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Pre-departure Materials


Welcome from Augsburg University and the Center for Global Education & Experience!!!  We are so glad you have decided to participate in a short-term program!  On this page, you will find important information regarding:
 

PRE-DEPARTURE LIST

Health, Safety, and Security
Your Safety--Our Expectations

Your safety is our highest concern.  Since 1982, more than 10,000 people have participated in CGEE customized programs.  CGEE has thus gained a great deal of experience with group travel, including experience with in risk assessment, emergency preparedness, and crisis management.  If necessary, CGEE will not hesitate to cancel or re-route a program should something occur that raises safety concerns about travel to a specific country or area.

While on a program, participants are expected to adhere to all safety and security instructions provided by program leaders and in-country staff.  In addition, participants are advised to ensure their own safety by taking responsibility for their behavior and being extra vigilant in new situations. Being mindful about food and beverages, dressing appropriately for the culture and climate, and exercising sound judgment will help promote physical and mental well-being during your program.

CGEE expects all travelers to review U.S. Department of State (USDOS) Country Specific Information before departure and to follow recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), local government and on-site staff.  Also remember to consult your physician about your health, in light of your travel plans, and review your vaccinations.  The State Department website also has a helpful section on Students Abroad

Emergency Communication

CGEE is available 24 hours a day to respond to and manage emergencies involving participants in our programs.  If you experience an emergency, seek medical attention, and contact your onsite CGEE leader.  In addition, you may contact our CGEE emergency number at 612-817-2830.  In the event of an emergency, CGEE may inform your designated emergency contact person(s) of the situation. For those participants who are students, your home institution may also be notified in order to facilitate the best possible support.

General Health Tips

  • Bring enough medical/health supplies.  If you take prescription or over-the-counter medication, make sure you bring enough to last your entire program, including a possible day or two of delay.  Be prepared and bring medical and health supplies for potential problems.  Many medications, including common over-the-counter items, may not be readily available.
  • Prescription Medications.  Using physician’s letterhead stationery, have your doctor/physician write the names of your prescriptions and a description for each one.  Make sure prescriptions include generic names.  This will be helpful in an emergency, and you should carry it with you while traveling, in case you are questioned by immigration authorities. 
  • Do NOT check important medicine.  Important medicines should be carried on the plane with you, not in checked luggage. 
  • Asthma Preparation.  If you are asthmatic, bring an ample supply of inhalers for the entire program. 
  • Allergy Preparation.  If you have any serious allergies, be sure to bring an extra epinephrine kit and an antihistamine. 
  • Eye Wear.  If you wear contact lenses, bring your own solutions.  Bring a pair of glasses as a back-up; if you lose your contacts, you may have difficulty replacing them.  In addition, some people find it difficult to wear contacts in a different environment.
  • Drink only purified water.  It is best to drink bottled water or water from trusted sources.  You will be provided with purified water during your program.  Don’t forget to use purified water when you brush your teeth.  Avoid ice cubes.
  • Drink enough water.  Besides drinking contaminated water, the most common health problem on programs is not drinking enough water and getting dehydrated and/or constipated.
  • Watch your food.  Eat meat, fish and vegetables only if they are well cooked.  Avoid salads unless the greens have been washed with purified water.  Fruit that you peel is the safest.  CGEE staff will give you more information on safe eating and drinking habits.
  • Pace yourself.  While strenuous walking is not a regular part of any program, there may be occasion when a long walk is necessary to reach a certain location.  Varying road conditions make it difficult to anticipate when there will be a need to walk, although CGEE staff will keep you informed whenever possible.  If a particular health condition makes strenuous walking a concern, please be prepared to communicate your limitations with your group leader and CGEE staff.
  • Be aware of your environment.  The pollution in most large cities can be significant.  If you have a history any respiratory illness or heart problems, you could experience complications during your stay.  If you use any type of medication for these problems, be sure to bring an adequate amount after consulting your doctor.
  • If you get sick, please let your trip leader or other CGEE staff know right away.  This will help to pinpoint problems with food and water and arrange a visit to a doctor or medical clinic if necessary. 

Emotional Well-Being 

Cultural adjustment, academic challenges, travel, field-based activities, and the dynamics of a new group can present challenges to maintaining a good attitude and healthy emotional state.  Prior to your journey, please consider coping strategies you could employ, if needed.  Helpful strategies may include journaling, exercise, music, or talking with a friend.  If you have used counseling services on a regular basis, CGEE recommends you discuss this program with your mental health professional as early as possible prior to departure.  In some cases, students have elected to maintain a phone or email relationship with a provider in the U.S., as in-country resources can be difficult to access.

Vaccinations

We want to emphasize that CGEE staff are not medical professionals.  As such, we cannot make recommendations that will be applicable to all individuals in all places.  You should make that decision in consultation with your doctor and by referencing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Malaria is present in some of the countries where CGEE sends travelers.  Consult the CDC for more information on the side effects and benefits of malaria prophylactic.  Dengue fever and the Zika virus may also be present.  There is no preventative medication for Zika.  Insect repellent with DEET is recommended. 

Policy on Controlled Substances

The use, possession, transport, or purchase of “controlled substances” (i.e. illegal drugs) by a program participant carries significant risks and penalties for the participant, the entire group, and the reputation and legal status of the Center for Global Education and Experience in the countries in which we work.
 
A participant who uses illegal drugs while on a Center for Global Education and Experience program will be sent home at his or her own expense.  If the participant is detained or arrested, legal officials in the site of the arrest (U.S. or foreign country) likely will not permit Center for Global Education and Experience staff to contact or assist the detained person in any way.  The Center for Global Education and Experience ceases to have responsibility for a participant at the time of detention or arrest for drug violations.
 
U.S. law prohibits the transport of illegal drugs across its borders.  Also, U.S. law does not protect U.S. citizens, U.S. residents, or others traveling abroad who violate foreign drug laws.  The laws that prevail are those of the country in which the law was broken.

Certificate of Consent

Due to international laws designed to prevent kidnapping and the trafficking of children, a participant under 18 years of age traveling outside the U.S. must carry a notarized letter signed by both and/or all legal guardians, along with his/her passport.  Even if one parent is accompanying the minor, this letter has to be presented to verify that the other parent has given his/her consent for the minor to travel outside the U.S.  If one parent is deceased, the minor needs a signature from the parent still living and a copy of the death certificate of the deceased parent.  We know this may seem like a lot of hassle, but it is better to err on the side of caution than to be detained at an international airport!  You can contact CGEE for a sample letter to bring to the notary public. 

**Return to Pre-departure List**

Insurance Information for International Travelers

Travel Health/Accident Insurance for International Destinations Only

CGEE provides participants with international travel health and accident coverage through EIIA/Europ Assistance at no additional cost to the program fee.  This insurance provides primary coverage for international emergencies and accidents.  The plan provides Emergency Travel Assistance, Emergency Medical Evacuation, Accidental Death and Dismemberment, and Repatriation of Remains.

This insurance policy does not provide coverage in the United States; the policy is only in effect while you are outside of the United States.  It does not cover routine medical care, prescription drugs, or any medical expenses incurred while in the U.S. or after you return with any injury sustained abroad.  It does not include trip cancellation or interruption coverage.

While the insurance provided will allow you to be reimbursed, it is common to have to pay for medical charges at the time of service.  We recommend you bring a credit (not debit) card with you to cover the cost or discuss with your family or emergency contact person how you might arrange to have funds available for such an emergency.

EIIA/Europ Assistance (International Destinations)

24-Hour Emergency Travel Assistance Services
Group ID Number: C2EII
Activation Code: 150424
Call toll-free inside the U.S. /Canada: 1-855-901-6712 or call collect worldwide: +1-240-330-1551 

Trip Cancellation & Cancellation Policy

Please remember that there are non-refundable costs if you cancel participation in a CGEE travel program.  Our cancellation policy is detailed in your application.  Please be sure to review the policy thoroughly and contact CGEE if you have any questions about it.

Cancellation Insurance
 

We recommend you purchase trip cancellation insurance to protect yourself against emergencies that might prevent you from traveling.  Examples of unforeseen disruptions that could require you to cancel your trip include: you or a family member becomes sick or dies; bad weather or a natural disasters result in closed airports, roads, or hotels; jury duty; terrorist attacks/civil unrest in-country or at home; health epidemics (such as Zika, H1N1, Ebola); and travel warnings issued by the U.S. Department of State.

You are free to use any travel insurance company.  Make sure the company you work with offers cancellation and trip interruption coverage as a part of the package.  Some companies offer “Cancel for Any Reason” clauses at an additional cost.  When purchasing these products we recommend you call the company to discuss any exclusions.

**Return to Pre-departure List**

Insurance for Domestic Travelers (U.S. and U.S. Territories)

Participants travelling within the United States or within a U.S. Territory will be required to provide CGEE with information regarding your U.S.-based medical insurance.  Our office will use this information to provide medical care to you in an emergency.  Please contact abroad@augsburg.edu if you do not have health insurance and need information on affordable insurance options available for you to purchase.

Flight Information and Travel Documents

Air Travel & Deviations

The higher education institution or organization sponsoring your program through CGEE will advise you on arrangements for air travel.  It is essential that the name on your travel documents be identical to your name as it appears on your passport.  If there is a discrepancy, you could be delayed or required to purchase another ticket.  Please check your ticket as soon as you receive it and contact the Center for Global Education and Experience of there is a discrepancy.

In the event that changes need to be made to your flight itinerary due to illness, strikes, terrorism, weather, or other causes, ensuring the well-being of all participants will be CGEE’s priority.  Additional expenses, if any, will be the responsibility of the sponsor or each individual participant, although CGEE will make every effort to minimize such expenses.

Passports

Most countries require that your passport be valid for at least six months past the scheduled date of departure from the country.  While the average processing time for a standard passport application is six weeks, it can take much longer.  If your program is departing within six weeks, we recommend using Expedited Service.  Consult the U.S. Department of State website for fees and procedures for U.S. passports.
 
Once you receive your new or renewed passport, sign it on the designated page opposite your picture to validate it.  Enter your passport information into your CGEE online registration and make sure you also have a photocopy for yourself to keep with you during the trip separately from where you keep your passport.  It is also a good idea to leave a photocopy with a family member or friend at home. Remember to keep any documents inserted into your passport or given to you by immigration officials upon arriving in the destination country.  You may need to present them upon departure.

Visas

When you travel internationally, you must determine if you need a visa.  A visa is an official endorsement from a foreign government permitting entry into a particular country or region for a specified period of time.  A visa may be glued or stamped directly into an applicant’s passport or it may be on a separate paper or insert.  Most countries require visas.  Consult U.S. Department of State Country Specific Information for visa requirements.

Keep in mind that procedures and fees are subject to change at the discretion of the embassy or consulate with jurisdiction over your application. Issuance of visas is at the sole discretion of the applicable consulate or embassy, therefore it is best not to delay in applying for your visa once you have all the necessary documents.

**Return to Pre-departure List**

Luggage

Luggage and Packing

Due to luggage capacity restraints for most vehicles in the country you will be visiting, you are allowed to only pack one large, soft-covered bag and one carry-on, plus a purse, camera case or briefcase. Pack as lightly as you can.  In general, if you cannot comfortably walk five city blocks with all of your gear, you have packed too much.

International travel baggage restrictions and fees for excess cargo vary by airline and destination.  In general, the maximum allowance per piece of checked luggage is 50 pounds and 62 linear inches (total length + width + height) for international flights.  For specific information, check with your airline.
 
Packing Tips

  • Be sure to put essential items such as medications and toiletries in your carry-on bag in case of a delay or lost luggage. 
  • Pack comfortable, modest clothing. Cotton slacks, neat blue jeans, t-shirts without logos and button-down shirts are appropriate – shorts, sweat suits, athletic gear, and tank tops or any other revealing clothing are not. 
  • Pack as lightly as you can.  Consider wearing outfits at least twice during the trip.  Remember, you can hand wash items during the program.  Laundry facilities may be available as well. 
  • For church, government, and professional sector speakers and visits, pack at least one dressier outfit.  For men, consider a nice button-down shirt and slacks (ties are not required). For women, a dress, or skirt/slacks and blouse (not a t-shirt) are appropriate. 
  • Plan to bring items that are lightweight and can be layered in case of temperature or weather changes or air-conditioned rooms. 
  • CGEE strongly recommends leaving expensive jewelry/watches at home 

Recommended Packing List:

•    SMART phone with international plan (check with your provider);
•    Comfortable walking shoes with a closed toe for rural areas and markets, where there may be mud or biting insects;
•    Sandals or house shoes for shared bathrooms as well as for health and safety reasons (e.g. scorpions);
•    Swimsuit (some trips may visit a lake or pool);
•    Sweater, sweatshirt or jacket for cool evenings, air-conditioned rooms;
•    Rain jacket, poncho, or umbrella;
•    Sleep sack or flat sheet (optional for homestays);
•    Ear plugs (if you are a light sleeper);
•    Dressier outfit for church or meetings (described above);
•    Medications, toiletries – many common medications and toiletries (e.g. tampons, razors) may not be readily available ; 
•    Specific medicine for traveler’s diarrhea, constipation, and motion sickness, the most common ailments.
•    Sun & insect protection – hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, insect repellent;
•    Small flashlight & extra batteries (for dark streets, rural areas);
•    Refillable water bottle;
•    Power bars or high-protein snacks (especially if you are vegan or vegetarian);
•    Small backpack or shoulder bag for day excursions;
•    Small bag or luggage that can be used for short in-country trips;
•    Notebook or journal;
•    Reading material, deck of cards, etc. for waiting times or delays;
•    Toilet paper/Kleenex (not always available in public bathrooms);
•    Money belt or neck pouch to hold valuables;
•    ATM card, credit cards;
•    Moist towelettes and hand sanitizer;
•    Plug adapter (if you are bringing electrical appliances);
•    Passport and photocopy of the photo page (pack separately).
  
