If you will participate in a semester abroad program or J-term travel course, this
page can help you plan for your time overseas.
Below you will find links to several groups within the U.S.
Government that provide health, safety, and travel related information:
You will also find information about:
If you do not find the information you are looking for on the U.S. Government websites
listed below, try searching FirstGov,
a government website that provides access to all online U.S. Federal Government
EMERGENCY INFORMATION concerning Americans traveling abroad may be obtained
from the Office of Overseas Citizens Services at (202) 647-5225. For after-hours
emergencies, Sundays and holidays, call 202-647-4000.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) is an agency of the U.S. Department
of Health and Human Services. According to its web site, the CDC has as
its mission "To promote health and quality of life by preventing and controlling
disease, injury, and disability." One of the most useful CDC sites for those participating
in an International Education experience is Traveler's Health, where you can search for health information
by destination. Links to Traveler's Health information for different regions of
the world are also provided on our country information web page.
Study abroad students may find these CDC web pages particularly helpful:
Health Information for Travelers to:
Basic information about a country, such as its geography, government, economy, and
general demographic information, is available from the Central Intelligence Agency's publication,
The World Fact Book. There you will find a list of countries with links
to information about each.
The Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) is the branch of the U.S. government primarily responsible for the safety
of civil aviation. To some extent, the FAA also deals with aviation abroad. Recent
world events have caused changes in airline and airport security. These in turn
affect passengers. For instance, it is now even more important that passengers arrive
at the airport well ahead of their scheduled departure times.
More information is available on the FAA passengers web page, including
baggage size requirements.
The Library of Congress
Research Guides and Databases, including an extensive set of Country Studies.
Students traveling abroad are encouraged to consult the Travel section of the
U.S. Customs Service web site, especially these sections:
Vacation Travel, with links to:
On the "Know Before You Go" page you can request a free printed copy of that brochure.
It will be sent to you via postal mail and should arrive within a week. You may
find it particularly helpful to read the section of the "Know Before You Go" web
page/brochure titled "When You Return to the United States."
The U.S. Department of State
(also called the State Department) is a good source of information for anyone planning
to travel abroad. Students participating in an international education experience
at Randolph-Macon are encouraged to read the information available through the links
EMBASSIES: U.S. Embassies
and Consulates worldwide.
EMERGENCIES—Bureau of Consular Affairs:
OVERSEAS CITIZENS SERVICES (OCS): 1-888-407-4747; from overseas call: 317-472-2328.
For after-hours emergencies, Sundays and holidays, call 202-647-4000 and request
the OCS duty officer.
Call OCS to report things such as:
OCS is open Monday-Friday, 8:15 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern time. The OCS toll-free
hotline at 1-888-407-4747 is available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern time,
Monday-Friday, except U.S. federal holidays.
INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL INFORMATION:
Start planning your trip overseas at these State Department web pages:
and with this State Department brochure:
Other travel-related resources:
Tips for Travelers to . . .
STUDENTS are especially encouraged to consult these State Department web sites:
The Transportation Security Administration
is part of the Department of Homeland
The FAA provides general information about airline baggage and the size requirements for carry-on items.
The computer section of the World
Electric Guide has basic information about using computers overseas.
The Department of State maintains a list of doctors and hospitals in some countries, including France,
Germany, Ireland, and Italy.
Fodor's Online Resources Center has a Smart Travel Tips section on Electricity.
The World Electric Guide contains
an informative overview of terms, concepts, and issues related to the use of electrical
devices throughout the world. Scroll down to the bottom of the World Electric Guide
web page for a helpful section on adapters and converters. The same web site
also has an ELECTRIC POWER
AROUND THE WORLD page with information about voltage and illustrations of
plug types used in each country.
Our country information web page has links to Embassy web sites for each country
in which Randolph-Macon offers opportunities for international education.
The U.S. State Department maintains a list of Foreign Embassies in the U.S.
Other lists of embassies and consulates worldwide are available online:
According to the U.S. State Department's Foreign Entry Requirements web page,
Some countries require that your U.S. passport be valid at least six months or longer
beyond the dates of your trip. If your passport expires before the required validity,
you will have to apply for a new one. Please check with the embassy or nearest consulate
of the country that you plan to visit for their requirements.
