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Study Abroad

Health and Safety

The quality of the educational experiences and the health, safety, and security of students, and faculty are of utmost importance to Fresno State. In order to protect student and employee health and safety, Fresno State follows the U.S. Department of State international travel recommendations, which incorporates CDC data on COVID-19. Currently, Fresno State limits travel to locations categorized as Levels 1 - 3. A complete list of current travel advisories and classification levels for each country can be accessed on the U.S. Department of State website.

For more information on COVID-19 updates at Fresno State, please visit:

You have arrived at your destination! Now is the time to enjoy and make the most of your time abroad! Here are some tips to help you have a successful study abroad experience:

  1. Get organized before leaving. Leaving research to the last minute equals major headaches when you arrive at your destination. Before you go abroad there are important things to consider include health insurance, budget planning, homestay arrangements, weather, and airport pickup.
  2. Accomplish your Goals. This isn’t to say you can't have fun while abroad, but remember your studies come first! Find a balance between studies and exploration to accomplish your goals
  3. Deal with possible homesickness. Don’t ignore your feelings, instead keep regular contact with family and friends. But don’t forget to make new friends and enjoy your new environment. If you appear to be having difficulties adjusting to new surroundings, please let a local staff/faculty member or the Fresno State Study Abroad Office know. Often, we are able to contact someone at the host university to provide a different perspective on the situation or arrange for appropriate intervention.
  4. Learn from the locals. It is a good idea to ask your host family or teachers about their local customs and unspoken rules. 
  5. Embrace your new surroundings and culture. Apart from knowing how to read the city map, successful study abroad students absorb and learn from their host country. The best way to get immersed with the local host culture is to get involved with your local community and to network outside of your American bubble.
  6. Make the most of it, keep an open mind. Don’t arrive in a new country with head full stereotypes and expectations, instead open your eyes, relax and breathe in the new culture.
  7. Learn, study! Don’t lose sight of why you are abroad in the first place. There will be times when your workload is high, you feel homesick, or just don’t want to study at all, but there's always something you can learn from and make it a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

While you are abroad, take the same precautions you would take in any large U.S. city you are not familiar with:

  • Don't walk in unfamiliar areas of the city at night or accept rides from strangers. Plan to arrive at your destination during the day.
  • Be careful with money in public just as you would be in this country.
  • Become a professional people watcher. Watching the local residents and their habits is your best guide to safe behavior. The less you stand out the safer you will be.
  • Learn about the customs and local laws of your country. Remember that you are subject to their laws and are not protected by U.S. laws.
  • Lock hotel rooms when traveling. Do not stay in hotels without adequate locks. The money you would save is not worth putting yourself at risk.
  • Never leave your bags unattended. Never let a stranger watch your luggage while you go to the bathroom or purchase a ticket.
  • Walk away immediately from any suspicious persons or packages and report them to the authorities after you are a safe distance away.
  • Make three (3) photocopies of your passport ID page, airlines tickets, and credit cards. Leave one copy at home. Bring the second copy with you in case something gets lost or stolen abroad, and give the third copy to your program resident director.
  • Bring extra passport size photos for student ID’s abroad, a replacement passport if needed, or for obtaining a visa abroad.
  • Beware of pickpockets and con artists. The most common sites for purse or camera snatchings are central train stations or crowded shopping areas. Thieves often strike when people are distracted: making a phone call or checking a train schedule, with a bag casually left at one’s feet.
  • If anything is lost or stolen report it to the local police. Keep a copy of the police report for insurance purposes or in case you need to replace your passport or student visa. Report the loss of travelers check to the nearest issuing office; passport to both the local police and then to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to apply for a new one; airline tickets to airline or travel agent.
  • Before going to another country, check the country’s travel advisories and read safety, health, and travel recommendations for your destination. The State Department SMART travel section is very useful.
  • Be sure your program director has your contact information and knows where/when you will be traveling. Give a relative and/or friend a copy of your travel itinerary and contact information.
  • Be sure your cell phone will work where you are traveling and keep it with you always - fully charged and turned on. Respond immediately to any calls, text, or emails from Fresno State and/or your host program staff.

As a precautionary measure, keep emergency contact numbers of various family members in one place (such as in your phone or email) so that you can access them quickly. In addition, it is always important to keep contact information for your host family or roommates, and program/resident director. If you are traveling over weekends or breaks, please be sure to provide the program/resident director with your cell phone number and any travel itinerary in case they need to contact you while you are traveling. 

The opportunity to live and study in another country is unparalleled in its adventures, benefits, and challenges. Studying abroad enables you to learn about other cultures as an active participant.  This opportunity also carries with it certain responsibilities.  For example, it may be necessary to adapt your behavior to the customs and expectations of the host country.  This behavioral adjustment does not require you to deny your own culture, but simply to respect your host culture. Another responsibility you’ll have while studying abroad is to keep an open mind, and to learn and observe without judging. 

  • Understand symptoms and recognize signs of culture shock.
  • Acknowledge that culture shock is normal.
  • Understand it is a passing phase.
  • Gather information before you go abroad so you are better prepared for a cultural change.
  • Create a support network of host nationals, expatriates, work groups, or within your school setting.
  • Create a routine for yourself.
  • Traveling within or around your host country can take your mind off of culture shock.
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself.
  • If symptoms persist or worsen, notify us and your program and consider additional treatment and support options.