Congratulations on Your IUP Acceptance to Education Abroad!

You will be notified via email of your acceptance from IUP, at which time you will be given the information for the pre-departure meeting.

Please note that this does not necessarily indicate that you have been fully accepted by your host institution.

At the pre-departure meeting, you will receive the IUP Office of International Education Acceptance Packet, which includes the following:

  • Health Abroad pamphlet
  • Sexual Health Abroad pamphlet
  • Visas pamphlet
  • Verification Letter (acceptance letter from IUP Education Abroad)
  • Country-specific information

Pre-Departure Information

Pre-Departure Meeting

Each semester, IUP prepares those students participating in an Education Abroad program by organizing an extensive, informative, and mandatory pre-departure meeting. Students participating in a program in the not-too-distant future will need to mark their calendars with the information below about this mandatory meeting.

If you haven't been notified via email about this meeting, please contact the IUP OIE for details.

Tips for Traveling Abroad

  • Passport: check out the US Department of State website for the closest passport location and application forms.
  • Student visa (if applicable): Check for information about your destination using the Students Abroad website.
  • Make travel arrangements to and within your host country.
  • Research and purchase airfare, train passage, etc. and arrange transportation from the airport to your host campus, if applicable.
  • Consider any health issues.
  • Find travel vaccination information here.
  • CVS Pharmacy in Indiana can get any vaccinations that you may need for your education abroad program.
  • Contact your medical insurance provider for verification and details on overseas coverage. If you do not have coverage, see the Office of International Education for brochures and information on health insurance plans to cover you.
  • Visit your family doctor and dentist before departing.
  • If traveling with any prescriptions, obtain a letter from your doctor or pharmacist. (See "Travel Warning on Drugs Abroad." Prescription medications could lead to drug arrests and prison sentences in other countries. If you need to take prescriptions, find out all you can about handling them properly for any countries you will travel in or through.)
  • Register the trip with the US Department of State (DOS) for the STEP program: The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service provided by the US government to US citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country.
  • STEP allows you to enter information about your upcoming trip abroad so that the Department of State can better assist you in an emergency.
  • STEP also allows Americans residing abroad to get routine information about the nearest US embassy or consulate.


Cancellation Policy

Education Abroad involves many offices and procedures. It is important to think through the entire process before making the final commitment. In the event that you have decided not to continue with your application process either before decision or post decision, you should inform the education abroad advisor in writing as soon as possible. Please see our cancellation schedule below:

Spring Semester Abroad

  • If you cancel after October 1, you will forfeit the Education Abroad Fee of $375.
  • If you cancel after November 1, you will forfeit 50 percent of your program costs.
  • If you cancel after December 1, you will forfeit 100 percent of your program costs.

Fall Semester Abroad

  • If you cancel after March 15, you will forfeit the Education Abroad Fee of $375.
  • If you cancel after June 1, you will forfeit 50 percent of your program costs.
  • If you cancel after July 1, you will forfeit 100 percent of your program costs.

Summer Semester Abroad

  • If you cancel after April 1, you will forfeit the Education Abroad Fee of $375.
  • If you cancel 45 days prior to the official start date of your program, you will forfeit 50 percent of your program costs.
  • If you cancel 30 days prior to the official start date of your program, you will forfeit 100 percent of your program costs.

Each third party provider may also have its own policies. In the event of illness or another unexpected catastrophic event which may lead a student to forgo the program or to terminate that study prematurely, IUP will not be required to provide a refund or any of the monies paid for the program. However, it may do so if IUP determines that the circumstances merit a refund.

While You're Abroad

Now that you're in a new country, there will be many things for you to do and see. Please remember your safety above all. If it doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.

Remember to know and/or carry the information for the nearest American Embassy or Consulate, even when traveling out of your host city or country. As an American, you can go there for help. To find this information, go to the US Department of State website.

It is important that you enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive updates and alerts while in another country. This will also allow the Department of State to be able to contact you in an emergency or natural disaster in your host country. You can either complete the information on the link above, or download the STEP app to your mobile device.

Accessing Your Money While Abroad

The culture around money will vary greatly from country to country so it is important to do a bit of research about your destination before you arrive to be prepared for what to expect when it comes to accessing your money in that country. Checking with your bank to see which ATMs you should use and what the international transaction fee will be is important, as well as letting your bank know that you will be in another country for a period of time.

One place to get started researching great ways to access your money abroad and avoid transaction fees, etc. can be found on the Go Overseas website.

Culture Shock

What is Culture Shock?

When we are children, we unconsciously learn thousands of social cues. These cues are words, gestures, body language, and social norms that we depend on in our daily lives. Some examples of these are how to greet people, how to buy products, when to refuse invitations, when to take someone seriously, or how to ask a question. When you enter a foreign environment, you are no longer surrounded by familiar signs but subjected to different customs, cues, and social norms. In this new culture, you will probably suffer from anxiety, frustration, and/or confusion.