Food for Thought from Seasoned Travelers:

  • Travel in a spirit of humility and with a genuine desire to meet and talk with local people.
  • Don’t expect to find things as they are at home… you have left your home to find things different.
  • Try not to judge the people of a country by the one person with whom you have had trouble… that is unfair to the people as a whole.
  • Remember that you are a guest in every land…for one who treats a host with respect will be treated as an honored guest.
  • Cultivate the habit of listening and observing, rather than merely hearing and seeing.
  • Be aware of the feelings of local people to prevent what might be offensive behavior.
  • Photography must be respectful of persons.
  • Spend time reflecting on your daily experiences in order to deepen your understanding of your experiences.

**Return to Pre-departure List**

Country Specific Information:  Nicaragua

NICARAGUA

Contact Information
Due to the relatively short duration of your program, friends and family should not expect to send you mail.  However, friends and family may place a direct-dial call to you.  Before your departure, CGEE will provide you with direct-dial emergency numbers for the places you will be staying. It is much less expensive to call from the U.S. to Nicaragua than vice versa.  Most of the accommodations CGEE uses do not have phones in the rooms.  We recommend that for international calls, participants use an AT&T, MCI, or Sprint calling card.  Pre-paid calling cards purchased in the U.S. do not usually work abroad.  Access to WiFi will be available at hotels and CGEE guesthouses in Nicaragua for social media and Internet use; however, there will be no Internet in rural areas.

After-Hours emergency cell phone carried by a Minneapolis staff member whenever a CGEE program is in progress: 612-817-2830

Center for Global Education and Experience at Augsburg University
Campus Box 307
2211 Riverside Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55454
Local: 612-330-1159
Toll-Free: 800-299-8889
Fax: 612-330-1695
globaled@augsburg.edu

Travel Documents for Nicaragua

The information below addresses entry requirements for U.S. citizens.  All others should check with a Nicaraguan consulate for visa and entry requirements in your particular case.  CGEE will assist you in reviewing information, but the responsibility for obtaining and paying for proper documentation is yours.

When travelling to Nicaragua, make sure to keep any documents inserted into your passport or given to you by immigration officials upon arriving in the destination country.  You will need to present them upon departure.

  • Visa Requirements: There are no special visa requirements for short-term stays in Nicaragua for US citizens.  You will receive a tourist card/entry card in route or at the airport.  On this form, you should state that your reason for visiting Nicaragua is “tourism.”  If you check that your purpose is to study, customs officials might mistakenly assume that you need a student visa.  The tourist/entry card is to be presented along with your passport to the immigration official upon arrival. 

  • Tourist Card: U.S. citizens must purchase a tourist card for USD $10 at the Managua airport.  This fee is not covered in your program cost, so please have a $10 bill handy when you arrive.  There is also a USD $42 exit tax.  This is normally included in the cost of your airfare.  The only experience we have with this not being included in the airfare is if the ticket is obtained through frequent flyer mile credits.  CGEE does not cover entry or exit taxes for travel seminars, so if you are using a ticket obtained by cashing in frequent flyer miles, you will need an additional USD $42 in cash to leave Managua. 

  • Extended Stay: For those who have an extended stay in Nicaragua that requires a visa, be sure to check that your passport has at least two blank pages in the visa section.  This is a new security requirement for those who travel with a U.S. passport. 

Time Zone


The time is the same as U.S. Central Standard Time. However, Nicaragua does not observe Daylight Savings Time, so the time will be one hour behind Central Standard Time during Daylight Savings Time.

Luggage

Due to limited luggage capacity in most vehicles in Nicaragua, please only pack one large, soft-covered bag and one carry-on, plus a purse, camera case or briefcase.  Pack as lightly as you can.  In general, if you cannot comfortably walk five city blocks with all of your gear, you have packed too much.

Weather

The following are average temperatures, not the extremes.  As in the U.S., weather patterns can vary frequently.  We recommend checking weather sites on the Internet for the region and time of year you will be traveling.

In Nicaragua there are two distinct seasons: rainy and dry.  The rainy season extends from May to October.  During this time it rains frequently, and the total monthly rainfall may range from 5 to 11 inches.  It is also very warm, with temperatures ranging from 80° to 95°F during the day.  During the dry season (November to April), it is hot and rain is infrequent (one or two days per month).  February through May is usually the hottest time of the year with temperatures reaching between 90° and 100°F.

Money

Most participants find USD $150-$250 to be sufficient spending money for a two-week program to Nicaragua.  Of course, how much you bring should depend on your personal spending habits.  Remember that all meals and programs expenses are covered in your program cost.

Plan to bring mostly cash.  It is helpful to have some cash in small bills.  Try to bring new bills, as some past participants have encountered difficulty in changing bills that are worn, written upon or torn.  We strongly encourage you to bring a money belt.

ATMs can be found, but access to international networks is limited.  If you bring an ATM card, make sure it has the PLUS and/or CIRRUS logos.  A Visa or MasterCard may be used for cash advances in local currency at Credomatic offices as well as some banks.

Credit cards may also be accepted in many of the more elegant shops and restaurants. Important: It is a good idea to call your credit card company to let them know that you will be using you card outside of the country for a set time.  Some people encounter trouble using a credit card abroad because the credit card company assumes the card is stolen. 

For current information concerning exchange rates, see this website: https://www.oanda.com/currency/converter/

Readings and Resources

Accommodations & Electrical Current

Accommodations: CGEE operates its own study/guesthouse in Managua, Nicaragua.  The guest rooms are dormitory-style with bunk-beds and shared bathrooms.  Accommodations in the countryside will be more basic than those in the major cities.  Some programs may include a homestay.  Under these circumstances, you may not always have access to hot water or standard mattresses.  We are confident that this experience will enhance your understanding of the country in a challenging, experiential manner.

Electrical Current: The electrical current is the same as in the U.S. (110 volts, 60 cycles). However, most outlets cannot accommodate a grounding prong or wide flange.  If you are bringing electrical appliances, you will need to bring a two-prong adapter to fit an outlet with two narrow slots.

HEALTH & SAFETY INFORMATION

Consult your physician about your health in light of your travel plans and review your vaccinations.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides information on recommended vaccinations for travel to Nicaragua at:  CDC Health Information for Travelers to Nicaragua.
 
If you get sick, please let your trip leader or CGEE staff know right away.  This will help to pinpoint problems with food and water.  They can arrange a visit to a doctor or medical clinic if necessary.
 

Possible Ailments:

  • Zika Virus: Please review updates on the Zika Virus in Nicaragua.
  • Traveler’s Diarrhea: Just the change in food, water and climate can lead to an upset stomach.  If you get diarrhea, treat it with Pepto-Bismol and drink lots of water.  When you are ready to eat again, start with rice, bread, crackers, and broth (bring bouillon cubes or dry soup).  Imodium (Loperamide is the generic equivalent) is a stronger medication to be used only when absolutely necessary.  It does not cure the diarrhea but slows down the digestive system, which can lead to other problems.  Some herbal teas are thought to aid in the prevention and treatment of diarrhea such as ginger root, raspberry, comfrey, and peppermint – feel free to bring some tea bags with you.
  • Hepatitis A: Studies have shown that many cases of travel-related Hepatitis A happen to travelers in developing countries with “standard” itineraries, accommodations, and food consumption behavior.
  • Malaria:  Malaria is a mosquito-borne illness that is present in Nicaragua (primarily in rural areas), depending on the time of year and the area of the region.  See Malaria in Nicaragua.
  • Cholera: Cholera is active in Nicaragua.  There is no satisfactory vaccine against it.  Avoiding contaminated food and water is the best way to prevent cholera: “Boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it!”
  • Dengue Fever: This disease is a viral infection transmitted by mosquitoes.  It is prevalent throughout the region. Since there is no preventative medicine for dengue fever, take measures to avoid mosquito bites such as using DEET repellent and keeping your arms and legs covered. The mosquitoes that carry dengue are active during the day as well as at night, so be sure to protect yourself at all times.
  • Typhoid: Typhoid Fever is a bacterial infection transmitted through contaminated food and/or water, or directly between people.  The CDC recommends a typhoid vaccination for those traveling to rural areas or staying long term (more than six weeks).

When you arrive at the airport in Nicaragua:

You may be asked by the officials what your itinerary and schedule is.  If so, simply respond: you don't know what your schedule is.  (You will receive a tentative schedule of appointments from CGEE staff upon arrival in Nicaragua).  Identify yourself as a tourist if asked; the official purpose of your trip is educational tourism.  Watch your bags and documents at the airport, as bags have been stolen before and while loading luggage into the vans.

Do's and Don'ts in Nicaragua

 Do the Following:

  • Listen carefully to all safety information during your in-country orientation.
  • Keep your passport with you at all times, inside your clothing if possible (unless our staff directs you otherwise).
  • Stay close together as a group when you are out in public and always travel in groups of two or more.
  • Always ask permission of a person before taping or photographing.
  • Be careful of your volume.  North Americans tend to speak in louder voices, so keep your voice at a low level-- even when in your hotel room.
  • Be respectful of in-country community resource people, even those with whom your views differ.  This doesn’t mean that you have to avoid asking the “hard” questions, just ask them in a non- confrontational way.
  • Be respectful of other group members.  Before asking multiple questions of resource people, look around to see if other people have questions and remember that people have varied learning styles and may need more time before asking questions.  Remember that you are part of a learning community and not simply an independent traveler.
  • Drink a lot of water to maintain good health.  When the weather is hot, you will dehydrate much more quickly!  Our field staff will give you guidelines for finding sources of safe water.

Don't . . .

  • Leave suitcases, bags, or purses unattended, even for a minute!
  • Handle large amounts of money in public.  Know how much you have and where it is.
  • Give anybody any reason to rob you.  That means don’t wear flashy (or any) jewelry, watches, bulging pockets, or expensive-looking sunglasses.
  • Disclose the tentative schedule or names of resource persons and groups of which you may be aware.  This information should not be given either to "friendly strangers," to other resource persons on the program, or to anyone outside of your group. 
  • Photograph military personnel or military installations.  In many countries, airports and bridges are included in this prohibition.  This is true for U.S. immigration and customs areas as well. 
**Return to Pre-departure List**

Country Specific Information:  Mexico

MEXICO

Contact Information
It is much less expensive to call from the United States to Mexico than vice versa.  Most of the accommodations CGEE uses do not have phones in the rooms.  However, when staying in CGEE facilities in Cuernavaca, you will have access to Wi-Fi, computers with internet, and Voice-Over-Internet (VOI) phone, which you can use for free to email and make calls to the United States and Canada.  When travelling outside of Cuernavaca, you may also have Wi-Fi or internet access.  In urban areas in Mexico, email is relatively accessible.


When staying outside of CGEE facilities in Cuernavaca, we recommend that for international calls participants use an AT&T, MCI or Sprint calling card.  Pre-paid calling cards purchased in the United States do not usually work in Mexico.
 
After-hours emergency cell phone carried by a Minneapolis staff member whenever a customized program is in progress: 612-817-2830

Center for Global Education and Experience at Augsburg University
Campus Box 307
2211 Riverside Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55454
Local: 612-330-1159
Toll-Free: 800-299-8889
Fax: 612-330-1695
globaled@augsburg.edu

Travel Documents in Mexico

The information below addresses entry requirements for U.S. citizens.  All others should check with a Mexican consulate for visa and entry requirements in your particular case.  CGEE will assist you in reviewing information, but the responsibility for obtaining and paying for proper documentation is your responsibility.

  • Passport:  Upon arrival to Mexico, be sure to keep any documents inserted into your passport or given to you by immigration officials upon arrival in Mexico.  You will need to present them upon departure.
  • Visa Requirements:  There are no special visa requirements for short-term stays in Mexico for US citizens.  You will receive a tourist card/entry card in route or at the airport.  On this form, you should state that your reason for visiting Mexico is “tourism.”  If you check that your purpose is to study, customs officials might mistakenly assume that you need a student visa.  The tourist/entry card is to be presented along with your passport to the immigration official upon arrival.
  • Arrival to Airport:  When you arrive at the airport in Mexico, Mexican officials may ask about your itinerary and schedule.  If so, simply respond that you do not know your schedule.  (You will receive a tentative schedule of appointments from CGEE staff upon arrival in Mexico).    

Time Zone

The time is the same as U.S. Central Standard Time (CST) most of the year.  However, even though Mexico observes Daylight Saving Time; it does not change time on the same dates as the United States.  Therefore, there are a few weeks in the fall and spring when Mexico is not on CST.  Be sure to check a world clock before travelling: http://www.dateandtime.com/worldclock


Luggage

Due to luggage capacity restraints for most vehicles in Mexico, you are allowed to pack only one large, soft-covered bag and one carry-on, plus a purse, camera case or briefcase.  Pack as lightly as you can.  In general, if you cannot comfortably walk five city blocks with all of your gear, you have packed too much.
 

Weather

The following are average temperatures, not extremes.  As in the U.S., weather patterns can vary frequently.  We recommend checking weather sites on the internet for the region of Mexico and time of year you will be traveling.
 
In Mexico City and in Cuernavaca, there are two distinct seasons: rainy and dry.  The rainy season extends from late May to late October.  During this time it rains frequently, and the total monthly rainfall ranges from 5 to 11 inches; temperatures average in the mid to upper 70s.  The dry season temperatures from November to January are cooler with highs in the upper 60s to low 70s; lows range from 50° to 55°F.  The month of February is a transition month of increasing temperatures, and from March to May (before the rains begin) temperatures increase to the 80s and even low 90s.  Throughout the year, however, temperatures fluctuate from night/early morning to mid-afternoon.  We recommend that you plan to wear layers of clothes so that you can wear a long-sleeve shirt or sweater in the morning and take it off in the afternoon as the sun gets stronger.
 
In mountainous regions, such as the highlands in Chiapas and Oaxaca, daytime temperatures are warm (70s & 80s), but evenings during November through February can be very cold with temperatures dropping as low as the upper 30s.  Keep in mind that there will not be central heating!
 

Money

Most participants find USD $150-$250 to be sufficient spending money for a two-week trip to Mexico.  Of course, how much you bring will depend on your personal spending habits.
 
Plan to bring an ATM card if you have one, along with some cash.  We recommend exchanging your dollars into pesos at the airport upon arrival in Mexico.  Money exchanges will not accept U.S. dollar bills that are torn or have writing on them.  CGEE strongly encourages you to bring a money belt.  For current information concerning exchange rates, refer to a currency converter
 
ATMs are relatively accessible in urban areas.  Credit cards may also be accepted in more elegant shops and restaurants.  It is a good idea to call your credit card company to let them know that you will be using you card outside of the country for a set time period.  Otherwise, you may encounter trouble using a credit card abroad because the credit card company assumes that it has been stolen.

Readings & Resources

Mexico: Country Study, Library of Congress
CIA World Factbook Mexico Page
Mexico History and Culture
Mexican History Timeline
Mexico: Background and U.S. Relations, Congressional Research Service
U.S. Relations with Mexico, U.S. State Department
A Trail of Impunity: Thousands of Migrants in Transit Face Abuses amid Mexico’s Crackdown (report & video series), Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)
Fact Sheet on US-Mexico Border, Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)
Mexico’s Free Trade Agreements, Congressional Research Service
U.S.-Mexico Economic Relations: Trends, Issues and Implications, Congressional Research Service
New York Times Articles
Mexico News, Commentary and Reports, Amnesty International
Analysis and Commentary on Mexico, Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)
Articles and Columns about Mexico, North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA)
Mexico News, Topix Real-time News
 
Accommodations, Local Cell Phone, and Electrical Current

Accommodations:  CGEE operates its own guesthouses in Cuernavaca, Casa CEMAL and Casa Augsburg, located across the street from each other.  The guestrooms are dormitory-style, with bunk-beds and shared bathrooms.  Accommodations in the countryside will be more basic than those in the major cities.  Some programs may include a homestay to introduce you to family life in Mexico.  During a homestay, you may not always have access to hot water or standard mattresses. We are confident that this experience will enhance your understanding of the country in a challenging, experiential manner.

Local Cell Phone:  You will be given a local cell phone for use during your time in Mexico which you must return at the end of trip.  Each cell phone has several phone numbers programmed on them so that you may quickly call radio-taxis and emergency numbers, as well as to enable staff to contact you in the event of an emergency.

Electrical Current:  The electrical current is the same as in the U.S. (110 volts, 60 cycles).  However, most outlets cannot accommodate a grounding prong or wide flange.  If you are bringing electrical appliances, you will need to bring a two-prong adapter to fit an outlet with two narrow slots.
 
HEALTH & SAFETY INFORMATION

There is a USDOS Mexico Travel Warning that describes the safety situation in different parts of the country.
 
HEALTH:  Consult your physician about your health in light of your travel plans and review your vaccinations.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides information on recommended vaccinations for travel to Mexico at: CDC Health Information for Travelers to Mexico
 
Be aware of your environment.  The high altitude in Cuernavaca (5,000 feet) and Mexico City (7,300 feet) may cause you to tire easily.  In addition, the pollution in these cities can be very bad.  This tends to be especially true during the dry season (November to late May).  If you have a history of allergies, other respiratory illness or heart problems, you could experience complications during your stay.  If you use any type of medication for these problems, be sure to bring an adequate amount after consulting your doctor.
 
If you get sick, please let your trip leader or CGEE staff know right away.  This will help to pinpoint problems with food and water.  They can arrange a visit to a doctor or medical clinic if necessary.


Possible Ailments:

  • Zika Virus:  Learn more about the Risk of Zika Virus
  • Traveler’s Diarrhea:  Just the change in food, water and climate can lead to an upset stomach.  If you get diarrhea, treat it with Pepto-Bismol and drink lots of water.  When you are ready to eat again, start with rice, bread, crackers, and broth (bring bouillon cubes or dry soup).  Imodium (Loperamide is the generic equivalent) is a stronger medication to be used only when absolutely necessary.  It does not cure the diarrhea but slows down the digestive system, which can lead to other problems.  Some herbal teas such as ginger root, raspberry, comfrey, and peppermint are thought to aid in the prevention and treatment of diarrhea.  Feel free to bring some tea bags with you.  
  • Hepatitis A:  According to the CDC, travelers to Mexico are at high risk for Hepatitis A.  Studies have shown that travelers in developing countries with “standard” itineraries, accommodations, and food consumption behavior may contract Hepatitis A.
  • Malaria:  Malaria is a mosquito-borne illness that is present in some regions of Mexico (primarily in rural areas).  See: CDC information on malaria transmission areas in Mexico (scroll down page to color coded map).  
  • Cholera:  Cholera is active in Mexico.  There is no satisfactory cholera vaccine.  Avoiding contaminated food and water is the best prevention.  “Boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it!
  • Dengue Fever:  This disease is primarily an urban viral infection transmitted by mosquitoes.  Since there is no preventative medicine for dengue fever, take measures to avoid mosquito bites such as using DEET repellent and covering your arms and legs, especially from dusk to dawn.  
  • Typhoid:  Typhoid fever is a bacterial infection transmitted through contaminated food and/or water, or directly between people.  The CDC recommends a typhoid vaccination for those traveling to rural areas or staying in Mexico more than six weeks.
  • Scorpions:  Scorpions are common, especially during the rainy season (late May-late October).  Most are not poisonous, but some people may have an allergic reaction to the sting, just as with bee or wasp stings.  The best way to avoid being stung is to not walk around barefoot, to look before you get out of bed, and to shake out your clothing and shoes before putting them on.

Do's and Don'ts in Mexico

Do the following:

  • Listen carefully to all safety information during your in-country orientation.  
  • Keep a copy of your passport with you at all times. Only carry your passport with you when changing money, going to the U.S. Embassy, or if otherwise instructed by the staff.
  • Stay close together as a group when you are out in public and always travel in groups of two or more.  
  • Always ask permission of a person before taping or photographing.
  • Be cautious about what you say in public (including airplanes, airports, restaurants and hotel lobbies).  There will most likely be people around you who will understand English.  Also, North Americans tend to speak in louder voices, so keep your voice at a low level--even when in your hotel room.
  • Be respectful of resource people, even those with whom your views differ.  This does not mean that you have to avoid asking the “hard” questions, just ask them in a non-confrontational way.
  • Be respectful of other group members.  Before asking multiple questions of resource people, look around to see if other people have questions and remember that people have varied learning styles and may need more time before asking questions.  Remember that you are part of a learning community and not simply an independent traveler.  
  • Drink a lot of water to maintain good health.  When the weather is hot and at a high altitude, you will dehydrate much more quickly!  CGEE staff will help you find sources of safe water.
 Don't . . .
  • Leave suitcases, bags, or purses unattended, even for a minute!  
  • Handle large amounts of money in public.  Know how much you have and where it is.
  • Give anybody any reason to rob you.  That means don’t wear flashy (or any) jewelry, watches, bulging pockets, or expensive-looking sunglasses.  
  • Disclose the tentative schedule or names of resource persons and groups of which you may be aware.  This information should not be given either to "friendly strangers," to other resource persons on the program, or to anyone outside of your group.
  • Photograph military personnel or military installations.  In many countries, airports and bridges are included in this prohibition.  This is true for U.S. immigration and customs areas as well. Your group will have an orientation session upon arrival in Mexico.  You will receive additional information and have the opportunity to ask questions at that time. In the meantime, if you have any questions about the information above, call the Customized Programs Staff at CGEE: 1-800-299-8889. 

**Return to Pre-departure List**

 Country Specific Information:  Guatemala

GUATEMALA

Contact Information
Friends and family may place a direct-dial call to you during your time in Guatemala.  Before your departure, CGEE will provide you with direct-dial emergency numbers for the places you will be staying.  It is much less expensive to call from the United States to Central America than vice versa.  Most of the accommodations CGEE uses do not have phones in the rooms.  We recommend that for international calls, participants use their own cell phone or an AT&T, MCI, or Sprint calling card.
 
After-hours emergency cell phone carried by a Minneapolis staff member whenever programs are in progress: 612-817-2830

Center for Global Education and Experience at Augsburg University
Campus Box 307
2211 Riverside Avenue
Minneapolis Minnesota 55454 USA
Local: 612-330-1159
Fax: 612-330-1695
globaled@augsburg.edu

Travel Documents/Airport Requirements in Guatemala

The information below addresses entry requirements for U.S. citizens.  All others should check with a Guatemalan consulate for visa and entry requirements in your particular case.  CGEE will assist you in reviewing information, but the responsibility for obtaining and paying for proper documentation is your responsibility.

  • Passport: Upon arrival to Guatemala, be sure to keep any documents inserted into your passport or given to you by immigration officials.  You will need to present them upon departure.
  • Visa Requirements: There are no special visa requirements for short-term stays in Guatemala for US citizens.  You will receive a tourist card/entry card in route or at the airport.  On this form, you should state that your reason for visiting Guatemala is “tourism.”  If you check that your purpose is to study, customs officials might mistakenly assume that you need a student visa.  The tourist/entry card is to be presented along with your passport to the immigration official upon arrival.  
  • Extended Stay: Anyone who plans an extended stay of more than 90 days in Guatemala will require a visa.
  • Arrival to Airport: When you arrive at the airport in Guatemala, Guatemalan officials may ask about your itinerary and schedule.  If so, simply respond that you do not know your schedule.  (You will receive a tentative schedule of appointments from CGEE staff upon arrival in Guatemala).
  • Exit Tax: Guatemala has a USD $30 exit tax when you depart by air.  This tax is not included in your CGEE programming fee. It is usually included as part of the airline ticket price, but it may need to be paid separately.  Please check with your airline or travel agent to see if this fee will be covered or be prepared to pay USD $30.    

Time Zone

Most of the year the time is the same as U.S. Central Standard Time.  However, Guatemala does not observe Daylight Savings Time.  The time will be one hour behind Central Standard Time during Daylight Savings Time.
 

Luggage

Due to limited luggage capacity in most vehicles in Guatemala, pack one large, soft-covered bag and one carry-on, plus a purse or camera case.  Pack as lightly as you can.  In general, if you cannot comfortably walk five city blocks with all of your gear, you have packed too much.
 

Weather

The following are average temperatures, not the extremes.  As in the United States, weather patterns can vary frequently.  We recommend checking weather sites on the internet for Guatemala and for the time of year you will be traveling.
 
Guatemala has two distinct seasons: rainy and dry.  The rainy season extends from May to October.  During this time it rains frequently with average highs in the mid to upper 70s.  The dry season temperatures are cooler with highs in the upper 60s to low 70s and lows ranging from 50° to 55°F.  In the Guatemalan highlands, daytime temperatures are warm (70s), but evenings during November through February can be very cold with temperatures dropping as low as the upper 30s.  Keep in mind that there will not be central heating!
 

Money

Most participants find USD $150-$250 to be sufficient spending money for a two-week program in Guatemala.  Of course, how much you bring should depend on your personal spending habits.  Remember that all meals, ground transportation, lodging, translation, and honorariums are covered in your program fees.  For current information concerning exchange rates, visit currency converter.
 
The least complicated way to exchange U.S. dollars to Guatemala currency (quetzales) is to use an ATM card.  It is best to bring an ATM card with the PLUS and/or CIRRUS logos as these are the international networks that are most common in Guatemala.  You will have access to ATM machines to withdraw money in quetzales.  It also is helpful to carry some cash (USD $50-$100) in small denomination U.S. dollar bills.  Bring new bills, as some past participants have encountered difficulty in changing bills that are worn, written upon, or torn.  We strongly encourage you to use a money belt.

Credit cards are accepted in many of the more upscale shops and restaurants.  Important: It is a good idea to call your credit or ATM Card Company to let them know that you will be using you card outside of the country during a set time period.  Some people encounter trouble using a cards abroad because the company assumes the card is stolen.
 

Pre-Program Readings and Resources

Guatemala Country Profile, BBC
Factbook on Guatemala, CIA
History of Guatemala, Guatemala Human Rights Commission (GHRC)
U.S. Relations with Guatemala, U.S. State Department
Guatemala: Legacies of Violence, Harvard Review of Latin America
Guatemala’s Government Corruption Scandals Explained, InSight Crime
Guatemala: Political and Socioeconomic Conditions and U.S. Relations, Congressional Research Service
Guatemala Human Rights Commission Listserv
Chronology of Coverage on Guatemala, New York Times
Guatemala, Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)
Guatemala Articles, North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA)
Guatemala Archives, Upside Down World
Guatemala News, Topix Real-time News
 

Accommodations & Electrical Current

Accommodations: In Guatemala groups stay in modest hotels or guesthouses.  Accommodations in the countryside will be more basic than those in the major cities.  Some customized programs include a homestay.  Under these circumstances, you may not always have access to hot water or standard mattresses.  We are confident that this experience will enhance your understanding of the country in a challenging, experiential manner.

Electrical Current: The electrical current is the same as in the U.S. (110 volts, 60 cycles).  However, most outlets cannot accommodate a grounding prong or wide flange.  If you are bringing electrical appliances, you will need to bring a two-prong adapter to fit an outlet with two narrow slots.
 
Specific Health and Safety in Guatemala

Consult your physician about your health in light of your travel plans and review your vaccinations.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides recommendations on vaccinations for travel to Guatemala at:  CDC Health Information for Travelers to Guatemala.
 
Be aware of your environment.  The high altitude in Guatemala City (4,900’) may cause you to tire easily.  In addition, the pollution in most large cities can be very bad.  This tends to be especially true during the dry season (November to April).  If you have a history of allergies, other respiratory illness or heart problems, you could experience complications during your stay.  If you use any type of medication for these problems, be sure to bring an adequate amount after consulting your doctor.
 
If you get sick, please let your trip leader or CGEE staff know right away.  This will help to pinpoint problems with food and water.  They can arrange a visit to a doctor or medical clinic if necessary.
 
Possible Ailments:
 
  • Zika Virus: Please review updates on the Zika Virus in Guatemala.
  • Traveler’s Diarrhea: Just the change in food, water and climate can lead to an upset stomach.  If you get diarrhea, treat it with Pepto-Bismol and drink lots of water.  When you are ready to eat again, start with rice, bread, crackers, and broth (bring bouillon cubes or dry soup).  Imodium (Loperamide is the generic equivalent) is a stronger medication to be used only when absolutely necessary.  It does not cure the diarrhea but slows down the digestive system, which can lead to other problems.  Some herbal teas are thought to aid in the prevention and treatment of diarrhea such as ginger root, raspberry, comfrey, and peppermint.  Feel free to bring some tea bags with you.  
  • Hepatitis A: Studies have shown that many cases of travel-related Hepatitis A happen to travelers in developing countries with “standard” itineraries, accommodations, and food consumption behavior.
  • Malaria: Malaria is a mosquito-borne illness that is present in Guatemala (primarily in rural areas), depending on the time of year and the area of the region.  See Malaria in Guatemala, then scroll down.  
  • Cholera: Cholera is active in Guatemala.  There is no satisfactory vaccine against it.  Avoiding contaminated food and water is the best way to prevent cholera.  Boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it!
  • Dengue Fever: This disease is a viral infection transmitted by mosquitoes.  It is prevalent throughout the region.  Since there is no preventative medicine for dengue fever, take measures to avoid mosquito bites such as using repellent with DEET and keeping your arms and legs covered.  The mosquitoes that carry dengue are active during the day as well as at night, so be sure to protect yourself at all times.
  • Typhoid: Typhoid fever is a bacterial infection transmitted through contaminated food and/or water, or directly between people.  The CDC recommends a typhoid vaccination for those traveling to rural areas or staying in Guatemala more than six weeks.  
Do's and Don'ts in Guatemala

Do the Following:
  • Listen carefully to all safety information during your in-country orientation.
  • Keep your passport with you at all times, inside your clothing if possible (unless our staff directs you otherwise).
  • Stay close together as a group when you are out in public and always travel in groups of two or more.
  • Always ask permission of a person before taping or photographing.
  • Be careful of your volume.  North Americans tend to speak in louder voices, so keep your voice at a low level-- even when in your hotel room.
  • Be respectful of in-country community resource people, even those with whom your views differ.  This doesn’t mean that you have to avoid asking the “hard” questions, just ask them in a non- confrontational way.
  • Be respectful of other group members.  Before asking multiple questions of resource people, look around to see if other people have questions and remember that people have varied learning styles and may need more time before asking questions.  Remember that you are part of a learning community and not simply an independent traveler.
  • Drink a lot of water to maintain good health.  When the weather is hot, you will dehydrate much more quickly!  Our field staff will give you guidelines for finding sources of safe water.
Don't . . .
  • Leave suitcases, bags, or purses unattended, even for a minute!
  • Handle large amounts of money in public.  Know how much you have and where it is.
  • Give anybody any reason to rob you.  That means don’t wear flashy (or any) jewelry, watches, bulging pockets, or expensive-looking sunglasses.
  • Disclose the tentative schedule or names of resource persons and groups of which you may be aware.  This information should not be given either to "friendly strangers," to other resource persons on the program, or to anyone outside of your group. 
  • Photograph military personnel or military installations.  In many countries, airports and bridges are included in this prohibition.  This is true for U.S. immigration and customs areas as well.

NOTE: It's likely you will hear the above guidelines again at various points during your program.  We ask for and appreciate your patience with this fact in advance of your trip.
 
And remember:

  • Police and customs officials have the right to search your luggage for drugs.
  • In many countries local laws make no distinction between hard and soft drugs.
  • U.S. laws DO NOT apply to U.S. citizens or U.S. residents abroad who violate foreign laws.  Once you are overseas, you are subject to the same penalties for drug violations as the nationals of the country you are visiting.
  • In some countries, anyone who is caught with even a very small quantity of drugs for personal use may be tried and receive the same sentence as a large-scale trafficker.  If you are arrested for drug possession abroad you may be subject to interrogation and/or solitary confinement for up to a year before trial and receive a mandatory prison sentence of seven years to life if you are convicted.
**Return to Pre-departure List**

Country Specific Information: Costa Rica 

COSTA RICA

Contact Information
Friends and family can reach you if they need to during your time in Costa Rica.  Before your departure, CGEE will provide you with direct-dial emergency numbers for the places where you will be staying.  It is much less expensive to call from the United States to Costa Rica than vice versa.  Most of the accommodations CGEE uses do not have phones in the rooms.  We recommend that for international calls, participants use their own cell phone or an AT&T, MCI or Sprint calling card.
 
After-hours emergency cell phone carried by a Minneapolis staff member whenever programs are in progress: 612-817-2830

Center for Global Education and Experience at Augsburg University
Campus Box 307
2211 Riverside Avenue
Minneapolis Minnesota 55454 USA
Local: 612-330-1159
Fax: 612-330-1695
globaled@augsburg.edu

 
Travel Documents/Airport Requirements in Costa Rica


The information below addresses passport requirements for U.S. citizens.  Participants who are citizens of other countries should check the Embassy of Costa Rica’s website or consult with a Costa Rican consulate to determine if a visa or yellow fever vaccine will be necessary to enter the country for the duration of your program.  CGEE will assist you in reviewing information, but the responsibility for obtaining and paying for proper documentation is your responsibility.
  • Passport:  Keep any documents inserted into your passport or given to you by immigration officials upon arrival in Costa Rica.  You will need to present them upon departure.
  • Visa & Entry Requirements:  For U.S. citizens, no visa is required for stays up to 90 days in Costa Rica.  When you enter Costa Rica you will need to show that you have an airline ticket to depart the country and USD$100 for every 30 days you intend to stay there. 
  • When you arrive at the airport in Costa Rica:  You may be asked by the officials about your itinerary and schedule.  If so, simply respond truthfully: you don't know what your schedule is.  (You will receive a copy of the final schedule from CGEE staff upon arrival in Costa Rica).  Identify yourself as a tourist if asked; the official purpose of your trip is educational tourism.  Watch your bags and documents at the airport, as bags have been stolen before and while loading luggage into the vans.
  • Exit Tax:  Depending on the airline, an exit tax of USD$29 exit tax may be levied upon your departure from Costa Rica.  This exit tax is not included in your CGEE programming fee.  It is usually included as part of the airline ticket price, but it may need to be paid separately.  Please check with your airline or travel agent to see if this fee will be covered or be prepared to pay USD$29.

Time Zone

Most of the year the time is the same as U.S. Central Standard Time.  However, Costa Rica does not observe Daylight Savings Time.  The time will be one hour behind Central Standard Time during Daylight Savings Time.

Luggage

Due to limited luggage capacity in most vehicles in Costa Rica, pack one large, soft-covered bag and one carry-on, plus a purse or small shoulder bag.  Pack as lightly as you can.  In general, if you cannot comfortably walk five city blocks with all of your gear, you have packed too much.
 
International baggage fees and restrictions vary by airline and destination.  Check your airline's’ website for more detailed information.

Weather

The following are average temperatures, not the extremes.  As in the United States, weather patterns can vary frequently.  We recommend checking weather websites for Costa Rica and the time of year you will be traveling.
 
Costa Rica has two distinct seasons: rainy and dry.  The rainy season extends from May to November, with the most rain in September and October.  The months of December through April have little or no rain.  During this time it rains frequently with average highs in the mid to upper 70s.  In Costa Rica the average annual temperature is around 70 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit.  The coolest months of the year are November, December and January.  The months of March through May are the hottest months of the year.

Money

Most participants find $200-$250 to be sufficient spending money for a two-week program in Costa Rica.  Of course, how much you bring should depend on your personal spending habits.  Remember that all meals, ground transportation, lodging, translation, and honorariums are covered in your program cost.  For current information concerning exchange rates, visit http://www.xe.com
 
It is helpful to have some cash in small U.S. dollar bills.  Bring new bills, as banks may refuse to change bills that are worn, written upon or torn.  We strongly encourage you to use a money belt.
 
Plan to bring mostly cash.  ATMs can be found, but access to international networks is limited.  If you bring an ATM card, make sure it has the PLUS and/or CIRRUS logos.  A Visa or MasterCard may be used for cash advances in local currency at Credomatic offices as well as some banks.
 
Credit cards are accepted in many of the more upscale shops and restaurants.  Important: It is a good idea to call your credit card company to let them know that you will be using you card outside of the United States during a set time period.  Some people encounter trouble using a credit card abroad because the credit card company assumes the card is stolen.
 
Accommodations & Electrical Current

Accommodations: In Costa Rica groups stay in modest hotels or guesthouses or in seminary dormitories.  Accommodations in the countryside will be more basic than those in San José.  Often customized programs include a homestay.  Under these circumstances, you may not always have access to hot water or standard mattresses.  We are confident that this experience will enhance your understanding of the country in a challenging, experiential manner.

Electrical Current: The electrical current is the same as in the U.S. (110 volts, 60 cycles).  However, most outlets cannot accommodate a grounding prong or wide flange.  If you are bringing electrical appliances, you will need to bring a two-prong adapter to fit an outlet with two narrow slots.
 

Pre-Program Readings and Resources


Costa Rica Country Profile, BBC
The World Factbook on Costa Rica, CIA
U.S. Relations with Costa Rica, U.S. Department of State
Costa Rica Country Report on Human Rights, U.S. Department of State
Costa Rica, Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)
LGBT Rights in Costa Rica, Wikipedia
Drug Policy in Central America Criminalizes Poverty, says Costa Rica Public Security Minister, The Tico Times
Ethics and Environmentalism: Costa Rica’s Lesson, Our World
The Tico Times, English language online newspaper
The Costa Rica Star, English language online newspaper
Costa Rica News, Topix Real-time News
Costa Rica articles, North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA)
Chronology of Coverage on Costa Rica, New York Times

CENTRAL AMERICA BACKGROUND:
Central American Child Refugees Continue to Pour into the US, The Christian Science Monitor
The Real Foreign Debt by Guaicaipuro Cuautemoc , Third World Network Features
Central America Crisis Belies CAFTA’s Empty Promises, Public Citizen’s Blog on Globalization and Trade
 
Possible Ailments:

  • Zika Virus: Please review updates on the Zika Virus in Costa Rica.
  • Traveler’s Diarrhea: Just the change in food, water and climate can lead to an upset stomach.  If you get diarrhea, treat it with Pepto-Bismol and drink lots of water.  When you are ready to eat again, start with rice, bread, crackers, and broth (bring bouillon cubes or dry soup).  Imodium (Loperamide is the generic equivalent) is a stronger medication to be used only when absolutely necessary.  It does not cure the diarrhea but slows down the digestive system, which can lead to other problems.  Some herbal teas are thought to aid in the prevention and treatment of diarrhea such as ginger root, raspberry, comfrey, and peppermint.  Feel free to bring some tea bags with you.
  • Hepatitis A: Studies have shown that many cases of travel-related Hepatitis A happen to travelers in developing countries with “standard” itineraries, accommodations, and food consumption behavior.
  • Chikungunya: Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne illness.  See Chikungunya in Central America.
  • Typhoid: Typhoid Fever is a bacterial infection transmitted through contaminated food and/or water, or directly between people.  The CDC recommends a typhoid vaccination for travelers to rural areas in Costa Rica.

Do’s and Don’ts in Costa Rica

Do the Following:

  • Listen carefully to all safety information during your in-country orientation
  • Keep your passport with you at all times, inside your clothing if possible (unless our staff directs you otherwise).
  • Stay close together as a group when you are out in public and always travel in groups of two or more.
  • Always ask permission of a person before taping or photographing.
  • Be cautious about what you say in public (including airplanes, airports, restaurants and hotel lobbies).  There will most likely be people around you who will understand English.  Also, North Americans tend to speak in louder voices, so keep your voice at a low level--even when in your hotel room.
  • Be respectful of resource people, even those with whom your views differ.  This doesn’t mean that you have to avoid asking the “hard” questions, just ask them in a non-confrontational way.
  • Be respectful of other group members.  Before asking multiple questions of resource people, look around to see if other people have questions and remember that people have varied learning styles and may need more time before asking questions.  Remember that you are part of a learning community and not simply an independent traveler.
  • Drink a lot of water to maintain good health.  When the weather is hot, you will dehydrate much more quickly!  Our staff will give you guidelines for finding sources of safe water.

 Don't . . .

  • Leave suitcases, bags, or purses unattended, even for a minute!
  • Handle large amounts of money in public.  Know how much you have and where it is.
  • Flush toilet paper down the toilet.  It will stop up the septic system.  Throw it in waste basket next to toilet.
  • Give anybody any reason to rob you. That means don’t wear flashy (or any) jewelry, watches, bulging pockets, or expensive-looking sunglasses.
  • Disclose the tentative schedule or names of resource persons and groups of which you may be aware.  This information should not be given either to "friendly strangers," to other resource persons on the program, or to anyone outside of your group.  If you want to ask someone about information provided by another resource person/organization, find a way to do this without mentioning the other person/organization (e.g. "I read before I came that. . .").
  • Photograph military personnel or military installations.  In many countries, airports and bridges are included in this prohibition.  This is true for U.S. immigration and customs areas as well.
  • Your group will have an orientation session upon arrival in Costa Rica.  You will receive additional information and have the opportunity to ask questions at that time.  In the meantime, if you have any questions about the information above, call the Customized Programs staff at CGEE.

**Return to Pre-departure List**

  Country Specific Information: El Salvador

EL SALVADOR

Contact Information
During your program, friends and family may place a direct-dial call to you.  Before your departure, CGEE will provide you with direct-dial emergency numbers for the places you will be staying.  It is much less expensive to call from the United States to El Salvador than vice versa.  Most of the accommodations CGEE uses do not have phones in the rooms.  We recommend that for international calls, participants buy a prepaid calling card in El Salvador or enable roaming in El Salvador on their cell phone.  Pre-paid calling cards purchased in the United States do not usually work in El Salvador.
 
The 24/7 emergency cell phone carried by a Minneapolis staff member whenever programs are in progress: 612-817-2830

Center for Global Education and Experience at Augsburg University
Campus Box 307
2211 Riverside Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55454
Local: 612-330-1159
Toll-Free: 800-299-8889
Fax: 612-330-1695
globaled@augsburg.edu

Travel Documents & Airport Requirements for El Salvador
 
The information below addresses entry requirements for U.S. and Canadian citizens residing in the United States.  All others should consult with the Salvadoran consulate for visa and entry requirements.  CGEE will assist you in reviewing information, but the responsibility for obtaining and paying for proper documentation is yours.

  • Passport: When you arrive in El Salvador, keep any documents inserted into your passport or given to you by immigration officials upon arrival in El Salvador.  You will need to present them upon departure.

  • Visa & Entry Requirements: There is no special visa requirement for short-term stays in El Salvador of less than 90 days.  You will receive a tourist card/entry card en route or at the airport.  On this form, you should state that your reason for visiting El Salvador is “tourism.”  If you check that your purpose is to study, customs officials might mistakenly assume that you need a student visa.  Upon arrival, present the tourist/entry card and your passport at Salvadoran immigration.

  • Entry and Exit Taxes:  Entry and exit taxes are not covered in your programming fee.  There is a USD $10 entry tax that you must pay as you go through immigration and customs upon arrival in the San Salvador airport.  Please have a USD $10 bill handy when you arrive.  There is also a USD $40 exit tax.  This normally is included in the cost of your airfare.  Check with your travel agent.  If you are using a ticket obtained by cashing in frequent flyer miles, you may need an additional USD $40 in cash to leave San Salvador.

When you arrive at the airport in El Salvador:
You may be asked by the officials what your itinerary and schedule is.  If so, simply respond: you don't yet know what your schedule is.  (You will receive a daily schedule from CGEE staff upon arrival in El Salvador).  Identify yourself as a tourist if asked; the official purpose of your trip is educational tourism.  Watch your bags and documents at the airport, as bags have been stolen before and while loading luggage into the vans.

  • Extended Stay: For those who have an extended stay in El Salvador that requires a visa, be sure to check that your passport has at least two blank pages in the visa section.  This is a new security requirement for those who travel with a U.S. passport.

Time Zone
Part of the year, El Salvador is on Central Standard Time.  However, El Salvador does not observe Daylight Savings Time.  The time in El Salvador will be one hour behind Central Standard Time during Daylight Savings Time.

Luggage
Due to limited luggage capacity in most vehicles in El Salvador, please pack only one large, soft-covered bag and one carry-on, plus a purse or day pack.  Pack as lightly as you can.  In general, if you cannot comfortably walk five city blocks with all of your gear, you have packed too much.
 International travel baggage restrictions and fees for excess cargo vary by airline and destination.  Consult with your airline for specific information.

Weather
The following are average temperatures, not the extremes.  As in the United States, weather patterns can vary frequently.  We recommend checking weather sites on the Internet for the region and time of year you will be traveling.
 
El Salvador has two distinct seasons: rainy and dry.  The rainy season extends from May to October.  During this time it rains frequently, and the total monthly rainfall may range from 5 to 11 inches.  It is also very warm, with temperatures ranging from 80° to 95°F during the day.  During the dry season (November to April), it is hot and rain is infrequent (one or two days per month).  February through May is usually the hottest time of the year with temperatures reaching between 90° and 100°F.
 
Money
El Salvador uses the U.S. dollar as its official currency.  There is no need to change money.
 
Most participants find $150-$250 to be sufficient spending money for a two-week program to El Salvador.  Of course, how much you bring should depend on your personal spending habits.  Remember that all meals and programs expenses are covered in your program cost.
 
It is helpful to have some cash in small bills.  Try to bring new bills, as some past participants have encountered difficulty in changing bills that are worn, written upon or torn.  We strongly encourage you to bring a money belt.
 
Plan to bring mostly cash.  ATMs can be found, but access to international networks is limited.  If you bring an ATM card, make sure it has the PLUS and/or CIRRUS logos.  A Visa or MasterCard may be used for cash advances in local currency at Credomatic offices as well as some banks.
 
Credit cards may also be accepted in many of the more elegant shops and restaurants.  It is a good idea to call your credit card company to let them know that you will be using you card outside of the United State for a set time period.  Some people encounter trouble using a credit card abroad because the credit card company assumes it has been stolen.
 
Pre-departure Readings and Resources
El Salvador Country Profile, BBC
CIA World Factbook
History of El Salvador, Lonely Planet
U.S. Relations with El Salvador, U.S. Department of State
El Salvador: Background and U.S. Relations, Congressional Research Service
Religion in El Salvador by Dean Brackley, SJ
Who was Archbishop Oscar Romero?
El Salvador News, Commentary and Reports, Amnesty International
Gangs in Central America, Congressional Research Service
Culture of El Salvador
How El Salvador’s Supreme Court is Undermining Democracy--With Washington’s Help
Chronology of El Salvador Coverage, New York Times
Analysis and Commentary on El Salvador, Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)
El Salvador News, Topix Real-time News
El Salvador Archives, Upside Down World
Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador
Recommendations for U.S. Policy towards El Salvador, Latin America Working Group (LAWG)
 

Accommodations & Electrical Current

Accommodations: In El Salvador groups stay in modest hotels or guesthouses.  Accommodations in the countryside will be more basic than those in the major cities.  Some customized programs include a homestay.  Under these circumstances, you may not always have access to hot water or standard mattresses.  We are confident that this experience will enhance your understanding of the country in a challenging, experiential manner.
Electrical Current: The electrical current (110 volts, 60 cycles) is the same as in the United States.  However, most outlets cannot accommodate a grounding prong or wide flange.  If you are bringing electrical appliances, you will need to bring a two-prong adapter to fit an outlet with two narrow slots.
 

Possible Ailments:

  • Zika Virus: Please review updates on the Zika Virus in El Salvador.
  • Traveler’s Diarrhea: Just the change in food, water and climate can lead to an upset stomach.  If you get diarrhea, treat it with Pepto-Bismol and drink lots of water.  When you are ready to eat again, start with rice, bread, crackers, and broth (bring bouillon cubes or dry soup).  Imodium (Loperamide is the generic equivalent) is a stronger medication to be used only when absolutely necessary.  It does not cure the diarrhea but slows down the digestive system, which can lead to other problems.  Some herbal teas are thought to aid in the prevention and treatment of diarrhea such as ginger root, raspberry, comfrey, and peppermint – feel free to bring some tea bags with you.
  • Hepatitis A: Studies have shown that many cases of travel-related Hepatitis A happen to travelers in developing countries with “standard” itineraries, accommodations, and food consumption behavior.
  • Malaria: Malaria is a mosquito-borne illness that is present in El Salvador (primarily in rural areas), depending on the time of year and the area of the region.  See Malaria in El Salvador.
  • Chikungunya: Chikungunya is an illness caused by a virus that spreads through mosquito bites.  In June 2014 El Salvador reported locally transmitted cases of chikungunya.  Since there is no preventative medicine for chikungunya, take measure to avoid mosquito bites such as using mosquito repellent with DEET and covering exposed skin.  See Chikungunya in Central America.
  • Cholera: Cholera is active in El Salvador.  There is no satisfactory vaccine against it.  Avoiding contaminated food and water is the best way to prevent cholera:  Boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it!
  • Dengue Fever: This disease is a viral infection transmitted by mosquitoes.  It is prevalent throughout the region.  Since there is no preventative medicine for dengue fever, take measures to avoid mosquito bites such as using DEET repellent and keeping your arms and legs covered.  The mosquitoes that carry dengue are active during the day as well as at night, so be sure to protect yourself at all times.
  • Typhoid: Typhoid Fever is a bacterial infection transmitted through contaminated food and/or water, or directly between people.  The CDC recommends a typhoid vaccination for those traveling to rural areas or staying in El Salvador more than six weeks.

 
While on your educational program in El Salvador . . .
Do the Following . . .

  • Listen carefully to all safety information during your in-country orientation.
  • Keep your passport with you at all times, inside your clothing if possible (unless our staff directs you otherwise).
  • Stay close together as a group when you are out in public.
  • Always travel in groups of two or more.
  • Always ask permission of a person before taping or photographing.
  • Be cautious about what you say in public (including on airplanes and in airports, restaurants, and hotel lobbies).  There will most likely be people around you who will understand English.  Also, North Americans tend to speak in louder voices, so keep your voice at a low level--even when in your hotel room.
  • Be respectful of resource people, even those with whom your views differ.  This doesn’t mean that you have to avoid asking the “hard” questions, just ask them in a non-confrontational way.
  • Be respectful of other group members.  Before asking multiple questions of resource people, look around to see if others have questions.  Remember that people have varied learning styles and may need more time before asking questions.  Remember that you are part of a learning community and not simply an independent traveler.
  • Drink a lot of water to maintain good health.  When the weather is hot, you will dehydrate much more quickly!  CGEE staff will assist you in finding sources of safe water.

 Don't . . .

  • Leave suitcases, bags, or purses unattended, even for a minute!
  • ?Handle large amounts of money in public. Know how much you have and where it is.
  • Wear flashy (or any) jewelry, watches, or expensive-looking sunglasses or display bulging pockets as this may increase the likelihood that you may be targeted for a robbery.
  • Disclose the tentative schedule or names of resource persons and groups of which you may be aware.  This information should not be given either to "friendly strangers," to other resource persons on the program, or to anyone outside of your group.  If you want to ask someone about information provided by another resource person/organization, find a way to do this without mentioning the other person/organization (e.g. "I read before I came that. . .").
  • Photograph military personnel or military installations. In many countries, airports and bridges are included in this prohibition. This is true for U.S. immigration and customs areas as well.
  • Flush toilet paper down the toilet, it will stop up the septic system.  Dispose in waste basket next to toilet.

Your group will have an orientation session upon arrival in El Salvador.  You will receive additional information and have the opportunity to ask questions at that time.  In the meantime, if you have any questions about the information above, call the CGEE Customized Programs staff at 612-330-1159

**Return to Pre-departure List**


  Country Specific Information: Namibia



NAMIBIA

CONTACT INFORMATION
Due to the relatively short duration of your travel seminar, friends and family should not expect to send you mail. However, friends and family may place a direct-dial call to you. Before your departure, CGEE will provide you with direct-dial emergency numbers for the places you will be staying.  It is much less expensive to call from the U.S. to Namibia than vice versa.  Be prepared to purchase Namibian calling cards upon arrival for calling the U.S. International calling cards purchased in the U.S., as well as 800 numbers, do not function for calling out of Namibia. Most of the accommodations CGEE uses do not have phones in the rooms.
 
After-Hours emergency cell phone carried by a Minneapolis staff member whenever a travel seminar is in progress: 612-817-2830
 

Center for Global Education and Experience at Augsburg University
Campus Box 307
2211 Riverside Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55454
Local: 612-330-1159
Toll-Free: 800-299-8889
Fax: 612-330-1695
globaled@augsburg.edu

  
Travel Documents/Airport Requirements for Namibia

The information below addresses entry requirements for U.S. and Canadian citizens residing in the United States.  U.S. citizens living outside the U.S. and Canada, and citizens of other countries living in the U.S. and Canada, should contact CGEE for further information. If you are a citizen of a country other than the U.S., check with your nation’s consulate for visa and entry requirements. CGEE will assist you in reviewing information, but the responsibility for obtaining and paying for proper documentation is yours.

  • Passport: It is recommended on the U.S. Department of State’s website that travelers going to or coming from Namibia via South Africa to have six or more unstamped visa pages in their passport. Travelers merely transiting through South Africa (those not stopping over or exiting the international terminal in South Africa) may require fewer blank pages for travel.  For more specific information consult the U.S. Department of State’s website for entry requirements to Namibia:
  • Keep any documents inserted into your passport or given to you by immigration officials upon arriving in Namibia.  You will need to present them upon departure.
  • Visa & Entry Requirements:  Since you will only be visiting Namibia for less than 30 days, no visa is required.  You will enter as a tourist. On the arrival form you will need to tick a box under "Purpose of Entry". Please mark Holiday/Tourist. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT.  Although your occupation may be a student, you are not entering Namibia to study, as you will not be receiving credit from the Center for Global Education and Experience. On the arrival form you will also need to fill in your "Address in Namibia." Please write 5 Simpson Street, Windhoek West. It is address of our guesthouse
  • Extended Stay: For those who have an extended stay in Namibia that requires a visa, be sure to check that your passport has at least two blank pages in the visa section.  This is a new security requirement for those who travel with a U.S. passport.
  • When you arrive at the airport in Namibia: You may be asked by the officials what your itinerary and schedule is. If so, simply respond: you don't know what your schedule is. (You will receive a tentative schedule of appointments from the Center staff upon arrival in Namibia.) Identify yourself as a tourist if asked; the official purpose of your trip is educational tourism.  Watch your bags and documents at the airport, as bags have been stolen before and while loading luggage into the vans.

 
Time Zone

Namibia observes daylight savings time during its summer, which is winter in the Northern hemisphere.  Therefore, Namibia is seven hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time from October through April, and five hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time during our daylight savings time.  The exception to this occurs in September and October (before the daylight savings switch in the Northern hemisphere) when there is a six hour difference due to Namibia’s varied daylight savings time schedule.
 
Luggage

Most CGEE travel seminars to Namibia use South African Airways (www.flysaa.com), which has fairly specific guidelines for economy class passengers.  Since they are more restrictive than many U.S. carriers, we urge you to follow their standards.  Only one carry-on item is allowed with a maximum weight of 15 pounds, and no larger than 22” by 14” by 9”. International travel baggage restrictions and fees for excess cargo may vary by airline and destination.  In general, the maximum allowance per piece of checked luggage is 50 pounds and 62 linear inches (total length + width + height) for international flights.
 
***Please check any airline for the most up to date luggage specifications.
 
Due to space restrictions on our vehicles in Namibia, you are allowed to only pack one large, soft-covered bag and one carry-on, plus a purse, camera case or briefcase.  Pack as lightly as you can.  In general, if you cannot comfortably walk five city blocks with all of your gear, you have packed too much.  You may want to pack a small tote bag or collapsible suitcase in your luggage for souvenirs you will acquire during your trip.  The suitcases designed to double as large backpacks are especially good for travel in Namibia.
 
Weather

Namibia is in the southern hemisphere and seasons are the opposite of North America. The following are average temperatures, not the extremes. As in the U.S., weather patterns can vary frequently.

January-March: Average high is 80-88°F; average low is 59-63°F.  Namibia is a very dry county, with most the rainfall occurring during the months of January, February and March.

  • April-August: Average high is 68-77°F; average low is 43-55°F.
  • September-October:  Average high is 75-85°F; average low is 55-60°F.
  • November-January:  Average high is 85-88°F; average low is 60-64°F.
  • Outside of Windhoek, temperatures are likely to be 5-10 degrees higher, with the western coast being somewhat cooler.

Money

Most participants find that US $200 to $300 is sufficient spending money for a one to two-week seminar.  Of course, how much you bring will depend on your personal spending habits. Remember that all meals and program expenses are included in your travel seminar cost.
 
ATM cards are the most convenient way to obtain cash in the local currency.  Traveler’s checks and U.S. cash can at times be difficult to exchange into the local currency, except at airports and tourist centers.  It is helpful to have some cash in small currency (ones and fives). Try to bring new bills, as some past participants have encountered difficulty in changing bills that are worn, written upon or torn.  CGEE strongly encourages you to bring a money belt.
 
Visa, MasterCard and American Express are accepted in many stores.  Important: It is a good idea to call your credit card company to let them know that you will be using you card outside of the country for a set time.  Some people encounter trouble using a credit card abroad because the credit card company assumes the card is stolen.  We strongly encourage you to bring a money belt.
 
For current information concerning exchange rates, visit http://www.xe.com, as exchange rates for Namibia can fluctuate.
 
Pre-departure Readings and Resources
 
South Africa
The CIA Factbook
The US State Department’s background notes
Historical Overview
Human Rights Watch
Articles on land reform, human rights, etc.
 
Namibia
The CIA Factbook  
The US State Department’s background notes
Quick Facts
Short History
More Short History
  
ACCOMMODATIONS & ELECTRICAL CURRENT
 
Accommodations: In keeping with the style and philosophy of the seminar, while in Windhoek you will stay at the Center for Global Education and Experience’s guesthouse/study center or another local guesthouse. Rooms will be semi-dormitory style with shared bathrooms. In other parts of Namibia, you will stay at a modest guesthouse or church-run retreat center where rooms are semi-dormitory style with shared bathrooms.  Some travel seminars may include a homestay to introduce you to family life in Namibia.  During a homestay, you may not always have access to hot water or standard mattresses.  We are confident that this unique opportunity will enhance your understanding of the region in a challenging, experiential manner.
 
Electrical Current: The electrical current is 220/240V, the same as in Europe, but different from the U.S. and Canada. The plugs have three rounded prongs. For most U.S. appliances you will need a voltage converter, unless the appliance already has a built-in switch to change the voltage AND an adapter for the plug.  If you have a Continental or U.S. adapter you may find that it won't work.  One solution is to buy a plug that will fit between your appliance and the adapter once you arrive in Namibia, although it is best that you do without appliances if possible.
  
HEALTH INFORMATION

 
Possible Ailments:

  • Traveler’s Diarrhea: Just the change in food, water and climate can lead to an upset stomach.  If you get diarrhea, treat it with Pepto-Bismol and drink lots of water.  When you are ready to eat again, start with rice, bread, crackers, and broth (bring bouillon cubes or dry soup).  Imodium (Loperamide is the generic equivalent) is a stronger medication to be used only when absolutely necessary.  It does not cure the diarrhea but slows down the digestive system, which can lead to other problems.  Some herbal teas are thought to aid in the prevention and treatment of diarrhea such as ginger root, raspberry, comfrey, and peppermint – feel free to bring some tea bags with you.
  • Hepatitis A: According to the CDC, travelers to Namibia are at high risk for Hepatitis A. Studies have shown that many cases of travel-related Hepatitis A happen to travelers in developing countries with “standard” itineraries, accommodations, and food consumption behavior.
  • Malaria:  Malaria is a mosquito-borne illness that is present in parts of Namibia, depending on the time of year and the area of the region.  CGEE will contact you if your travel seminar may encounter a risk of malaria and will advise what precautions will be necessary.  In the city of Windhoek, for example, there is no risk of malaria.
  • HIV/AIDS: 20-25% of the Namibian population is infected with HIV. The HIV virus can only be contracted through unprotected sexual activity and/or the exchange of blood. CGEE staff will provide you with more information on HIV/AIDS and ways to protect yourself when you arrive.
  • Typhoid: Typhoid Fever is a bacterial infection transmitted through contaminated food and/or water, or directly between people.  The CDC recommends a typhoid vaccination for those traveling to rural areas or staying long term (more than six weeks).

Dos & Dont's While on the travel seminar:

Do . . .

  • Listen carefully to all safety information during your in-country orientation.
  • Keep your passport with you at all times, inside your clothing if possible (unless our staff directs you otherwise).
  • Stay close together as a group when you are out in public and always travel in groups of two or more.
  • Always ask permission of a person before taping or photographing.
  • Be cautious about what you say in public (including airplanes, airports, restaurants and hotel lobbies). There will most likely be people around you who will understand English. Also, North Americans tend to speak in louder voices, so keep your voice at a low level-- even when in your hotel room.
  • Be respectful of resource people, even those with whom your views differ. This doesn’t mean that you have to avoid asking the “hard” questions, just ask them in a non- confrontational way.
  • Be respectful of other group members. Before asking multiple questions of resource people, look around to see if other people have questions and remember that people have varied learning styles and may need more time before asking questions.  Remember that you are part of a learning community and not simply an independent traveler.
  • Drink a lot of water to maintain good health. When the weather is hot, you will dehydrate much more quickly! Our field staff will give you guidelines for finding sources of safe water.

Don't . . .

  • Leave suitcases, bags, or purses unattended, even for a minute!
  • ?Handle large amounts of money in public. Know how much you have and where it is.
  • Give anybody any reason to rob you. That means don’t wear flashy (or any) jewelrywatches, bulging pockets, or expensive-looking sunglasses.
  • Disclose the tentative schedule or names of resource persons and groups of which you may be aware. This information should not be given either to "friendly strangers," to other resource persons on the program, or to anyone outside of your group.  If you want to ask someone about information provided by another resource person/organization, find a way to do this without mentioning the other person/organization (e.g. "I read before I came that. . .").
  • Photograph military personnel or military installations. In many countries, airports and bridges are included in this prohibition. This is true for U.S. immigration and customs areas as well.

