Study Abroad hosts pre-departure orientation sessions at Western Michigan University twice each academic year for students preparing to go overseas—attendance is mandatory for students on non-faculty-led programs.
There are three types of orientation sessions offered:
- Online orientation videos for all study abroad students: All participants are expected to view the digital resources available in their Broncos Abroad application and complete the assessments associated with the content discussed in each video. The due date for these assessments will be provided by WMU study abroad and specialists welcome questions about their content.
- In-person orientations for all students going overseas for a semester or academic year, or during the summer without a faculty director: This mandatory session is held twice a year, in fall (outgoing for spring semester) and spring (outgoing for summer sessions or fall semester). Orientation covers expectations around student conduct, preparing for culture shock, strategizing for cultural adjustment, maintaining good health, preparing for foreign academic systems, and diversity abroad. Students accepted into study abroad programs are notified by email of the pre-departure meeting; parents and family are welcome to attend.
- Country-specific orientations: These sessions provide information specific to a particular destination, academic system or hosting university. They are conducted by the WMU faculty director or the study abroad specialist responsible for the program. Students are notified by email of the meetings, and family members are welcome to attend. Note: Not all programs will have group meetings, but all students are welcome to schedule predeparture advising for cultural differences with their study abroad specialist.
The Pre-Departure Orientation Handbook is a collection of resources to help students prepare to travel abroad and they are encouraged to read it carefully. When preparing to go abroad, students might find it helpful to speak with students who have already studied abroad as well as people from the countries the student is planning to visit. It is also helpful for a student preparing to go abroad to pay attention to news and current events in the region of the world they will be visiting. This can easily be done by monitoring international news through WMU Library's subscription to the New York Times. Students may also benefit from reading books by the country’s native authors, listening to traditional music, learning some of the local language etc. Students may study many foreign language for free through Mango Languages Premiere.