But there are a few more steps, and a few more things to consider. The Office of International Programs holds a pre-departure orientation session each semester for students going abroad. You will be notified of the date by email (usually near the end of the semester).The following items will help prepare you further for your journey:
Plan Your Trip
You're getting ready to go!
Apply for a U.S. Passport
If you do not have a passport, begin applying immediately – it can be a lengthy process. If you have a passport, make sure it is valid for at least six months beyond the end date of your program; if it is not, you should begin the renewal process immediately.
Please refer to the following links from the State Department’s website in order to acquire a U.S. passport:
- Complete all of your assigned Enrollment forms in your online account.
- Remember that you can access these forms before and after you depart.
- Most countries (not all) will require you to register as a visitor and/or student before you arrive in that country.
- The process to obtain a visa is different for every country, thus it is important to determine what are the visa requirements for the countries to which you will travel during your time abroad. CLICK HERE for a list of foreign Embassies.
- Follow the visa application process carefully and thoroughly. This process can take anywhere from one day to several months
- Presbyterian College requires that all PC students participating in an international program carry medical and emergency insurance that will cover you in another country.
- Once you are approved and admitted to your program, OIP staff will enroll you in an international medical and emergency insurance plan with CISI.
- Understand what this policy will cover and NOT cover.
Learn more about your Host Country
- Basic Facts (location, size, history, language, religion, cultural values, etc.)
- Current Events (economic, political, social movements, athletics and entertainment, etc.)
- Tourist Information (important things to see and do, weather, transportation systems)
- Health and Safety (U.S. State Dept. Information, CDC, etc.)
- Click here for the CDC guidelines on travel: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices
- Pre-Departure Orientation at PC
All PC students are required to attend a Pre-Departure Orientation meeting offered by OIP staff.
- You will likely over-pack for your journey, but try very hard not to.
- You can find American and American-style products in most countries throughout the world, so it isn’t necessary to take everything you think you might need to live for the entire term abroad.
- Make sure that you take prescription medications in their original bottles with original labels and take extra copy of the written prescription from your physician. Some prescription medications allowed in the USA are not legal in some other countries. Thus, it’s important that you ask your physician to check and see if your specific medication is legal and refillable in your host country.
- Extra baggage and too-heavy luggage can add very expensive costs to you at the airport (and not allowed on some airlines). Be sure you know the luggage requirements for the airline(s) you will be traveling with.
- Check your flight status before leaving home to see if you can tell if your flight is delayed or canceled.
- ARRIVE EARLY! Processing for International flights takes longer than domestic flights. Especially if you are a first-time traveler, you will need extra time to navigate the airport check-in process and getting to your gate. Most airlines recommend that international travelers arrive at least three hours prior to boarding.
- Carry the contact information for the person expected to meet you at the airport at your destination, and take it in your carry-on luggage. In case your flight is delayed or canceled you should contact the arrival staff.
- DO NOT FORGET YOUR PASSPORT!!!
You made it!
Once you are in-country, begin to get to know your surroundings. Immerse yourself and maximize your time abroad!
Here are a few things to remember while you are away:
- Notify the OIP when you arrive at your host institution
- Email the OIP (email@example.com) as soon as you arrive at your host institution to let us know you arrived safely.
- Login to your online account and fill in the “Contact While Abroad” section of your profile. This will help us keep in-touch with you for emergency purposes.
Course Registration at your host Institution
- If you have not already registered, review your transient form to make sure you enroll only in courses that you have gotten approved at PC. Although you may take whatever courses you like, you will only receive credit for approved courses.
- If you need to change your course selection to enroll in a course that you did not get pre-approved at PC, you must contact your Academic Advisor (by phone and/or email) and have the course approved.
- Once the additional course has been approved please forward those emails to OIP and the Registrar’s Office.
Communicate with OIP while you are abroad
- We are always interested to hear about your experiences while you are abroad. Do not hesitate to contact any of the staff in the OIP office to share how things are going.
- Feel welcome to send us a postcard, photos and videos.
- Especially if you have problems, contact OIP to discuss your issues.
Registration for courses at PC when you return
You should receive a campus wide email week with registration information. Since you are studying away from PC, you have three options for pre-registration:
- Contact your advisor for him/her to register you
- Contact Vicky Wilson with your course schedule listing and she will register you
- Or register yourself through Bannerweb
Remember that you cannot register before your specified time based on your classification. If you have any questions, please contact Vicky Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enjoy the opportunity of a lifetime!
Returning from studying abroad often brings unique challenges and unexpected stress that require special attention and reflection. If this is happening to you, know that you are not alone!
The OIP hosts a Next Steps & Career and Professional Development Session each semester where you have a forum to share stories with other returning students, discuss reverse culture shock, and learn about opportunities to get involved locally and continue your international path from right here on campus. A representative from the Office of Career Programs also visits to discuss how to translate the skills you have acquired into job-hunting proficiency and career success.
Over the course of the year, we will keep you posted about opportunities to promote studying abroad, such as representing your program at the study abroad fair, speaking on a panel about study abroad for prospective students, visiting classes and dorms, or working part-time in the OIP.