Getting Started



Notary Public

Medical Checkup

Medications Abroad

Health Insurance

Other Insurance

Travel to Program Site

Proof of Onward Journey

Academic Advising


Fee Payments

Tax Documentation

Financial Aid

Managing Your Money


IU Library Services

Summer Address

U.S. Mailing Address

IUB Campus Housing

Housing Sublets

Absentee Voting

International Student Identity Card


Travel Resources

Full-time Student Status

Course Restrictions

Dropping a Class

Withdrawal from the Program

Credits and Grades

Senior Residency Requirement


Academic Integrity

Personal Conduct

Athletic Scholarship Compliance


Legal Responsibilities

Health and Safety Abroad

Personal Safety

Travel Safety

Personal Adjustment

Cultural Differences

Culture Shock

Re-entry: Reverse Culture Shock

A. Responsibilities of the Office of Overseas Study

B. Responsibilities of Participants

C. Recommendations to Parents/Guardians/Families



Risk for Travelers


Getting Started: Study Abroad Handbook


This handbook contains general information pertinent to students on any study abroad program that is not directly supported by Indiana University.

Pre-Departure Checklist

Preparing for Departure


Apply for a passport IMMEDIATELY. Many participants will need to have passports in hand several months in advance of travel in order to secure required visa or residency permits. Pick up an application at the post office at 520 South Walnut Street in Bloomington, at a county clerk’s office, or download it here. You will be instructed to submit the completed application with one recent photo, a certified copy of your birth certificate, another ID with photo and a signature (such as your driver’s license), and $145. Your passport will be mailed to you in four to six weeks. It will be valid for 10 years. If your program requires a visa, you may wish to choose expedited processing of your passport for an additional fee.

Savvy Traveler Tips

Scan a copy of your passport page and save it in your email so you can have easy access to it, should you need it, while you are traveling.

You can check the status of your passport application online. Sign your passport as soon as you receive it. Make two photocopies of the passport page that has your name on it. Leave one copy with your family when you go abroad and take the other with you. The copy will make it much easier for you to replace your passport if it should be lost or stolen.


A visa is an authorization, usually a stamp in your passport, which permits you to travel into or reside in another country for a stated period of time. The visa is issued by the country’s consulate in the United States. Preparing and filing an application can be complicated, costly and time-consuming.

Student visas are required for almost all semester and academic and some summer programs. You should inquire with your program provider as to what information and documentation they will provide for your visa application.

The application process for some visas will require that applicants obtain supporting materials from other agencies, possibly including translated and/or notarized copies of official documents such as birth certificates, background checks, high school diplomas and official transcripts, and may require submission well in advance of travel dates. Some applications must be submitted in person which may require additional cost/travel to Consulates in Chicago, Detroit or elsewhere.

If you plan to leave the U.S. well in advance of the time the program begins, contact Overseas Study or your program provider as early as possible. Early processing of visa applications may be complicated or, in some situations, not possible at all. Consulates process visa applications according to the start date of the study abroad program and not according to personal travel plans.

"Going abroad offers a greater variety of opportunities than staying on campus. You are a student and a part of a completely different culture than that of Indiana University."

student advice

Visas are granted at the discretion of the consulate and may be denied for ANY reason including inadequate documentation, pending legal action, past criminal history, etc.

If you are not a U.S. citizen, you are responsible for contacting the embassy of the country where you will study to determine its entry and visa requirements for citizens of your country. You are also responsible for arranging to remain in compliance with U.S. immigration regulations regarding an extended stay abroad and re-entry into this country. International students should consult with the Office of International Services before studying abroad.

IU has negotiated discounted fees for expediting services for passports and visas; see information on the special CIBTvisas webpage.

Notary Public

Some paperwork related to visa and residence permit applications may require a Notary Public to affirm identity. See additional information on notaries public and locations.

Medical Checkup

You are strongly encouraged to schedule a medical exam at the Student Health Center (812-855-4011) or with your family physician. A dental exam is also strongly recommended.

For information on necessary or suggested vaccinations for travel abroad, consult your family physician or the Student Health Center’s Travel Clinic (812-855-7688). The Health Center receives up-to-date communiques from the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization. Given the highly transmissible coronavirus that caused the worldwide pandemic in 2020-21, the vaccine for COVID-19 is highly recommended at this time.

Living abroad can create stress. If you are currently under medical care, talk openly to your counselor, health provider, or Overseas Study about the support you might need abroad.

Many programs require you to complete a medical history form before going abroad. The medical history form is important for your health and safety. It will help the staff onsite get assistance for you in case of accident or illness. Language barriers and incomplete medical records can delay treatment. For your own safety and benefit, provide full information about medications you take regularly, drug allergies, and chronic or recurring conditions, including eating disorders.

Medications Abroad

If you currently take medications, talk to your physician or nurse practitioner about arrangements for continuing the medications abroad.

Any medications carried overseas should be left in their original containers and be clearly labeled. Prescription medications CANNOT be mailed abroad. You should also carry a letter from your physician describing the medical condition and any prescription medications, including generic names of prescription drugs. Be prepared for the possibility of having to see a physician abroad in order to authorize continued treatment during your time overseas.

Health Insurance

Most programs include a medical insurance policy as a part of the program fees. You should inquire with your program provider about the details of the policy. If insurance is not provided by your program, contact your family’s insurance company or explore your other options, including GeoBlue, and iNext.

Discuss with your current insurance agent the advisability of maintaining your current health insurance as well. If circumstances force you to withdraw from the program and return to the U.S., you should have adequate medical coverage available here. Also, you may need to maintain continuing coverage with your own company to retain benefits for any pre-existing conditions.

Other Insurance

You may also want to consider purchasing supplemental insurance to reimburse you for theft or loss of personal items (personal property insurance), lost expenses due to travel cancellations (travelers insurance) including plans that allow you to Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR), or enrollment in a travel assistance plan (assistance to help you replace lost or stolen travel documents, to locate medical assistance while traveling, etc.).

Some students may already be covered for these expenses by their parents' or guardians' current insurance plans. Additional plans, specifically designed for overseas travelers, are available through some program providers, travel agencies, frequent flyer programs and even credit card companies.

If you plan to travel after your program ends, you may need to purchase supplemental medical insurance to cover the additional time you stay abroad.

Travel to Program Site

You are responsible for making arrangements to arrive in the host city on your program’s official arrival day. Travel agencies and Internet discount travel sites can be excellent resources. Your Non-IU program provider will provide precise instructions about arrival dates and where to go when you arrive.

helpful info

Once you have arrived at your program site, be sure to contact family and friends in the United States. They will be anxious to know you arrived safely. Contact them on a regular basis throughout your time abroad. If you plan to call or Skype, establish a mutually convenient time and day.

Travel agents or airlines may offer a flexible return ticket, meaning you can change the date of your return, although this may incur an additional charge. Check with your company to see what the charges are.

You may also want to consider the purchase of trip cancellation insurance (see info in previous section). This must be purchased at the same time as or within a brief time after the purchase of the airline ticket.

If you arrive early, you are responsible for arranging your own accommodations until the program begins.

Proof of Onward Journey

Upon entering the country you will be expected to show proof of return transportation to the U.S. or onward travel to a third country (a round-trip ticket, even if the return date has not been finalized, or written confirmation of travel reservations). Failure to produce some confirmation of arranged departure may result in your having to purchase a return ticket on the spot, which could be very expensive.

