Orientations for Small and Middle Size Schools

Maximizing your campus resources
Lydia Chiang
Leanne Johnson
Study Abroad Pre-departure
A requirement for all involved:
 Protects the students
 The faculty leaders
 The Study Abroad staff
 The university
 Should be a mandatory requirement prior to leaving
Study Abroad Pre-departure
 Team Effort
 Administration
 Staff
 Faculty
 Parents
Campus Wide Event
 Representatives from:
 Health and Wellness
 Campus Security
 Accounting or Finance Departments
 Housing and Residence Life
 Dining or Culinary Departments
First Impressions:
 Unified support for students and families
 Faculty involvement important
 Past participants – Students & parents share experiences
 Family – parents/guardians, spouses/partners
Basic topics to be covered
 Academics
 Health
 Housing
 Money
 Packing
 Phones
 Safety
 Travel Documents
 Differences between academic systems
 What will classes be like?
 What are requirements?
 What will be expected of me while I’m away?
 Requirements to return home
 Will my grades transfer home?
 Will I receive credit for my classes while overseas?
 Can I drop classes while overseas
 Can I change to a P/F grade while away?
 Will I receive credit if I change classes while overseas?
 Get any required shots
 Get a physical prior to leaving
 Fill up on prescriptions
 Dental work completed
 Use the facilities available at the foreign institution
 Counseling Centers help overcome home sickness
 Get involved with the new students surroundings
 Skype is great
 McDonald’s Fries taste the same worldwide
 Toto this isn’t Kansas…
 Expect the unexpected
 Be accepting of what you have… to a degree
 Size difference
 Roommate issues
 Cooking, cleaning, caring for yourself
 Important numbers and contact names
 This should be a requirement for all international
travelers. Be wary of waiving insurance
 All student should have their policy information prior to
leaving & share it with family/safety contact
 Medical insurance is not travel insurance
 Know your process and procedures – pay up front for
reimbursement or is it covered in country?
 Know the evacuation or emergency visit policy
 Recognize the currency
 Know how to convert currency (XE.com)
 ATMs -- # passwords
 Reloadable cards
 Travel Cards
 Travelers Checks
 Cash
 US and Foreign
 3-1-1
 Carry On
 Packing vs Shipping vs Overweight Luggage
 Electronics: Adaptor vs Convertor
 What to take: Day Backpack, suitable weather gear,
comfortable, acceptable shoes, items that represent your
school, state, country, culture
 What not to take: irreplaceable items, anything that isn’t
practical and you wouldn’t want to throw away
 If the provider has a phone use it… why would
anyone waive it?
 Great for local emergencies
 Pre-loaded contact numbers
 Use for local use only
 Check with carrier for phone rentals
 Cheaper to buy overseas than here
 Skype, Yahoo, AIM are great…
 Think safety first…
 Yourself
Buddy system isn’t for kindergarten schools only
 Your property
Lock your valuables away
 Your housing situation
Fire exits, windows, doors
 Traveling – Be Aware
Protect your property
Don’t stand out
Travel Documents
 Scan everything – passport, visa, acceptance letter,
credit cards, drivers license, ID cards – and leave it
where it is safe and accessible (Google Doc)
 Make copies of everything in case you’ll need to
present them
 Know the rules of the country…Do you need your
passport on you at all times or will a copy do?
Global Perspective Program
Pre-departure Orientations
Leanne Johnson
Assistant Director
Global Perspective Program
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Help students understand…
 Health and safety issues
 Emergency contact info, resources, and procedures
 Host culture
 Their role
 WPI, IGSD, and on-site advisors’ expectations
 Logistics (travel, housing, on-site travel, etc.)
Help us understand…
 Student concerns
 What students do and don’t know
 Issues to emphasize and re-emphasize
Mandatory Orientations
 Orientation I: General
International project center groups & Puerto Rico
Safety & Study Abroad DVD
Advisor(s)’ attendance encouraged
 Orientation II: Site-specific
Required for all groups
Three-part, interactive and engaging format
Advisor(s)’ and Center Director(s)’ attendance necessary.
 Orientation III: Sexual assault
Facilitated by Counseling Center staff
Lost in Translation DVD
Discussion and Q&A
Orientation II: Site-specific
 Circle of Trust (20 to 30 minutes)
 Snapshot of positives and negatives
 Social contract
 Student behavioral responsibilities
To themselves
To each other
To the program
Orientation II: Site-Specific
Team presentations: (30 minutes)
• Topics sent to advisors 2 or 3 weeks ahead of orientation
• Project groups/teams present topics
• Engaging and creative presentations encouraged
• Discussion after each presentation
Facilitator and faculty advisors flush out points of emphasis
Presentation Topics
Does the WPI code of conduct go with me to Namibia, really? What other codes and or
policies do I need to worry about?
