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While Abroad

Congratulations! You are finally abroad. In this section you will find some resources that will help you make the most of your time abroad.

Other things to consider:

  • CIE will register you with the State Department in your host countries.
  • Keep records of all academic information (including all course information: syllabi, notes, homework, compositions, exams, contact information of your professors).
  • Correspond with your academic adviser at Loyola, if needed.
  • Collect references from any relevant supervisors from internships, etc. for future use.
  • Make sure that the courses you are taking have been approved. If you have to change the courses that were pre-approved, you need to complete the Study Abroad Course Change Approval Form that is available in your on-line application.
  • Keep a journal. We have never met students who were sorry that they kept a journal, but have met lots of students who wish they had.

Green Study Abroad

Study abroad is a great opportunity to explore new places, meet and learn about new people, and expand your world view. A not-so-great side effect of study abroad is the environmental impact of your globetrotting. For instance, traveling 2,000 miles in an airplane emits ONE TON of C02 per passenger. Not to mention the traveling you will do throughout your summer, semester or year abroad.
We have provided some information to help you understand the environmental consequences of your study abroad experience and make responsible choices at home and abroad to help minimize the negative environmental impact of study abroad.Learn about current environmental issues in the places you are visiting. Different regions will have different situations based on their ecosystems. Learn about the effects of mass tourism on beaches, mountains, wetlands, deserts, etc. and then seek to counter those effects.
  • Pack Light - Every kilo counts when flying. The more a plane weighs, the more carbon emissions it produces. Pack only what you need - the environment will thank you.
  • Be at Home in your new home - A great tip is to remember to act like you would at home - avoid getting clean towels when not necessary, don't have long showers and something frequently forgotten is to turn off TV, lights and heating or air conditioning when you leave the room.
  • Use local and public transport whenever possible. Take a train or bus. Bike or walk. Try to fly less; airplanes produce massive amounts of ozone-depleting carbon dioxide.
  • Use water sparingly. Many communities face water shortages, and water usage costs money. Take quick showers.
  • Avoid Bottled Water - Plastic bottles account for a lot of waste so bring your own refillable water bottle.
  • Don't Bag It - You want memories of your holiday to last for years but 500 years is way too long. Plastic bags can take up to 500 years to biodegrade so take a re-useable shopping bag with you when you go to local markets.
To learn more about sustainable study abroad and what you can do to help off-set the environmental impact of your upcoming experience, please visit the websites listed below:   Back to top

Solo Travel

If your goal is to really interact with the culture, you are visiting, then solo trips will give you a much greater chance of doing this. While it would be great if you have the opportunity to travel with family or friends, often it is hard to coordinate schedules and interests. Traveling solo can be a very rewarding experience and allows you to meet interesting people, but you should take additional precautions. Two excellent methods for travelers to avoid hassles are to behave and dress in ways that allow one to blend in with the culture and to understand and conform to standards of gender roles in the culture in which one is traveling.

There is a lot you can get out of a solo trip that just doesn’t happen when you’re not on your own:

  1. Meet other travelers more easily-- Solo travelers simply invite company by being there alone. Once you start meeting other travelers, you get a lot of options that you probably wouldn’t have had with your traveling companion by your side.
  2. Do what you want, when you want-- You are your own decision maker. You can plan your day according to your own desires. Avoiding the conflict that often comes with traveling with others is another bonus of the solo trip. Spending virtually all your time with another person, even a good friend, can produce a few sparks of conflict, especially in the sometimes stressful negotiations of budget travel. This can be avoided when traveling on your own.
  3. (Re)ignite your “can do” spirit-- Traveling alone may lend itself to real moments of clarity that don’t occur when traveling with someone else. Making your own choices in a foreign place can give you a “I can do anything” attitude, does wonders for your power of self-reliance and can even boost your self-esteem. Taking responsibility for all the tasks involved in traveling, without having someone else to talk over the possibilities with or to make the decisions for you, is empowering. It’s especially powerful if you’re navigating through a foreign country, perhaps using some knowledge of a foreign language, and managing to find your way from place to place alone.
  4. But don’t travel alone all the time --Where possible, mix up your travel mode. Travel with friends, family, partners, groups of strangers, etc, but always remember to savor the trips you have the privilege of taking alone.