Therefore, if you have a passport that will expire less than six months after you
expect to complete your period of overseas travel, check now with the embassies
of the countries to which you will travel, to determine if your passport will be
accepted. Each country has its own policies with regard to passport expiration dates.
You should determine if your passport will be accepted in the countries to which
you will travel, well in advance of your departure from the U.S.
Monetos provides helpful information on
finance, society and cultural exchange in the following EU countries: Germany, United
Kingdom, France, Italy, Netherlands, and Spain. Examples of topics:
Whether they are traveling abroad for two weeks or studying overseas for a year,
the health and safety of study abroad students are primary concerns of the college.
Randolph-Macon continually strives to exercise reasonable care and effort with regard
to the health and safety of participants in our semester abroad programs and study/travel
courses. At the same time, there will always be circumstances that study abroad
providers cannot control. Similiarly, no study abroad provider can forsee and address
all possible events and conditions—natural, political, legal, medical, social, or
personal—and their outcomes.
NAFSA: Association of International Education, the largest professional organization
in the field, has produced a statement titled "Promoting Health and Safety in Study
Abroad—Responsible Study Abroad: Good Practices for Health and Safety." We encourage
semester abroad students and study/travel course participants, as well as parents,
guardians, and families, to consider this resource, especially the following sections
that we include here for your convenience:
Things that program sponsors cannot do
In particular, program sponsors generally:
Responsibilities of participants
In study abroad, as in other settings, participants can have a major impact on their
own health and safety through the decisions they make before and during their program
and by their day-to-day choices and behaviors.
Recommendations to parents/guardians/families
In study abroad, as in other settings, parents, guardians, and families can play
an important role in the health and safety of participants by helping them make
decisions and by influencing their behavior overseas.
In addition to the NAFSA guidelines, above, students and parents may wish to consider
general health and safety information as well as specific topics.
General health information related to study abroad is available from:
Specific health and safety topics:
WILL YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE COVER YOU WHILE ABROAD? - All students going abroad
as part of a Randolph-Macon semester abroad program or study/travel course should
have health insurance that will cover them while they are overseas. Coverage provided
by many health insurance policies does not extend outside the United States.
Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad web page, the U.S. Department
of State recommends:
Check with your health insurance provider to determine if you will be covered while
studying abroad. If so, it is a good idea to request a health insurance letter to
that effect. If your health insurance will not cover you while studying abroad,
a separate traveler's health insurance policy can be purchased and a health insurance
letter or other proof of coverage requested from that company.
SHORT-TERM HEALTH INSURANCE POLICIES FOR OVERSEAS STUDY - Students who will
be studying and traveling abroad can purchase short-term health insurance coverage
for their period of overseas study and travel. Our
Health Insurance web page has links to several companies that offer such
policies. The Department of State's Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad web page
also contains a list of companies that offer medical insurance for travelers; scroll
down from the top of the page to see the list. In addition, the Office of International
Education has brochures describing short-term health insurance policies available
from several companies. Contact or visit our office for more information.
ISIC COVERAGE - Basic accident and sickness insurance for travel outside
the United States is provided by the International Student Identity Card (ISIC).
Randolph-Macon requires all semester abroad students and study/travel course participants,
whose courses travel outside the U.S., to obtain an ISIC before their departure
date. However, the amount of insurance coverage provided by this card may be deemed
insufficient by itself. For example, coverage provided with purchase of an ISIC
reimburses certain medical costs incurred overseas but does not pay them up
front. See the ISIC section below for
more information about the card.
While studying abroad, most students take advantage of opportunities afforded by
breaks in their academic programs to travel and explore different parts of their
host country and neighboring areas. One way to cut down on costs while traveling
is by staying in youth hostels. Several web sites provide information about hostelling,
including lists of hostels along with their contact information and addresses. Here
are some hostel web sites you may find helpful.
Immunizations may or may not be required for overseas travel, depending on one's
intended destination(s). The main source of information about required or recommended
immunizations is the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC). Those traveling overseas are encouraged to
consult the CDC's web pages for Destinations and Vaccinations. More information about the CDC and the
resources it provides for travelers is listed above.
Immunizations and information about them are available locally from the Hanover
Health Department and the VCU Medical Center Travel Clinic.
