Chapter 6: Travel Tips
You are responsible for your personal expenses and transportation. It is important to budget your money appropriately. A low estimate for student travelers is about $30 per day when you are away from your "host" location. But keep in mind your personal spending habits and that each country is different. You may want to consult student-directed travel guides such as Lonely Planet, or Let's Go for more information. In addition, study abroad returnees are a good source of information.
Airline Reservations & Train Passes
If your program does not offer a group flight, start shopping around for good airfares. If your program does offer a group flight, it is still worthwhile to check on independent flights and discuss any discount the program will offer. We recommend that you check with two or three different travel agents. STA Travel is a good student discount agency. Mission Travel also works closely with Point Loma and would be very helpful in finding you the lowest fares available. Always make sure you understand the restrictions on any ticket you purchase. Read the fine print - if it sounds to good too be true it probably is! Eurail, Britrail, and Europasses can also be purchased from STA Travel as well at 858-270-6401.
Doing Homework About Your Host Country and City
We recommend that you do some reading about the country and culture where you are planning to live. There are numerous travel books available, we suggest the Lonely Planet series as it is-more student oriented. In addition, students have found it helpful to do some reading about cross-cultural interactions. Some, good reference books include:
- The Silent Language; The Dance of Life and The Hidden Dimension by Edward T. Hall, 1959, 1983, 1966.
- Studying Abroad/Learning Abroad by J. Daniel Hess, 1997.
- The Art of Crossing Cultures by Craig Stori, 1990.
- Women's Guide to Overseas Living by Nancy J. Piet-Pellon and Barbara Homby, 1992.
- Minority Experience of Study Abroad by Brown University Office of International Programs,1991
- Study A broad, A Parent's Guide by William Hoffa, 1998.
- Survival Kit for Overseas Living by L. Robert Kohl, 1996.
- Students Abroad. Strangers at Home by Norman L. Kauffman, Judith N.Martin, and Henry D. Weaver with Judy Weaver, 1992.
- The Art of Coming Home by Craig Stori, 1997.
Phone Calls & Telephones
When making your first call, you may have a cultural experience. Go into the situation planning to learn something new. Each country has different systems, but for the most part throughout Europe you will have access to payphones. The best method of payment is usually a pre-paid phone card. You can also contact AT&T, MCI, or your long distance carrier for information on using the calling cards overseas. In some countries, cellular phones are becoming very popular and can be rented. When calling home, please remember the time difference!
Credit Cards, Traveler's Checks & Cash
It is a good idea to have a credit card available when traveling. VISA is probably the most accepted card in the world. American Express Offices will cash you AE traveler's check and offer you additional services with your American Express card. Contact AE for their worldwide locations.
ATM machines available in many countries; however, it is wise to inquire about the safety issues concerning ATM machines in the country. ATM machines can and often are popular sites of robbery, be careful. ATMs in Banks or other secure locations are usually preferable to those on the street.
As a general rule, a combination of U.S. dollar traveler's checks, an ATM card, and some local currency should be carried when traveling If you are touring many countries, budget the amount of money you exchange into local currency so as not to pay an exchange fee more than once.
Traveler's Checks can also often be purchased in the host country currency. There is usually a charge to purchase either U.S. or host country traveler's check as well as when cashing checks, so be aware. Often it is one charge per transaction. Always keep track of the traveler's check numbers so you have the information if they are lost or stolen.
Alcohol and Illegal Drug Policy
Illegal Drugs: When you are overseas, you are subject to the laws of that country. U.S. or other citizenship gives you no immunity from local jurisdiction. You should not make assumptions about your "rights," since in many countries legal procedures are very different from what we enjoy. Penalties for crimes might be more stringent, bail might not be granted when drugs are involved, evidence obtained illegally by local authorities may be admissible in court, or the prisoner might not be present at the trial.
Stay Away from All Illegal Drugs!
Never travel with contraband and/or drugs. Point Loma Nazarene University cannot assume responsibility for any student apprehended for drug offences.
If you are arrested on a drug charge, the U.S. Consular Officer cannot:
- demand your immediate release or get you out of jail
- represent you at trial or give you legal counsel
- pay legal fees and/or fines with U.S. Government funds
If you are caught buying, selling, carrying or using any type of drug, you could face severe consequences. Even in places where the use of illegal drugs by local citizens is ignored or treated lightly, the Point Loma Nazarene University will not tolerate use by its students. It can jeopardize the welfare of the student and the future of the study abroad programs.
Consumption of Alcohol
During the time you are on your study abroad you will remain a full time registered student at PLNU. As such, all current PLNU policies with regard to the consumption of alcohol remain in effect during your study abroad. In addition, please note that drinking heavily may leave you vulnerable to street crime and will make it difficult for you to be accepted by your host culture. Please also note that drunk driving, besides the obvious dangers, carries heavy penalties abroad.
Pack several days before you leave, then carry your packed luggage around the block! If you have trouble carrying the load, repack! Lightweight, washable and interchangeable are the key to packing. Don't take dry-clean only clothes. You may want to consider a backpack, but still keep in mind that lighter is better. Consider your destination when packing. Each culture may have more appropriate dress codes. Also consider the season you will be in the country and if you will be traveling to other regions. Leave expensive jewelry and sentimental items at home. It is a good idea to have some slippers for the house, and/or shower. Take some small gifts for host families or special people you meet. In addition, remember that you will be able to buy things overseas, so don't worry about a year's worth of soap! Go native and try the local brand of shampoo. The rule of thumb: Take half as many clothes and twice as much money!
HELPFUL HINTS! Label and lock all your luggage! Take an overseas electrical adapter, alarm clock batteries, film, passport pouch, utensils, Walkman, water-proof jacket, and pictures of friends and family. If you take expensive imported items, it is a good idea to have them registered with U.S. Customs before leaving the States. Otherwise, you may be subject to duty charges. Be aware of the weight restrictions on your checked luggage as well as excess baggage charges. Oversized luggage can be very expensive to send.
Items to Carry With You On the Plane
Remember the new size limitations on your hand luggage!
- Airline ticket
- Acceptance letter from the program.
- Cash, and/or travelers checks.
- Medications you may need, along with copies of all medical prescriptions, including eye glasses.
- Anything that would be a serious problem for you if your checked bags were lost or delayed which can be carried in a small back pack that will fit under your seat
- You may want to carry your passport, airline tickets & money in a "money wallet' that fits around your neck or under your clothes
Special Note on Computers
You may have access to a computer lab on your program. This would be similar to the computer labs at PLNU. If you have you own lap top computer, you will probably be glad to have it with you; however, be sure to, get good advice on transforming the voltage before you go. Incorrect transforming can ruin the computer! If you are taking a laptop with you, be sure you have insurance coverage in case it gets lost or stolen
It is very expensive to ship boxes to a foreign country, and sometimes risky! Custom regulations can delay boxes. In addition, there may be large duty charges for items. If you must send a box, make sure to indicate for "used personal effects" with "no commercial value" on the custom forms. The cheapest way to send packages is via surface mail, which can take up to three months to receive. Some students never receive their boxes!
Culture shock is the mental, physical and emotional adjustment to a new environment. Anyone living in a new environment long enough, cannot ignore the differences. Sometimes frustrating and possibly infuriating, identifying these differences are part of the learning process. Often people don't realize they're suffering from culture shock. This confusion can be the result of looking at several symptoms as isolated problems rather than as related components of a single affliction.
Some signs may be: Homesickness, boredom, withdrawal, negative feelings and stereotyping natives, lack of appetite, physical ailments - such as stomach aches, and excessive sleep or insomnia.
The first thing to remember is that everyone experiences some degree of culture shock. Most importantly, remember that this will pass. You are traveling to a "foreign" country. Don't be judgmental of how things are done or compare them to how you would do things, instead, try to examine why things are done differently. Finally, remember to laugh at your mistakes. Your acceptance of the differences will put you on the road to learning about the other culture and will facilitate your inclusion into the culture. Culture shapes everything. Keep this in mind as you experience it!
Life at Home
It is a good idea to talk with your family prior to leaving and decide what kind of emergency might warrant your return home earlier than planned. Remember to stay in contact with family and friends while you are abroad. The information you give them about your experience will help them to help you adjust to coming home. As you explore abroad, your family and friends are doing things too, make sure to ask what is happening at home.
Making the Most of Your Time Abroad
The study abroad experience is your responsibility. You can make or break your trip through your willingness to look listen and learn. Don't judge your surroundings and remember you are there to learn about how others live. They may do it differently, but that doesn't mean that it is better or worse, just different. Take advantage of your opportunity to experience first hand the culture in which you are living. Taste the local foods, visit the local religious sites, learn and practice the language or dialect of the area, open your mind and live like a native. Most importantly, enjoy your time abroad!
- Study Abroad Office 619-849-2972 Fax: 619.849.7023
- 24 hour Emergency Number 619.849.2200
- Frank Serna (Director) 619.849.2783
- Andra Jacques (Program Assistant) 619.849.2972
- Residential Life 619.849.2482
- Office of Records 619.849.2289
- Financial Aid Office 619.849.2296