The more thoroughly you prepare for your semester or year away, the more successful your time away will be. The OIS runs a series of panels discussions and workshops throughout the spring semester to help you plan for your time away.
Planning for a Successful Academic Experience
It is essential that students work out a proposed plan of study with an academic adviser prior to leaving for the semester or year abroad, with back-up course choices for those students who will register for courses on site. Please carefully review the section on Transferring Credit before leaving campus so that there are no unpleasant surprises when you return to campus.
Students who enroll in one of the Wellesley-administered or consortium programs will continue to pay the Wellesley comprehensive fee. All other students will be billed regular Wellesley tuition for the semester(s) away, but will make all non-tuition payments directly to the provider. Students who normally receive financial aid for study at Wellesley will remain eligible for financial aid. Please refer to the section on Finances/Financial Aid for details.
In addition, students are advised to do extensive research about the cost of living on site and to develop a budget early on. It is essential that you understand how much money you will need and what the best way to access funds abroad will be. If this is not adequately addressed in the pre-departure materials you receive from your program or at pre-departure orientation meetings, you should be proactive in asking these questions to the program sponsor and/or to previous program participants. Please review the section on Your Money Abroad for some tips that ar generally applicable.
Making Travel Plans
It is the student's responsibility to ensure that she has a valid passport and the necessary visa for the semester or year away. In addition, in many cases, students will need to book flights and organize airport transfers and reserve temporary accommodations in the host city. It is important for students to look into these issues well in advance of the program's start date, as many tasks require significant leave time. Please review the section on Travel for some tips that are generally applicable, keeping in mind that information provided by your particular program or host university will be most relevant to your particular experience.
Your Safety Abroad
At home, you probably have a natural understanding of how to keep yourself safe. Abroad, you'll be in an unfamiliar environment, far away from people you usually rely on for guidance and support when things go wrong. That throws the idea of "safety" into a whole new light. The good news is that there is no evidence that a study abroad experience poses any greater risk to you than a semester on a U.S. college campus. Helping you stay safe in both day-to-day and emergency situations is something all study abroad providers and host university international office staff work hard at. However, staying safe is ultimately your responsibility. The single most important factor that affects your personal risk may be your own behavior- the one thing completely in your control. Read on to learn what you can do to keep yourself safer. In the event of an emergency, all Wellesley students are subscribed to the Wellesley College Travel Assist Program.
Your Health Abroad
All study abroad students are required to complete the Wellesley College Pre Travel Health Clearance Form as soon as they have confirmed their plans to study abroad. This form is due March 1 for study abroad commencing in the fall and October 1 for study abroad commencing in the Spring and is available here. Health Services will review the information on the form and make site-specific recommendations for immunizations and health precautions that students may access through their own Primary Care Physician, a Travel Clinic or Wellesley Health Services. Please read through the section on Your Health Abroad for more information on planning for a healthy semester or year away.
Packing and Preparation
Now that you've been accepted, made travel plans, and made arrangements for your medical/mental health needs abroad, you will also need to put some thought into packing and planning for the cultural and intellectual experience on site. The pre-departure meetings at Wellesley will be one opportunity for you to get first-hand advice from previous travelers. You should also read through the section on Packing and Preparation for information gleaned from study abroad alumnae and personal experience.
Staying in Touch
A big part of your experience will be sharing your impressions, challenges and successes with friends and family at home and at Wellesley. It's important to know in advance what your communications options will be and also to make sure that you have contact information for those individuals you will need to connect with during your semester away. For some important tips, please review the section on Staying in Touch.
Whether you are studying in London or in Kunming, British Columbia or Legon, chances are that there will be a period of cultural adjustment...or at least you should hope that there is. Here again, the more you prepare in advance, the more likely you are to successfully navigate the transition. Check out the section on Cultural Adjustment for some general tips and advice.