At IWU, study abroad is not about travel to an exotic locale. It means becoming an active participant in the life and culture of a foreign country in order to learn as much as possible about it. By applying to your program of choice, you have taken a significant step towards expanding your mind, engaging other cultures, and becoming a more informed participant in our global society.
In a very real way, you go abroad as an ambassador for the University as well. Your attitude, interactions and presence abroad will speak volumes about you and about us. You are privileged to be there as a full-time learner, both academically and in every act of your daily life. Resist reinforcing stereotypes of Americans when you interact with others. Resolve instead to develop understanding and respect for the culture you are visiting.
To help prepare you both in practical terms and in terms of the conduct you will be expected to exhibit in your host culture, the International Office runs a two-hour Pre-Departure Orientation session each semester. All IWU students studying abroad are required to attend the Pre-Departure Orientation Meeting before leaving campus to study abroad. Students who, for valid academic or personal reasons, cannot attend the scheduled meeting must make arrangements to meet with the director of the International Office for a one-on-one orientation.
The University reserves the right to revoke permission to study abroad from any student who does not participate in mandatory orientation events.
For students participating in the IWU London or IWU Madrid programs, there will be additional on-campus orientations organized by the programs’ directors. These, too, are mandatory.
You are expected to abide by the conditions set forth in the Letter of Understanding that you sign before leaving campus to study abroad. You should be prepared to obey host country laws, abide by the policies of your host institution, and respect the norms of the host culture with regard to behavior and appropriate attire. You must attend and participate in classes, complete assignments, respect the property of the host institution, and provide the program director with contact information and/or an itinerary before leaving for individual travel.
College policies regarding student conduct as outlined in the IWU Catalog and Student Handbook, including academic infractions such as plagiarism, apply to students studying abroad just as if you were on campus. Students are expected to respect the rights of other students (whether other study abroad students or host national students), as well as those of homestay families, faculty, and staff.
Most cultures have well-established customs with regard to acceptable social drinking. Students abroad need to demonstrate mature behavior and respect for local customs. The misuse of alcohol will not be tolerated and can result in dismissal from the program. The use, purchase, or sale of illegal drugs is prohibited.
Legal penalties with regard to drugs and alcohol may be more severe in the host country than in the United States, and may entail fines and/or jail time. A student charged with breaking local laws will be subject to the rulings of local courts. U.S. laws and constitutional guarantees do not apply. The ability of program staff or U.S. Embassy personnel to assist is very limited, and in most countries release on bail while awaiting trial is not an option.