Four stages of culture shock exist. Most students go through each stage one-by-one. The length of the entire experience can vary depending upon the individual. Study abroad students tend to have at least two low periods while overseas, and the harshness of this period fluctuates. It is important to be aware of culture shock and to realize that your feelings are normal. Keep in mind, this period will pass, and you will learn a lot about yourself during this time. More information, including ways to deal with culture shock, can be found in an article by Go Overseas.

No one is immune to this adjustment period, no matter how open minded and happy you are or what good intentions you may have. Gaining knowledge about your surroundings and language will lessen the effects and help speed you through the process. Your attitude is the most important aspect. If you treat others rudely, they will in turn treat you rudely. If you become dependent on your friends from home, they will become irritated with your constant problems. Leaving home "completely" leads to a faster adjustment and more satisfying experience abroad. If you refuse to learn or change, this experience will be worthless for you.

Although at times it might not seem like it, you have the capacity and ability to learn this new culture and language! Even people in English-speaking countries such as Australia, Great Britain, and the Republic of Ireland speak English differently compared to Americans.

Factors for Successful Intercultural Adjustment

An anthropologist, Lalervo Oberg, has suggested the following factors for "successful intercultural adjustment."

  1. Open mindedness: The ability to keep one's opinions flexible and receptive to new stimuli seems to be important to intercultural development.

  2. Sense of humor: A sense of humor is important because in another culture there are many things which lead one to weep, get angry, be annoyed, embarrassed, or discouraged. The ability to laugh off things will help guard against despair.

  3. Ability to cope with failure: The ability to tolerate failure is critical because everyone fails at something overseas. Since people who go overseas are often those who have been the most successful in their home environments and have rarely experienced failures, they may have never developed ways of coping with failure.

  4. Communicativeness: The ability and willingness to communicate your feelings and thoughts to others, verbally or nonverbally, has been suggested as an important skill for successful intercultural communicators.

  5. Flexibility and adaptability: The ability to respond to or tolerate the ambiguity of new situations is very important to intercultural success. Keeping options open and judgmental behavior to a minimum describes an adaptive or flexible person.

  6. Curiosity: Curiosity is the demonstrated desire to know about other people, places, ideas, etc. This skill or personality trait is important for intercultural travelers because they need to learn many things in order to adapt to their new environment.

  7. Positive and realistic expectations: It has been shown frequently that there are strong correlations between positive expectations for an intercultural experience and successful adjustment overseas.

  8. Tolerance for differences and ambiguities: A sympathetic understanding of beliefs or practices differing from your own is important to successful intercultural adjustment.

  9. Positive regard for others: The ability to express warmth, empathy, respect, and positive regard for other persons has been suggested as an important component of effective intercultural relations.

  10. A strong sense of self: A clear, secure feeling about yourself results in individuals who are neither weak nor overbearing in their relations with others. Persons with a strong sense of themselves stand up for what they believe but do not cling to those beliefs regardless of new information, perspectives, or understandings.

Lalervo Oberg "Factors Important to Successful Intercultural Adjustments"

Travel Warning on Drugs Abroad

Things You Should Know Before You Go Abroad

Each year, 2,500 Americans are arrested overseas. One third of the arrests are on drug-related charges.Many of those arrested assumed that their US citizenship would protect them from being arrested. From Asia to Africa, Europe to South America, US citizens are finding out the hard way that drug possession or trafficking equals jail in foreign countries.

Very Little Anyone Can Do if You are Caught with Drugs

There is very little that anyone can do to help you if you are caught with drugs. It is your responsibility to know what the drug laws are in a foreign country before you go, because "I didn't know it was illegal" will not get you out of jail.

In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of women arrested abroad. The rise is a result of women who serve as drug couriers or "mules" in the belief they can make quick money and have a vacation without getting caught. Instead of a short vacation, they get a lengthy stay or life sentence in a foreign jail.

A number of the Americans arrested abroad on drug charges in 1994 possessed marijuana. Many of these possessed one ounce or less of the substance. The risk of being put in jail for just one marijuana cigarette is not worth it.

You Could Be Arrested for Having Large Amounts of Prescription Drugs

If you are purchasing prescription medications in quantities larger than what is considered necessary for personal use, you could be arrested on suspicion of drug trafficking.

Once you're arrested, the American Consular Officer cannot get you out of jail!

You may say, "It couldn't happen to me," but the fact is that it could happen to you if you find yourself thinking one of the following: "I'm an American citizen and no foreign government can put me in their jail." or "If I only buy or carry a small amount, it won't be a problem."

If you are arrested on a drug charge it is important that you know what your government can and cannot do for you.

