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Pre-Departure Orientations

Pre-Departure Orientations are sessions designed to prepare outgoing students for a meaningful study abroad experience. There are three components to the study abroad pre-departure orientation: the general, regional, and online tutorial. Students are required to participate in all aspects of the orientation including reviewing online materials and attending the general orientation. 

Pre-departure orientations are held at the following times:

  • Mid-November: students studying abroad the following Spring
  • Mid-April: students studying abroad during the Summer*, Fall, or Academic Yea

*Students going on W&M's faculty-led summer programs do not have a pre-departure orientation, but instead have regular meetings with the program director. 

types of orientations
General Orientation 

The mandatory general orientation covers topics like health, safety, student conduct, transfer credit, culture shock, and more. Students will have the opportunity to hear from and ask questions of professionals from the Student Health Center, Counseling Center, and the Dean of Students Office.  Student will receive an email with orientation date, time, and location details.

The online orientation, What’s Up with Culture, is a training resource designed to support and enhance the cultural adjustment of students studying abroad.  The training is self-guided.  It contains intercultural communication topics and explores how culture impacts experiences and learning abroad. 

Students can access What’s Up with Culture online

Regional Orientation 

The regional orientation explores information specific to students’ region or country. It is highly recommended that students attend, as this orientation provides students with a closer look into the culture and academic system of their region or country. Exchange students, faculty, staff, and former study abroad students may be invited to the regional orientation to discuss their personal experiences with the region. 

Some of the topics covered in the regional orientation include:

  • Country-specific information
  • Academics, including transfer credit
  • Communication while abroad
  • Passports & visas
  • Budgeting
  • Packing
  • Travel advice
  • Housing
  • Health & safety
  • Cross-cultural sensitivity and understanding
  • Navigating identities abroad
Orientation Details 
  • For regions/countries not listed here, study abroad advisors will contact students with orientation information.
  • Dates, times, and locations tbd.
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