“Wherever you go, go with all your heart," wrote Confucius. As you prepare to study abroad, you may be excited, scared, overwhelmed, or some combination of all three. At the International Office, we want to help you feel prepared for studying abroad. So before you get overwhelmed by everything you have to do--or, worse, travel to your destination and find yourself in over your head--use the list below to help you get ready!
Embarking on this new adventure is the opportunity of a lifetime. Bill Bryson said, "To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” Discover the mindset of travel and exploration. Travel in the footsteps of others who had gone before and learn from others' wisdom, so that when you leave, you can leave with your heart and mind open to the journey!
Passports, Visas, and Government Resources
(The Serious Stuff)
Use the following links to apply for visas, get your passport, make sure you have all the vaccinations you'll need, and research facts about the country you're studying in. The International Office will help you fill out the paperwork you need, but you can use the links below as a further resource.
StudentsAbroad.gov This US government website provides resources such as travel document information, embassy information, health and safety information, voting abroad information, and more that is specifically geared towards students studying abroad.
Center for Disease Control Research what vaccinations you'll need and learn about medical health while abroad
The CIA World Factbook Be “in” on all the secrets CIA has to offer about countries around the world. (Not really. It's just a list of facts about each country.)
Health and Safety Abroad
(To quote the Lion King, "Be Prepared!")
As you travel, you may find yourself feeling weaker both physically and emotionally than you are used to at home. After all, everything will be new and unfamiliar. Knowing how to keep yourself healthy and safe will allow you to simply focus on enjoying the experience.
StudentsAbroad.com Student safety information and notes, by country
DiversityAbroad.com Female safety abroad -- do your research to make sure you don’t give the wrong impression without realizing it!
Cultural Sensitivity Abroad
(Don't be an Obnoxious Tourist)
When you study abroad, you represent more than just yourself. You're representing JBU, your country, and your faith. No pressure. To help you represent well and avoid some of the most embarrassing mistakes, check out the links below. You'll probably still make mistakes and have funny stories to tell when you get back, but at least you won't make the same mistakes as those who have gone before you!
42 Biggest Travel Do's and Don'ts Learn to be culturally aware with this fun infographic!
Culture Crossing Don't be a stereotypical dumb tourist. Instead, use this guide to select your country and learn about its quirks, foibles, and cultural mores.
Faux Pas in Memes A few funny stories of faux pas students have made while studying overseas. Told in memes!
(It happens. Really.)
"Culture shock" is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot when traveling to and fro across the earth. What is culture shock, though? Culture shock is stress, frustration, sadness, loneliness, and other emotions that result from studying or living overseas. While culture shock looks different for everyone, it's a completely normal part of international transition. Why do we have culture shock? Usually, culture shock comes from seeing the stark or subtle contrasts between how we're used to living and the new, different lifestyle in a different country. It can also be a classic case of expectations versus reality. Check out the links below for some really helpful advice about dealing with culture shock as you go overseas.
CU Boulder Cultural Adjustment This page provides a general overview of the issues involved with homesickness, the "honeymoon period," and other stresses and problems in cultural transition.
UC Irvine Cultural Adjustment Another great cultural resource with tips for easing the cultural adjustment.
What's Up With Culture? An extremely in-depth mini-course from University of the Pacific that you can use to self-analyze as you prepare for and return from your study abroad experience. Not for the faint at heart, but very useful information to be aware of in your transitions.
Other Helpful Links
Check out the links below for a packing list, stories from students, international news, and currency exchange information.
Calvin College Packing List Suggestions for what to bring and what not to bring as you begin your study abroad experience
Let's Go Student travel stories and tips written by students, for students
New York Times - International New York Times international news section; check this regularly while you’re abroad to stay updated on current news
XE Currency Currency exchange rates and conversions for money around the world