The US Consular Officer Can

  • visit you in jail after being notified of your arrest
  • give you a list of local attorneys (The US government cannot assume responsibility for the professional ability or integrity of these individuals or recommend a particular attorney.)
  • notify your family and/or friends and relay requests for money or other aid—but only with your authorization
  • intercede with local authorities to make sure that your rights under local law are fully observed and that you are treated humanely, according to internationally accepted standards
  • protest mistreatment or abuse to the appropriate authorities

The US Consular Officer Cannot

  • demand your immediate release or get you out of the jail or country!
  • represent you at trial or give legal counsel
  • pay legal fees and/or fines with US government funds

If you are caught buying, selling, carrying, or using drugsfrom hashish to heroin, marijuana to mescaline, cocaine to Quaaludes, to designer drugs like ecstacy…

You Could Be Given the Death Penalty, Life in Prison, Lashings

  • Interrogation and Delays Before Trial: including mistreatment and solitary confinement for up to one year under very primitive conditions
  • Lengthy Trials: conducted in a foreign language, with delays and postponements
  • Weeks, Months, or Life in Prison: some places include hard labor, heavy fines, and/or lashings, if found guilty
  • The Death Penalty: this is occurring in a growing number of countries (e.g., Malaysia, Pakistan, and Turkey)

Although drug laws vary from country to country, it is important to realize before you make the mistake of getting involved with drugs that foreign countries do not react lightly to drug offenders. In some countries, anyone who is caught with even a very small quantity for personal use may be tried and receive the same sentence as the large-scale trafficker.

Many Countries Have Mandatory Prison Sentences of Seven Years or Life

  • A number of countries, including the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Mexico, and the Philippines, have enacted more stringent drug laws which impose mandatory jail sentences for individuals convicted of possessing even small amounts of marijuana or cocaine for personal use.
  • Once you leave the United States, you are not covered by US laws and constitutional rights.
  • Bail is not granted in many countries when drugs are involved.
  • The burden of proof in many countries is on the accused to prove his/her innocence.
  • In some countries, evidence obtained illegally by local authorities may be admissible in court.
  • Few countries offer drug offenders jury trials or even require the prisoner's presence at his/her trial.
  • Many countries have mandatory prison sentences of seven years or life, without the possibility of parole for drug violations.

Remember: Don't Carry a Package for Anyone, No Matter How Small

  • If someone offers you a free trip and some quick and easy money just for bringing back a suitcase. SAY NO!
  • Don't carry a package for anyone, no matter how small it might seem.
  • The police and customs officials have a right to search your luggage for drugs. If they find drugs in your suitcase, you will suffer the consequences.
  • You could go to jail for years and years with no possibility of parole, early release or transfer back to the US.

Don't make a jail sentence part of your trip abroad.

The Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs' Office of Overseas Citizens Services provides emergency services pertaining to the protection of Americans arrested or detained abroad, the search for US citizens overseas, the transmission of emergency messages to those citizens or their next of kin in the United States, and other emergency and non-emergency services. Contact the Office of Overseas Citizens Services Monday through Friday, 8:15 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. at 202-647-5225. For an emergency after hours or on weekends and holidays, callthe Overseas Citizens Services' duty officer at 202-647-4000.

The Department of State Emergencies Abroad page has much more information about what to do in a variety of emergencies abroad.

United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs

Accessing IUP Libraries Abroad

The IUP Libraries strive to provide excellent support for distance education and off-campus access to library resources. Most of the time, you can simply visit the IUP Libraries website to get electronic access to the catalog and online databases, 24 hours a day. In addition, they offer two services LibAnswers and LibGuides that provide answers to common questions and guidance on doing library research.

Using your I-Card to access the library's resources from off-campus/abroad

When you visit one of the databases on the All Databases or Databases by Subject pages from an off-campus location, before you are taken to the database itself, you will be asked to authenticate yourself as an IUP student, faculty member, or staff member. For our databases, the authentication tool we use is Keystone Library Network (KLN) PASS.

When you click on the database title, you will be taken to the KLN PASS page. In the block on the left, where it asks for library barcode or ID, enter the 16-digit number on your I-Card and then your last name. The system will check you against our patron database and, if you are a valid user, pass you through to the database you want. If you are unable to authenticate, please contact the Reference Desk or Circulation Desk (see the contact page for details) for further assistance.

Setting up the Virtual Private Network (VPN) on your home computer

The virtual private network (VPN) uses the internet to provide remote offices or individual users with secure access to the university's network. In some cases, the library database that you wish to use may need to be accessed using the university's VPN. To connect to IUP's VPN, go to Virtual Private Network VPN for download and setup instructions.

IUP Libraries
Stapleton Library, Room 203
431 South Eleventh Street
Indiana, PA 15705
Phone: 724.357.2340
Fax: 724.357.4891

Stapleton Library Hours:
Sunday: Open at 11:00 a.m.
Monday-Thursday: Open 24 hours
Friday: Midnight to 7:00 p.m.
Saturday: 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Samantha Zulkoski

"Studying abroad changed my life, and not a day goes by that my experience in Worcester and traveling doesn't cross my mind. If going abroad is something you're remotely considering, go for it! You won't regret it..."

Samantha Zulkoski, Class of 2018
Communications Media