Hanover Health Department (HHD)-
VCU Medical Center Travel Clinic
See the information about health insurance and travel insurance elsewhere on this web page.
Internet access is available worldwide. However, Internet access is often not as
widespread in other parts of the world as it is in the United States. Also, Internet
access is easier, cheaper, and more readily available in some areas overseas than
in others. Cybercafés or Internet cafés are one way to keep in touch with family
and friends while traveling abroad. To find the location of cybercafés worldwide,
try these search engines:
Online maps are available from many sources. Here are a few good ones:
You can use The Digital Dutch WWW Unit Converter to convert from one unit of measure to another.
Use it to convert lengths, temperatures, volumes, and other
units of measure.
— EXCHANGE RATES —
International currency rates can remain fairly stable or fluctuate widely over time.
Currency exchange rate information is available in the business section of most
major newspapers or on exchange rate web sites, such as:
Keep in mind that when you exchange one form of currency for another, banks and moneychangers
usually charge a fee for their services. Credit cards and ATM cards often
give better exchange rates and sometimes do not charge an additional exchange fee.
Check with your financial institution about its policies, fees, and exchange rates.
— OBTAINING FOREIGN CURRENCY —
— OBTAINING FOREIGN CURRENCY —
You can purchase cash and travelers cheques in foreign currencies at many American
Express Travel Service offices. Available currencies usually including British Pounds
Sterling and Euros. For more information, contact an American Express Travel Service
office. The one nearest to Randolph-Macon College that offers foreign currencies
is at 1412-a Starling Drive Richmond, VA 23229, telephone: 804-740-2030. You can
check online for other offices in the Richmond area. Another option is to visit
their TravelFunds Direct web page.
Some foreign currencies are also available through AAA (American Automobile Association). The AAA office closest
to Randolph-Macon College is at 5001 West Broad Street, Suite 1000 Richmond, VA
23230-3003, telephone: 804-285-8912. For a list of other AAA offices in Virginia
and neighboring states, visit the
AAA Mid-Atlantic web site.
A variety of foreign currencies can be obtained at Foreign Currency Exchange,
located at the Food Court inside Potomac Mills mall. Telephone 703-492-2767.
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 10:00 a.m. - 9:30 p.m.; Sunday 11:00 a.m. - 7:00
Exchange rates: Fluctuate daily with international markets.
The company regularly stocks Euros and British Pounds Sterling. Call about the availability
of other currencies, daily exchange rates, and to verify current exchange fees.
— FOREIGN CURRENCY ONLINE —
You can order foreign currency, travelers cheques, and cash passports online from
companies such as Travelex.
Many newspapers are available online. Below are links to some that originate in
countries where Randolph-Macon provides opportunities for international education.
The International Herald Tribune
covers news from an international perspective
The Japan Times
The Yomiuri Shimbun (English)
The Yomiuri Shimbun
China Daily (English)
Hong Kong Standard
South China Morning Post
The Korea Herald
The Korea Times
The Daily Telegraph
The Financial Times
The Sunday Times
The News (English)
The New Zealand Herald
Die Welt (Berlin)
Die Zeit (Hamburg)
The Accra Mail Online
The Ghanaian Chronicle
Daily Mail and Guardian(Johannesburg)
The Star (Johannesburg)
The Irish Times
Kerry's Eye (Tralee)
The Jamaica Observer
All participants in semester abroad
programs or study/travel courses offered by the college must possess a valid
passport (this does not apply to study/travel courses that travel only within the
U.S.). Detailed information about applying for U.S. passports is on our
passports web page.
Visa information is available below.
Several companies offer passport and/or visa expediting services. These non-government
businesses charge various fees for their services and in return may simplify the
application process and reduce the amount of time it takes to obtain a passport
Randolph-Macon's Office of International Education does not encourage students to
use a passport or visa service nor do we recommend or endorse any particular company
offering such services. We also make no claims regarding the quality or speed of
service provided by these companies. We provide this list of passport and visa services
as a convenience to students and their families and for their consideration.
