Pre- and Post-Departure
Students studying abroad on either a long-term or short-term program are required to participate in a pre-departure orientation. For long-term programs the orientation is held in person at a date and time to be announced prior to your departure. For short-term programs the orientation is an online Canvas course. In the case of Summer School Abroad, a site specific orientation will also be held to give you details about your experience.
Orientation will cover topics such as:
- Travel Websites & Documents
- Travel Tips
Students studying abroad on a CSU International Program or an ISEP program are welcome to attend a long-term program orientation, but a mandatory state-wide orientation will be held in the Spring specific to the CSU programs.
When you return from your time abroad, there will be an optional re-entry orientation. This will give you the opportunity to reflect on your time abroad with peers and learn how to integrate your experience into daily life after returning home.
Why you should study abroad
The world is quickly becoming more interconnected, students who wish to be apart of this movement should study abroad, below are articles explaining the benefits of studying abroad.
Studying abroad is both an exciting and challenging time! You will be embarking on
an adventure and navigating a new culture, country, and academic system. Below are
a few cultural transitions you may encounter during your study abroad experience.
It is completely normal to face challenges as you step outside of your comfort zone,
and that is all part of the learning process. It is also important to note that you
are all going to have your own unique experience abroad—you may or may not go through
every transition below, and you may stay in one transition for a while! There is no
one size fits all when it comes to studying abroad.
Let’s talk about what these cultural transitions mean so that you can be prepared if you encounter them during your study abroad program.
Culture Surprise: This typically happens early on in your study abroad experience when you become aware of new, exciting differences in the culture. Although this can be energizing at first, it can lead to overstimulation and fatigue.
Culture Exploration: This is when you intentionally begin learning about and exploring the new culture you are in (food, people, history, language, etc.)! This may include discovering elements of the culture you like, and others you might not agree with.
Culture Stress: This is when you encounter difficulties in your daily life that annoy or frustrate you, and it can lead to having higher than usual emotional responses or withdrawing. This response usually appears and fades away depending on your day-to-day experiences.
Culture Adjustment: This is when you start to feel at home during your time abroad! You are able to navigate daily living and integrate both host and home culture into your life.
Culture Fatigue: This might occur after being in your host culture for an extended amount of time and continuously processing new cultural information. It can lead to you feeling less interested in the culture or more irritated than usual. This may include “language fatigue” if you are primarily using a second language to communicate with others.
Culture Conflict: This may occur in response to behaviors you see in the culture that irritate or annoy you (for example, street harassment or excessive staring). It also could be a response to a critical incident that occurs (for example, a cultural misunderstanding/cultural faux pas).
It is important to remember that everyone experiences cultural transitions in their own way. Not everyone will go through each phase, and responses may differ depending on the person. It is completely normal to have an emotional response to being in a new country, even if it is not your first time abroad. Pay attention to your emotions to distinguish between normal emotional responses and those that might need professional help (remember that you still have access to Counseling and Psychological Services while you are abroad!)
Adaptation Strategies While Abroad:
- Be curious, flexible, and keep an open mind
- Manage your expectations (set attainable goals for yourself!)
- Talk with mentors and peers about your experience
- Interact with locals as much as possible; you have so much to learn from each other!
- Do what you love to do at home abroad
- Self-care: eat healthy, exercise, get enough sleep, and take time for yourself to relax
- Be patient with yourself if you make a mistake
- Develop a support network in your new home, and remember that you always have a support system here at SJSU!