International Service Learning Study Abroad Handbook/PART 2: Introduction
Although you may be traveling to various destinations in your study abroad programs, there are different matters that are important to be aware of in preparation for your departure. If you plan to travel internationally your passport, visa, and immunizations are perhaps the most important pre-departure aspect to take care of. To be safe it may be wise to have your passport in your possession at least two weeks in advance. If you have previously obtained your passport make sure that it will not expire within six months of your departure date.
You may want to brush up current events, local customs, and sources of communication before you arrive at your destination. It may be necessary to be aware of the current political situation, know the areas that are more dangerous to travel in and be prepared. Often times people are sure that they will be able to use a cellphone or a computer to communicate with home, but it might be a good idea to have back up plans. Being aware of where the embassy for your own country is located in the counties you will be visiting in case of an emergency is important. Before you depart to another country it is advised and will benefit you if you alert your country’s embassy.
Health is a primary concern when traveling anywhere. Be aware of your personal well-being, consult your health insurance about leaving the country, and be aware of your destinations health care services. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is an excellent source for your use for any country you might be traveling. Following the link http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/ to their site, which will allow you to see the vaccinations you will need, health precautions to take, and different diseases on high alert in your area of travel.
There is a vast array of living situations in which any traveler may find themselves, but for any that you may come across there are things to consider such as the water sources, access to electricity, privacy, sanitation, etc. Often when you are traveling you may be staying with a family or a host and it is important to respect them and tell them all their food is good even if it’s not what you’re used to.
Using sources like: http://www.greenpassport.us/ and http://www.travelchannel.com/Places_Trips?intcmp=hp_nav_places-trips may be helpful tools in being prepared for your upcoming international travel.