Pre-departure Questions

To view the Off-Campus Programs Orientation Handbook please click here.

Preparatory Questions:

  • What am I looking for in this experience? Do I have any specific goals?
  • What are my hidden (or unspoken) expectations?
  • What cultural experiences am I looking for during this experience?
  • How will this experience impact my career and long-term life objectives?
  • How familiar am I with my own cultural heritage?
  • Can I answer questions about Westmont , Santa Barbara , my hometown?

Travel and Departure Questions:

  • Have I made copies of my passport to leave at home and take with me?
  • Have I made housing arrangements with the Housing Office for my return?
  • Do I know how I’m going to take money overseas, and how I will get emergency funds if it is necessary?
  • Have I copied all credit cards and other important documents to leave at home in case of loss or theft?
  • Do I have a list of important numbers to carry with me including travelers check numbers, credit card numbers, and important telephone numbers?  (Keep in mind that 800 numbers often don’t work outside the US)
  • What can I do to avoid having my passport stolen? If my passport is stolen, do I know where to go for a new one?
  • Do I have any prescription drugs in their original containers that I need to take with me? How about glasses? Contact lenses?
  • Have I experimented with a “dry run” at packing my bag? Do I really need all that I have packed?
  • Am I bringing comfortable shoes? Are they well broken in?
  • Do I have a notebook or journal to keep a written record of this experience?
  • Do I know what electrical current is standard in my host country(ies)?
  • Have I checked the exchange rate(s) for my host country(ies) in the past month and practiced converting the amounts in my head?
  • Do I know the time difference between my hometown and my destination?
  • Do I know the country telephone codes for the US that I will need to call home from overseas?
  • Are all my payments and forms with Westmont in and up to date?

General Questions:

  • What is the climate like where I will be? Do I have appropriate clothes for the climate? Am I bringing too many clothes?
  • Do I know how to say “thank you” in my host country(ies)?
  • Do I know the entry requirements to my host country(ies) for persons of my nationality?
  • Do I know the type of government in my host country(ies)?
  • Do I know the predominant religion(s) of my host country(ies)?
  • What are the general characteristics of male/female roles in the cultures I will be encountering? How accepting can I be with regard to different gender role expectations?
  • Can I locate my host country(ies) on a map? Am I familiar with the surrounding countries?
  • Have I been reading magazines and/or newspapers to become more familiar with world news and events? Do I know what’s going on in the US as well? Am I prepared to discuss world events with new acquaintances?
  • Do I know the role of the US in the politics of the region I am visiting? Have I given any thought to where I stand on these issues?
  • Am I aware of the fact that once I leave the US I am no longer covered by US laws and constitutional rights?
  • Am I aware of the penalties if I am caught with illegal drugs or in the company of drug users while overseas?
  • How flexible am I?
  • Do I find new and different types of food interesting or a personal problem?
  • What are everyday necessities and what are luxuries that can be forgone?
  • Am I prepared to be flexible and patient even when I am tired, ill, annoyed, lonely, or homesick?
  • Am I prepared to be sensitive to how my behavior, attitude, prejudices, and assumptions may negatively affect the group or offend nationals or other people I will meet?