Ready to Go to Australia
Know Before You Go
There are many things you will need to think about before you depart for Australia. This section covers some of the basics. Please feel free to contact your program manager at any time as you prepare for your experience abroad!
In This Section:
You will need a passport to travel to Australia. Please visit the U.S. State Department travel pages for the most up-to-date information regarding passport application and fees.
Passports are valid for ten years unless you applied for one before age 18 in which case it is valid for only five years. If you already have a passport, it must be valid for at least 6 months after your planned return to the U.S. Immigration officials may deny your entry to Australia, or airline staff may refuse to let you board, if your passport will expire before this time. It is not possible to renew an expired passport while overseas; therefore, your passport must be valid for the duration of your stay.
Allow plenty of time to apply for your passport, particularly in the busy summer months. Processing can take as long as six to eight weeks. We recommend you apply as early as possible so that you're not caught at the last minute. More information is available here.
Visa and Certification of Student Visas
In order to study in Australia, you are required to have a valid Australian visa. For more information on the visa required for your program, please review this page.
Health and Safety
Immunizations are not required for travel to Australia or to return to the US. The US Department of State recommends, however, that you check your health records to make sure your measles, mumps, rubella, polio, diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis immunizations are up to date. We strongly recommend meningitis inoculations, although they are not mandatory. For further information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.
Personal Health Insurance
Arcadia University enrolls all participants in a health and accident insurance plan with HTH Worldwide. The plan covers the costs of treatment for most sicknesses and injuries up to $500,000 with no deductible. Details of this coverage are outlined in the health and accident insurance section of our website. Specific questions should be addressed to the insurance carrier. Please note that Arcadia University does not provide insurance for your possessions. We encourage you to purchase coverage for them or to leave irreplaceable valuables at home.
Special Medical Needs
If you have any medical or psychological condition that may require attention overseas from a physician or psychiatrist, please tell us about it. Because some conditions may be exacerbated or reactivated by the experience of living in a new country, you may want to report earlier conditions for which you have been treated successfully. If you have any doubt about these matters, check with your physician and the disability services staff at your home university.
Be sure to have your physician prepare an adequate summary of the details of your condition so you can be properly treated by a physician overseas. List all medications you regularly use on the Arcadia University Special Needs Form, and be sure to make arrangements for adequate supplies while you are abroad. Brand names and dosages differ, and you may have difficulty tracking down the specific medication you want. Be sure all prescriptions you take with you are labeled with your name, the name of your physician and the generic name of the medication.
Please read and complete the Arcadia University Special Needs Form indicating any information regarding special needs that you may have. Additional documentation may be needed in order to honor such needs. The earlier we are made aware of specific needs, the better we are able to address them. Universities will make every effort to accommodate your needs; however they do require information and documentation as early as possible in order to make necessary preparations. Please be assured that the information you provide will be considered confidential and will only be shared with those who need to be informed.
Physical and Learning Disabilities and Other Special Needs
At Arcadia University we encourage students with disabilities to consider study abroad and we are committed to working with each student to find a program that suits his or her individual needs. Please keep us informed of any special needs, including dietary restrictions/preferences, physical concerns or learning disabilities, allergies and strict religious observances. Providing this information will not jeopardize your place in the program. It is much easier for us to help you if we know about your special needs ahead of time. Please visit the health and safety section of our website for further information and resources.
Health and Safety in Flight
For safety and comfort, wear loose-fitting, natural-fiber clothing during flight. Do not wear snug-fitting or heeled footwear! It is helpful to do seat exercises or to walk in the aisles in order to maintain good circulation.
It is always advisable to sleep during long flights (a flight attendant will provide you with a pillow and blanket). You should avoid alcoholic beverages in flight because they cause dehydration. The recycled air in a plane also has a drying effect, so you should drink non-alcoholic beverages regularly. If you require a special diet, notify the airline at least 24 hours before departure. If you suffer from the effects of jet lag, inquire about methods to combat this problem.
Safety & Security
When you arrive overseas, the staff will provide you with a complete orientation about the local culture in Australia and will thoroughly review country- and program-related safety and security guidelines. In the event of an emergency, students can reach our staff at any time—even after office hours and on weekends.
Student safety and security is a priority of Arcadia University College of Global Studies. Health, safety and security initiatives receive ongoing and careful attention by our director, our North American-based health and safety officer, and our experienced and well-trained overseas staff. Our director is actively involved in a national health and safety task force for education abroad. This task force works with a group of distinguished international educators to draft and disseminate statements of good practice intended to protect the well-being of the thousands of students who study abroad each year. Moreover, our overseas staff maintains ongoing communication with U.S. embassies and consulates and with local officials for the latest security information.
- Don't stand out as a group or individual. Try to blend with your surroundings.
- Do not participate in political activities, angry groups, or demonstrations.
- Do not give out information carelessly about students or events. Do not share your address with strangers.
- Always be in contact with your site director and contact our in-country or Glenside office for help anytime. Keep emergency numbers handy.
- Know basic help phrases in the native language.
- Be careful of persons wanting to make your acquaintance very quickly, as they may have an ulterior motive.
- Meet people in public places during the day, preferably with a friend or two of yours.
- Avoid travel to any sensitive political areas.
