When helping your student prepare for his or her time abroad, it can be tough to balance between “helicoptering” and under-involvement. The information in this section is shared with all study abroad participants in info sessions, study abroad interviews, pre-departure orientation meetings, emails and one-on-one advising sessions. At pre-departure orientation, each student receives a study abroad handbook with detailed information about what he or she needs to do in preparation for his or her time abroad. We include this information for you as parents/guardians so you have an understanding of what has been communicated to students and can help guide them in pre-departure preparations.
All travel outside of the U.S. requires a passport. If a student does not have a passport, they will need to apply for one as soon as possible.
If your student already has a passport, he or she needs to check the expiration date. Many countries have passport validity rules or visa specifications that require a passport to be valid for up to six months after the date of one’s return to the United States.
The processing time for a passport application can take four to six weeks, so students are encouraged to plan ahead.
For U.S. citizens: To obtain a passport application and for more detailed information on how to apply or renew a passport, students are encouraged to visit the U.S. State Department website: http://travel.state.gov/passport.
For non-U.S. citizens: To obtain or renew a passport, students should check with their local embassy or consulate.
At pre-departure orientation, the Freeman study abroad office reminds students that their passport is the most important document they have when outside of the United States. They should know where it is at all times. Students are advised to make several copies of the photo and signature pages of their passport and keep the copies separate from their baggage. In most countries it is not necessary that students carry their passports with them at all times. In fact, students are strongly advised to leave it in a locked and secure place at their domicile, e.g., apartment, dorm, hotel room, or hostel.
Students will need a visa to study abroad in most countries if their stay is more than 90 days. In most cases, student visas need to be obtained in the U.S. prior to a student’s departure.
Visas are issued by a consulate or embassy of one’s host country. Each country has its own immigration and visa policies. Students should contact the consulate or embassy of the country to which they are traveling or visit the embassy or consulate’s website for more information. Student should plan early, as some visa applications can take up to three or four months to process! If an appointment is required, we advise students to schedule it as soon as they are accepted to a program. Timing can be a little tricky, since sometimes the student will need to submit a letter of acceptance from his or her host university and/or proof of accommodations, but a student should not necessarily wait to receive these documents before scheduling an appointment. For example, in the past students going abroad in the spring have waited until November or December, after receiving all acceptance documents, to schedule an appointment. However, it can be difficult to get an appointment during the holiday season, creating issues for students departing in January or February. We recommend students inquire about visa processing times and schedule an appointment that works best with their timeline.
A valid passport with a sufficient number of blank pages is needed prior to applying for a visa.
For U.S. citizens: For a list of foreign entry requirements and consular contact numbers students can visit http://travel.state.gov and review their host country’s fact sheet. Alternatively, students can contact the embassy or consulate of their host country directly to verify the visa requirements.
For non-U.S. citizens: Students are advised to verify the visa requirements with the embassy or consulate of the country to which they are traveling. In addition, if the student is in the U.S. on an F-1 student visa, they will need to make sure that their F-1 visa is not expired or will expire by the time they wish to return to the U.S. Students may consult with the Tulane Office of International Students and Scholars for additional guidance.
Please note: Many consulates and embassies require that applicants apply in person for their student visas. Each consulate or embassy covers a specific jurisdiction, and students may be required to travel to the consulate or embassy that corresponds with a student’s permanent address. For example, residents of New York may be required to travel to New York City or Washington D.C. to apply for their student visas. Residents of Louisiana typically must travel to Houston. In some cases, Tulane students with a permanent address outside of Louisiana that are unable to travel to a consulate or embassy in another region may apply for a student visa at the consulate in Houston. Students should contact their host country’s consulate in Houston for more information.
It is important that students research visa processing times at the consulate or embassy at which they are applying and schedule the visa appointment accordingly.
The Freeman study abroad office is limited in its ability to provide information about how to obtain a visa for a foreign country. Visa requirements vary depending on student’s nationality, their host country, their length of stay, and the embassy or consulate that processes their application. We can certainly provide general information but students should contact the embassy or consulate of their host country for specific requirements, details and guidance.
Proof of Financial Support
Many embassies or consulates ask parents/guardians for proof of financial support if you will be supporting your student financially while he or she is abroad. In some cases you will be required [TML1] to submit three months of bank statements, a copy of your ID and a notarized letter of financial support. Typically, original notarized letters are required – not copies. Your student will tell you if it needed. Below is a sample letter you can modify and use in support of your student’s visa application:
Consulate General of (Country Name)
To Whom It May Concern:
I hereby certify that I am the (father/mother/legal guardian/other) of (student name) and I will support (him/her) with a monthly allowance of at least (amount) while (he/she) is in (country name) and that I am financially responsible for any emergency that may arise.
If you have any questions concerning this matter, please call me at (home/cell phone) or e-mail me at (email address).
Many countries require proof that students will have a monthly allowance of at least $1,000 while abroad.
HEALTH AND TRAVEL INSURANCE
Health and Travel Insurance Policy: GeoBlue Worldwide
As participants in a Tulane-approved program abroad for credit, students are enrolled in a student health and travel insurance plan through GeoBlue Worldwide for the duration of their program abroad. Once they have been enrolled in the insurance they will receive an email to login to their account at www.GeoBluestudents.com. Students should sign into the site to print their insurance card and access comprehensive information and services related to their plan. They can track claims, search for a doctor, view plan information, download claim forms and read health and security information through the GeoBlue student website. Students should be sure they can login to GeoBlue Worldwide and print their insurance card before they leave. If they have difficulty logging into their GeoBlue Worldwide account, they should contact the Freeman study abroad office.
Some of the key benefits and services included in the GeoBlue insurance plan are:
- Physician office visits
- Mental health benefits
- Referrals for legal assistance
- Medical, political/security, and natural disaster evacuation
- Lost luggage reimbursement
For more information on GeoBlue Worldwide, including an overview of benefits, limitations, and exclusions, you and/or your student can visit www.GeoBluestudents.com.
Note: If your student is currently receiving medical care or mental health services or treatment, they should contact GeoBlue Worldwide prior to departure for study abroad to make arrangements to continue treatment abroad.
Students’ GeoBlue coverage begins one week prior to the date they are expected to be at school (e.g., first day of orientation) and ends one week after the last day of their term abroad. If students plan to arrive early or remain abroad after insurance coverage ends, it is their responsibility to enroll and pay for additional coverage dates if desired. To extend coverage, students should contact GeoBlue.
T (inside the U.S.): 800.257.4823
T (outside the U.S.) +1.610.254.8771
YOUR STUDENT’S HEALTH – ISSUES, CONCERNS, AND PRE-DEPARTURE REPORTING
Once your student has been accepted into a program, he or she should make an appointment for a medical examination to ensure that he or she is in good health before leaving. The student should request required and/or recommended immunizations and ask for copies of important records and prescriptions in generic form that they can take with them abroad. Students should update their health records, including vision correction prescriptions and regular medications. We recommend that students take an extra pair of eyeglasses and/or contact lenses with them abroad.
It is Tulane’s policy that all study abroad participants maintain domestic medical insurance in the U.S., even when abroad. Students can use their domestic policy for pre-departure check-ups as well as any medical needs should they return to the U.S. prior to the end of the term.
Living and learning in a different physical and social environment places additional demands on one’s mind and body. The emotional effects of confronting a new lifestyle can arouse anxiousness, bewilderment and discouragement. As a result, students may experience stress while traveling abroad. If students take proper care of themselves through rest, relaxation and activities such as reading and exercise, they may be more capable of making a healthy adjustment to their surroundings. If a student needs additional mental health care while abroad, they should contact GeoBlue.
Health Information Form
For their safety, students are required to submit a completed physician’s statement to the Freeman study abroad office and disclose their health history and/or any special medical needs they may have. It is important that the student be clear and forthright about their health status when participating in a study abroad program.
It may take a minimum of two months for a student to complete all immunizations and a physical for their travel, so we advise students to plan ahead. First the student should make an appointment to see a doctor for a medical exam and for a record of what vaccinations he or she may have already received. Your student may be able to receive additional immunizations through the regular doctor’s office, however sometimes students have to go to a travel clinic for additional vaccinations. Local clinics include:
Tulane University Travel Clinic:
1440 Canal St, Suite 1501
New Orleans LA 70112
Metairie Travel Clinic
3621 Ridgelake Dr, Suite 206
Metairie LA 70002
It is the student’s responsibility to obtain the proper vaccinations. For current health conditions and recommended vaccinations for one’s host country, students should visit the Center for Disease Control’s website: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/vaccinations.htm.
HIV and Other STIs
As in the U.S., students abroad should take appropriate precautions to avoid exposure to the HIV virus as well as other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as gonorrhea, syphilis, and herpes. Knowing this and taking precautions, such as refraining from blood to blood contact (e.g., unsterilized needles, ear piercing, tattoos) and unprotected sex is the best way to avoid infection.
HIV Antibody Testing Overseas
Some countries may require HIV anti-body tests and there may be constraints on what countries a student can enter if he or she is HIV-positive. Students can check with the consulate or embassy of the country in which they will be studying and any others they plan to visit for information about entry requirements.
Hepatitis is a serious liver disease that is most commonly caused by a virus and students may be at risk of exposure to that virus while traveling. Prevention is key to avoid contracting viral hepatitis. One of the most effective ways to protect oneself is to get vaccinated. If your student is going to be in an area at risk for viral hepatitis, we recommend he or she talk to the doctor about getting vaccinated.
Other steps one can take to prevent contracting hepatitis A (which is usually spread through unsanitary conditions and contaminated water) are: drink only bottled water, don’t add ice to drinks, avoid eating unpeeled or raw fruits and salads, practice thorough hand-washing techniques often, avoid eating shellfish and raw fish caught in contaminated waters and don’t swim in water that might be contaminated.
Preventative steps against hepatitis B (which is usually spread through direct contact with infected body fluids) include: practice safe sex, avoid activities that puncture the skin (tattooing or body piercing), don’t share personal items (toothbrushes or razors), and minimize the risk for an accident by avoiding activities that might cause injuries and bleeding.
Study abroad is both enormously fulfilling and challenging for students and can present some additional challenges for students with mental health conditions. The challenges of adjusting to a new environment coupled with the absence of a familiar support system may exacerbate existing conditions. Students going abroad are encouraged to work with a professional before they leave to discuss their mental health and/or other concerns they have about traveling abroad. Students can make an appointment through the Student Health at Tulane to meet with a therapist/counselor prior to departure.
Tulane Campus Health Services
CAPS for Counseling Services
Building #14, Science and Engineering Lab (in the Academic Quad)
Students are advised NOT to make changes to medications prior to or during travel!
If a student abroad is in trouble, we encourage them to let their family, friends, the on-site international office, Tulane therapist or our office know so that someone can help them. Should students need professional services abroad, they should contact GeoBlue for a referral to a counselor, clinic or hospital where they are staying. Tulane is unable to offer phone counseling or videoconferencing to students abroad except in the case of emergency.
Prescriptions, Non-prescription Medications, Vitamins, Herbs, and Health Supplements
Students should plan to take enough of these items in original bottles for their full program. Loose pills or unmarked bottles may be confiscated by the host country’s Customs Services. Students are advised to bring copies of their prescriptions with them in case they need to refill or replace them if lost. In most cases, it is not legal or feasible to mail prescriptions from the U.S. overseas.
Some drugs available by prescription in the U.S. are illegal in other countries. Students can check the U.S. Department of State Consular Information Sheets at http://travel.state.gov for the country or countries they intend to visit. If their medication is legal but simply not available in the country they will be visiting, they can ask their healthcare provider to write a letter on official stationery stating the medication has been prescribed for them. For additional information, we encourage students to review the Overseas Security Advisory Council's Traveling with Medication information online at: https://www.osac.gov/pages/ContentReportDetails.aspx?cid=17386. We recommend that students carefully read the case studies and pre-departure and in-country guidance.
Probably the most common ailment for all travelers is diarrhea caused by contaminated food or drink. Depending on the country where your student will be studying, other countries he or she may visit while abroad, and your student’s general digestive health, they should bring along an anti-diarrhea medication. Your students should also check on other health issues, such as whether it is safe to drink the local water, and ask the doctor about preventive medication for the common illnesses that can result.
If your student gets mild diarrhea and no fever while abroad then the best plan of action is to let it run its course. Remind your student to drink plenty of bottled water to keep hydrated. The best foods for diarrhea are bananas, rice, apples, and decaffeinated teas. If your student’s diarrhea is accompanied with a fever, or if their diarrhea lasts longer than a couple of days then it is necessary to see a doctor. The student can contact GeoBlue to locate a doctor in the area where he or she is staying.
Students with Disabilities
Many of the disability accommodations or services that are provided at U.S. universities may be different or unavailable overseas. Being in a new environment can also be stressful, and accommodations that a student may not have needed at home may become necessary in an unfamiliar setting. Participants with a documented disability, whether learning or physical, should contact the Freeman study abroad office upon acceptance into a program to discuss their needs while studying away.
A good resource for students with disabilities is Mobility International USA (MIUSA). MIUSA is a nonprofit organization serving study abroad students with cognitive, hearing, learning, mental health, physical, systemic, vision and other disabilities. To learn more, visit their website: http://www.miusa.org/.
Students are encouraged to work with Tulane’s Goldman Center for Student Accessibility for assistance:
Goldman Center for Student Accessibility
Tulane and Freeman study abroad policies exist primarily for the protection and safety of study abroad participants. We expect all participants to read, understand and adhere to Tulane and Freeman policies, guidelines and contractual documents whether on campus or away. Tulane and the A. B. Freeman School of Business reserve the right to add, modify or remove a policy at any time.
Participation Agreements and Travel Warning/Travel Alert Policy
As a study abroad program participant, students are required to sign the Offer Response Form, Semester Abroad General Agreement and Freeman Agreement for Participation in Study Abroad and indicate that they understand and agree to the policies and conditions of participation in a Freeman study abroad program.
Students participating in a Tulane study abroad program in a country on the U.S. State Department Travel Warning or Travel Alert lists are required to complete and submit the Acknowledgement of Risk and Release for Travel Alert/Warning Countries Waiver in addition to the standard participation agreements. (Travel Alerts and Travel Warnings can include but are not limited to advisory statements and recommendations or restrictions based on social or political conditions, public health outbreaks, extreme weather hazards, etc.) By signing this waiver, students acknowledge that they have read the Travel Warning or Travel Alert, understand its content and accept full responsibility for their decision to participate. Students will not be permitted to participate in the travel program if the waiver is not completed and submitted.
Academic Policies and Procedures
Students must remain in good academic standing during the term prior to their study abroad experience. Students not in good academic standing may be disqualified from participation. Students on academic probation or suspension may not participate in study abroad.
Registration Process and Course Approvals
At a student’s normally scheduled registration time the semester prior to study abroad, they will register for a 12-unit study abroad placeholder course that maintains their enrollment at Tulane University during their semester abroad. They must clear any holds on their account before they can register. Neither the Registrar nor the Freeman study abroad office are responsible for following up on delayed registrations due to holds. Students participating in the Freeman semester abroad program must register for the placeholder course prior to departure. Students cannot participate in the semester abroad program if they have not registered.
The number of placeholder units (12) may or may not reflect the actual number of units students earn abroad. Once Tulane receives a student’s transcript from the exchange partner school the appropriate course credit will be applied.
It is important that students complete the Learning Agreement form and obtain the signature of their BSM advisor before they depart so that they have confirmation of the credit they will be receiving. Only those courses listed and approved on the Learning Agreement form will transfer. It is the student’s responsibility to inform the Freeman study abroad office and their BSM advisor if they make any changes to their course schedule. Any student that submits an incomplete Learning Agreement form, takes courses different from those listed or does not seek prior approval risks having their courses not be eligible for transfer credit.
It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that their transcript is received by the Freeman study abroad office. Typically this happens without the student having to take any action, but in some cases students are required to submit paperwork to their host university in order for a transcript to be sent to Freeman. Courses cannot be transferred until Freeman has received a student’s transcript.
The mailing address of the Freeman study abroad office is:
Freeman Study Abroad & International Programs
Goldring Institute for International Business
7 McAlister Dr, Room 113
New Orleans LA 70118
Enrollment in Courses Abroad
For all semester abroad programs, students must enroll in the equivalent of a full-time course load (minimum of 12 Tulane credit hours) while abroad. Students may wish to enroll in the equivalent of at least 15 units abroad to allow for course changes. Please note, however, that many partner schools have firmly established add/drop periods. Students may not add/drop a class after this period.
Many partner schools post their courses on their websites or provide links to course information on their fact sheets. If your student cannot find the list of courses available at their host university, we recommend they contact the Freeman study abroad office or their host university exchange advisor.
Please note that for many programs, “course schedules” are not part of the culture and not commonly available for student use, and students should expect to officially choose and enroll in courses after arriving in their host country. If a student changes their classes abroad, they should contact the Freeman study abroad office and their BSM advisor to update their learning agreement.
Grades for all business courses will show up on a student’s transcript and factor into his or her cumulative Tulane GPA.
Many international universities do not use the same grading systems as Tulane. Tulane grade equivalents are determined by Tulane’s international credential evaluator, World Education Services (WES). WES posts international grade conversion guides on their website at https://www.wes.org/gradeconversionguide/.
Language courses can be taken for a grade or Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U). Students indicate their grading preference on their Learning Agreement that they submit prior to departure. Courses taken S/U cannot be used to fulfill the foreign language requirement, Newcomb Tulane core curriculum requirements or major or minor requirements. An “S” is assigned to grades of C- or higher and earns credit. A “U” (D+ or lower) earns no credit. S/U grades are not used in computing the grade point average.
Academic Expectations, Attendance & Integrity
Semester abroad programs are academic, credit-bearing programs offered through the A. B. Freeman School of Business and as such, the academic expectations for students participating in a semester abroad program are equal to—and sometimes more demanding than—those students experience on campus. These expectations include, but are not limited to, quality of work, attendance and participation. Students should enter into the program understanding that time management, dedicated study and discipline will be required to fulfill the academic expectations of their program.
To ensure that students fulfill their academic obligations, attendance is required at all classes, lectures, course activities and exams. Class schedules are determined by the host university and students may have classes Monday through Friday. Students frequently choose to travel independently during their programs. Students are not excused from program activities for independent travel. Before making travel arrangements, students should contact their host university instructors to ensure that there are no conflicts between their program obligations and personal activities.
Host university exam dates cannot be changed. Before your student plans his or her return from their study abroad program, they should check with their host university to confirm the final exam schedule. In some cases, the exam schedule is not determined until late in the semester. It is the student’s responsibility to schedule (and reschedule, if necessary) their travel plans in accordance with their host university’s exam schedule. Any student who fails to be present at an exam may receive a failing grade on the exam.
Navigating Academic Cultures
When preparing to learn abroad, many students focus on differences in day-to-day life. But one of the most important cultures that students will interact with abroad is academic culture.
Academic cultures can be vastly different overseas than they are in the United States. In order to make a good impression on teachers and peers in their new environment, we recommend that students consider the following aspects of academic culture that may be different.
Syllabi - Students may or may not receive syllabi from their faculty members. If they do, syllabi may contain very different information and represent different expectations. In the U.S., we view a syllabus as a sort of "contract" between the student and the instructor. In other cultures, this is a much more fluid document that can change frequently.
Formal vs. Informal Interactions - The U.S. has a relatively informal culture. It is not uncommon to call people by their first names, chat candidly, or show up unannounced at a faculty member's office for help. In other cultures, the interaction between faculty members and students can be much more formal. Students should address their faculty members with the appropriate titles and show of respect. If they are corresponding in writing, it is important to use appropriate grammar and full sentences. Office hours may not be common in other countries. Professors abroad may be less available than professors in the U.S.
Teaching Methodology and Assignments - Course structures abroad may be very different. American classrooms tend to be highly interactive. Students are expected to participate, give opinions and debate topics openly. We also tend to have a series of tests, quizzes, projects and papers that combine to make up the final grade. Many institutions abroad use more traditional lectures to teach course material. Student participation is lower and there are fewer assignments. Students in these cultures are expected to study independently without the added incentive of earning grades for smaller assignments. It is not uncommon to have only one test or assignment for the entire course; which means that students may only have one opportunity to prove themselves academically. In these environments, it's important that students are disciplined in studying and preparing for tests and papers. At some universities, exams are oral and not written. Students should be prepared to adjust to the assessment and grading style of the host institution.
Appropriate Attire - University classrooms in the U.S. do not typically have a dress code. Students come to class in jeans, sweatpants, tennis shoes, and other casual clothes. In other cultures, this is not usually the case. While students will not be expected to wear a suit and tie, arriving to class in casual clothes may be inappropriate. We recommend that students wear business casual attire until they can decipher the dress code at their host institution.
Libraries - Libraries abroad can be very different than in the United States. In many countries, books cannot be removed from a library. Some libraries may not have digital catalogs and students many need to use a card catalog. Depending on the destination, students may not even be allowed to browse the stacks. In some cultures, students are expected to request a topic and librarians will search the stacks on their behalf.
Plagiarism - Despite our best intentions, the rules regulating plagiarism in the U.S. may be fairly lax when compared to rules used abroad. It is not uncommon for American students to inadvertently commit plagiarism on semester abroad programs. Students should take advantage of writing labs at their host institution and/or ask professors what citation systems they expect students to use.
Grade Equivalencies and Conversions - Grades from foreign institutions look very different than they do in the United States. This does not mean that the classes abroad are easier or harder, it is just a different way of measuring achievement. We encourage students to ask about the grading scale at their host institution prior to departure and upon arrival.
Program Withdrawal, Dismissal, or Cancellation and Refund Policy
Should a student decide to cancel enrollment in any study abroad program for which he or she applied and was accepted to, the student must immediately notify in writing the Freeman study abroad office. Tulane is not responsible for indirect costs paid directly by the student, including, but not limited to, passport and visa fees, vaccinations, insurance, housing and transportation costs.
Students are subject to the withdrawal deadlines and policies established by the Office of the Registrar and Accounts Receivable. For more information students can visit http://registrar.tulane.edu/ or https://pandora.tcs.tulane.edu/acctrec/default.asp.
A student who is suspended, dismissed or withdraws while under investigation for violation of the Student Code of Conduct will not have tuition payments refunded.
Student safety is of critical importance. The University reserves the right to cancel any exchange program in a location that is considered unsafe. The Freeman study abroad office and the Tulane Office of Insurance and Risk Management regularly review information provided by the U.S. Department of State and monitors other sources, such as announcements from the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC), for information about the countries where Tulane students are or will be studying.
Should a program cancellation become necessary for safety reasons, an emergency, or for reasons beyond the University’s control, the Freeman study abroad office and A. B. Freeman School of Business will make every effort to help students complete the academic work from the program and, depending on the circumstances, possibly earn the intended academic credit from the program. Whether or not this is possible depends largely on the particular program, the circumstances of the academic work of the program, and the length of time remaining in the program after the official cancellation date.
Because it’s not possible to anticipate everything that may happen abroad, students should consider purchasing trip cancellation insurance that can be obtained through many travel agents or insurance companies. When researching policies, it is important to carefully weigh the cost of the insurance against the value of travel expenses. Policies vary on what triggers trip cancellation, so students should check with travel insurance providers for more details.
Student Code of Conduct
The A. B. Freeman School of Business regards all students as responsible citizens who have the same obligations as other citizens to observe the laws of the United States and the local and national laws of the host country. The school does not regard itself or its members as above the law in any way. In addition, as members of an academic community, students assume rights and responsibilities inherent to the nature of that community and bear a responsibility to preserve a collegiate environment that encourages the maximum development of students.
Students who participate in a Freeman study abroad program are enrolled at Tulane University and are subject to the provisions of the Code of Student Conduct to the same extent they would be if studying on campus. Any student who engages in conduct that violates the Code of Student Conduct will be subject to review and sanctions, including, where appropriate, dismissal from the program. This will be done in consultation with the appropriate offices and prior violations will be considered.
All students have the right to learn in an atmosphere that is supportive and encouraging. Students should feel free to express their views but may not do so by infringing upon the rights of others. Students who feel that their rights have been violated have the right to have the matter reviewed through the Code of Student Conduct. The University also holds inherent authority and reserves the right to bring charges against students in this process. The Office of Student Conduct coordinates, implements and responds to questions about the Code of Student Conduct.
Traffic-related accidents are the leading cause of student injuries and deaths while abroad. Students are prohibited from driving motor vehicles (including but not limited to scooters, motorbikes, motorcycles and cars) while participating in an Freeman study abroad program outside of the U.S. unless they possess a valid driver’s license and driver’s insurance in the host country. Students should obey all local vehicle and pedestrian laws and use public transit wherever that option exists and is safe.
The range of expenses can vary depending on the length of a student’s study abroad program. We recommend that students talk with someone who has lived in the country they are traveling to and find out the best way of banking for an extended period of time.
Before departure, students should contact their bank and credit card companies to inform them they will be using their card abroad to make purchases. This ensures the bank is aware the student will be using his or her credit/ATM card out of the country so that they do not mistakenly freeze the account due to suspicions of fraudulent use.
A student may wish to obtain a small quantity of foreign currency prior to arrival to their host country, especially if they are arriving on a weekend. Otherwise, they should be prepared to find an ATM or exchange house in the airport upon arrival.
ATM Cards and Credit Cards
ATM cards are typically the most convenient way to acquire funds while abroad. The student will need to have a four-digit PIN in order to access funds from foreign ATMs. Students can check with their bank to find out where their ATM card can be used, what fees are involved, and to ensure their PIN has the appropriate number of digits for ATMs in the country or countries of destination.
U.S. credit cards are generally accepted abroad and can make foreign currency transactions easy. Students are advised to acquire a PIN for their credit card before they leave. Students should remember that they may be charged service fees for international transactions and for any cash advances on their card. They should request a cash advance only if they have no other option for getting money.
The Freeman study abroad office recommends that students make copies of the front and back of each card they plan to take with them and keep one copy at home with friends or family and a copy with them, separate from the other cards.
Students should pack lightly and bring no more than they can carry.
- Students do not need to pack things that they can buy in their host country. They will be able to buy many personal care items and basic school supplies almost anywhere.
- Students do not need to pack a lot of clothes. They may wish to buy some clothes while abroad so they should save some room in their suitcases.
- Students should pack clothing that is versatile and sturdy. They may want at least one set of nicer clothing for evenings out, meetings or presentations, but otherwise they should make sure their clothing can take a good hand washing. Good walking shoes are a must.
- Students should pack necessary prescription medicine, contraceptives, etc. in their carry-on. Students packing prescription medication should remember to bring a copy of the prescription with the generic name of the drug in case they need to buy more abroad.
- Students should make note of credit card and ATM information and spending limits, including the phone number if the card is lost or stolen. Because of fraud protection systems, students should remember to call the bank and/or credit card company before departure to document which countries the card will be used in.
- Airline carriers restrict luggage size and weight. Students are advised to contact their airline directly for more information.
Clothing to Consider
- Short- and long-sleeved shirts
- Comfortable, rainproof walking shoes
- At least one nice outfit for formal occasions
- Workout clothes
- Rain jacket
- Bathing suit
- Hat for protection against the sun
- Cold weather gear for cold weather destinations
Medicine and Toiletries
- Prescription medicine and the original prescriptions signed by doctor
- First aid kit
- Contraceptives and condoms
- Aspirin or ibuprofen
- Eyeglasses and sunglasses
- Extra contact lenses and cleaning solutions
- Tweezers, nail files/polish, etc.
- Bed linens (if not provided by the housing)
- Towel/washcloth (if not provided by the housing)
- Moist towelettes/hand sanitizer
- Watch (cheap, reliable)
- Cell phone and charger (verify with carrier that phone will work abroad)
- Camera and charger or film
- Guidebook (such as Lonely Planet or Rough Guide), phrasebook, maps, train schedules, handbooks
- Day pack
- Luggage lock and tags
- Battery-operated alarm clock
- Adapter and voltage converter/appropriate plugs
- Small locks for backpacks or locking luggage
- Small sewing kit
- Passport and visa(s)
- Copies of prescription medicine
- Tickets and rail passes
- Health and travel insurance policy card
- Cash, credit cards, etc.
- Copies of the above for reporting lost or stolen passports or cards
What to Leave at Home
- All unnecessary credit cards
- A copy of itinerary and contact information abroad with family or friends
- Valuable or expensive jewelry
- Irreplaceable family objects
- Copies of passport, credit card numbers, and itineraries
Equipment and Personal Property Insurance
If your student is bringing his or her laptop, computer accessories, photo/video equipment, and/or cell phone abroad, they may wish to consider purchasing equipment insurance or personal property insurance. They will need to make sure the equipment insurance or personal property insurance plan covers international travel.
For all Freeman study abroad programs, students are responsible for making their own flight arrangements. There are a number of student travel sites available to assist with travel planning, some of these include:
STA Travel: statravel.com
Student Universe: studentuniverse.com
Go Abroad: goabroad.com
Cheap Flights: cheapflights.com
Cheap Tickets: cheaptickets.com
STA Travel offers an airfare deposit program for students that allows students to book a flight with a non-refundable deposit and pay the remaining balance of the flight price one week before departure. For more information visit www.statravel.com/airfare-depsit-program.htm.
If your student is planning travel aside from the course itinerary, such as during free time or before or after the class program, they should notify the international office on-site where they will be traveling, when they will be traveling, and when they will be returning. It is highly recommended that students travel with others rather than alone. Travel should not interfere with regular attendance of classes. It is recommended that students focus travel on nearby locations and save more distant travel for before or after the program or during break periods.
Housing options vary from program to program. Your student may be living with a host family, in a university residence hall or in an apartment with other study abroad students. You student may eat some or all meals with a host family, outside of their housing or may be required to cook for him or herself.
Many of Freeman’s partners in Asia and Australia offer on-campus housing in dormitories or residential colleges. Alternatively, students studying in these regions may opt instead for off-campus housing.
Freeman’s partners in Latin America and Europe typically have limited on-campus housing. If on-campus housing is available, we recommend students apply as soon as possible to secure a housing assignment. This is especially important in countries like Austria where it can be difficult for students to find an off-campus apartment with a lease shorter than a full year.
If on-campus housing is unavailable or your student would prefer his or her own apartment, we recommend the student work with the university housing office or housing provider when possible. Signing a lease or contract in a foreign country or foreign language can be risky. When possible, we recommend that the student choose from the housing options that have been vetted by the host institution.
In the past, students studying abroad have had success with the housing provider Study Abroad Apartments (https://www.studyabroadapartments.com/). Study Abroad Apartments offers accommodations in 13 cities, including Madrid, Berlin and Paris. The Freeman study abroad office cannot vouch for the safety or quality of any housing experience arranged through a third party provider.
Given that standards of living vary from country to country—and even within a country—your student should expect some basic differences from what he is used to at home or at Tulane. In large metropolitan locations space is limited, so rooms are generally smaller and storage space may be restricted. Electrical systems, heating/cooling systems and even plumbing can be very different, with limits on usage. In many countries, some households may have limited internet access and cellular networks are less reliable. Your student may need time to adjust to these differences and may at first complain to you about them. Listen to him, be supportive and remind your student that he chose to study abroad because he wanted to experience something different and challenging. If there is a serious problem, encourage your student to bring the matter to the attention the international office on-site, who can help him resolve the problem.
For more information about the housing options available at each of Freeman’s international partners, students and their families can consult the university factsheets available on the Goldring Institute website.
Should parents/guardians wish to make a direct-dial international call from the U.S., the usual procedure is:
- Dial the International Access Code: 011
- Dial the country code (normally a 2- or 3-digit number)
- Dial the city code (normally a 1- to 5-digit number)
- Dial the local number abroad
You can get the country code needed by searching the internet for “country codes.”
Consider using Skype, Viber and/or other VoIP services for good rates on phone calls.
In the U.S., newer mobile phones that can operate on any of the three wireless frequencies worldwide are becoming more common. Global roaming rates still remain high, between 99 cents to $4.99 a minute, so students should check with their cell provider to learn all of the rules before going abroad.
Students may want to consider purchasing a cell phone once they arrive in their host country. Prices of phones and coverage are often significantly lower than in the U.S. This option also gives students a local number for calling and texting.
In most locations, students will have access to the internet at the host university and/or residence. Students can also connect online at various internet cafes in their host city. Students should not expect to have the same access or speed of access when they are abroad. They may wish to consider whether they will need a USB dongle to access the internet connection.
While abroad, students should be sure to stay connected with Tulane by checking their Tulane email account for regular announcements, notices and deadlines.
Voting While Abroad
If your student will be abroad on Election Day, he or she can request an absentee ballot. They may do so online or by mail. If your student does not make these provisions before leaving the U.S., they may still vote under the Overseas Voting Rights Act of 1974, which requires states to establish a means for persons residing overseas to apply for voter registration.
Residents of all U.S. states and territories may register to vote and request an absentee ballot online at www.overseasvotefoundation.org.
If students request an absentee ballot but do not receive it, they can still vote by using the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB), which can be downloaded from https://www.fvap.gov/uploads/FVAP/Forms/fwab2013.pdf.
While abroad students may also inquire about voting at a U.S. embassy or consular office.
Freeman and the partners with which we work take student health and safety very seriously. While we cannot guarantee a risk-free environment when a student studies abroad (or when a student studies on campus), we take great care to ensure that students are not placed in dangerous or potentially dangerous situations, that students receive adequate pre-departure and on-site orientations to prepare them for life in their new home and that support mechanisms are in place to help students in case there is an emergency.
However, it is each student's duty as a study abroad participant to take responsibility for his or her own health and safety. While we all have fears about violent crime, unforeseeable disasters, and acts of terrorism, the reality is that students' safety abroad depends most on their own actions and decisions—just as it does in the U.S.
As such, we encourage students to do the following:
- Become familiar with the U.S. State Department's website (www.travel.state.gov)
- Read the Consular Information Sheet for their host country
- Register with the appropriate U.S. Embassy using the State Department's STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program) program.
- Review State Department Travel Advisories concerning the countries or region to which they travel
- Be alert to their surroundings and the people with whom they have contact
- Be prepared for an emergency. Have phone numbers of program contacts handy at all times and memorize the country's 911 equivalent.
- Have sufficient funds or a credit card on hand for emergencies—especially for purchasing a train or airline ticket, or for medical care
- Keep a low profile and try not to be conspicuous by dress, speech, or behavior. Do not draw attention either through expensive dress, personal accessories (cameras, radios, sunglasses, etc.) or careless behavior.
- Integrate as fully as possible into the local community
- Keep informed through radio, TV, newspapers, and the Internet
- Make sure foreign university officials know about travel plans and have contact information
- Keep valuable items in a safe place—lock up valuables in dorm/apartment/hostel/hotel when touring a city
- Do not take nonessential items such as expensive jewelry abroad
- Do not keep documents and money in one suitcase or location; make copies and leave one set at home
- Do not flash large amounts of money: carry small bills or credit/debit cards whenever possible
- Carry a purse or wallet so that it cannot be easily taken, especially in public transportation and other crowded public places
- Avoid situations and locations popularly identified with tourists/Americans
- Avoid traveling or going out alone
- Do not leave bags unattended (even briefly!) in an airport, bus, or train station
- Avoid crowds, protest rallies, or other potentially volatile situations
- Consume alcohol in a responsible and culturally appropriate fashion
- Do not use illegal drugs
International SOS provides emergency medical assistance and security services for Tulane students abroad. Before going abroad students must register their travels with My Trips and their Emergency Record with International SOS. Instructions are provided in the student’s pre-departure handbook.
In the event of an emergency, International SOS may be called upon to provide assistance and/or evacuation services.
Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)
Students should register their trip with the U.S. Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program and stay informed on the latest travel updates and information. This will also enable the State Department to better assist them in the case of an emergency. STEP registration instructions are provided in the student’s pre-departure handbook. Students should register online at https://step.state.gov/step/. All Freeman study abroad participants are required to submit proof of STEP enrollment prior to departure.
In an emergency, students should immediately contact their local campus exchange program administrator, campus police, local authorities and/or the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. If they cannot reach emergency personal on site, they should call the Tulane Campus Police Department (available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year) at +1.877.862.8080.
If a student requires medical attention, emergency evacuation or other services provided by GeoBlue or International SOS, they can contact GeoBlue directly for assistance, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, at +1.610.254.8771 (collect outside the U.S.).
During a crisis, students are advised to consult the State Department website for emergency information and resources: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/emergencies.html.
Lost or Stolen Items
If a student has anything stolen, they should file a report with their local campus exchange program administrator and local police authorities. Sometimes items can be retrieved if proper steps for reporting have been taken. Also, a police report is often required by insurance companies before they will process a claim.
Lost or Stolen Passport
For information on how to replace a lost or stolen U.S. passport, students can visit: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports/lost-stolen.html.
Non-U.S. citizens should contact their country’s local embassy. For a list of local country embassies, students can visit http://embassy.goabroad.com/. If an international student abroad needs to replace his or her U.S. student visa, they should contact the Tulane Office of International Students and Scholars for assistance, including the issuance of a new I-20 if necessary. They should also make an appointment at the U.S. Embassy for a replacement visa.
Local Laws and Legal Matters
Students abroad are subject to the laws of the country in which they study and the policies of the institution in which they are enrolled, as well as those of Tulane University. Students who violate the law may have to face legal proceedings in the local judicial system, which may not provide the same safeguards for those accused of crime in the U.S. system. If convicted of a crime, a student will face punishment according to local practices. Many countries have laws regarding sexuality, dress, political assembly and the use and distribution of illegal drugs, which are more severe than in the U.S. For their own protection, all students are cautioned to obey the laws of the country in which they study. In particular, any student who expects to use illegal drugs should seriously reconsider the decision to study abroad.
Freeman study abroad participants are subject to the disciplinary regulations of their host university and bear responsibility, as well, to Tulane’s Code of Student Conduct. Records of any disciplinary actions abroad become a part of a student's file at Tulane.
All students are expected to respect national and local ordinances, even though these may sometimes be very different from those in the U.S. The program does not tolerate abuse of alcohol, use of illegal drugs or other behaviors disruptive to the wellbeing of others. Students who do not adhere to appropriate standards of conduct are subject to dismissal from the program.
Students studying abroad are guests of a foreign government. They can be (and some have been) expelled from the country as undesirable, even when no legal proof exists that they have broken a law. Student should avoid illegal activity at all times.