Pre-Departure Information

Orientation

St. Olaf students studying off-campus are required to attend their IOS Orientation.  The Orientation will be held the semester before their semester of study.  Many sessions are included during the Orientation event, including, but not limited to, sessions on health and safety, Title IX, cultural competency, program specific sessions, and a keynote address.  Students attending semester or year-long programs will also have the opportunity to speak with and ask questions of returned students from their program, when available.  Interim programs may also have additional sessions depending on faculty desire.

Three orientation sessions are held during the year. Orientation for Academic Year and Fall Semester study will be in late April. Orientation for Spring Semester and Spring with Interim study will be in late September. Orientation meetings for Interim programs will be held in mid-November.  Students will be notified by email regarding when their Orientation will be held.

In addition to the in-person sessions, students will receive a number of documents (via email and through their online Learning Content) to assist them in preparing for their time off campus.  These documents include information on health and safety, various resources and links regarding travel and study off-campus, independent travel resources, etc.  Students will also receive a document specific to the location(s) they are studying.

Passports

A valid passport is required for participation in all international programs.  Typically, your passport will need to be valid within 6 months of your return to the United States (with some exceptions by country).

Application for a U.S. passport is filed in person at the nearest county courthouse (passport resources in Northfield).  A representative of the county 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.  Passport application procedures for international students vary by country of citizenship.

Visas

Certain countries require an entry visa. For some programs, International & Off-Campus Studies will facilitate the visa process while at other times, participants may need to acquire a visa on their own. Once accepted, participants will be advised by International & Off-Campus Studies regarding visa application and picture requirements.

If IOS will be processing visas for your program, you must turn over your passport to our office for several weeks in order for the process to be completed.  If you will need your passport in the months immediately preceding your program, please check promptly with IOS to be sure there will be no problem in scheduling the acquisition of the visa(s).  This is especially important for Semester I programs and for programs requiring multiple visas.
An estimated amount has been budgeted into the program fee for visa(s). If visa expenses for an individual student exceed the budgeted amount (for example, if additional visas are needed because of one’s citizenship or if special handling is required because of a student’s personal travel plans), the extra cost will be charged to the student.  IOS will inform the student of the additional cost and add the charges to the Student Account.

International & Off-Campus Studies will do its best to provide up to date information about visa requirements.  However, International & Off-Campus Studies cannot guarantee that its advice is definitive.  Countries can change their visa requirements at any time or they may be interpreted differently by various consulates or airport authorities.  Non-US citizens need to be aware that they may face complications that other students on a program do not encounter.

Immunizations

Participants in programs in Europe generally require no immunizations. Participants in programs in Asia, Africa and Central and South America may be required to have certain immunizations. Current information is provided after acceptance into the program.  Students are responsible for all costs associated with required or recommended immunizations.