Learning about your destination
Research, research, research your destination! Check out Country Handbooks for your study abroad location, read blogs, watch YouTube videos, and talk to returned study abroad students. You can't ever fully prepare for your study abroad experience, but the more you learn about your new home, the better off you'll be.
Keeping in Touch
Make a plan to keep in touch. It may take a while for you to set up your cell phone so don't promise to phone home as soon as you arrive unless you have an international plan. Generally speaking these plans are very expensive and you are much better off getting a local SIM card. If your phone is not unlocked you'll need to buy a cheap phone when you get to your destination. If you have a smart phone research apps that allow you to call home for free or at very little cost. Skype, Whatsapp etc. are great ways to keep in touch, but don't spend too much time calling home - you are abroad to experience new things!
You should also consider:
- Blog and link it to the Study Abroad Facebook page. You'll encourage other students to study abroad and keep connected with friends and family.
- Send the Center for International Programs a post card - pack your address book for snail mail.
- Share your pictures and see them posted on the study abroad website.
- Skype, Facebook and call, all easy to do - provided you have electricity and connectivity. Don't spend too much time on these activities though - you are abroad to experience as much as you can - get out there and get involved!
You are bound by the laws of the country in which you reside. If you break those laws you are subject to the consequences of the legal system of that country. Ignorance will not keep you out of jail. In some countries the punishments are very severe. The American Embassy cannot get you out of jail. They can make sure you are not treated badly and are fed, but that is about it. You can read more about this subject here
Do not take any illegal drugs while abroad even if it seems there is a more relaxed atmosphere regarding drugs. Foreigners are sometimes the target of 'stings' set up by locals. The use of illegal drugs on any study abroad program is grounds for instant dismissal and further disciplinary action upon return to campus
If you are a financial aid recipient (grants, loans, scholarships) on a third party provider program or a bilateral exchange program you must let the Financial Aid Office know that you are registered in classes. Your aid will not disburse until you send them this information.
Registering for next semester's classes
Remember to register. Check the calendars
for registration dates. Communicate with your academic advisor if you have any questions about classes.
Changes to the classes you take abroad
If you decide to take a course that was not signed off on your credit transfer agreement before you left you can still get this course approved. Simply e-mail your academic advisor (for major or minor classes) or the study abroad liaison in the Registrar's Office (email@example.com) for any General Education/GEAR courses. You will need to include the course title and the course description (links are fine) and ask how it can be used towards your degree requirements. If you already have a syllabus for the course, then e-mail that as well. Your academic advisor can then respond to you via e-mail stating how the course can be applied towards your degree requirements. Make sure to keep any written correspondence from your academic advisor! If you'd like, you can also forward the e-mail in which your academic advisor states the course approval to the study abroad coordinator so that it can put a copy of the e-mail correspondence in your file so that there is a record of how the course was approved by the advisor. Do NOT throw your syllabi and coursework (papers, projects, etc.) away before you come home. Your academic advisor may ask to see your work for final credit evaluation.
It can often take several months to receive final transcripts from your experience abroad. Some programs will automatically send official transcripts to the Cal Poly Humboldt Study Abroad Coordinator. In other instances, the student will need to make an official transcript request. Please check with your program provider or the Study Abroad Coordinator if you have questions on how to obtain official transcripts for Cal Poly Humboldt. Once received by the Registrar's Office your coursework will be added to your record and appear on the DARS report. It can take 1-3 weeks for work to show up on the DARS once the transcript is received. If a CTA is on file, coursework will be matched up appropriately. Any coursework that cannot be matched up may require additional approval via academic advisor or Registrar's Office.