Knowing key facts about your destination and being aware of health and safety conditions are critical for all travelers. Your experience will be enhanced by having an understanding of the history, culture, language and landscape of the countries you will be visiting. To deepen your understanding of the “emotional history” of a country, you are encouraged to engage in some or all of the following activities prior to and during your travels:
- Read books and articles about your host country, especially around topics you are especially interested in.
- Watch documentaries produced in or about your host country. The Carleton library and streaming services (Kanopy, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Apple+, etc.) have a wide selection of international content.
- Listen to podcasts produced in and about your host country.
- Talk to trusted friends, faculty members, and other campus resource people about your upcoming experience.
- Attend relevant academic lectures and OCS pre-departure workshops.
- Keep an open mind. Be aware of how your own cultural lens influences the way you see your host culture and refrain from passing judgment on things before you have a good understanding of them. Your primary roles are to observe and to learn.
You should also consider how aspects of your personal identity may affect your experience and plan accordingly.
- The US State Department Travel Advisories provide a country-by-country narrative description and overall risk rating on a scale of 1 to 4:
- Exercise Normal Precaution
- Exercise Increased Caution
- Reconsider Travel
- Do Not Travel
- The U.S. State Department Students Abroad site includes emergency contact numbers by country (911-equivalent) and advice on what to do if you are a victim of a crime or natural disaster, or need to be evacuated.
- The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide comprehensive travel health information by country.
- The Global Travel Warnings Website gives brief summaries by country and links to travel warnings from several countries.
- The CIA World Fact Book contains facts about the history, people, government, economy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for 267 world entities.
- The Australian publisher, Lonely Planet publishes guidebooks and e-books that can be purchased by chapter.
- Let’s Go Travel Guidebooks are written entirely by students and updated every year.
- Onlinenewspapers.com links to international news sources so that you can get up-to-speed on local issues.