What to Know Before You GO
Dear prospective "Eurotrailers:" as I prepare to travel with you for three weeks in May-June, here are my thoughts. I know that some of you
may have never
traveled much. Some of you have never traveled outside of the
US. Some of you may have flown within the US but never on a trans-Atlantic flight. By enrolling and participating in "European Literary Trails" Study Abroad Program, you are about to change all that. When you are back, you will be able to
delete those "nevers" from your life story and to include foreign travel experience
as one of your educational achievements - a highlight of your college résumé.
Practical information, such
as what to pack, how to prepare, etc., will be covered during
mandatory pre-departure sessions in the Spring. Those
sessions are conducted by the International Education office and by me. In addition to such practical resources as my "Travel Chest" and other pages of this website, there are various travel guide books with lots of information about countries we'll visit. You will be well advised to browse through some of these
books over coffee in local bookstores before you choose the one you like best. Start
your pre-departure research as soon as you begin browsing through guide
books--and record everything in your Study Abroad journal (see below).
importantly, however, I'd like you to consider carefully the following set of
RULES, some of which I adopt from RU Student Booklet as well as from materials
developed by other directors of Study Abroad Programs. Since "European
Literary Trails" Program goes to two different countries, it is of
paramount importance that you are familiar with the text below because, when you
are accepted to the Program, you will sign the
printable version of this document.
Why? Well, read on.
CONDUCT BY A FOREIGN GUEST: Because you will be a
visitor, a foreign guest, in the countries of our destination,
and because you will be representing not only Radford University, but also your
country, you will have to be conscious of your manner of conduct. That includes attention to some of your habitual behaviors: being
polite, open-minded and understanding, etc. You may be shocked to
learn that our countrymen tend to be stereotyped in some European countries as
"loud" or "obnoxious" in the hotels, in the
museums, in the streets and restaurants. Do all
you can not to perpetuate this stereotype.
of the host
country: Wherever you are, you are
under strict obligation to obey the laws of the host country--particularly laws concerning the purchase, possession, use, or distribution of "illicit or controlled substances." Neither Radford University, nor
your country will tolerate "behavior that is illegal, obnoxious, or embarrassing." This applies to big offenses, as well as to such "minor" offenses as removing objects from restaurants or hotels. For instance, consider that taking ashtrays or "shooters" from restaurants as
souvenirs is stealing.
SAFE & PROPER
CONDUCT: Your proper
behavior will include being on guard with strangers (as in “flirting"). If you can't help it,
absolutely do not bring your new acquaintances to your hotel room and do not go to your new acquaintances' rooms/apartments at any time--you are potentially putting yourself in grave danger
and there is nothing that your professor or your fellow-travelers can do to help you
(should you need help).
RESPECT: Since you will be a part of a group for three weeks, remember that moods may change and tempers may fly. What do you normally do to deflect
a "heavy" situation? As you know, the actions of one can affect the moods of many, so it is important to project a
respectful attitude towards each other (not to mention towards our hosts).
Avoid "antisocial behavior" (and read this fully page: "Adventure Behavior").
DISMISSAL FROM THE PROGRAM: The Radford University Honor
Code will be in effect throughout our Program. Violation of
the RU Honor Code as well as unacceptable or illegal
result in immediate and unconditional dismissal, from the Program,
including sending you home early and judicial
action against you later. Illegal
behaviors are listed in a document provided by the International Education office, "RU
Study Abroad Standards of Student Conduct."
SERVICES: As participants in a complex
set of cultural processes, you are asked to clear your actions with the
professor. For instance, do not deal with the hotel management
or travel personnel about
any problems you encounter. Your concerns/complaints must go through
your professor who, as your group leader and your representative on location,
negotiates all services and coordinates all transfers.
CLASS CONDUCT ON LOCATION: Please pay attention pay attention to all instructions given by the professor--that
includes social/cultural matters, as well as course /content matters.
In museums, cathedrals and other cultural sites, do stay close as the
lectures are in progress. Also, please do obey
restrictions on flash photography in museums, churches, castles, and other
ATTENDANCE AT PROGRAM FUNCTIONS: Field trip attendance
(including museum, historical sites, etc.) is
mandatory. There is some built-in flexibility in the Program and some free
time. In Italy, you may wish to book yourself on a hotel-sponsored tour, or
travel to Rome, Venice, etc; please clear your plans in advance with
the professor. Your tour will have to be
reflected in your final project.
BREAKFAST SESSIONS are
mandatory - you need to arrive to the
sessions on time, alert, prepared and ready. You must also be ready to leave the hotel or arrive at the designated
on time. Promptness is particularly important on field-days and
transfer days: the group will not wait for stragglers. We might have to leave
for some day trips relatively early in the morning and we may not
return until late at night. Complaints are not welcome--but a keen sense
of humor and spirit building activities (singing? limericks?) are!
your common sense: Getting enough sleep before travel and before
class/field days would, well, make sense. Chances are you will be tempted
to stay out late--but remember that you will also have to get up early the next
morning! Our "Breakfast Session" lectures will require that you are alert
and mindful of the "field work" project for the day. When we travel
outside of our "hub cities," you might not want to miss the scenery: what are
the chances that you will see it again? And how will you enter them in
your daily log/diary?
Logs/DIARIES: a notebook is a must and you should never be caught without it. Make every effort to record your thoughts and queries, to take notes about places, food, and language--anything that enters the range of your senses. You will be grateful you kept a
journal when it comes
to building your final project web site, so start even before our departure,
as you read about the places you will visit.
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