Academic Advising

To verify the transfer credit you can receive for your program, check the Credit Transfer Service to see whether the transcript has been accepted at IU. You will need to search by the location of the institution providing the transcript, NOT the location of your program. You should then follow the instructions to complete and submit the Credit Transfer Agreement online.

All departments and schools reserve the right to determine how much and what type of credit students receive for study abroad. That is why it is important for you to discuss your proposed course of study with your departmental advisor and obtain permission to receive credit in your major for the coursework you expect to take abroad.

When you return to IU, expect to submit documentation of your course work abroad to your major and/or minor departments before credit can be approved toward your degree requirements. The level of credit you are entitled to receive will be determined by the department.

In all cases, it is essential that you bring back from your time abroad all available academic materials from each course (syllabuses, bibliographies, notes, papers, assignments, exams, etc.).


IU Registration

After you have successfully completed the required Non-IU procedures, the Office of Overseas Study will authorize you to register in a special OVST (Overseas Study) course number designated for Non-IU programs. You will receive instructions from Overseas Study about enrolling in the specific section for your time abroad. You cannot register for the program if your Bursar record shows any principal balance (however small) from a preceding semester or if there are any holds on your student account. You must also be in good academic standing at IU.

The administrative course number (Y-496, Y-498 or Y-499, depending upon financial aid details) is for zero credit hours. This registration will verify your full-time participation on an approved study abroad program, allow you to maintain your computer access at IU without interruption, demonstrate for IU that you are still a degree candidate, facilitate your registration for your return semester by automatically providing you with an appointment time, and enable advisors checking the system in your absence to know your registration status for proper advising.

After the conclusion of the program, course titles will be added to your record for the exact number of credits you earned for specific courses abroad. (Please note: The administrative course number (OVST...) will remain on your record to account for the period you were abroad.)

You may not withdraw from a program at any time or change your registration status online without first contacting the Office of Overseas Study for approval and your Non-IU provider.

Host Institution Registration

Consult with your Non-IU provider for on-site course registration information. The courses you plan to take should be submitted through a Credit Transfer Agreement form for IU verification of transferability. Although courses may change when you arrive on site, you cannot change your Credit Transfer Agreement after November 15 for Spring semester study abroad or May 1 for Summer, Fall, or Academic year study abroad. You are responsible for transferring back credit equating to full time student enrollment, which translates to a minimum of 12 credit hours for semester programs. Consult the Credit Transfer Service site for verification of transferability of credit if your schedule changes once you arrive on site and is different than what you listed on your Credit Transfer Agreement form.

IU Registration for Post-Program Semester

IUB Registration materials will be available online with the Registrar's Office or One.IU. Overseas Study will email you instructions on how to register yourself online.

Follow the same procedures to register for summer school. Note, however, that final exams at many program sites do not conclude until at least mid-June, which makes attendance at IU’s summer school difficult for students on those programs.

You can find information on what to do before and during your Non-IU study abroad experience by visiting out page on Non-IU post-program steps.

Registration appointment times are calculated based on completed hours. Your appointment time is not impacted by studying abroad. It is not possible to change your registration appointment time due to time differences or travel plans.

Fee Payments

You will pay your fees directly to your program sponsor. If you were approved to use your financial aid (as indicated by your enrollment in OVST-Y 498 or OVST-Y 496), your aid will be released directly to you, not your program sponsor. Because financial aid is released as a refund from the Bursar’s office, any previous balance or fees will be paid before the money is released. This may include the OVST course fees, which will be billed by the IU Bursar.

School of Record Fees

A School of Record is usually a partner college or university that has agreed to provide official transcripts for students studying abroad with a certain study abroad provider or organization. A School of Record transcript is necessary because the study abroad providers themselves are not accredited institutions, making their credit untransferable to many U.S. colleges and universities.

In order to transfer credit to IU, you may be required to obtain a School of Record transcript. There is usually an additional fee that is required to obtain this transcript, but it is the only way to transfer credit back to IU.

Tax Documentation

IU and other U.S. institutions of higher education will issue 1098-T forms to verify qualified educational expenses. We recommend that you consult with your tax advisor for the appropriate tax treatment.

Financial Aid

Since March 10 is the annual application deadline for federal financial assistance, students who have not yet applied should contact the Financial Aid office immediately.

If you already have IU financial assistance (scholarships, loans, grants, etc), see our financial aid page for important information.

Most (but not all) financial aid may be applied to Non-IU programs. Students should verify the transferability of specific scholarships with their home campus financial aid office. Visit our financial aid page for information on national scholarships and other sources of financial assistance.

IU financial aid may be applied only if 1) you are enrolled for full-time study while abroad; 2) you have a GPA of 2.0 or above; 3) you are not on academic probation; and 4) your courses will be accepted as transfer credit toward your degree requirements (major, minor, distributional or required electives).

Using Financial Aid Towards Non-IU Programs

Students who wish to continue receiving federal or state loans or grants while studying abroad at a site where IU does not have an overseas study program MUST be enrolled at IU in a special course (OVST-Y 496), following the directions below, during their absence.

As long as the department that issued the award will allow it to apply toward an overseas study experience, students who do not receive federal or state aid but receive private or IU departmental or institutional scholarships or grants can continue to receive these if they qualify to be enrolled in OVST-Y 498.

Students who will not receive financial aid will enroll in OVST-Y 499.

To verify your financial aid award status, visit One.IU.

1) Eligibility for OVST-Y 496

  1. To qualify for OVST-Y 496: Students MUST be enrolled full-time overseas and have endorsements from their department and the Office of Overseas Study based solely on academic criteria. The credits MUST satisfy a student’s degree requirements (major, minor, general education, required electives, etc.). A program of elective credits abroad, above and beyond the minimum credits required for a degree program, does not qualify a student for enrollment in Y496.
  2. Students MUST have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher and not be on academic probation.
  3. The Y496 process MUST be initiated before your program abroad begins.
  4. Credit from your program MUST be transferred within six months of the termination of the program otherwise all financial aid will need to be repaid and/or future financial aid will be cancelled. The transferred credit must show that you were enrolled full-time while abroad.

Note: IU defines minimum credit hours for full-time enrollment as follows:

2) Eligibility for OVST-Y 498

  1. To qualify for OVST-Y 498: Students MUST be registered full-time in a credit-bearing program from which IU accepts credits.
  2. Students must meet the enrollment expectations of their scholarship or grant provider.
  3. Students must have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher and not be on academic probation.
  4. Credit from the program must be transferred within six months of the termination of the program otherwise all financial aid will need to be repaid and/or future financial aid will be cancelled.

Visit Overseas Study to discuss whether you may use your financial aid abroad. If approved, complete the proper documentation by November 15 for spring programs and by May 1 for summer, fall, or academic-year programs.

Applying Aid to Program Fees

Any IUB grants, scholarships, and loans that are transferable to the program will be reflected as credits on the invoices you receive from the IUB Bursar. Arrange to have the refunds directly deposited into your checking account where the funds can be accessed abroad via ATM. If direct deposit is not an option for you, have the check mailed to a person in the U.S. who will deposit it for you. Use One.IU to update your campus address with your permanent address.

Financial aid refunds are disbursed according to the type of aid. Federal aid refunds will not be released until APPROXIMATELY 10 days prior to the program’s start date or IU’s semester start date, whichever is later.

