Pre-departure and reentry

As a study abroad student, you’re required to participate in a mandatory general and/or country-specific pre-departure orientation organized by the Global Education Center staff and program directors. Some short-term summer or semester programs include a 1-credit pre-trip seminar offered the semester prior to the program abroad. In that case, you should consider that seminar part of your semester course load and consult Northwestern’s overload credit policy.

Pre-departure meetings are designed to ensure a successful and risk-free trip and will provide you with clear information about program specifics, policies, and personal safety and security in your destination country. Topics include:

  • Basic hygiene
  • Water and food safety
  • Alcohol and drugs (what is legal and illegal)
  • Personal responsibility and health conditions
  • Special care needs
  • Medicine prescriptions
  • Eyewear
  • Accident and injury prevention
  • Local health care system and services
  • Common diseases
  • Required and recommended immunizations
  • Psychological issues
  • Common sense, cultural norms, and social expectations in the host country
  • Culture shock
  • Local laws and regulations
  • Northwestern policies for study abroad participants
  • Insurance and emergency cards

As part of your pre-departure orientation, you’ll need to read and complete the State Department's Traveler's Checklist. Prior to orientation, you’ll also receive the State Department’s most current country-specific information sheet for your destination, as well as country-specific health information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The CDC report discusses recommended immunizations. You’re encouraged to make decisions about other medical concerns in consultation with your personal physician. Additionally, all Northwestern program participants will be registered at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate, which means the State Department will have access to your name, passport number, itinerary, local host contact information, and U.S. contact information.

You’re encouraged to participate in one or more of the following activities:

  • Study Abroad Reunion Dinner (Students get together in August and January to share stories and photographs and to reflect on their semester and summer abroad experiences.)
  • Workshop Series: Articulating the Power of Your Study Abroad Experience on a Résumé and in Job Interviews
  • Global Ambassador Internship Program (This is a non-contracted paid opportunity for returned students who are excited about their study abroad experience and wish to be a resource for the Global Education Center and other interested students.)
  • Study abroad photo and essay contests
  • Study abroad chapel