Your group will have an orientation session upon arrival in Namibia. You will receive additional information and have the opportunity to ask questions at that time. In the meantime, if you have any questions about the information above, call the Customized Programs Team at the CGEE Minneapolis office.

**Return to Pre-departure List**


Country Specific Information:  South Africa


SOUTH AFRICA

Contact Information
Due to the relatively short duration of your travel seminar, friends and family should not expect to send you mail. However, friends and family may place a direct-dial call to you. Before your departure, CGEE will provide you with direct-dial emergency numbers for the places you will be staying.  It is much less expensive to call from the U.S. to South Africa than vice versa.  Be prepared to purchase South African calling cards upon arrival for calling the U.S. International calling cards purchased in the U.S., as well as 800 numbers, do not function for calling out of South Africa. Most of the accommodations CGEE uses do not have phones in the rooms.
 
After-Hours emergency cell phone carried by a Minneapolis staff member whenever a travel seminar is in progress: 612-817-2830

Center for Global Education and Experience at Augsburg University
Campus Box 307
2211 Riverside Avenue
Minneapolis MN 55454
Local: 612-330-1159
Toll-Free: 800-299-8889
Fax: 612-330-1695
globaled@augsburg.edu

Travel Documents/Airport Requirements for South Africa
 
The information below addresses entry requirements for U.S. and Canadian citizens residing in the United States.  U.S. citizens living outside the U.S. and Canada, and citizens of other countries living in the U.S. and Canada, should contact CGEE for further information. If you are a citizen of a country other than the U.S., check with your nation’s consulate for visa and entry requirements. CGEE will assist you in reviewing information, but the responsibility for obtaining and paying for proper documentation is yours.

South African law requires travelers to have one (1) totally blank (unstamped) visa page in their passport in order to enter the country. Visitors who do not have enough blank visa pages in their passport risk being denied entry in South Africa and returned to the United States at their own expense.   All travelers are strongly advised to have at least two fully blank passport visa pages upon arrival in South Africa. Travelers without the requisite blank visa pages in their passports may be refused entry into South Africa, fined, and returned to their point of origin at their own expense.  For more specific information consult the U.S. Department of State’s website for entry requirements to South Africa: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country/south-africa.html.

Keep any documents inserted into your passport or given to you by immigration officials upon arriving in South Africa.  You will need to present them upon departure.

  • Visa & Entry Requirements: Since you will only be visiting South Africa for less than 30 days, no visa is required.  You will enter as a tourist. On the arrival form you will need to tick a box under "Purpose of Entry". Please mark Holiday/Tourist. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT.  Although your occupation may be a student, you are not entering South Africa to study, as you will not be receiving credit from the Center for Global Education and Experience.
  • ?Extended Stay: For those who have an extended stay in South Africa that requires a visa, be sure to check that your passport has at least two blank pages in the visa section.  This is a new security requirement for those who travel with a U.S. passport.
  • When you arrive at the airport in South Africa: You may be asked by the officials what your itinerary and schedule is. If so, simply respond: you don't know what your schedule is. (You will receive a tentative schedule of appointments from the Center staff upon arrival in South Africa.) Identify yourself as a tourist if asked; the official purpose of your trip is educational tourism.  Watch your bags and documents at the airport, as bags have been stolen before and while loading luggage into the vans.

Time Zone
Normally South Africa is seven hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.  South Africa does not observe daylight savings time.  Thus, during U.S. daylight savings time (early April through late October) South Africa is six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.
  
Luggage
Most CGEE travel seminars to South Africa use South African Airways (www.flysaa.com), which has fairly specific guidelines for economy class passengers.  Since they are more restrictive than many U.S. carriers, we urge you to follow their standards.  Only one carry-on item is allowed with a maximum weight of 15 pounds, and no larger than 22” by 14” by 9”.  International travel baggage restrictions and fees for excess cargo may vary by airline and destination.  In general, the maximum allowance per piece of checked luggage is 50 pounds and 62 linear inches (total length + width + height) for international flights.
 
Due to space restrictions on our vehicles in South Africa, you are allowed to only pack one large, soft-covered bag and one carry-on, plus a purse, camera case or briefcase.  Pack as lightly as you can.  In general, if you cannot comfortably walk five city blocks with all of your gear, you have packed too much.  You may want to pack a small tote bag or collapsible suitcase in your luggage for souvenirs you will acquire during your trip.  The suitcases designed to double as large backpacks are especially good for travel in South Africa.
 
Weather
 
South Africa is in the southern hemisphere and seasons are the opposite of North America. The following are average temperatures, not the extremes. As in the U.S., weather patterns can vary frequently.
 
Johannesburg: The average high temperature is 75-77°F, while the average low is 53-56°F.  The nights may be quite cool year round, but most of the rainfall occurs in November, with an average of 4 inches.
 
Cape Town: The average high temperature is 64-72°F, while the average low is 50°F.  Weather is usually similar to Johannesburg, with the exception of more rain and a strong sea breeze.
 
Money
Most participants find that US $200 to $300 is sufficient spending money for a one to two-week seminar.  Of course, how much you bring will depend on your personal spending habits.  You will want to discuss with your program leader how many meals are included in your program cost and budget accordingly.  We recommend an average of $12/meal (lunches will often be less expensive than this, whereas dinners can be a bit more). 
 
ATM cards are the most convenient way to obtain cash in the local currency.  Traveler’s checks and U.S. cash can at times be difficult to exchange into the local currency, except at airports and tourist centers.  It is helpful to have some cash in small currency (ones and fives).  Try to bring new bills, as some past participants have encountered difficulty in changing bills that are worn, written upon or torn.  CGEE strongly encourages you to bring a money belt.
 
Visa, MasterCard and American Express are accepted in many stores.  Important: It is a good idea to call your credit card company to let them know that you will be using you card outside of the country for a set time.  Some people encounter trouble using a credit card abroad because the credit card company assumes the card is stolen.  We strongly encourage you to bring a money belt.
 
For current information concerning exchange rates, visit http://www.xe.com, as exchange rates for South Africa can fluctuate.
 
PRE-PROGRAM READINGS/RESOURCES

South Africa
The CIA Factbook
The US State Department’s background notes (also includes links to USAID and others)
Historical Overview
Human Rights Watch
Articles on land reform, human rights, etc.
 
Namibia
The CIA Factbook  
The US State Department’s background notes
Quick Facts
Short History
More Short History
 
ACCOMMODATIONS & ELECTRICAL CURRENT
 
Accommodations: In keeping with the style and philosophy of the seminar, you will stay at a modest guesthouse or church-run retreat center where rooms are semi-dormitory style with shared bathrooms.  Some travel seminars may include a homestay to introduce you to family life in South Africa.  During a homestay, you may not always have access to hot water or standard mattresses.  We are confident that this unique opportunity will enhance your understanding of the region in a challenging, experiential manner.
 
Electrical Current: The electrical current is 220/240V, the same as in Europe, but different from the U.S. and Canada. The plugs have three rounded prongs. For most U.S. appliances you will need a voltage converter, unless the appliance already has a built-in switch to change the voltage AND an adapter for the plug.  If you have a Continental or U.S. adapter you may find that it won't work.  One solution is to buy a plug that will fit between your appliance and the adapter once you arrive in South Africa, although it is best that you do without appliances if possible.
 
HEALTH & SAFETY INFORMATION
 
Review your vaccinations: Check with your doctor or the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) regarding recommended vaccinations for travel to South Africa.  Currently, the CDC recommends that you be up-to-date on diphtheria-tetanus and measles, and that you consider an immune globulin vaccine for protection against Hepatitis A.  You may call the CDC at 404/332-4559 or visit their Web site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel/

Possible Ailments:

  • Traveler’s Diarrhea: Just the change in food, water and climate can lead to an upset stomach.  If you get diarrhea, treat it with Pepto-Bismol and drink lots of water.  When you are ready to eat again, start with rice, bread, crackers, and broth (bring bouillon cubes or dry soup).  Imodium (Loperamide is the generic equivalent) is a stronger medication to be used only when absolutely necessary.  It does not cure the diarrhea but slows down the digestive system, which can lead to other problems.  Some herbal teas are thought to aid in the prevention and treatment of diarrhea such as ginger root, raspberry, comfrey, and peppermint – feel free to bring some tea bags with you.
  • Hepatitis A According to the CDC, travelers to South Africa are at high risk for Hepatitis A. Studies have shown that many cases of travel-related Hepatitis A happen to travelers in developing countries with “standard” itineraries, accommodations, and food consumption behavior.
  • Malaria:  Malaria is a mosquito-borne illness that is present in parts of South Africa, depending on the time of year and the area of the region.  CGEE will contact you if your travel seminar may encounter a risk of malaria and will advise what precautions will be necessary.  In the city of Cape Town, for example, there is no risk of malaria.
  • HIV/AIDS: 10-15% of the South African population is infected with HIV. The HIV virus can only be contracted through unprotected sexual activity and/or the exchange of blood. CGEE staff will provide you with more information on HIV/AIDS and ways to protect yourself when you arrive.
  • Typhoid: Typhoid Fever is a bacterial infection transmitted through contaminated food and/or water, or directly between people.  The CDC recommends a typhoid vaccination for those traveling to rural areas or staying long term (more than six weeks).
Dos & Don'ts while on the travel seminar . . . 


Do . . .

  • Listen carefully to all safety information during your in-country orientation.
  • Keep your passport with you at all times, inside your clothing if possible (unless our staff directs you otherwise).
  • Stay close together as a group when you are out in public and always travel in groups of two or more.
  • Always ask permission of a person before taping or photographing.
  • Be cautious about what you say in public (including airplanes, airports, restaurants and hotel lobbies). There will most likely be people around you who will understand English. Also, North Americans tend to speak in louder voices, so keep your voice at a low level-- even when in your hotel room.
  • Be respectful of resource people, even those with whom your views differ. This doesn’t mean that you have to avoid asking the “hard” questions, just ask them in a non- confrontational way.
  • Be respectful of other group members. Before asking multiple questions of resource people, look around to see if other people have questions and remember that people have varied learning styles and may need more time before asking questions.  Remember that you are part of a learning community and not simply an independent traveler.
  • Drink a lot of water to maintain good health. When the weather is hot, you will dehydrate much more quickly! Our field staff will give you guidelines for finding sources of safe water.

 Don't . . .

  • Leave suitcases, bags, or purses unattended, even for a minute!
  • Handle large amounts of money in public. Know how much you have and where it is.
  • Give anybody any reason to rob you. That means don’t wear flashy (or any) jewelry, watches, bulging pockets, or expensive-looking sunglasses.
  • Disclose the tentative schedule or names of resource persons and groups of which you may be aware. This information should not be given either to "friendly strangers," to other resource persons on the program, or to anyone outside of your group.  If you want to ask someone about information provided by another resource person/organization, find a way to do this without mentioning the other person/organization (e.g. "I read before I came that. . .").
  • Photograph military personnel or military installations. In many countries, airports and bridges are included in this prohibition. This is true for U.S. immigration and customs areas as well.

Your group will have an orientation session upon arrival in South Africa. You will receive additional information and have the opportunity to ask questions at that time. In the meantime, if you have any questions about the information above, call the Customized Programs Team at the CGEE Minneapolis office.

**Return to Pre-departure List**


 
Country Specific Information: Cuba


CUBA

Contact Information
Because of the embargo, communication between the United States and Cuba is very difficult.  You will have limited access to phone and internet during your trip.  Phone cards can be purchased, but not all public telephones accept them for international calls.  U.S. telecommunications companies are beginning to negotiate services for their customers.  AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon Wireless provide roaming services in Cuba, but service is spotty.  See company websites for more information.
 
Internet can be accessed in nicer hotels and WiFi hotspots.  Wi-Fi hotspots set up on streets throughout Havana require that you purchase a card from ETECSA (Cuban government telecommunications company) to obtain access.
 
For more information see Telecommunications FAQs for Travelers to Cuba, prepared by the Federal Communications Commission.
 
In case of emergency, friends and family may be able to place a direct-dial call to you.  Before your departure, CGEE will provide you with direct-dial emergency numbers for the places you will be staying.  Most of the accommodations CGEE uses do not have phones in the rooms, and operators may only be able to speak Spanish.
 
An after-hours emergency cell phone is carried by a CGEE Minneapolis staff member whenever programs are in progress: 612-817-2830.
 

Center for Global Education and Experience at Augsburg University
Campus Box 307
2211 Riverside Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55454 USA
Local: 612-330-1159
Toll-Free: 800-299-8889
Fax: 612-330-1695
globaled@augsburg.edu

 
Travel Documents/Airport Requirements
 
If you are a citizen of a country other than the United States or if you were born in Cuba regardless of your citizenship, contact CGEE for further information.  CGEE will assist you in reviewing information, but the responsibility for obtaining and paying for proper documentation is yours
 

  • Passport:  Keep any documents inserted into your passport or given to you by immigration officials upon arrival in Cuba.  You will need to present them upon departure
If you are not a U.S. citizen, you must also carry with you all necessary documentation to re-enter the United States (visa, green card, etc.).
  •  Travel Restrictions:  U.S. law places restrictions on travel to Cuba.  Under U.S. government regulations published on January 16, 2015, only persons whose travel falls into certain categories may be authorized to spend money related to travel to, from, or within Cuba.  Currently, CGEE facilitates educational programs in Cuba under general licenses.  You will receive detailed information on licensing requirements before departure and are required to comply with them.

 Please see the website of the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) for further information http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Pages/cuba.aspx.

  •  Visa & Entry Requirements:  U.S. citizens seeking to enter Cuba must have an entry visa.  The cost of your visa is included in your program cost.  A copy of your valid passport is required to begin visa processing. 
  • When you arrive at the airport in Cuba: You may be asked by Cuban officials about your itinerary and daily schedule.  If so, simply respond: you don't yet know your schedule.  (You will receive a schedule of program activities from your MLK Center guide upon arrival.)  Identify yourself as a tourist if asked; the official purpose of your trip is tourism.  Watch your bags and documents at the airport.
  •  Medical Insurance:  All foreigners who visit Cuba are required to purchase medical coverage from the Cuban government.  This coverage will be included in your flight package.  Your boarding pass for your Miami to Havana is evidence of this medical insurance coverage, so hold on to it.  Take it with you if you go to see a doctor or receive medical treatment in Cuba.

 
AIR TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS & TIME ZONE
 
Air Travel Arrangements:  CGEE will arrange your air travel between a Miami and Havana.  CGEE does not arrange for flights to and from Miami.  It is the responsibility of the sponsor of your trip to ensure that domestic flights are arranged to Miami.  In some cases everyone in your group will be on the same flights.  In others you will be directed to book your own flights to arrive in Miami by a specific day and time.  Kindly check with CGEE or with the person or institution organizing your trip if you have questions about how flights for your particular group are being handled.
 
CGEE strongly encourages you to arrive in Miami the night prior to departure for Cuba as well as the night that you are scheduled to return from Cuba.  CGEE is not responsible for any change fees or new tickets if your incoming flight does not get to Miami in time for you to board the flight to Cuba.  Similarly, CGEE is not responsible for any change fees associated with your connecting air travel if your flight from Cuba to Miami is delayed for any reason.
 
It is essential that the name on your ticket vouchers for flights to and from Cuba be identical to your name as it appears on your passport.  If there is a discrepancy, you could be delayed or required to purchase another ticket.  Please check your ticket voucher as soon as you receive it.  Contact CGEE immediately if there is a discrepancy.
 
In the event that changes need to be made in the itinerary between Cuba and Miami due to illness, strikes, terrorism, weather, or other causes, these changes will be made to ensure the wellbeing of all participants.  Depending on the circumstances, additional expenses, if any, will be the responsibility of individual travelers or the institution sponsoring your trip, although CGEE will make every effort to minimize such expenses.
 
Time Zone  

The time is the same as U.S. Eastern Time.
 
Luggage

Flights to and from Cuba have additional fees for checked bags and weight overage.  All fees are your responsibility and must be paid in cash at both the Miami and Havana airports.  In general, passengers are limited to a combined total of 44 pounds for checked luggage and any carry-on bag.  All of your items will be weighed together.  If their combined weight is over 44 pounds, you will be charged $2-4 per pound over the limit.  In addition, there is often a $20 fee per checked bag.  When you check in for your flight, agents may oblige you to check luggage that qualifies for a carry-on with a domestic carrier (i.e. rollerboard suitcases).
 
Weather
 
The following are average temperatures, not extremes.  As in the United States, weather patterns can vary.  We recommend checking weather sites on the internet for the time of year you will be traveling.
 
From November to April, the temperature averages 75-80 F.  From June to August, the range is about 85-90 F.  Rainy season is May-October.  Bring a light sweater or jacket for the occasional cool evening or air-conditioned building.
 
Money
 
Most participants find $200-$400 to be sufficient spending money for a two-week program in Cuba.  Of course, how much you bring should depend on your personal spending habits.  Remember that all meals and scheduled group activities are covered in your program cost.
 
Exchange:  U.S. dollars are not accepted in Cuba.  You will need to exchange money into Convertible Cuban Pesos (CUC).  U.S. dollars (USD) can be exchanged at a money exchange (CADECA) upon entry at the airport or at select hotels.  There is a 10% fee for all U.S. dollar cash conversions.  Plan to bring cash.  Even though U.S. law changed on January 16, 2015, such that U.S. banks can now facilitate credit card transactions in Cuba, this is not yet operational.  Money changers in Cuba do not accept dollar bills with writing, stamps, tears, or rips.  We strongly encourage you to bring a money belt.
 
At last update, 1 USD = 1 CUC plus an additional exchange fee of 10-13% (that is, including the exchange fee 1 USD = .90 CUC-.87 CUC).  For current information concerning exchange rates from USD into CUC, visit http://www.xe.com

Cuba has two circulating currencies.  National Cuban pesos are used by Cubans.  Transactions by foreigners occur in CUC.  When prices are posted, you will need to figure out which currency is being used.
 
Shopping:  Changes in U.S. government regulations that went into effect on October 17, 2016 permit you to bring Cuban-origin merchandise as accompanied baggage back with you to the United States.  Cuban-origin goods must be imported for personal use.  Normal limits on duty and tax exemptions will apply.
 
When departing Cuba, Cuban officials may ask to see a receipt, showing the purchase price in Convertible Cuban Pesos (CUC).  Generally, this occurs for artwork, antiquities, and items valued at more than about 20 CUC.
 
Pre-departure Readings and Resources
 
Cuba Country Profile, BBC
Factbook on Cuba, CIA
Fact Sheet, Washington Post
150 Years of U.S.-Cuba Relations, VOX 6-minute video
U.S. Relations with Cuba, U.S. State Department
Factsheet: Reforms in Cuba, Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)
Changes in Cuba
Cuba: Country Report on Human Rights Practices, U.S. State Department
Cuba News, Commentary and Reports, Amnesty International
Cuba: U.S. Policy and Issues for the 115th Congress, Congressional Research Service
OsmAnd+, map and navigation app with access to OpenStreetMap (OSM) data in Cuba that works offline
WOLA Background Series on Religion in Cuba
Black in Latin America—Cuba: The Next Revolution, PBS
Women’s Work: Gender Equality in Cuba & the Role of Women Building Cuba’s Future, Center for Democracy in the Americas
U.S.-Cuba Back-Channel Negotiations, Mother Jones
Granma International, Cuban government newspaper in English
New York Times articles
Havana Times
 
ACCOMMODATIONS & ELECTRICAL CURRENT
 
Accommodations:  In Havana, groups mostly stay in the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Center guesthouse, in casas particulares (B&Bs), or a modest hotel with air conditioning.  You must to be able to walk up two flights of steps to get to the guesthouse rooms, so please let CGEE know if you have any mobility issues.  Accommodations outside Havana are often more basic.  You may not always have access to hot water or standard mattresses.  We are confident that this experience will enhance your understanding of the country in a challenging, experiential manner.
 
Electrical Current: The electrical current in Cuba varies greatly.  Some sockets are the same as in the United States (110 volts, 60 cycles).  Other newer ones take 220.  It is good to check first before plugging anything in.  Although sockets in Cuba usually accept both continental European (round) and U.S.-style (flat) plugs, some outlets cannot accommodate a grounding prong or wide flange.  If you are bringing electrical appliances, you will need to bring a two-prong adapter to fit any outlet with two narrow slots.
 
HEALTH & SAFETY INFORMATION
 
We expect all travelers to review the U.S. State Department Country Specific Information on Cuba before departure and to follow recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), local government and on-site staff.
 
Health: Consult your physician about your health in light of your travel plans and review your vaccinations.  The CDC provides information on recommended vaccinations for travel to Cuba at:  CDC Health information for Travelers to Cuba.
 
Possible Ailments:

  • Zika Virus: Please review updates on Zika Virus in Cuba.
  • Traveler’s Diarrhea:  Just the change in food, water and climate can lead to an upset stomach.  If you get diarrhea, treat it with Pepto-Bismol and drink lots of water.  When you are ready to eat again, start with rice, bread, crackers, and broth (bring bouillon cubes or dry soup).  Imodium (Loperamide is the generic equivalent) is a stronger medication to be used only when absolutely necessary.  It does not cure the diarrhea but slows down the digestive system, which can lead to other problems.  Some herbal teas such as ginger root, raspberry, comfrey, and peppermint are thought to aid in the prevention and treatment of diarrhea.  Feel free to bring some tea bags with you.
  • Hepatitis A:  Studies have shown that travelers in developing countries with “standard” itineraries, accommodations, and food consumption behavior may contract Hepatitis A.?Malaria:  Malaria is a mosquito-borne illness that is present in parts of the Caribbean, including in Cuba.

Chikungunya Chikungunya is an illness caused by a virus that spreads through mosquito bites.  The CDC map of countries where Chikungunya cases have been reported did not show cases in Cuba as of April 22, 2016.  However, six cases of Chikungunya were documented in Cuba in 2014.  Since there is no preventative medicine for chikungunya, take measures to avoid mosquito bites such as using insect repellent with DEET and covering exposed skin.
 
Dengue Fever:  This disease is primarily an urban viral infection transmitted by mosquitoes.  Since there is no preventative medicine for dengue fever, take measures to avoid mosquito bites such as using insect repellent with DEET and covering exposed skin.
 
Typhoid:  Typhoid Fever is a bacterial infection transmitted through contaminated food and/or water, or directly between people.  The CDC recommends a typhoid vaccination for those traveling to tropical areas.
 
Do's and Don'ts While on the program in Cuba . . .
 
Do . . .

  • Listen carefully to all safety information during your in-country orientation.
  • Carry your passport copy at all times.  Only keep your passport with you when changing money, going to the U.S. Embassy, or if otherwise instructed by CGEE or MLK Center staff.
  • Stay close together when your group is out in public, and always travel in groups of two or more.
  • Always ask permission of a person before tape recording or photographing.
  • Be conscious and cautious about what you say in public (including airplanes, airports, restaurants and hotel lobbies).  There will most likely be people around you who will understand English.  Also, North Americans tend to speak in louder voices, so be aware of your volume and lower your voice.
  • Be respectful of resource people, even those with whom your views differ.  This doesn’t mean that you have to avoid asking the “hard” questions, just ask them in a respectful and non-confrontational way.
  • Be respectful of other members of your group.  Before asking multiple questions of resource people, look around to see if other people have questions.  Remember that people have varied learning styles and may need more time before asking questions.  You are part of a learning community and not simply an independent traveler.
  • Drink a lot of purified water to maintain good health.  When the weather is hot, you will dehydrate much more quickly!  The CGEE leader will help you find sources of safe water.

Don't . . .

  • Photograph military personnel or military installations.  In Cuba, airports and bridges are included in this prohibition.  This is true for U.S. immigration and customs areas as well.
  • Leave suitcases, bags, or purses unattended, even for a minute!
  • Handle large amounts of money in public.  Know how much you have and where it is.
  • Wear flashy (or any) jewelry, watches, bulging pockets, or expensive-looking sunglasses that might attract pickpockets and thieves.
  • Disclose the daily schedule or names of resource persons and groups of which you may be aware.  This information should not be given either to "friendly strangers," to other resource persons on the program, or to anyone outside of your group.  If you want to ask someone about information provided by another resource person/organization, find a way to do this without mentioning the other person/organization (e.g. "I read before I came that. . .").
  • Flush toilet paper down the toilet.  It will stop up the septic system.  Dispose in waste basket next to toilet.

 Your group will have an orientation upon arrival in Cuba.  You will receive additional information and have the opportunity to ask questions at that time.  In the meantime, if you have any questions about the information above, call the Customized Programs staff at CGEE: 612-330-1662.

**Return to Pre-departure List"

Other International Locations

EXPLORE THE WORLD

If you go are travelling with the Center for Global Education and Experience to a location that is not on the pre-departure information list, you will be receiving specific in-country information from your Program Leader prior to departure. You will also receive an in-country orientation when you arrive to your destination.  We are SO EXCITED you have decided to study abroad with the Center for Global Education & Experience.  We are confident you will have an enriching learning experience as you learn about another part of the world.

Best wishes as you continue to prepare for your journey ahead.  If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us:

Email: abroad@augsburg.edu
Telephone: 612-330-1656

Augsburg students, come and visit us in Christensen Center, Oyate Commons, Lower level!