- Remain alert and never leave your bags unattended.
Special Considerations for Women
A woman traveling on her own may encounter more difficulties than a man by himself. Some of the best ways to avoid hassle are to fit in and try to understand the roles of the sexes in the culture in which you are traveling. Flexibility means observing how the host country's women dress and behave, and following their example. What may be appropriate or friendly behavior in the US may bring you unwanted, even dangerous, attention in another culture.
Try not to take offense at whistles and other gestures of appreciation, regardless of whether they are compliments, invitations, or insults. Realize that, in many countries, these gestures are as much as part of the culture as is the food, history and language.
But if a situation is dangerous – if you are made to feel uncomfortable – then act as if it is. Be extra careful when giving your trust. This applies generally, but is especially important when traveling alone. Avoid being out alone at night in unfamiliar territory — on the street, in parks, on trams, on trains. If, for example, at night you suddenly find yourself alone in a train car, move to another one where other people are sitting.
AIDS, Safe Sex and Relationships
If you are sexually active, take care of yourself and practice safe sex. Be aware that any type of relationship, whether heterosexual, bisexual or homosexual, entails the risk of a sexually-transmitted disease. Entering into a relationship overseas should, therefore, be approached with the same precautions you would use at home. The charm of a once-in-a-lifetime romance in another country may be tempting, but consider any relationship carefully and remember that you are only in your host country for a short time. There are different cultural values regarding dating and relationships.
When traveling abroad, be aware that some countries may require HIV antibody tests. Travelers should also know that some countries may not have the resources to screen blood adequately or provide sterile needles or medical facilities. We recommend that you take normal, everyday precautions to avoid putting yourself at risk. Do not use intravenous drugs. Practice safe sex. Think carefully about administration of CPR if you are trained to do so. Do not share personal care items, such as razors, with others.
Taking Care of Things at Home Before You Leave
Home Campus Arrangements
If registration for next year's courses on your home campus will take place while you are abroad, ensure that the appropriate arrangements are made with your registrar or study abroad advisor so that you will receive your registration materials in a timely fashion.
Some students enrolled on semester programs decide when they are overseas to stay for the full year. This is possible. While home college approval for continued study can be obtained when you are abroad, it will be much easier to make the necessary arrangements and receive preliminary approval before you leave the US.
If you have been accepted to a semester program but want to leave yourself the possibility of staying for the full year, consult your study abroad advisor about what you must do now to facilitate continuing your stay for a full year should you decide to do this.
Voting by Absentee Ballot
You won't want to miss the opportunity to vote if you are overseas on election day. Arcadia University’s Absentee Voting Information webpage is a step-by-step guide to voting by absentee ballot. Remember to start the process early to ensure that you have enough time to submit your ballot by the deadline.
LGBT Life in Australia
The gay/lesbian scene in Australia is as substantial as it is in most cities in the US, given comparative sizes. Gays and lesbians are taken seriously by universities and there are resources available through university student unions. There are prejudices to be found among some groups in Australia, as anywhere, but certainly on the campuses at which Arcadia University programs run, there is support.
For more information, please see: Association of International Educators Rainbow Special Interest Group, the website for NAFSA: Association of International Educators Rainbow Special Interest Group. The site includes important considerations for LGBT students as well as a bibliography of books and websites.
Host-country mobile — to help you integrate with locals and provide a deeper cultural inclusion, Arcadia often recommends students purchase a mobile phone after arriving in-country. During Arcadia orientation our staff will speak to the benefits of have a host-country mobile and explain how they can be purchased.
It is important to keep in mind that while these phones should help you connect with others in-country, they may not be the most cost efficient option for long conversations back to the United States.
International cell phone — many U.S. cellular phone companies provide international phoning options, so an existing cell phone can work anywhere in the world. This allows you to keep your same number and contact your friends and family just as if you were home. If you do end up bringing your own cell phone with you, please ensure that your SIM card is unlocked before arriving in Australia.
One thing to remember when deciding whether to bring an international cell phone is any calls to your number from new friends in-country will be considered international. This option can often be expensive, so please contact your provider for more information.
Skype — communicating via Skype is an inexpensive way to keep in touch with others. Students and their family can sign-up online prior to departing and plan ahead about when to connect.
It is important to remember that internet access, reliability, and strength may be vastly different to what you are familiar with at home. Often times, students describe this difference as one of the most significant of their time abroad. Be sure to review your program’s housing information to learn if internet is provided or available.
International calling card — another way to call home, International calling cards can be purchased either before departing or in-country. Calling cards allow for a specific allotment of call credit to be available for your conversations.
Telephones may not always be provided in your accommodations, so it is important to check your program's housing information.
Australia has three time zones, though not all states and territories observe daylight savings time from late October through late March. Therefore, the difference in time (in hours) from the United States Eastern Time Zone and the Australian states and territories listed below is as follows:
|New South Wales, Victoria, ACT & Tasmania
*States and territories that have not adopted daylight savings time
An excellent resource for determining the time in different areas of the world is www.timeanddate.com.
Arcadia strongly recommends that you wait to make travel plans during the semester until you have arrived in-country and know your class schedule and assessment dates. Classes and exams will not be rescheduled around your vacation plans.