Institutional aid refunds are released approximately the first week the IU term begins. IU institutional aid refunds will be disbursed from the Bursar at the beginning of the Summer I session, regardless of the summer session for which you are enrolled.

Financial Aid for Post-Program Semester/Year

Each year, in late December or early January, financial aid applications (FAFSA) are available for the following academic year. Submit them by the March 10 priority deadline. A renewal FAFSA is available online and in downloadable form to print. You will need a PIN to complete an application online. If you do not already have one, you can request a PIN online, but it will be mailed to your home address.

Graduating seniors with Perkins loans

Graduating seniors with Perkins Loans (not Stafford Loans) must contact the Student Loan Administration (1-800-458-8756) for instructions regarding loan repayment schedules and methods. Perkins Loans repayments begin six months after the end of your last semester at IU, not six months after your official graduation date. The repayment schedule will not recognize the fact that you were still in classes abroad later than the end of the IU semester. The repayment clock starts ticking in the last month of the IU semester (May or December).

Managing Your Money

Manage your money through a combination of the following:

  1. Cirrus or Plus debit card and a 4-digit PIN permit you to withdraw money directly from your U.S. checking account. This option is fast, convenient, and offers the best rate of exchange. Use your card at least once before you leave the U.S., and find out your bank’s overseas ATM fees as well as limits on withdrawals. ATMs are plentiful throughout most areas of the world, but students going to non-traditional study abroad destinations should check a reliable guidebook for more information.
  2. Major credit card and a 4-digit PIN permit a cash advance on your credit card. This is a fast and simple option, but it involves a fee, and interest is charged. VISA, MasterCard and American Express are widely recognized throughout the world, but some regions favor one over the others. Check an up-to-date guidebook to find out which card is most recognized in your host country. If possible, obtain a card with a chip, which is more widely accepted in some places, especially Europe. You may want to investigate whether special services for travelers are available through your credit card of choice. For example, American Express card holders are permitted to write and cash checks on their U.S. bank accounts at AmEx offices worldwide. Bring your U.S. check book and plenty of checks for this option.
  3. If planning to use ATM, debit or credit cards, be sure to check with your bank(s) to confirm that you can do so in the country or countries in which you will be traveling. (Some banks have blocked or put limits on transactions in Spain, Latin America, and Asia this past year due to increased incidents of fraud.) Inform them that you will be using your card(s) abroad so that they are not suspicious of the foreign transactions.

Bank checks, personal checks, or scholarship checks should be avoided. They must be sent by registered or insured mail and can take two to four weeks to clear before you have access to the cash. Instead have the sums deposited in your U.S. bank account and withdraw the funds with a debit card.

Be prepared in case of loss or theft of financial resources. Keep important information such as check serial numbers and credit card phone numbers separate from original documents.


You will have email access abroad. Given that IU will need to contact you throughout your time abroad for such things as advising and registration, it is important that you maintain regular email contact at your IU email address. Students who want to use other email services should forward their IU email messages to their preferred account.

Indiana University student email services can be accessed via the web: Umail.

IU Library Services

Online IU Library resources, including the IU catalog, library instruction pages and journal indexes with full-text articles, are available to all IU students via the library website. Library resources abroad might be limited, so access to the IU Library resources may be beneficial.

Summer Address

If you are going on a fall or academic year program, leave your summer address and telephone number with your program provider. Program arrangements sometimes change at the last minute and they need to know how to contact you. If you will be traveling during the vacation periods, provide a contact through whom you may be reached at all times.

U.S. Mailing Address

During the time you are overseas, IU will automatically direct its mailings to the address you specify in One.IU as your "Mailing" address. It is therefore essential that you list your U.S. permanent address as your "Mailing" address for the period that you are abroad. You should then have someone at that address screen your mail and forward important correspondence to you. IU offices will not send mail to foreign addresses.

IUB Campus Housing

To cancel campus housing for your period abroad, (a) complete the online cancellation request process via One.IU, and (b) submit a copy of your Overseas Study email notification to Residential Programs and Services (in person at 801 N. Jordan, Bloomington, IN 47405 or via email to

Breakage fees vary depending upon date of contract cancellation and other conditions. Review your contract and send inquiries to RPS for details.

For continuing residents (IU students who have lived in IU residence halls for at least five consecutive full semesters prior to contract breakage), RPS grants a reduction in contract breakage fees. Inquire to RPS for details. To reserve housing for the semester you return, contact RPS Assignments approximately three months before your return to Bloomington. You will be re-authorized to complete the appropriate on-line contracting process for the semester of your return. Students with a consecutive housing history with RPS will not need to re-pay contract and application fees. RPS will communicate with students via their IU email accounts.

Housing Sublets

IU Classifieds on One.IU has a section for Roommates & Sublets in Bloomington.

Absentee Voting

The Federal Voter Assistance Program website includes links to online applications for the Federal Post Card Application as well as the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot, a backup ballot available if a citizen outside the United States does not receive the regular absentee ballot from their state after having made a timely application. Since absentee voting regulations vary by state, it’s best to consult the instructions on the website or contact the Voting Assistance Officer at local embassies and consulates for specific questions.

International Student Identity Card

You can often get student discounts while studying abroad or traveling (e.g. hostel accommodations, museum entrances, theater tickets) with your own IU student identification card or a student identification card issued by your local host institution. Other international ID cards such as ISIC and iNext will also garner discounts and other benefits. Depending on your program, one of these might be included in your study abroad fee, but if not, you may get one of these cards on your own.

The International Student Identity Card (ISIC) can provide discounts on international and local transportation, accommodations, and admissions to museums, theaters, historical sites, etc. For more information see the ISIC website.

The iNext card can make you eligible for travel, accommodation, entertainment, and cultural discounts worldwide. Cards include both health and travel insurance coverage — accident, sickness, hospital, transport, repatriation, baggage, and document replacement benefits.


On most programs students find that having a cell phone is a convenient way to stay in touch locally, and some program sites now require every student to have a cell phone to facilitate communication. Many of the newer U.S. cell phones can accommodate a SIM card that you would purchase for a country abroad. You should contact your cell phone service provider to inquire if that would be an option, although it may be more costly than purchasing a pay-as-you-go cell phone abroad. Program providers very often provide detailed information about cell phone options.

Connection, maintenance and surcharge fees often apply to cell phones being used internationally─even to countries within the same world area─and the charge for minutes can vary significantly from provider to provider and vary based on the registration location of the SIM card. Check these details carefully before locking into a costly service plan.

IU is a participant in a pilot program through which AT&T is offering special plan options; see information on the UITS knowledgebase.

Some students stay in touch with friend and family via Internet services such as Vonage or Skype. Note that these require computers and high-speed Internet connections which may not be available at all sites abroad.

Travel Resources

Should you plan to travel around from your program site on weekends and breaks, plan ahead by bringing travel guidebooks for those destinations or downloading travel apps. Also, prepare and bring a list of useful travel websites. These may include sites for cheap hotels and youth hostels as well as discount airlines.

Florence, Italy

Academic Policies

While abroad, you must adhere to most of the same IU academic policies and regulations that you are subject to at IU. Bulletins can also be found online.

You should know the basic policies of your school and your own degree requirements. You must also follow these academic regulations specific to Non-IU study abroad programs.

Full-time Student Status

All students are encouraged to maintain full-time enrollment while studying abroad in order to continue making progress toward graduation. Students enrolled in OVST-Y 496 and Y-498 are required to transfer back to IU the equivalent of full-time enrollment (12 credit hours per semester and 6 credit hours during the summer). Failure to do so could result in being required to pay back your financial aid and jeopardize future loan eligibility.

Course Restrictions

Where a program site has a wide variety of course options, you should be able to take a variety of courses in the humanities and social sciences, and in some locations, a limited number of science courses. However, some areas of study are restricted, particularly to students with majors outside those disciplines:

School-specific Credit

Special arrangements must be made ahead of time for IU credit from Schools of Business, Public Health, SPEA, Education, Fine Arts (studio), Media or Music while abroad.

Foreign Languages

You may not begin a new language abroad, unless it is a requirement of the program, but you may continue the study of a language other than that of the host country if you have a major or minor in that area. You must also clear the credit with the IU language department, which may require a test for placement in IU classes when you return.


You may receive honors credit only if you have already been accepted into the honors program in your department and if your advisor has previously approved your tentative schedule. The honors advisor and/or committee may require specific information before approving the credit. Do not plan on doing an honors thesis or research as part of your overseas credits.

Independent Study and Individualized Readings

Students are not permitted to include IU or onsite independent study courses as part of their minimum course load abroad. Instead, Overseas Study encourages students to arrange ahead of time with an IU faculty member to do research while abroad but register for the independent study credit for the semester of their return.

Overseas Study strongly discourages students from taking online or correspondence courses during their stay abroad. Such courses cannot form part of the term’s minimum course load.

Dropping a Class

Each program site has a deadline for dropping courses. Always check with Overseas Study before dropping a course, particularly if it puts you below the minimum-required course load since this is not permitted.

Withdrawal from the Program

If you decide to withdraw from the program, it is your responsibility to withdraw from the administrative OVST enrollment after notifying Overseas Study of your intent.

If you were permitted to take your financial aid abroad, Overseas Study will notify the Office of Student Financial Assistance of your withdrawal. Please note that students who withdraw after a program begins should expect to repay any financial assistance awarded for the program.

Credits and Grades

At the conclusion of the program, the program administration must send an official transcript to International Admissions (Ferguson International Center, 330 N Eagleson Ave, Room 100, Bloomington, IN 47405). Transfer credit will be awarded only for courses in which a grade of “C” or better is earned (C- earns no credit). Courses taken for pass/fail credit cannot earn transfer credit. Grades will not be factored into your IU GPA, but original transcripts from all institutions you’ve attended, including your Non-IU program, may be considered when applying to graduate or professional schools.

If you had a CTA (Credit Transfer Agreement) approved before program participation and there were no changes in your original course schedule, you can assume that your courses will be transferred as agreed when the official transcript arrives at International Admissions. Please note that International Admissions reserves the right to reassess the credit hours if the actual program dates differ from those listed on the program literature (15-16 weeks constitutes a full semester. Note that quarter credits are worth 2/3 of semester credit hours).

If you are in the College of Arts and Sciences or if you are in another school but working on a minor or other credit in the College, contact the advisors in the relevant department(s) to ask about having a course equated. You will need to provide them with course syllabi, reading lists and papers or exams you completed. They will then consider approving a match with courses in your major/minor area at the 300-400 level. Advisors should complete the Overseas Study online course approval form, authorizing the change from undistributed -UN 100 credit.

If you are not in the College of Arts and Sciences and are not working on a minor or certificate in the College, you will need to contact your advisor in your own school. Once you provide him/her with course syllabi, reading lists and papers or exams you completed, a determination may be made regarding satisfying requirements in your own school.

Internship courses do not automatically transfer and must be departmentally approved through the course approval process. Consult your academic advisor to see if your major or minor has an internship course that can be equated for your overseas internship experience.

If you did not have a CTA approved before you left, you can follow the procedures outlined above (depending on which school you are currently enrolled in). For courses not addressed by course approval memos, you can assume that if the program is approved by IU you will receive undistributed elective credit for those classes. Undistributed credit can be applied toward graduation and in certain cases can be used to fulfill distributional requirements. It does not automatically count in the major or for 300/400 level requirements.

For CASE culture studies requirements you will need to complete a petition form and submit materials to the College of Arts and Sciences Academic Assistant Dean’s Office, Owen Hall.

With appropriate approval, transfer credit that appears on a student transcript as “Undistributed” may apply toward GenEd Common Ground requirements. Students who wish to have undistributed transfer credit evaluated for possible application to their GenEd requirements should first contact International Admissions to request course articulation.

If such transfer credit cannot be articulated to an IU Bloomington course, the student may request that the undistributed credit be evaluated for applicability to GenEd requirements. Applicability of undistributed transfer credit to GenEd Common Ground requirements requires approval of the appropriate academic unit (as determined by the subject matter of the course) and of the GenEd Committee. Students must meet published deadlines for the evaluation of undistributed transfer credit and will not be allowed to file a petition for a single course more than once. Transfer credit will be reviewed for applicability to GenEd Common Ground requirements only after the student has completed the course and the transfer credit appears on the student’s Indiana University transcript.

For General Education distribution requirements you may also complete a petition form and submit materials to the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, Maxwell Hall 100. This option should be used if all other means of equating a course (as described above) have been exhausted.

The “NR” (not reported) designation means your grades will be recorded at the end of the period abroad. The designation “NY” will appear on your transcript once your grades have been recorded with the original program title, but it will not affect your credits or GPA.

Senior Residency Requirement

Credit earned on a Non-IU overseas study program does not satisfy the senior residency requirement. Check with your advisors regarding the impact of this.


All course work must be completed and submitted by the end of the term and prior to your departure from the host country. No incomplete grades are permitted for overseas courses. Unfinished course work will result in a grade of F for the course. Only documented illness is considered a legitimate excuse for missing a final examination.

Academic Integrity

All students must respect and abide by the academic regulations of IU, the program provider and the local host institution(s). Any acts of academic misconduct, including cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, interference, violation of course rules, or facilitating academic dishonesty, will be adjudicated by local academic officials and then be referred to the judicial process on the student’s home campus.

Personal Conduct

All students must respect and abide by the laws and customs of the host country, the IU Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct and any rules and regulations for student conduct made or adopted by IU, its employees, agents, consortium partners, and partner institutions abroad, from the published official program arrival date through the official program completion date, including but not limited to host institution rules and regulations for student conduct designed to safeguard health, well-being, and safety.

Athletic Scholarship Compliance

Student athletes must notify the athletics advisor of plans to study abroad as there are a number of compliance issues to consider. If your post-program transcript will need to be processed quickly in order to be eligible for competition, you must notify your program provider at the start of the term abroad.


If you plan to graduate at the end of the term abroad, file an application for graduation prior to leaving IU. For most programs your grades will not arrive in time for you to be included on the graduation list for the same semester. Notify the Office of Overseas Study and the program office abroad at the time your program begins that you intend to graduate at the end of the term. Check with the Office of Overseas Study after your return to confirm that your courses and grades are in order.

Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Legal & Safety Issues

Legal Responsibilities

By your signature on the Notification of Acceptance form, you have agreed: 1) to respect the laws and customs of the host country, the Indiana University Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities and Conduct and all other reasonable standards of conduct promulgated by IU, its agents and consortium partners, and 2) to participate fully in the academic program by attending classes, remaining at the host institution for the full length of the program and completing examinations. You have acknowledged that if the program staff, with the concurrence of the Associate Vice President for Overseas Study, determines that your conduct is detrimental to the best interests of the program or of Indiana University, your participation in the program may be terminated.

The host provider has primary responsibility for discipline in connection with violations of its regulations. Although host provider officials may consult with Indiana University concerning student misconduct, final disposition rests with the host provider and in extreme cases may also become a matter of concern to the host government. For example, student demonstrations that start out on a peaceful basis can rapidly escalate into confrontations with the police.

In criminal matters (which may be defined differently outside the U.S.) neither IU nor U.S. consular officials can intercede effectively on your behalf. In some countries the burden of proof rests with the defense and not with the prosecution.

Working Overseas

Do not count on earning any significant portion of your expenses by working while you are overseas. In most countries, student status does not grant the legal authorization to work, although you may find temporary employment (paid “off the books”) babysitting, waiting tables, or teaching English.

Illegal Drugs

Avoid illegal drugs. Drugs can impair your judgment in situations that require increased awareness. In addition, penalties abroad can be very severe if you violate local drug laws. Remember that you will not be eligible for U.S. legal protection, and you will be held to the laws of the country where you are living.

Photography Abroad

Foreign laws and customs governing what is permissible to photograph can vary vastly from U.S. norms.

Individuals to be photographed might have religious or animist/indigenous beliefs that photographs steal the soul (particularly of children) or disrespect the spiritual world; gender roles may make photography difficult, precluding women from being photographed; and security apparatus (police and military) generally do not want to be photographed. Some people simply want to be paid for being photographed.

Behavior that might be deemed inappropriate includes: lewd or lascivious acts, kissing, drinking alcohol, and immodest skin exposure. Edifices that might be deemed sensitive might include: government buildings, voting centers and processes, embassies, military facilities and vehicles (including airplanes), religious structures, and palaces. Scenery might include: war zones, sacred grounds, archeological sites, and tribal artifacts.

The use of the "selfie stick," a telescoping rod to take photographs of oneself from approximately one meter's distance, is banned in many locations, to include museums and art galleries, particularly in Europe.

Villagers in rural areas are sometimes suspicious of strangers, especially if they are not prone to seeing many people from outside their own community or country. They may be particularly suspicious of close contact with children, including taking their pictures or giving them gifts.

Guidance: In tourist destinations, including museums or galleries, and near diplomatic buildings signs will often be posted if photography is not allowed. These signs generally have a traditional camera, or increasingly an image of a cell phone, with a red circle and single diagonal line. However, in other cases, there is no signage or it is unclear. A similar sign may restrict flash photography or videography. When traveling overseas, it is always a good idea to ask an individual directly if he or she is agreeable to being photographed or to ask the authorities if photography is permitted in the area.

Health and Safety Abroad

Review the checklist of Health/Safety/Security items to prepare for your study abroad experience.

You are also encouraged to consult the State Department Country Information Pages and Travel Alerts and Warnings page, preparation advice from, as well as the Centers for Disease Control website. While IU can provide information about health and safety issues, we cannot eliminate all risks from a study abroad environment or ensure that U.S. standards of due process will be applied in legal proceedings outside this country. Please be especially alert to the following aspects of living abroad, which may not at first appear to you as safety or health issues. You may want to download special health and safety applications such as those recommended by the CDC.

You should also remain aware and informed about any specific health-related risks developing in the locations where you live and travel. And while the coronavirus that caused the 2020-21 worldwide pandemic continues to pose health challenges, it is critically important for you to follow the recommended COVID-19 mitigation strategies for your area.


One of the best ways to protect yourself abroad is to avoid excessive drinking. Although alcohol may be more accessible at your program site than in the U.S., if you drink alcohol at all, do so in moderation. Not only may inebriation be culturally offensive, but more importantly, it can impair your judgment in critical moments when you most need to be alert (e.g., driving, finding your way home late at night, socializing with strangers, etc.).

Hazardous Activities

Students abroad sometimes participate in new activities in which they are not well-practiced or proficient. Be cautious if you are attempting any activity that has an element of danger or risk, particularly if you are far from assistance. These activities can include but are not limited to rock climbing, cliff jumping, snorkeling, bungee jumping, skydiving and skiing.

Many insurance companies will not cover accidents that occur during engagement in sports or activities deemed to be dangerous, including those listed above. Extra insurance or special riders can often be purchased.

Water Safety Abroad

You cannot always have confidence that American standards of oversight and public safety precautions are in place in locations abroad. Areas of potential danger may not be marked; lifeguards may not be trained. Exercise extreme caution.

Emotional Health

Almost every student experiences challenges while abroad. These might involve the common symptoms of culture shock, food allergies/sensitivities, anxiety, emotional distress, depression, sadness, exhaustion, feeling excluded/social isolation or frustrating group dynamics.

Any medication that you take for a mental health condition should be continued during your time abroad since an interruption in medication can produce serious consequences.

If you struggle with an eating disorder, share your burden with someone before you become seriously weakened.

Be proactive in incorporating self-care into your routine while abroad. Identify the activities that are important to your well-being and engage in them on a regular basis. Key elements often include healthy eating, physical activity, relaxation, and self-pampering.

You are likely to experience some form of culture shock during your time abroad, but this should not be confused with a real emotional crisis. If you feel withdrawn or detached and cannot cope with your environment, ask the program staff onsite for guidance and/or a recommendation for a skilled health care provider.

IU offers TimelyCare, free round-the-clock virtual health and well-being services.

With only one exception, these free services can be accessed from abroad.

We urge students to sign up for TimelyCare as soon as possible, ensuring they can access these resources if and when they need them. Follow these steps:

1.    Download the TimelyCare app (iOS or Android) or visit
2.    Sign in using your IU credentials – IU email address and password
3.    Create a profile and answer a few intake questions

Public Disturbances

Keep a low profile during public demonstrations and political events abroad. At such times, avoid places that attract Americans and dress to fit in with the local culture. Be wary about unattended packages or backpacks in public places like subways, trains, and buses and report such unclaimed objects to a local authority.

In particular, you are advised to stay away from locations where there are any reports of violence.

In the event of public disturbances abroad—including violent demonstrations, terrorist acts and natural disasters—get in touch with your program staff to report on your own situation and to find out how the event may impact you as well as others around you. Also contact your friends and family, if possible, since they may hear about the disturbances on the news and will be concerned for your safety.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct or behavior of a sexual nature including: sexual advances; requests for sexual favors; other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment can include dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. These are all acts of violence and power that use sex as a weapon.

If you feel you may be the victim of sexual harassment, consult the program administration immediately. They will be best suited to offer support, advice and assistance. They can also help you sort out the difference between unacceptable harassment and culturally acceptable behavior which is nonetheless uncomfortable for you.

You may want to file a report at the local police station with the assistance of the program administrator onsite.

Many Indiana University resources are available online: see here

Instances of sexual misconduct abroad that are reported to the Office of Overseas Study are then reported, as required by law, to Indiana University’s Office of Institutional Equity.

