At orientation, students are given a Pre-Departure Orientation Handbook that outlines Pitzer’s policies for the study abroad experience. The handbook contains detailed information about health and safety issues, cultural awareness, insurance, airline reservations, what to bring, financial issues, etc. Parents and friends may also have questions about study abroad so public versions of the handbooks are posted on our website for reference. Pre-Departure Orientation Handbooks.
International Student Identity Card (ISIC)
Students studying abroad through Pitzer will receive an International Student Identity Card (ISIC), which, in addition to providing a form of identification and proof of student status, supplies a range of emergency medical, legal and financial services. The insurance coverage is in effect whether or not the card is in the students’ possession.
In addition, each student is responsible for obtaining a policy that will provide comprehensive health coverage both in the US and abroad for the duration of their program. The ISIC is travel insurance NOT comprehensive medical insurance and will NOT be accepted in lieu of payment at medical facilities. This plan should be viewed as a supplement to your own medical health plan, not a replacement. ISIC does not provide comprehensive medical coverage for pre-existing or chronic medical conditions requiring ongoing care. ISIC Premium Brochure
Programs have extensive safety plans and every consideration has been given to providing a safe and rewarding experience for your student. Safety procedures and emergency preparedness are outlined in the handbooks and are covered in the on-site orientation sessions. Please go over the guidelines in the handbook thoroughly with your student and encourage them to follow the instructions of the program director and staff regarding health and safety practices. Students do bear some of the responsibility for their own safety by choosing to follow the safety guidelines advised by the program and using good judgment while abroad.
Handling last minute doubts
It is common for students (and their parents and friends) to have last minute doubts about whether doing study abroad program is the right thing at this time. There may be concern about missing family and friends while so far away, worries about credit transferring and nervousness about travel in general. This is quite normal and we would encourage your student to give us a call before changing plans drastically at the last minute. Every semester there are a few students who have some anxiety and think about withdrawing, but they eventually do go and are very glad they did, so don’t let a normal case of “cold feet” prevent a student from having this educational experience.
Contact with your student while abroad
Keep in mind that your student may not be able to call you immediately from his or her program site – it depends on the country. Although some students are able to call within the first day or two, in some cases there are no phones with international lines or cell coverage nearby and the on-site orientations are often so intense that students do not have time to call right away. After the orientation period, the students may travel to areas where international telephone and email access may be limited or non-existent. Please do not be alarmed if you do not hear from your student for long periods of time. Usually, students simply haven’t been able to call, but they are still in close contact with the program staff. If you are concerned or if you need to reach your student immediately you may call the Office of Study Abroad and International Programs for students on Pitzer programs and exchanges 909.621.8104 or the program sponsor if your student is on an alternate program.