Orientation and Re-entry

Pre-departure Resourses


St. Olaf College offers an orientation program designed for students registered for off-campus study. Heightened sensitivity, understanding and appreciation of other cultures are covered through lectures, films and discussions with international students and students returning from off-campus study. Issues of health and safety are emphasized.

Four orientation sessions are held during the year. Orientation for Semester I and year-long programs will be a one-day retreat on a Saturday in late April. Orientation for Semester II programs will be a one-day retreat on a Saturday in late September. Orientation for Semester I and II domestic off-campus programs will be held on an evening in May.  Orientation meetings for Interim programs (both domestic and international) will be held in mid-November.

The orientation includes sessions regarding topics of general interest and relevance to all programs. Small program groups study culture and specific materials relevant to their own program areas.

Participation in the orientation programs is a requirement for students registered for off-campus programs.

Written information for the programs, in the form of orientation handbooks is provided by International and Off-Campus Studies. Former participants contribute useful information for the orientation handbooks.


A valid U.S. passport is required for participation in all international programs. Application for a U.S. passport is filed in person at the nearest county courthouse. A representative of the conty recorder of Rice County is available on the St. Olaf campus for one day in April and one day in October to receive applications for passports.

Note: The International and Off-Campus Studies Office needs a copy of the passport of all participants in order to register them, for security purposes, with the in-country embassy.


For programs that require visas, participants are advised by the Office of International and Off-Campus Studies regarding visa application and picture requirements.


Participants in programs in Europe require no inoculations, unless recommended by the college health service. Participants in programs in Asia, Africa and Central and South America may be required to have certain inoculations. Current information is provided after acceptance into the program.

Physical Examinations

Anyone participating in an off-campus program for one semester or longer is required to have a physical examination. This is for the protection of the student. The examination should take place no more than six months prior to the departure but also soon enough in advance that any correctable health problems might be caught in time and dealt with before departure. Deadlines for submission of physical examination forms are as follows: Semester 1 and full-year programs: August 1; Semester II Programs: November 1