IMPORTANT: Some companies only provide help with travel visas, not
student visas. If you need help applying for a student visa, make sure the
company offers help obtaining student visas for the country in which you plan to
Passports & Visas
Numerous companies sell international calling cards. Before you purchase one, consider
Companies that offer international calling cards include:
If you purchase an international calling card, make sure to obtain written instructions
for using the card in the country to which you will travel and that you take them
The United States Postal Service has an
International Rate Calculator web site.
There are official web sites for Post Offices in the following countries:
There are also web sites with
links to post offices worldwide and information about international mailing address formats.
To make an international telephone call from the United States you must dial:
"011" - "country code" - "city code" - "telephone number"
You do not need to dial 011 if the country code is 808 or 809.
To call the United States from overseas, you usually need to dial:
"001" - "area code" - "telephone number"
INTERNATIONAL TELEPHONE CODES are available online:
World Time Server
is an easy to use web site that allows you to find the correct time anywhere in
the world. You can get a list of countries or major cities and click on the location
in which you are interested. World Time Server then displays the current local time
for that location.
WORLDTIME provides on online, interactive world atlas. It has local time
information as well as sunrise and sunset times for several hundred cities throughout
the world. WORLDTIME also has a database of public holidays. General information
about using WORLDTIME is available from its home page. On WORLDTIME's main page, you can choose from
a list of countries or click on the area of the globe for which you want information.
The Worldtimezone web
site uses a world map to show the current time in each time zone. It also has links
where you can:
Faculty members who teach study/travel courses generally make travel arrangements
for the class. Students who participate in
semester abroad programs usually make their own travel arrangements.
Many semester abroad students make their travel arrangements through STA Travel.
You can visit STA's website
or go to one of their offices. The office closest to Randolph-Macon is in the Georgetown
section of Washington, D.C.
3301 'M' Street, NW
Washington DC 20007
Travel information is available online from many sources, including:
Your travel plans can change for many reasons. For instance, you may have to make
last minute changes or cancellations because of an illness or family emergency.
Sometimes travel plans change due to circumstances beyond your control, such as
operator default, flight cancellation, or political unrest. To protect against such
situations, we encourage students to consider purchasing travel insurance. Travel
insurance can guarantee against such things as:
The type and amount of coverage varies by policy and provider. For instance, some
companies may cover medical evacuation if it is deemed to be medically necessary
while others may cover such costs if you are dissatisfied with the medical care
you receive as a result of a covered injury or illness. Read carefully the
information a company provides about the coverage offered by its travel insurance
policies; note any restrictions and limitations. The kind of travel insurance, if
any, that is best for you will depend on factors such as your travel needs, your
family's financial situation, the amount of travel-related risk with which you are
comfortable, and the extent to which you want coverage. As with any contractual
agreement, carefully read all information, including the fine print!
Some companies that offer travel insurance are:
you to compare prices and policies of travel insurance companies. As with all insurance,
be certain to examine the fine print for each policy.
See the information about hostels, above on this page.
If you are participating in:
a semester program in:
you must also get a visa in order to enter those countries.
Visas are issued by a country's Embassy in Washington, D.C. or one of the
country's Consulates elsewhere in the United States. Application procedures vary
from country to country and often change from year to year.
IMPORTANT: Visas are added to a person's passport, so you must obtain your
passport first, then submit it to the foreign Embassy or Consulate, along with other
materials and an application fee, when you apply for your visa.
Plan ahead! Some Consulates issue visas in one day, other Consulates can
take months to do so.
Contact the Office of International Education before you apply for a student visa.
You also should contact the country's Embassy or Consulate or visit their web site.
The U.S. State Department maintains a web site with basic information about Foreign Entry Requirements. However, you should always contact
a country's Embassy or one of its Consulates for up-to-date information about the
requirements for entry into the country. Our country information web page has links
to the web sites of foreign embassies for countries in which Randolph-Macon offers
international education opportunities.
Study abroad students may apply to vote by absentee ballot in federal, state, and
local elections. For details, contact the board of elections for the state or territory
in which you have legal residence:
You can check the weather reports for cities and countries around the world on The Weather Channel's web
site (click "World" at the top of the home page). You can also check the weather
report for the countries listed below. Just click a link.
The World Health Organization
is an agency of the United Nations that specializes in health issues. Some of the
information provided by the WHO pertinent to study abroad students: