Engaging in off-campus global learning can be a crucial and transformative part of a student’s development while at RISD. For those students wishing to engage in such an experience, early planning, preparation, and research regarding the possibilities of off-campus global learning is essential.
Research, Advising and Preparation for the Off-Campus Program
RISD Global offers all students individual and group advising sessions, which provide an overview of the range of different learning programs available in a multitude of diverse locations. There are short term programs over wintersession or during the summer, which are available to all students, from freshmen through to graduate students. Also included are semester length programs for RISD and Brown undergraduate students in their junior or senior year.
The opportunities are considerable. Therefore, in order to assist in the decision to participate in an off-campus global learning experience and to determine whether or not a program or course is appropriate, students are encouraged to discuss these matters with their department head, academic advisors, faculty, and parents or guardians, in addition to RISD Global.
Options and guidance for selections along with the application process can be scheduled through RISD Global at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Communication and Learning a Language
A student is not required to be fluent in the language of the hosting country to participate in any of RISD's off-campus global learning programs. However, RISD Global may encourage students to begin to learn and practice a language in the months leading up to departure. Even a basic understanding of a language can significantly enhance the potential for a more rewarding cross-cultural experience.
RISD Global will advise students on how to best utilize the online tools and software available through the Fleet Library at RISD, such as:
- Mango Languages: An interactive language learning resource that includes over 60 languages with various kinds of tutorials.
- Pronunciator: This program includes 80 languages with various interactive lessons on a wide array of subjects.
Pre-departure meetings and orientations are organized for all students enrolled on off-campus global learning programs with the aim of maximizing the student’s learning experience and promoting safety and well-being. RISD Global works in conjunction with faculty members and key offices such as RISD Public Safety, RISD Title IX, RISD Office of International Student Services (OISS), RISD Counseling and Psychological Services, RISD Health services, and RISD Careers to ensure that the most relevant information and guidance is provided applicable to the off-campus travel location.
Permits and Visas
Many countries will require the student to have a visa. It is therefore the responsibility of the student to ascertain whether or not a visa is required and to secure the appropriate visa prior to travel. Depending upon the requirements of the country, the application procedure can take up to several months to administer and students must allow ample time to complete the process. If a student does not have the correct visa required by a country, they may be refused entry.
Depending upon the consulate requirements, students might be required to submit any or all of the following materials: a letter of acceptance from the program, proof of medical insurance, a letter of confirmation for full-time enrollment at RISD, proof of sufficient funds for the duration of the stay, and passport size photographs.
RISD Global, in collaboration with RISD Office of International Student Services (OISS) and the Registrar’s Office, will provide all students with the required documentation. In the case of semester length programs, due to the extended duration of the stay, the hosting country may also request a resident permit. In this case RISD Global will advise and support the student through the application process.
All RISD international students will be also required to visit RISD Office of International Student Services (OISS) prior to their travel.
Health and Immunizations
If a student is receiving treatment and/or therapy from a healthcare practitioner, it is crucial that specific arrangements are made to either maintain the therapy virtually or arrange to see an in-country practitioner (as available). Should a student require assistance while away, they may visit the RISD Health Center.
Students are encouraged not to discontinue any health medications while traveling off-campus, to collect the necessary prescriptions before departure, and keep them in the original containers.
Students should contact a healthcare professional at least 2 months prior to traveling for an off-campus global learning program to ensure they are up to date with vaccinations. Additional immunizations may also be required depending upon the country of destination.
Further information regarding the hosting country’s health environment, including precautionary measures for the off-site location, can be found from the following resources:
GeoBlue Worldwide Travel Health Insurance
All RISD students and faculty traveling to off-campus global learning programs are obligated to have worldwide travel insurance. Whether for Wintersession travel courses, RISD in Rome/EHP, RISD in Seoul, Global Exchange, Global Summer Studies, international field trips, or international independent studies, all students will be enrolled with GeoBlue Worldwide Travel Health Insurance.
The GeoBlue Worldwide Travel Health Insurance plan is inclusive of the majority of medical needs a student may face while traveling outside of the United States. GeoBlue offers trusted health insurance coverage and online services that help the students stay safe and healthy throughout their journey, including extensive medical coverage as well as coverage for political and natural disaster evacuation, as declared by the US Department of State. In such cases, GeoBlue Worldwide Travel Health Insurance will secure the necessary visas, book flights and make other logistical arrangements in order to return the student home.
Information on the coverage can be found at geobluestudents.com
Health and Emotional Well Being
If a student is receiving treatment and/or therapy from a mental health care practitioner, it is suggested that arrangements are made to continue to see the therapist virtually or arrange to see an in-country therapist (as available). Students are advised not to discontinue any mental health medications while traveling off-campus. Should a student require assistance while away, they may visit the RISD Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).
RISD welcomes students of all abilities to the off-campus programs. RISD Global works with campus offices and other resources to ensure that the students can achieve their educational goals and participate in the array of global opportunities. RISD Global works with the office of Disability Support Services (DSS) to assist students with cognitive (learning), psychological and physical disabilities. Students are advised to reach out to DSS as soon as they are considering participating in an off-campus global learning program so that specific needs or requirements can be accommodated in a timely manner. Please refer to RISD’s prescribed accommodation timeline and contact Disability Support Services with any questions.
Things To Do Before You Leave: Checklist
The following list provides a few suggestions to cover prior to departure. For a more extensive list please follow The US Department of State Students Abroad website.
Sign up for the U.S. Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.
Back-up travel documents, i.e passport, visa, itineraries, and contact information, for your place of residence and leave a copy with a trusted friend or relative.
Research your host country; the culture and attitudes, laws regarding personal relationships, sexuality, race and religion e.t.c.
Organize your finances and be sure to have access to your funds via debit/credit card. Have a backup plan for any emergency.
Medical and dental check-ups. Have a duplicate glasses prescription.
Collect necessary prescriptions and keep in original containers.
Check your U.S. phone provider for international roaming rates. Make sure your U.S. cell phone will work abroad and/or consider an alternative local phone provider.
Be sure you met your visa requirements (if applicable).
You may wish to ensure you have an appropriate adapter for the specific country you are traveling to.
Before you leave (or pack) be sure to review information about the country you are traveling to. What is the climate? Are there cultural dress norms you should be aware of? For specific information about your host country: