Student Exchange Programme Pre-Departure Briefing for USA. International Relations Office November & December 2015

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Student Exchange Programme

Pre-Departure Briefing

for USA

International Relations Office

November & December 2015

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Introduction

Student Exchange Programme (SEP)

Pre-trip Preparation

Find out about…

What to Bring

Pre-departure Checklist

Once You’re There

Preparing for Home

Important Contacts and Links

Question & Answer

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International Relations Office (IRO)

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Our Mission:

Foster closer international partnerships for transformative global

engagement

What does it mean for you?

OPPORTUNITIES

–Student Exchange Programmes (SEP)

–Summer Programmes

–Research Attachments

–Internships

–Study Trips

–Conferences

–Forums

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Student Exchange Programme

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Do 1 or 2 semesters at an overseas partner university

Do full-time study with credit transfer

Pay only NUS tuition fees

Partner university gives tuition fee waiver

Pay own airfare, personal expenses, health insurance, books

and other individual costs

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Student Exchange Programme

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Gaining independence & a sense of

responsibility and purpose

Getting first hand knowledge of another culture, exploring

differences between countries, understanding traditions and

taboos

Learning more about yourself, friends and family, even a

better understanding of homeland

Discovering abilities and limitations that we don’t even

know we have

Building connections between countries

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Student Exchange Programme

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Life of a SEP student before departure

Waiting

for the host university’s acceptance letter which

generally arrives

1-2 months before

the start of the

host

university’s semester

Doing research

on the host country, host university, course

catalogue, insurance policies and visa matters etc

Following deadlines

of host university’s exchange

application and accommodation application

Interacting with other students

at pre-departure briefing

and on Facebook!

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Student Exchange Programme

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Are you ready for your SEP journey?

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Student Exchange Programme (SEP)

1) Name all 5 states

labeled in the picture.

2) What is the capital of

USA?

3) What’s the cheapest way to get

around the USA?

4) What is the population of USA to nearest million?

5) Which state is known as the Sunshine state?

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Now, I have gotten my offer. What else do I need to DO?

How can I ENJOY my SEP?

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What else do I need to DO?

(before departure)

11 STUDY PLAN TRAVEL DOCUMENTS TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS

HEALTH & INSURANCE DESTINATION INFO

WHAT TO BRING

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What else do I need to DO? (before departure) – cont’d

1. You should have already selected modules to be taken at the host university.

2. Obtain an approved and confirmed study plan from the Dean’s Office before leaving for SEP. Prepare alternative modules just in case.

3. Keep a list of relevant contacts of course coordinators for course approval.

4. If you are overseas and realize that

• the module which you originally mapped is not offered or

• there is another module (originally not mapped) that you would like to read,

you can obtain approval from the relevant department via e-mail.

Please include detailed course description, contact hours, modes of

assessments etc in your e-mail. Once approval has been obtained, e-mail the final approval and amended study plan to the Dean’s Office as soon as

possible.

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Visa

13 PASSPORT

What else do I need to DO? (before departure) – cont’d

TRAVEL DOCUMENTS

 Check that your passport is valid for at least 6 months after your return date. Most countries will not allow your entry if your

passport is close to expiring.

 Make a photocopy of your passport’s identification page and keep it separate from the original when you travel.

 We recommend that you leave a copy with your family member at home. This will speed up the replacement process should it be lost or stolen.

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Pre-trip Preparation

Paperwork

The following documents should be carried with you and not packed into your checked baggage:

• Passport with visa (if applicable) • DS-2019 / I-20 form

• Evidence of financial resources (bank statement) • Small amount of U.S. cash/traveler’s checks

• Insurance card & Health documents

• Address in USA and important contacts

• Letter of Acceptance and other important documents from your host university in the USA

Fill in the customs declaration forms and arrival-departure forms for immigration (I-94) on the plane!

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Pre-trip Preparation

For a full list of required documents and

more specific information, please refer to the US

Embassy webpage.

Embassy of the United States Singapore:

http://singapore.usembassy.gov/

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TICKETS

What else do I need to DO? (before departure) – cont’d

TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS

 Research your flight options and obtain quotes, but don’t confirm or pay for your booking until you have received the acceptance from your host

university and visa

 You should plan to arrive at least two weeks before the study period starts and attend the orientation programme. Refer to your acceptance package for more details

 Consider a round trip ticket and ask about student fares as they are often cheaper

 If you need to take a train to your final destination, please ensure you are not rushing to catch the last train

 Check if your host university offers arrival reception services and inform them your arrival time. If not research the local transport and prepare to pay by cash in local currency

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 Liquids, Aerosols and Gels must be in containers (maximum capacity – 100ml each), if more than 100ml, will not be accepted, even if the container is partially-filled.

 Containers must be placed in a transparent re-sealable plastic bag (maximum capacity – not exceeding 1-litre). These containers must fit comfortably within the transparent re-sealable plastic bag, which must be completely closed.

 Only one transparent re-sealable plastic bag permitted per pax.

 The transparent re-sealable plastic bag must be presented separately for examination at the security screening point.

 For more details, visit Changi Airport’s security webpage @

http://www.changiairport.com/passenger-guide/departure/guidelines-on-hand-carried-luggage/guidelines-on-hand-carried-luggage

17 HAND LUGGAGE

– Liquid restrictions aboard aircrafts

What else do I need to DO? (before departure) – cont’d

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 The regulations on weight and size of baggage can vary between countries and airlines. Check with your airline for specific regulation

 Any foodstuffs, spices, plant, animal or wood products you intend to bring must be declared on the Customs Declaration form given to you on the plane.

 Otherwise, they may be confiscated and/or you could be fined. The Customs Officer will decide if you can keep anything.

 Declare everything on the form, as it will be too late to tell the Customs Officer at the airport.

 If in doubt, declare it.

18 CHECK-IN LUGGAGE

– Declarations at airports

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19 ACCOMMODATION

What else do I need to DO? (before departure) – cont’d

 Make sure you have applied for accommodation – sometimes applying for SEP does not mean you have applied for housing.

 You may be allowed to check-in only during working hours, so do find out prior to arrival.

 If housing is only provided during the semester, find alternative lodging during the periods before and after term.

 Check if school hostels provide daily/weekly/monthly rates outside of term time.

 For off-campus housing, other than the facade (external and

internal), do check out the charges for internet, telephone, electricity, water etc. Ensure that the locale is a safe one. Avoid signing any

contract until you are agreeable to all the terms.

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20 HEALTH

What else do I need to DO? (before departure) – cont’d

HEALTH & INSURANCE

 Obtain professional advice on the vaccinations and medications for vaccine-preventable diseases you might be at risk for at your destination

 Arrange for a health check-up with your doctor, dentist and optometrist

 If you have chronic health problems, you may need to work out a health management plan with you doctor. Make sure your medications are available at your destination or arrange to take them with you

 If you are taking medications, please continue

 It might be wise to take an adequate supply of

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 Most American universities require their exchange students to purchase university health insurance.

 It is essential to have both travel and health insurance for the duration of your stay abroad

 Ensure the policy fits your need. The travel insurance often cover change of flight dates due to illness, reimbursement of lost luggage etc.

 Familiarise yourself with your policy’s coverage. Note the clauses and disclaimer in your policy. Report accident/loss at the earliest possible opportunity. Have the policy and relevant contact numbers with you.

21 INSURANCE

What else do I need to DO? (before departure) – cont’d

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22 What else do I need to DO? (before departure) – cont’d

 Knowing about your destination will help you in your pre-departure decisions such as what to pack, how to get around, what to expect etc.

 Climate and time difference

 Exchange rate and cost of living

 Regional map and local transportation

 Common cultural differences

 Health and Safety

 Meet & Greet Services

 Living and studying at host country

 Activities for exchange students at host university

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23 COST OF LIVING

What else do I need to DO? (before departure) – cont’d

 Big Mac Index: S$1 = US$0.70 (9.11.15) USA – US$4.20; Singapore – S$5.75

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 You should work out a budget covering accommodation, food, transport, clothing & entertainment.

 Estimated cost of living:

Current exchange rate as at 9th November 2015:

SGD$1 = US$0.70

24 COST OF LIVING

What else do I need to DO? (before departure) – cont’d

 You can save money by shopping at local supermarkets, buying tickets in advance and taking budget airlines.

NOTE: DO NOT SPEND ALL YOUR SEP MONEY BEFORE GOING ON SEP!!!

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 Valid passport with current student visa

 Letter of acceptance from host university

 Study plan

 Housing confirmation letter

 Return air ticket

 Receipts of payments (housing, administrative fees etc.)

 NUS transcripts (to facilitate module registration)

 Medical Records

 Forms of identification (driving license, identity card)

 Photocopies of important documents (letter of offer, I/C, passport, credit cards, insurance polices etc.)

25 IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS

What else do I need to DO? (before departure) – cont’d

Please make copies of all important documents and keep separate sets in different places. It is also a good idea to leave one set at home so that these documents can easily be sent to you in the event that you lose those with you.

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• Toiletries, alarm clock, hairdryer, clothes, footwear

• Take note that the products you are used to may not be available overseas, or may be very expensive

• Digital camera

• Photos of friends and family • Souvenirs from Singapore • Recipes or “food mixes”

• These will help you to show others what life in Singapore is like

26 DAILY NECESSITIES

What else do I need to DO? (before departure) – cont’d

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27 OTHER ESSENTIALS

What else do I need to DO? (before departure) – cont’d

 Sufficient cash to last you until your bank draft is approved (at least 1 month’s expenses)

 Medication for personal use (prescription drugs should be kept in their original packaging with your name on it, and be accompanied by a doctor’s note)

 Travel adaptors and multi-plug adaptors - Voltage 110-120 Volts

 Laptop, camera and cell phone chargers

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28 CHECKLIST

What else do I need to DO? (before departure) – cont’d

 Valid passport and visa

 Proof of acceptance at PU

 Study plan

 Proof of financial support

 Proof of accommodation

 Insurance

 Bank draft/credit card/cash

 Confirmed flight ticket

 Emergency Contacts

 Vaccinations and checkups

 Register with MFA

 Appropriate clothing

 First aid kit

 Medication

 Adaptors and chargers

 Umbrella/raincoat

 Toiletries/alarm clock/ hairdryer

 Footwear

 Digital camera

 Photos and souvenirs

 Foodstuffs

 Passport photos

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• Singaporeans should register themselves with MFA at:

–http://www.mfa.gov.sg/internet/eregister/eregister.html

–In times of emergency, MFA would be able to provide you with consular assistance.

• For NS men, please notify MINDEF on your trip, and/or apply for the Exit Permit if you are going away for more than 6 months

(www.ns.sg).

• For NUS International students, we recommend that you should contact with your country’s diplomatic missions at the host country.

29 What else do I need to DO? (before departure) – cont’d

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How much do you know your

host country & host university?

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• BE PREPARED FOR A DIFFERENT KIND OF ACADEMIC CULTURE! e.g. Maybe…

• Less scheduled class time

• The need to be a more self-directed learner

• Less individual attention from professors/lecturers

• More active discussion in tutorial classes

• An argumentative, not descriptive, style of writing in essays and exams

• Few, but heavily weighted, pieces of assessment late in the semester

• A different approach to grading assignments

What else do I need to DO? (before departure) – cont’d

31 ACADEMIC CULTURE

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• Americans are generally quite casual and informal (i.e. some (not all) students refer to their lecturers and tutors by their first names)

• It is common to thank shop assistants and other service staff when they assist you.

• It is important to be on time in the USA — it is polite to call if you are going to be late for an appointment.

• Smoking is often not permitted in restaurants, bars, nightclubs or many other public covered areas (depending on the State).

• USA has a strong tipping culture in most bars and restaurants, as well as taxis!

• Not all shop prices will have the tax added, sometimes they will add when you are at the ‘check-out’.

What else do I need to DO? (before departure) – cont’d

32 LIFESTYLE

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• Banking facilities and automatic teller machines (ATMs) are available throughout the USA.

• Banks provide internet and telephone banking services.

• Opening hours are generally 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday, with some banks opening on Saturday mornings.

• You can cash travellers’ cheques at any bank and most credit cards are accepted throughout the country.

• You may wish to look into opening a bank account in the USA when you arrive but this is up to you. Be prepared for a longer wait than in Singapore to open an account!

• You should check with your local bank if you can use your card in the USA and it is an idea to have a credit card for emergency use.

What else do I need to DO? (before departure) – cont’d

33 CURRENCY & BANKING

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I’m ready to go!

What do I need to know?

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What do I need to know? (upon

arrival)

35 ONCE YOU ARE THERE SETTLING IN SAFETY

TIPS TO MAKE THE BEST OF YOUR TIME

PREPARING FOR HOME

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36 What do I need to KNOW? (upon arrival) – cont’d

 CALL HOME! Ensure that your family members can contact you and inform them if you are going to travel - we do not want them calling us about your whereabouts

 Follow the instructions on your offer letter

 Attend the orientation for exchange students

 Acquaint yourself with the student services

 Update your contact details at myISIS

 Find out who you should call in times of emergency – police, ambulance, or campus security

 Let people know when you leave campus and where you’re going

ONCE YOU ARE THERE

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37 What do I need to KNOW? (upon arrival) – cont’d

 Familiarise yourself with your new surroundings

 Keep yourself updated with the daily local news

 Talk to new people – don’t keep to yourself

 Please don’t just stick to Singaporeans!

 Take note of your exam dates. If your semester overseas overlaps with the new NUS semester, start making alternative

arrangements to sit for your exam early or do assignments in lieu of the exam. If neither option is possible, apply for an extension of

your leave of absence from NUS

 Check NUS email frequently for new announcements and other academic matters.

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38 What do I need to KNOW? (upon arrival) – cont’d

CULTURE SHOCK

 Anxiety and feelings (of surprise, disorientation, confusion, etc.) felt when people have to operate within an entirely different cultural or social environment, such as a foreign country.

 1. Honeymoon Phase

 2. Negotiation Phase

 3. “Everything is ok” Phase

 4. Reverse Culture Shock

 Recognise and talk to friends or counsellors about it

 Be open-minded, and prepare yourself well by reading up about your host country beforehand

 Make friends with the locals

 Maintain contact with your friends and family back home

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39 What do I need to KNOW? (upon arrival) – cont’d

BE MATURE AND RECOGNISE DIFFERENCES

 Be prepared that things may be done in a different way and speed than what you are used to

 Respect others and act in ways to be respected too

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Once you are there– cont’d

 Be safe – don’t wander around alone at night

 Even if you’re lost, walk purposefully

 Look out for nearest security posts/police stations near home

 Beware of pickpockets – guys should keep their wallets in their front pockets and girls should keep their bags tightly clasped under their arms

 Be mindful of your surroundings and aware of scams

 Don’t leave your valuables lying around

 Don’t leave large amounts of cash in the room

 If confronted, give up your valuables and do not resist

 Ask locals about any dangerous areas or locations that should be avoided

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Once you are there– cont’d

If you encounter a threatening or an unsafe situation along the street or in public area:

 Get away from the incident site immediately.

 Move immediately and quickly into a crowded area if you are being stalked or threatened.

 Approach any police officer in sight, or go to any police post/station in the immediate vicinity.

 Seek help from the locals.

 If you are unable to get away from the incident site, hide yourself at a safe place.

 Call the local police for help as soon as possible whenever there is an opportunity.

 Contact the local sponsor/office/supervisor for help.

 If all fails, call Campus Security Hotline, or NUS faculty/department/ office, or your supervisor.

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 If you are unfamiliar with the road situations in a foreign country, always take the public transport.

 Always keep to the speed limit if you must drive.

 Plan your route in advance.

 Travel in groups and with locals if possible.

 Call the ambulance (if someone is injured) and police

 Ensure your are covered in auto insurance.

 Ensure you have your medical insurance with you at all times. What do I need to KNOW? (upon arrival) – cont’d

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 Move away from disaster areas.

 Contact Singapore Consulate Office in the country for assistance.

 Inform your family, NUS emergency hotline and host university as soon as possible.

 Provide your contacts if possible.

 Follow MFA’s guideline to evacuate the country if necessary. What do I need to KNOW? (upon arrival) – cont’d

NATURAL DISASTERS

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44 What do I need to KNOW? (upon arrival) – cont’d

ALCOHOL, DRUGS, PARTYING ETC.

 Be comfortable and don’t be pressured into anything

 Be smart

 Know when to say no

 It’s not okay just because everyone is doing it

 Always know your limit

 Something that is legal there may not necessary be acceptable in Singapore

 Something that is ok in Singapore may not be acceptable there

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 Finding out as much as you can – the more you know, the more comfortable you’ll be

 Talk to people who have done the same thing. Learn & adapt – don’t copy

 Be open-minded and make the effort – to explore, experience new culture and places

 If a problem arises, try to resolve it. Good for you!

 But also know when to approach others for help

 After your time abroad, be inspired!

TIPS TO MAKE THE BEST OF YOUR TIME

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 Say your goodbyes and thank you (including the

International Office)

 Confirm your returning flight details

 Bid for next semester’s modules in CORS

 Apply for NUS on-campus housing if necessary

 Upon your return, please remember to fill in the SEP Student

Feedback Questionnaire

 For NASA award holders, please submit your report

 Look out for re-entry session

 Send us quotes on your SEP experience & nice photos

 Sign up for the Peer Advising Programme

 Leave useful tips for future participants by blogging on

https://community.nus.edu.sg/oep/

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Student Application

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Everybody needs a PAL!

Peer Advising Programme

“To build a community of Peer Advisors (PALs) consisting of students who have been on SEP and are keen to contribute”

How the PALs can help you?

 PALs are returning students. Link up

with them to find out more

peeradvising@nus.edu.sg

http://www.nus.edu.sg/iro/peeradvising/index.html

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=124901100880274&ref=ts @NUSPeerAdvisors

 And when you get back, don’t forget to become a Peer Advisor!

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 Make your own list of emergency contacts

• Embassies/High Commissions: www.mfa.gov.sg

• Local emergencies number

• Credit card and bank tel numbers

• NUS Emergency Contact +65-6874 1616

• NUS International Relations Office

• List of SEP Co-ordinators & Administrators

• SEP FAQs

• Singapore International Foundation

http://www.sif.org.sg/en/what-we-do/overseas-singaporeans.html

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