Health and safety issues – Where do I go if I get sick? Can I expect to get sick? What
constitutes an emergency? What do I do in an emergency? Do I need shots? What
exactly should I discuss with my healthcare professional before I go?
Getting to Windhoek – passport, visa and entry issues; what do I need and when? Do I
need to worry about what I say when going through customs? Do I need to carry
identification with me?
Living in Windhoek - Is it different than in Worcester? What are my behavioral
obligations to my advisors and the other students? What are my personal dress code
standards? What are my safety concerns?
Cell phones, laptops and staying in touch – Do I have to carry a cell phone? How do we
make sure to get a laptop? How should I plan to stay in touch with the folks back
Cultural adaptation - What are some of the cultural adaptation issues associated with
living and working in a culture different from your own? What are some of the issues
that can arise when you return home? How can you prepare yourself to handle the
effects of culture shock?
Sample Quiz Questions
There is a list of risky behavior in which I am forbidden to participate and anything
not on the list is okay.
Anyone who visits me can stay overnight in my room when they come to Windhoek.
If my passport gets stolen the U.S. State Department will not mail a replacement to
me in Africa.
The ISIC will pay to return my body back to the States if I should die on site.
I am over 18, so my parents will never be informed of anything that occurs in Africa.
I should surrender my passport to anyone who asks for it.
I can probably expect to contract some sort of intestinal bug the first few weeks I am
on site.
All of my completed paperwork is due in the IGSD before 3:00pm on _______.
I should contact my health insurance provider to determine what I must do in case of
serious illness or injury while overseas.
Orientation III: Sexual assault
 Facilitated by professional counselors
 Lost in Translation DVD shown
 Real-life, student actors
 Discussion
 Counselors ask students questions.
The Las Vegas mentality
Fitting in vs. being naïve
On-campus partners…
 Counseling Center
 Understanding sexual violence abroad
 Team/group dynamics dynamics
 Dean of Students
 Judicial review process
 Faculty advisors
 Academic prep
 Introduction to culture, social issues
 Reinforce: Enthusiasm for the journey and experience
 Educate: Personal responsibility
 Provide: Knowledge and resources
 Underscore: Policies and procedures
 Inform: Students’ understanding of what a successful off-
campus experience entails.
Debbie Donnelly
Hrayr Tamzarian
•774 international students in 9/10
•406 graduate students
•160 undergrads
•113 ESL students
•95 on OPT
•2 International Student Advisors
•International Orientations Each Year
•4 for grads
•3 for undergrads
•6 for ESL students
ESL Orientation
 ESL department placement test in
 Lunch, catered or we go through
cafeteria line in small groups
 2 ½ hour afternoon orientation using
simplified language and topics
International Undergrad
 Starts 1-2 days before domestic UG
 Two parts, each 2 hours
 Part 1 for those students new to SNHU,
followed by campus tour and
shopping trip
 Part 2 designed for all undergrads,
including those flying up from ESL
International Grad Orientation
Two parts, each 2 hours
 Part 1:
On Friday afternoon before term starts
 Designed for int’l grads new to SNHU
 Part 2:
 On first day of classes, during open block
 Designed for all int’l grads, including those
flying up from ESL or undergrad
On-Campus Presenters Used in All
International Orientations
 VP of Student Affairs
 Academic Advisors
 Campus Programming & Leadership
 Cousins Program
 International Students Association
 Wellness Center nurses + counselor
 Bursar’s Office
 Public Safety
On-Campus Presenters Used in
Select International Orientations
 Residence Life (ESL and undergrads)
 Community Service (undergrads and
 Learning Center (undergrads)
 Career Services (undergrads and grads)
 Library (grads; covered in SNHU 101
course for undergrads)
Goals of Using SNHU Staff
For students:
Friendly staff, smiling faces
Awareness of available resources
For staff:
Reminder of new international
students on campus
 Somewhat more time-consuming to
coordinate with other offices
 Faculty not available
 Can’t control what they say (slang,
speed, long-winded, etc.)
 Keeping the message positive vs.
focusing on the don’ts
More interesting for students
Less for my office to cover
Strengthens inter-office
dialogue and collaboration
Mandatory attendance?
Family participation?
Campus offices support?
Insurance coverage?
Safety items?
Ice breakers or discussion starters?
Lydia Chiang: lbchiang@palazziflorence.com
Debbie Donnelly: d.donnelly@snhu.edu
Leanne Johnson: ljohnson@wpi.edu
Hryar Tamzari: htamzari@smith.edu