While abroad, you will not only have assistance from the program sponsor and/or host institution, but the Office of International Affairs will be happy to assist in any way possible! You are encouraged to maintain regular communication with your Study Abroad Advisor throughout your time abroad.
Upon arriving in your host country, you may notice vast differences between life abroad and your life at home. You will encounter a multitude of new concepts, from unfamiliar language and hand gestures to strange food and buildings. These differences can be exciting and fun, and exposure to different cultures is one of the primary benefits of studying abroad!
In some cases, though, these differences can lead to a kind of cultural fatigue. Cultural fatigue means a feeling of disorientation that may occur when a person leaves familiar places and tries to continue normal daily activities outside the safety-net of customary patterns of communication and social interactions. Cultural fatigue is normal, and the tiredness and stress that result from having to get along in such unfamiliar surroundings can feel overwhelming, even to seasoned travelers.
Symptoms of Cultural Fatigue
If you experience cultural fatigue to any extent, don’t be alarmed or ashamed — it’s normal and will get better as you become acclimated to your host country’s culture. There are several things you can do to help reduce this feeling.
How to Fight Cultural Fatigue
Can I register for a course abroad that I did not have pre-approved for credit at SIUE?
Yes. You may find that a course you had pre-approved is no longer offered or you may have discovered a new class that you would like to take. For whatever reason, if you plan to register for a course that you did not have pre-approved, you should email your Study Abroad adviser as soon as possible, and ideally before you enroll in the course. In your email, include the course title, course description (or link to syllabus) and the hours of instruction. The Study Abroad adviser will contact the appropriate Department Chair on your behalf. This process may take some time, so plan to contact the Study Abroad coordinator as soon as you know of your interest in the course. Do not wait until the final day of registration at your host institution. If your Study Abroad adviser is able to work out a course approval in your absence, you will be contacted by email regarding the course equivalency information. Keep in mind that you should have planned for this occurrence and obtained approval for additional alternate course options prior to your departure. Ultimately the obtaining approval at SIUE for the courses in which you enroll abroad is the student’s responsibility. Often it is easier to wait until you return to SIUE to seek departmental approval on a course taken abroad.
If I plan to travel independently while I am abroad, do I need to inform anyone about my travel plans?
Yes, absolutely! It is very common for students to travel to nearby cities or countries during weekends or breaks. Many students make arrangements to travel and sightsee with other students in their same program. If you plan to travel within or outside of your host country at anytime while abroad, you should plan to notify your on-site director(s) and your parents. This is extremely important in the case of an emergency either abroad or at home. Someone should know how to contact you at all times.
What should I do if I lose my passport?
If you lose your passport while abroad, you should notify your on-site director. You will also need to notify the nearest U.S. Embassy that your passport has been lost or stolen. You should have kept a copy of your passport in a location separate from the original, for this purpose. For additional information about replacing a lost or stolen passport, visit the U.S. Department of State webpage on Lost or Stolen Passports. If you have an ISIC card, you may be able to file an insurance claim for all or part of your travel document replacement costs. See the ISIC Description of Coverage for more information.
How can the U.S. Embassy assist me while I am abroad?
Consular officials at U.S. Embassies help U.S. citizens abroad. To help the U.S. Embassy assist you while you are abroad, be sure to register your trip with the Department of State prior to your departure. Consular officials provide many different services both emergency and non-emergency services. Emergency services include assistance with:
Can I vote while abroad from outside the United States?
Yes, it’s easy to do! Go to www.fvap.gov, the official U.S. Government website for overseas absentee voting information, to start the process.There are also resources and information about voting while studying abroad at Youth Vote Overseas.