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:
- Health, Safety, and Security (for ALL Programs)
- Insurance for International Travelers
- Insurance for Domestic Travelers (U.S. or U.S. Territories)
- Flight Information and Travel Documents
- Luggage and Packing
- Food for Thought from Seasoned Travelers
- Country Specific Information:
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.
CGEE has developed on-site safety protocols in consultation with an epidemiologist and expert in global public health from the Augsburg University faculty. In addition, we incorporate recommendations of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), and health authorities in the host countries where CGEE programs occur.
CGEE program site staff, including program support staff, have received training regarding the protocols and have participated in briefings with local health authorities. Depending on the country in question, these authorities have been representatives from the national ministry of health or representatives from provincial or municipal public health institutions.
To safeguard the health of students, staff, faculty, and community members on our programs, Augsburg CGEE requires program participants to be fully vaccinated and to provide proof of full vaccination at least 2 weeks prior to the program start date. This policy applies to international and domestic programs run and operated by Augsburg CGEE.
Program participants wishing to request an exemption from this policy for a medical reason or due to a sincerely held religious belief must submit a Vaccination Exemption Form to begin the accommodation process. Accommodations will be granted only where they do not cause undue hardship or pose a direct threat to the health and safety of others. Host country entry requirements override any exemptions
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.
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.
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**
Travel Health/Accident Insurance for International Destinations Only
CGEE provides participants with international travel health and accident coverage through EIIA International Travel Insurance. This insurance provides primary coverage for international emergencies and accidents. 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.
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 Insurance Information (International Destinations)
EIIA provides the coverage listed below to participants traveling on an institution sponsored trip outside of the United States or its Territories and Possessions:
• Accidental Death & Dismemberment
• Emergency Medical/Illness
• Evacuation – Medical, Natural Disaster, and Security (Political Unrest)
• Lost or Stolen Baggage
• Trip Cancellation and Interruption
• And much more . . .
For more information and to access the insurance website, visit International Travel EIIA
Trip Cancellation & CGEE Cancellation Policy
Please remember that there are non-refundable costs if you decide to 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.
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 COVID-19, 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**
Participants traveling 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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you do not have health insurance.
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.
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.
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 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.
- 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.
EXPLORE THE WORLD
If you go are travelling with the Center for Global Education and Experience (CGEE) 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 CGEE. 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:
Augsburg students, come and visit us in Christensen Center, Oyate' Commons, Lower level!