Eagles Abroad Predeparture Information
Shiloe Mokay '07 taking pictures with African children in The Gambia.
Read eagles abroad blogs
Study abroad is an exciting experience, but getting a visa, registering at foreign univeristy, and adapting to a new culture can be challenging processes. Here are some general resources to help you ease the transition. For country specific information, click here.
At Juniata, students are required to attend 4 separate pre-departure meetings prior to going abroad. Each meeting is designed to address the various issues surrounding studying abroad - academics, policies and procedures, health and safety, site-specific questions, cultural awareness, and more. You can read more about these meetings here:
Pre-departure #1 -Study Abroad Introduction
Pre-departure #2- Site-specific
Pre-departure #3 - Pre-departure Bonanza
Pre-departure #4 - Health, Safety, and Security
If you do not have a passport, you should apply for one immediately. It takes 4-6 weeks to process your application. You will need to present the following documents:
- Application Form (available online: travel.state.gov)
- 1 Passport-sized photo (can be taken at the CIE 2 for $10. Or AAA, Rite Aid, the Huntingdon Post Office)
- Birth Certificate (Must be original copy with raised seal and parent(s) names. They will not take photocopies.)
- Photo ID (Driver's License, State ID, Military ID, etc.)
- Photocopy of ID
- $110 Application Fee (check made out to Department of State)
- $25 Check made out to the processing agency
Remember, you passport must be valid for at least 6 months after your return from abroad and you may need to apply for a new one if it was issued before you turned 16. For more information, please visit the State Department Website travel.state.gov.
Accidents can happen, and all students should take proper, common sense safety precautions while abroad: don't walk home alone at night or in dimly-lit areas, watch out for pickpockets in crowded areas, don't flash money or valuables in public. All students should read through the following information before leaving to find out how to protect themselves from crime and what to do should they have a medical emergency or become a victim of crime.
In addition to the general safety information provided at pre-departure orientation and on the State Department website, all students, especially those travelling to non-Western or developing countries should consult the CDC website to learn about health issues in their host country (Is the water safe to drink?) and to determine what vaccines or medical precautions might be necessary (i.e. malaria pills, insect repellant, etc.).
Students and their families should be aware that the U.S. Department of State maintains a website for U.S. citizen students who are, or will be, studying abroad. It may be found at www.studentsabroad.state.gov and addresses the following subject areas:
- Enrolling ones' presence abroad with the nearest U.S. Embassy through the STEP Enrollment Program at: https://step.state.gov/step/
- Checking country-specific conditions as well as travel warnings and alerts at: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/pa/pa_1766.html
- Offering students travel safety and other traveling tips provided at: www.travel.state.gov/travel/tips/tips_1232.html
Health issues abroad: For more information, download the article "Staying Healthy Away from Home" published by The Language Educator, April 2008.
Living with a host family is the best way to perfect your language skills and to immerse yourself in the host culture. However, it is challenging to be a guest in someone's house and it it often difficult to learn what is expected behavior and what is proper etiquette in a foreign household. Communication is key. Students should speak with their host family when they first arrive to see what is allowed and what the normal family routine is (Are you allowed to keep things in the fridge and to use the kitchen? Will your host family do your laundry or are you expected to go to a laundromat? Are you expected to take short showers?).
Students should bring with them a small gift for their host family. It is a nice gesture to thank the hosts for taking a stranger into their home. Students should also think about bringing a small photo album with them to share with their host family. It's a great icebreaker and most students, even if their language is basic, know how to say "mother" or "friend" in the foreign language. It's a good way to ease into speaking a foreign language with native speakers. It's also nice to have some photos of friends and family when homesickness hits.