Confidential Victim Advocates (CVA) in the Office of Sexual Violence Prevention and Victim Advocacy work confidentially with students who have experienced sexual misconduct to connect them with available resources on and off campus, to assist in obtaining interim measures, to assist them in the applicable conduct process, and to address their academic and other university related concerns. Email: Tel: 812-856-2469.

Dating and Sexual Behavior

A survey on dating and sexual behavior while abroad was conducted of IU study abroad returnees. Although each person will make individual choices regarding relationship(s) while abroad, knowing the experiences of some of your peers might provide some useful insights.

In terms of whom students date, they report dating more host nationals than program participants, and men seem to be involved in a greater number of relationships than women. Students also reported that sexual norms differed from the United States. It is important to understand the norms of the country where you will be studying. You can learn about these through various sources: books, guidebooks to some extent, discussions with host nationals and observing the behavior of others. Many students reported that their relationships abroad gave them access to a greater understanding of the culture in which they lived. Others reported that by not engaging in serious relationships they were able to gain more since they could focus on other activities. Consider all these issues if you plan on being involved in a relationship, sexual or otherwise, while studying abroad.

The survey also indicates that the patterns students form while at IU in terms of (a) being sexually active or not, and (b) using methods of pregnancy prevention and STD protection, largely carry over when they study abroad. If you anticipate being sexually active while abroad, consider bringing a supply of the pregnancy and STD prevention protection you currently use.

Personal Safety

When traveling abroad American visitors are generally safe and are not singled out or targeted based on their nationality, but rather for looking like a tourist. Americans tend not to experience crime in any large numbers. This does not mean that American students abroad are immune from crime. Most of the crimes committed against American tourists and visitors fall in the category of petty theft, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching.

General advice for safeguarding valuables is as follows:

Recently the U.S. Department of State has reported an increase in drug-spiking crimes. Motives include theft or robbery, kidnapping, extortion, sexual assaults, and even amusement. There are reportedly over 60 different drugs recognized as “spiking” agents. Many of them are cheap and readily available. These drugs, for the most part, are odorless, tasteless, and colorless, and most will leave the body within 72 hours of ingestion.

The following steps can help to avoid becoming a victim of a spiked drink by drugs and/or alcohol:

Travel Safety

Air travel

Security measures at airport facilities and on aircrafts will require that you take additional precautions when flying. You should be prepared to comply with multiple document checks, baggage searches, and inquiries. Be patient — these steps are being taken for your protection.

Car travel

Everyday traffic accidents are the main cause of injury to students traveling abroad. The road-safety standards and risks for Western Europe are similar to those in the U.S., but the more adventuresome a destination you choose, the more primitive the roads, automobiles, trucks, buses, emergency medical resources, safety equipment, and licensing standards inevitably become. In developing countries you may be exposed to narrow, winding roads with no guardrails on hairpin turns, poorly maintained vehicles, and dangerously overcrowded buses. Even in developed countries drivers may be more aggressive than in the U.S., and speeding and passing may be more common.

The Association for Safe International Road Travel offers statistics, tips, and articles about road safety around the world.

Pedestrian travel
Hotel or Hostel Stays
Telephone, Laptop & Other Technology Security

Do not leave electronic devices unattended. Do not transport them in your checked baggage. Shield passwords from view. Avoid wireless networks if you can; they are not secure. In most countries, you can have no expectation of privacy in Internet cafes, hotels, airplanes or public spaces. All information you send electronically can be intercepted, especially wireless communications.

Sanitize your electronic devices prior to travel and ensure no sensitive contact, research, or personal data is on them. IU students can download free software including anti-virus software and privacy protection programs such as Identity Finder from University Information Technology Services IUware site to provide security and prevent identity theft.

Cyber criminals from numerous countries buy and sell stolen financial information including credit card data and login credentials (usernames and passwords). Regularly change your passwords and check devices for malware. Review advice from IU UITS on the Global Travel IT Checklist

Identification and Communication

ALWAYS carry with you─even when jogging or exercising─some form of personal identification (driver’s license or student ID card) and local contact information (address/phone of host family or on site program staff).

Copenhagen, Denmark

Adjustment & Cultural Differences

Personal Adjustment

Part of your success abroad will depend on how well you have prepared the logistics covered earlier in this handbook, but even more depends on how you prepare yourself for cultural adjustments and personal growth abroad.

American Identity

Before you can understand another culture, you should understand your own. What does it mean to be American? What characteristics, values and attitudes define American culture? What generalizations can you make about American attitudes towards education, gender, family, money, politics, race, relationships, religion, success, time, work? How do American values affect your attitudes toward others, your friendship patterns, your work habits, the way you spend your time and money? How do Americans measure success in life? What role does tradition play in our culture? A clear understanding of what is characteristically American (and its many variations) will give you a better chance of appreciating similarities and differences in another culture.

How flexible are you? Once you have identified your American values, patterns and habits, think about the strategies that will help you adjust to different ways of dating, dressing, eating, shopping, banking, relating to professors and studying.

Learn about the U.S.

Every student abroad is inevitably put in the position of having to explain (or even defend) the home country’s political or economic system or its stance on global issues. If you begin now to keep abreast of the U.S. role in global activities, you will be more articulate when you are questioned about U.S. policies and reactions to world issues. In addition, students often report that they wish they had brushed up on such basics as how a bill becomes a law in the U.S. or the composition of the European Union before going abroad.

Remember, however, that you probably don’t want to get into a hostile debate with questioners or automatically defend everything that is American. What are some strategies for deflecting potentially hostile questions so that they lead to conversations in which everybody listens and everyone learns?

Learn about the host country

Learn as much as possible about the country to which you are traveling, since understanding the culture will facilitate your adjustment to living there. How do you plan to inform yourself about the host country before arrival? Taking courses is one method, but you can also independently explore histories, periodicals, novels, travel books, videos and tapes that inform you about the differences in daily life you will encounter overseas.

Your expectations

Take a personal inventory of your expectations. What do you hope to get out of the experience overseas? Do you have any hidden or unspoken expectations? Identify your goals—linguistic, academic, career. How are you going to achieve them? How will you track your personal growth during this experience? Outlining your goals now and then keeping a journal abroad will help you map both your inner and outer journeys. Indeed, daily writing, which attempts to interpret the cross-cultural meanings of your experiences, may be your most powerful learning tool.

Your appearance

Carefully consider how you will dress. American students often comment that their clothing gives them away instantly as foreigners and can make them more vulnerable to derogatory remarks and as potential targets for petty thefts. While you shouldn’t expect to buy a new wardrobe while abroad, you may want to plan to wear items of your own clothing that fit in better with the local culture. You’ll discover that shorts, halters and revealing tops are mainly worn near seaside towns, rarely in urban centers except by tourists. You’ll also discover that casual lounging clothes─including T-shirts with humorous logos, hoodies and pajama pants that are very common on college campuses in the United States─are not worn in big cities abroad or at urban universities. And before you don what many cultures might interpret as revealing clothing (i.e. low-rise jeans, exposed midriffs, plunging necklines, exposed underwear), observe what native citizens who are your age in that country are wearing. You may also discover that flip flops and sneakers are not necessarily the norm for footwear outside of the U.S., at least not for all occasions. Part of the acculturation process is trying to blend in so that you minimize your role as an outsider. Be prepared to be as flexible about your clothing as you are about other aspects of your behavior.

Cultural Differences

You will adjust in many small ways over a long period of time to the new culture, even though the familiar term “Culture Shock,” leads you to expect a jolting and immediate clash of values.

While there are many differences between the U.S. and your host country to which you will have to adjust, the following are particularly significant. You can access additional information on our website.

Gender Roles

Both male and female students abroad will discover that growing up in the U.S. has prepared them for different roles in society than the ones their contemporaries in other countries expect. Many events in recent decades have heightened U.S. awareness of gender stereotypes, sexism, and the limitations of traditional male-female roles. However, it may not be well-received to suggest to your host country friends that U.S. patterns are appropriate for their culture. Instead, look at gender difference in the host culture from its historical and sociological perspective. Since you will be viewed according to the gender expectations of the host culture, you may feel uncomfortable at times. This is particularly true for female students who may find themselves the targets of unwanted attention. Learning as much as you can about your host culture will help you interpret the actions of local residents and avoid situations in which you feel unsafe or harassed. See Appendix B, Section B (Responsibilities of Participants) for more information on staying safe while you're abroad.

Sexual Orientation

Just as traditional gender roles have been questioned in the U.S., we also have had extensive dialogue regarding sexual orientation. It should come as no surprise that distinct cultures approach the question of sexual orientation differently. A bibliography of international GLBT issues is available on the RainbowSIG website. Feel free to approach Overseas Study staff here and the program staff abroad with questions regarding the situation in your host country.

Different Abilities

The passage of legislation such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act has spurred schools in the U.S. to accommodate students with varying abilities. Other countries are not bound by U.S. legislation, of course, and physical facilities and academic resources vary significantly from one overseas site to another.

Overseas Study endeavors to provide reasonable accommodation for students with documented disability conditions (e.g., physical, learning, etc.), but only if you disclose your needs to us well before the program begins. If you are currently receiving disability-related accommodations at IU or anticipate needing them at your program site, send Overseas Study documentation that confirms the disability, information about the accommodation currently provided and details about accommodation required abroad. Overseas Study will then be in a position to work with you, Disability Services for Students, and other relevant offices to seek appropriate responses for your needs.


Few countries have the religious diversity and pluralism that you find in the U.S. and few have such a strong tradition of separation of church and state. As a result, you may be struck by the number of public holidays that are based on a religious calendar and the extent of public prayer and public religious ceremonies. You will have to probe to understand the relationship between the external, ritual manifestations of religion and individual beliefs or the role of religion as a political element or an active social force.

If you wish to be affiliated with a religious community abroad, check with your local place of worship for contacts or discuss your interests with program staff overseas. Former students may also be able to advise you regarding your options. Some resource information is available on our website.


U.S. citizens often identify strongly with their family’s cultural and ethnic heritage and refer to themselves as Asian-American, Italian-American, African-American, or Hispanic-American. In other countries such ethnic differences are often overlooked, and U.S. students report that for the first time they have been identified (and have identified themselves) as simply “American.” Students may find that physical features that distinguish them from the host population may result in stares, comments, or sometimes overt prejudice. Consult the program administration regarding these matters, particularly if there are certain areas to avoid and steps to take to minimize negative interactions.

Culture Shock

“Culture shock” is the term used to describe the disorientation that every student experiences to some degree when spending an extended period in a new culture. The common symptoms include homesickness, boredom, withdrawing from the culture by spending excessive amounts of time alone or with other Americans, excessive sleeping, compulsive eating, irritability, stereotyping of or hostility toward host country nationals, weepiness or even some psychosomatic illnesses. Although you will inevitably experience some degree of culture shock, you certainly won’t have all these symptoms. If you recognize what is happening, keep busy, and ask friends and the program office staff for help when you need it; culture shock will not last long.

During your period abroad, you may experience several normal stages of cultural adaptation. These include:

  1. Initial euphoria. When you first arrive in the new culture, everything seems wonderful and exciting, and you are struck with how similar people around the world can be.
  2. Irritation and hostility. Your focus changes from the similarities between cultures to the differences, and the differences become irritating and frustrating. Small problems loom as major catastrophes.
  3. Gradual adjustment. The crisis of adjustment passes. The new culture seems more familiar and you move more confidently in it. You make friends. You learn to interpret some of the subtle cultural clues and cues.
  4. Adaptation and biculturalism. You are able to function in two cultures with confidence. You are so well adapted to the new culture that returning to the U.S. will provoke a “reverse culture shock.”

There are several ways you can minimize the impact of culture shock:

Re-entry: Reverse Culture Shock

Once you have adapted to life abroad, coming home will require readjustment to U.S. culture. You will have to integrate what you have learned abroad into your U.S. life. You will cope with re-entry at various levels:

Family: You may be expected to fit back into your family but find it difficult to communicate effectively because they have not shared your international experiences. They may have difficulty adjusting to your new independence and changed values.
Strategies: Try to share your experience with your family (photos, stories, etc.) and let them know how much you appreciate the chance they have given you to grow in new ways by studying and traveling overseas.
Friends: You and your friends may no longer be as close. Be sensitive about discussing your experience with them. You may also miss the new friends you made abroad.
Strategies: Ask and listen to what your friends experienced while you were away. Ask them to bring you up to date on local events. Try to do new things together to get the relationship on a new footing. Maintain contact with friends you met on your program.
School: You are likely to look at your home campus in a new light, and you may miss being part of a close-knit group of American students.
Strategies: Talk over your academic experience with your advisor, especially if you are considering new career goals. Make contacts with international students on your campus through the International Center. Contact the Overseas Study office and volunteer to talk to students who plan to study abroad. Seek out other students on campus who have studied overseas. Investigate the possibility of living in an international dormitory or take part in activities for international students.
Country: Aspects of the U.S. may no longer be entirely to your liking and you may have the sense that you no longer fit in. You will probably evaluate ideas and events in the context of the broader cultural perspective you acquired abroad.
Strategies: Recognize that we all tend to look past the shortcomings of our home culture when we are away, and to criticize it on the basis of changed perceptions when we return. Seek out others on your campus who are interested in international and intercultural matters. Keep up your interest through newspapers, literature, music, friends, etc.
Self: You have become accustomed to a level of activity and anticipation that your home and campus probably cannot match. It is natural to feel a little restless or a bit depressed for a while after your return.
Strategies: Recuperate from the physical journey. Think over the ways you have changed: Which of those do you like? What did you learn about yourself? How have your family and friends reacted to the new you? Keep a journal or blog so you can see your thoughts evolve. Talk with other returning students.

If you are having difficulty readjusting to the U.S., your home or IU community, please feel free to contact your Study Abroad Advisor or Overseas Study. Information for returning students can be found at

Publication on Cultural Learning

Maximizing Study Abroad: A Students’ Guide to Strategies for Language and Culture Learning and Use, Second Edition By R. Michael Paige, Andrew Cohen, Barbara Kappler, Julie C. Chi, & James P. Lassegard. August 2006, 259 pp. $12.00 + shipping

This book is aimed specifically at students who want to make the most of their study abroad experience. Its user-friendly design will help you identify and use a wide variety of language and culture learning strategies. It begins with three inventories designed to help you be more aware of how you currently learn language and culture. It will provide you with tools and creative activities that you can use to enhance your favored learning strategies and try out unfamiliar ones. You can use the guide as you prepare for study abroad, during the experience, and once you return.

Students who would like a copy for their own use should contact:

The Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition
University of Minnesota
619 Heller Hall, 271, 9th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
612-626-8600, 612-624-7514 (fax)

Wilkacocha, Peru

Appendix A
Indiana University
Safety & Responsibility Guidelines

These guidelines are based on those recommended by the Interorganizational Task Force on Safety and Responsibility in Study Abroad, as approved by Indiana University’s Overseas Study Advisory Council (May 2002).

Because the health and safety of its study abroad participants are primary concerns at Indiana University, these guidelines have been developed to provide useful practical guidance to institutional representatives, student participants, and their parents/ guardians/families. No set of guidelines can guarantee the health and safety needs of each individual involved in a study abroad program, but the following address issues of general concern and the responsibilities of all parties. It is not possible to account for all the inevitable variations in actual cases, so those involved must also rely upon their experience and thoughtful judgment while considering the unique circumstances of each situation.

A. Responsibilities of the Office of Overseas Study

The Office of Overseas Study has university-wide responsibility for all Indiana University study abroad programs, though that responsibility may be shared with other campuses (e.g., the Office of International Affairs at IUPUI and the Office of International Programs at IU South Bend) or professional schools (e.g., Kelley School of Business, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, School of Law, etc.). In the case of co-sponsored programs, this responsibility is delegated to other institutional providers (e.g., CIEE, IES, DIS, SIT, etc.), with Overseas Study in a consultative role.

IU study abroad programs are those which have been approved by the university-wide Overseas Study Advisory Council (OSAC), as required by Presidential directive. Study abroad initiatives which attempt to proceed without the approval of OSAC have no official status as IU programs and cannot advertise themselves as such. Independent initiatives risk being cancelled, and credit for their participants denied upon review.

The following responsibilities of the Office of Overseas Study apply only to approved IU programs abroad:

  1. Conduct regular assessments of health and safety conditions for IU programs, including program-sponsored accommodation, events, excursions and other activities, prior to program. Monitor possible changes in country conditions.
  2. Provide information about changes and advise participants and their parents/guardians/families as needed. Develop and maintain emergency preparedness and crisis response plans.
  3. Provide guidelines for program directors and staff with respect to managing emergencies abroad.
  4. Provide orientation meetings and materials to participants prior to departure for the program and onsite, which include appropriate information on health, legal, environmental, political, cultural, and religious conditions in the host country. In addition to dealing with health and safety issues, the orientation should address potential health and safety risks, and appropriate emergency response measures. Ask students to share this information with their parents/guardians/families so they can make informed decisions concerning preparation, participation, and behavior while on the program.
  5. Consider health and safety issues in evaluating the appropriateness of an individual’s participation in a study abroad program.
  6. In the participant screening process, consider factors such as disciplinary history that may impact on the safety of the individual or the group.
  7. Provide students with information on the role of and assistance provided by the onsite resident director or program coordinator.
  8. Discuss with students, following their selection but prior to their participation in a study abroad program, individual health and disciplinary history issues that may impact on the safety of the individual or the group.
  9. Provide health insurance (including emergency evacuation and repatriation) to participants or assure that participants receive information about how to obtain such coverage.
  10. Direct onsite program staff to provide information for participants and their parents/guardians/families regarding available medical and support services, and to help participants obtain the services they may need.
  11. Hire vendors and contractors (e.g. travel and tour agents) that have provided reputable services in the country in which the program takes place. Advise such vendors and contractors of the program sponsor’s expectations with respect to their role in the health and safety of participants.
  12. Communicate applicable codes of conduct and the consequences of noncompliance to participants. Take appropriate action when participants are in violation.
  13. In cases of serious health problems, injury, or other significant health and safety circumstances, maintain good communication among all program sponsors.
  14. When informed about an emergency situation abroad in a city or country where IU students are located, work to confirm the safety of IU students. Depending upon the type of program, such communications might be directed to partner institutions/organizations, to IU program faculty/staff traveling with students, or to individual students.
  15. Provide these guidelines to participants and their parents/guardians/families regarding when and where the responsibility of the IU Office of Overseas Study ends, and the aspects of participants’ overseas experiences that are beyond the control of Overseas Study. In particular, Overseas Study generally:
    1. Cannot guarantee or ensure the safety of participants or eliminate all risks from the study abroad environments.
    2. Cannot monitor or control all of the daily personal decisions, choices, and activities of individual participants.
    3. Cannot prevent participants from engaging in illegal, dangerous or unwise activities.
    4. Cannot ensure that U.S. standards of due process apply in overseas legal proceedings or provide or pay for legal representation for participants.
    5. Cannot ensure that home-country cultural values and norms will apply in the host country.
    6. Cannot fully replicate home campus support services at overseas locations.
    7. Cannot assume responsibility for the actions of persons not employed or otherwise engaged by Overseas Study, for events that are not part of the program, or that are beyond the control of Overseas Study and its subcontractors, or for situations that may arise due to the failure of a participant to disclose pertinent information.

B. Responsibilities of Participants

In Study Abroad, as in other settings, participants can have a major impact on their own health and safety abroad through the decisions they make before and during the program and by their day-to-day choices and behaviors.

Participants should:

Recommendations to Parents/Guardians/Families

In Study Abroad as in other settings, parents, guardians, and families can play an important role in the health and safety of participants by helping them make decisions and by influencing their behavior overseas.

When appropriate, parents/guardians/families should:

Cherry Blossoms between shines in Kyoto

Appendix B:
HIV/AIDS & Traveler's Health


AIDS is a serious disease, first recognized as a distinct syndrome in 1981. AIDS represents the late clinical stage of infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which progressively damages the immune system. Without an effective immune system, life-threatening infections and other noninfectious conditions related to failing immunity (such as certain cancers) eventually develop.


HIV infection occurs worldwide. As of June 2017, an estimated 36.7 million people were living with HIV infection. Sub-Saharan Africa is the most affected part of the world (25.5 million cases or 69% of all people living with HIV infection), and the Eastern Europe and central Asia region has experienced the largest increases in new HIV infections (60% increase from 2010 to 2016). Although the reported adult HIV prevalence in many regions of the world is low, certain populations are disproportionately affected, such as sex workers, people who inject drugs, men who have sex with men, transgender people, and prisoners. Sex workers are particularly vulnerable; the prevalence among sex workers is 12 times as high as in the general population.

Risk for Travelers

The risk of HIV infection for international travelers is generally low. Travelers’ risk of HIV exposure and infection is determined less by geographic destination and more by the behaviors in which they engage while traveling, such as unprotected sex and injection drug use. Travelers who might undergo scheduled or emergency medical procedures should be aware that HIV can be transmitted by unsafe nonsterile medical injection practices (reusing needles, syringes, or single-dose medication vials). This problem may be greater in low-income countries where the blood supply as well as organs and tissues used for transplantation may not be screened properly for HIV.


Travelers can reduce their risk of HIV infection in multiple ways. They can avoid sexual encounters with people whose HIV status is unknown, and use condoms consistently and correctly with all partners who are HIV infected or whose HIV status is unknown. They should also not inject drugs or share needles, and avoid exposure to blood or blood products and nonsterile invasive medical equipment. Travelers who do inject drugs should only use sterile, single-use syringes and needles that are safely disposed after every injection.

This information was obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Travelers Health Yellow Book.

Table of Contents

Preparing for Departure
Academic Policies
Legal & Safety Issues
Adjustment & Cultural Differences