Some things to keep in mind:

  1. Avoid being out alone at night in unfamiliar territory-on the street, in parks, on trams, or in trains. For example, if you suddenly find yourself alone in a train car, move to another one where others are sitting.
  2. Keep a low profile wherever you are. Avoid traveling in large noisy groups.
  3. Always carry extra change or a local phone card for emergencies and money for a bus or taxi.
  4. Look as if you know where you are going (even when you don’t!) and consider approaching shopkeepers, couples or women when asking for directions. Use your own discretion and common sense.
  5. Carry a whistle on your key chain to use in an emergency.
  6. Do not react to verbal harassment. Seek out the police or passersby for help.
  7. Don’t take unnecessary risks, but don’t lose your sense of adventure either.
  8. Think before you act. Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Don’t wander through unfamiliar areas alone, and always remain alert.
  9. Carry a good book, a journal or postcards and take advantage of evening hours in your hostel or hotel for resting and recording your adventures or sharing with family and friends back home.

Learning to enjoy time by myself.  At first it was a bit isolating but once I made myself get out and do things on my own I had a blast.

Dominique Ellis, Scotland


Be independent - willing to go somewhere you’ve never thought of visiting.

Anthony Ortenzi, Morocco

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Absentee Voting

We want to make sure that you are able to vote in any upcoming elections. Because you will be living outside the United States, there are a few steps you must take to ensure that you receive an absentee ballot. If you are a U.S. American living overseas, even temporarily, you will have to use a Federal Postcard Application (FPCA)  to request your absentee ballot and to register to vote.  All states and territories accept the FPCA, but the information required varies and some states allow electronic submission. For complete information for each state and for the FPCA, check the website for Federal Voting Assistance for Overseas Citizens.

You must send your completed FPCA to the local election official in the county (or, in a few instances, city or town) where you last resided. Your legal residency is most likely where you live while studying or where your parents live.

We recommend that you fill out the FPCA before you leave the United States (preferably today). This will ensure that your local election officials have sufficient time to process your FPCA and send you your absentee ballot at the earliest point possible (usually 30-45 days before the election).

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Keeping a Blog or Journal

Keeping a blog or journal provides you the opportunity to reflect on your experience and to stay in tune with your emotions and feelings, and explain your experience to an audience back home. A blog or journal illustrates the work-in-progress that is your study abroad experience, recording your deepening understanding of the culture around you and the changes that are taking place in you as you experience your host country. Most students find they use blogs or journals for a number of different purposes:
  • to record the events of the day;
  • to make random notes;
  • to think out loud;
  • to record a conversation;
  • to record observations, random or targeted;
  • to record impressions and reactions;
  • to relate events and experiences (to tell a story);
  • to record thoughts and emotions;
  • to record realizations and conclusions;
  • to write poetry or fiction;
  • to sketch;
  • to display photos;
  • to share experiences with others;
  • to talk to themselves.
Images of Journals

Three Common Mistakes

  1. If you associate writing in your journal with an hour of serious thinking and literate prose, chances are you’ll be too daunted to ever begin. Start simple, recording a few thoughts, ideas, questions in a 10-to-15-minute respite at the end of the day.
  2. Don’t think of your reader or your writing style. Write for yourself, not posterity; otherwise, you edit too much and stop the free flow of your thoughts and emotions while they’re happening.
  3. Don’t delay your writing for more than a day. When you haven’t written for a while, it may start to feel like a chore. It’s also better to write when things are fresh in your mind, and you can recall details. For the first few days, just describe what’s been happening. It’s automatic and customary to interpret and categorize, but that can come later as you reflect on what you’ve written in light of what you now know about the culture. By their very nature, frustrating experiences are only understood in retrospect, upon reflection and analysis—and cultural adjustment is full of just such experiences.
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Revised 8/17/2018