Pre-Departure Orientation

Study Abroad hosts pre-departure orientation sessions at Western Michigan University twice each academic year for students preparing to go overseas—attendance is mandatory.

Orientation types

There are two types of orientation sessions offered:

  1. Orientation for students going overseas for a semester or academic year: This mandatory-attendance session is held twice a year, in fall (outgoing for spring semester) and spring (outgoing for summer sessions or fall semester). Orientation covers student conduct, medical coverage, emergency protocols, cultural awareness, information presented by a panel of study abroad alumni, and other related topics. Students accepted into study abroad programs are notified by email of the pre-departure meeting; family members are welcome to attend.
  2. Country-specific orientations: These sessions provide information specific to a particular destination, academic system or hosting university. They are conducted by the WMU faculty director or the study abroad specialist responsible for the program. Students are notified by email of the meetings, and family members are welcome to attend.

The Pre-Departure Orientation Handbook is a collection of resources to help students prepare to travel abroad and they are encouraged to read it carefully. When preparing to go abroad, students might find it helpful to speak with students who have already studied abroad as well as people from the countries the student is planning to visit. It is also helpful for a student preparing to go abroad to pay attention to news and current events in the region of the world they will be visiting, to read books by the country’s native authors, to listen to traditional music, etc.

Essential information to review before you leave campus