alcoholism and Drug Addiction •Physical and Mental Issues •Eating Disorders •Family Dynamics •Others •Women’s Issues •Health •Personal Safety •Attitudes toward women in the host culture
Packing TipsAnd three pairs of jeans for the plane ride home!!!
Packing Tips!•Don’t pack everything you own, expensive items, or items of sentimentalvalue!•Do bring a rolling suitcase you can pick up easily and a small carry-onwith toothbrush and change of clothes.•People in other countries tend to dress up a lot more than we do. Leavethe flip-flops, college sweatshirts, baseball caps and t-shirts behind.•Do bring small (and ultimately disposable!) essentials like travel alarmclock, towel and batteries – and gifts for your host family!•And do bring a Mini Health Kit! Over-the-counter stuff you’re used to…and keep the package labels!
Food and Housing Issues•Living and eating abroad may not be what you’re used to… adjust yourexpectations accordingly•Expect different foods, meal customs, food safety concerns•And you won’t be able to prepare for most of it!... Especially interesting: •Public restrooms (the hole in the ground!) that you might have to pay to use •The (often lukewarm) push-button showers that last 10 seconds •The stuffy, close-quarters of public transportation
Final Checklist•…these are all the tips you need to head on out of here on theright foot•BRING YOUR PACKET WITH YOU•And if you still need assistance, we’re here for you!
Fun Forms•Program Liability Agreement (signed)•Emergency Contact and Information Release Form•Health Insurance Certification•Copy of acceptance form (can be turned in later)•Please drop them off at the front table with the OIRED staffon your way out the door!
Self Assessment:Changes in Latitude…Changes in Attitude…
Cultural Information•Consular Information Sheets•Be sure to check www.travel.state.gov periodically•Pay close attention to Safety & Security, Medical Issues and HealthInformation•Culture Grams (country-specific)•Provides detailed information related to history, politics, education,language, dating, diet, holidays…•Visit www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/ for country specific background notes
What is Culture Shock? CULTURE SHOCK is a term coined by theanthropologist Kalvero Oberg (He died in 1973). He was one of the first scholars to describe the more pronounced reactions to the psychological disassociation most people experience when theylive in a culture that is different than their own. One must go through it in order to have the pleasure of experiencing other cultures and countries in depth.
Dealing with Culture Shock•You will experience Culture Shock—it can be a good thing depending onhow you react to it.•Your reactions to situations can cause more problems than the situationsthemselves.•Remember that the anxiety and disorientation you feel is normal.Others are experiencing the same thing.•Keep busy and do things you find enjoyable.•Be open-minded and flexible. Things are different, not wrong.•Maintain a sense of humor.
Cultural Adjustment•Cultural adjustment and culture shock are goodthings•Stages of cultural adjustment (4 Stages) •“Honeymoon” phase •“Culture Shock” phase •“Adjustment” phase •“Adaptation” phase
THE CULTURAL ICEBERG - art business practices literature dress/fashion architecture customs drama/acting music law religious rituals games in awareness food/cooking dancing out of awareness beliefs values superstitions attitudes body language facial expressions sex view of disease concept of beauty eye behavior patterns of visual perception group decision -making ordering of time patterns of superior/inferior rela tions notion on sin conversational practices in various social contexts nature of friendship courtship practices patterns of handling emotions arrangement of physical space relationship to animals attitudes toward death work incentivespursuit of pleasure class occupation logic and validity s elf concept concepts of past and future definition of justice kinship concept of status mobility notions of puberty and adol escence concept of cleanliness definition of sanity roles in relations to status by age etc.
Possible Symptoms of Culture Shock•Homesickness•Compulsive eating (or drinking or shopping!)•Withdrawal/ Isolation•Unexplainable crying/ anger/ irritability/sensitivity•Boredom•Exaggerated cleanliness/obsession with hygiene•Stereotyping•Family tension or conflict•Hostility towards locals•Excessive sleep
Helpful Techniques to Work Through the “Process” of Culture Shock•Exercise (not obsessively!)•Keep a journal.•Keep in touch with family and friends.•Immerse yourself in the culture and try to make friends—not justAmericans.•Join a club, volunteer somewhere or go to a religious or spiritualorganization of your choice.•Analyze and assess your experiences, feelings and reactions with logicand intellect—not just emotion.•Talk to people going through the same experiences.•Do not take things personally! Be tolerant and open-minded.•Expect things and people to be different.
Reverse Culture Shock•Coming home will be difficult•Family and friends change—they may not be interested inhearing your stories over and over again•Others who have lived or studied abroad are generally moresupportive in this•Come to OIRED—We’ll listen and give suggestions forkeeping your experiences vivid.
Student Advice•Students who have studied abroad are your best resource•Come to the OIRED and look at student evaluations of their experiences•Set up an appointment to speak with one of the OIRED staff members•Contact Cranwell International Center to meet with an international studentfrom your host country•Be an English language partner through the Langauge and Culture Institute•Remember, the more you know before you go the more prepared you will be•See “useful hints” in your packet
“The Ugly American”•Negative, but has nothing to do with physical features•You can avoid being labeled as “The Ugly American”•Be genuinely interested in your host country/people•Ask questions, attend events/festivals, read the newspaper•Don’t expect special treatment and don’t assume everyone speaksEnglish. Learn some basic phrases.•What do we want others to think about us?•You are Ambassadors of the U.S. and Virginia Tech
Let’s play 50 Questions!•Learn about your host country•Host country nationals like to know that you are informed abouttheir country and customs•What are the laws?•When are business hours?•How do people dress?•Etc.
Resources for Study Abroad•Books•Travel Guides•Collections•Videos•Magazines•Web Sites•Health Issues•GLBT Issues Abroad•Students with Disabilities•Students of Color
Country Specific Sessions Agenda 30 minute session with returnees and host country nationals•In group each person introduces themselves and tells what program they areattending•Returnees/host country nationals will share authentic documents/resources(show and tell)•Everyone writes down one question they want to know about thatcountry/region.•Returnees/host country national will answer questions from theirknowledge/experiences•If time permits another round of questions•At end students should share e-mail addresses, if they wish