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Pre­-Departure Orientation

If you are studying away for a semester or longer, you will participate in mandatory pre-departure orientation. This includes reviewing online information and videos and attending an in-person orientation session. Optional pre-departure events and resources will be offered as well. See below for details.

Pre-Departure Orientation Components

Orientation has three parts:

  1. Online – Orientation starts online. You will read informational materials and watch videos regarding health & wellness, safety and sexual violence, logistical information, and strategies for maximizing your study away experience. These are available in your online Macalester Study Away Account and linked below. 
  2. In-Person: Study Away Staff will invite you to one in-person orientation session the semester prior to your study away. Attendance is mandatory. The majority of the time will be used for discussing identity and study away and responsible community engagement with your peers.
  3. Optional Supplemental Programming:
    • Returnee Meet-ups: If there is a Macalester returnee from your study away program on campus, a study away advisor will connect you with a student who has studied in the same country, city, or even on the same program as you. This happens soon after the in­-person orientation session.
    • Preparing for Study Away Travel: Optional information session offered for first-time travelers or students with additional questions about preparing for travel logistics.

Pre-Departure Orientation Resources

Equity Resources for Study Away

Study Away has prepared a website filled with resources related to personal identity and how it may impact your study away experience. Each page of the site offers things to think about as you prepare to study away and provides resources to help you prepare for your journey. Please explore the pages by clicking on the links below.

Learn About Your Study Away Location

How much do you know about the place(s) where you will study away? We believe that the more you know before you arrive, the better prepared you will be to understand your study away experience. Watch the video below to get some resources and tips about how to learn more about your study away location:

Registration, Credits, Transcripts, and More

If you have questions after reviewing the handout, please email [email protected] and [email protected]

Macalester DeWitt Wallace Library

Macalester’s DeWitt Wallace Library can help you prepare for study away, support you while you are gone, and help you share your experience with others upon return. If you have questions after watching the video and reviewing the handout, please email [email protected] and [email protected].

Internet and Cybersecurity While Studying Away

We encourage you to use common sense and exercise precaution regarding your online presence while studying away. Some steps you can take towards this include: 

  • Set up Google 2-Step Verification to protect and access your account from abroad, if you haven’t already done so
  • Get a VPN and use that for all communications and sensitive web browsing (
  • Encrypt hard drives and phones; set secure passwords; some computers may have the option to use an encrypted SD card as an external drive so it can be removed if not in use.
  • Connect with partners/family using a secure encrypted communications app such as Signal or WhatsApp. Signal is available for Android and iOS. A desktop version is also available for Linux, Windows, and macOS. WhatsApp has also adopted some of the security protocols from Signal for messaging. Both parties must download Signal in order for the encryption to work.
  • You should let trusted friends/family know where you are and how to get a hold of them at all times by using the “Share my location” option on a phone; provide friends/family with numbers of the Embassy, staff and contacts where you are staying so that family/friends can give exact details about location in case of an emergency.
  • If you have to hand over your device(s) to authorities and it is out of your possession for any length of time, it would be possible for software to be added that could undermine any of these security protocols. So in that event, you may decide to err on the side of caution and not send anything you would not want to be tracked.

Visit for more information on electronic civil liberties and freedoms.

Research Review during Study Away

Many students do research during study away – sometimes through coursework on their program, sometimes independently of their program. All study away students should be aware of Macalester procedures around research done during study away.

Safety & Finances on Study Away

Questions about safety precautions, budgeting, spending, and more? Check out the following resources: 

Study Away and Sexual Respect

Study Away and Wellness