KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Students should have met with the Financial Aid Office, before they applied for the EL, so they are confident they can cover the costs of the Seminar.
If you have questions regarding your Financial Aid, please meet with either Natasha N.B. Eckart, Senior Associate Director of Financial Aid (email@example.com) or Karole R. Jastromb, Assistant Director of Financial Aid (firstname.lastname@example.org) to sort out the financial details. It helps to inform the person in question which EL you are interested in so they can guide you accordingly. For information regarding charges to your account, or payments made, or for details regarding how to make payments, please reach out to the Office for Financial Services (please ask for Lana Mesley <lmesley> or Suzanne Miller <smiller> to help you).
If you do not have a passport, please apply for one immediately. It will take time to get it in hand, and you will need it when you return to college in spring 2020, to confirm airline and hotel reservations and to apply for a travel visa (a document to allow you to enter the countries we will visit).
If you already have a passport, check to make sure it will be valid for at least 6 months after 5 June 2020, and that the passport has at least 6 blank pages. Otherwise, please apply to renew your passport.
If you are getting passport photos taken (you can do so at the Meadville Walgreens or CVS on North Street), please get 10 extra copies because we will need these for various travel visas and excursion permits during our travel.
Balance payment for the EL is due by 4pm on 31 March 2020. Please contact the Financial Services and Financial Aid offices with questions regarding the processing of aid/scholarships (Financial Aid Office) and making the payment (Financial Services). Please so not wait until the last minute to do this. Processing can take between 5-7 working days.
WHAT ELSE SHOULD I BE AWARE OF?
Applicants must commit to attending the mandatory academic sessions that will be held during the Spring 2020 semester. They are also expected to successfully complete all course requirements and assignments as they would for any other Allegheny College academic course. The schedule for the Spring 2020 academic pre-departure courses can be found here.
Please make sure you have also selected and read one of the books from the assigned reading list. Each student will be presenting on their reading at one of the pre-departure academic sessions. All titles are on course reserves (EXL 594: Wars & Waterways) at Pelletier Library. Please ask for Aimee Reash at the circulation desk and she can help you.
The "Wars and Waterways" EL Seminar requires a decent amount of walking on the excursions, sometimes in slippery and uneven terrain, as in caves. You may also have to climb many flights of uneven steps (without railings) when we visit certain temples. The thrill of taking sampan boats entails being able to get in and out of low boats, and being able to physically crouch. Swimming is optional but we will be spending one afternoon at a waterfall. Therefore, please consult with your physician if you have asthma or pulmonary disorders, or have mobility issues. Carrying collapsible hiking poles and having good supporting hiking shoes can help, as does having a good rescue inhaler.
The weather will be hot and humid (ranging from 90-105 degrees Fahrenheit). Since this may affect those with asthma or other health conditions, please discuss this with your physician in advance.
Some of the historical excursions may have disturbing materials of war injuries and atrocities on display -- the Hoa Lo prison in Hanoi where former Senator John McCain and other POWs were detained, and the Killing Fields Museum in Cambodia, for example. Participants should therefore prepare themselves for these visits since these sites are an integral part of our course exploration.
The fast-paced travel and the extraordinary but chaotic foreignness of the regions we will visit can be overwhelming for those who suffer from anxiety/panic attacks. Please be realistic about what you can handle and do not bite off more than you can chew. In other words, this is not a trip where you want to test your ability to handle stress if this is already a challenge when you are on home ground. We cannot control having to negotiate large crowds, the exciting but often over-stimulating flow of traffic, the hot and humid weather that can drain you of your usual reserves of strength and tolerance, strange smells and dirt, or the discomfiting experience of seeing poverty up close.
We are making every effort to select eating places that can accommodate vegetarians, but we cannot guarantee vegan or gluten-free diets, or accommodate any special dietary needs since we cannot control menus abroad. We also hope to sample street food and dishes we have never tried before, so having an open mind and an adventurous palate will be very helpful. If you have severe food allergies or strict dietary restrictions, this EL is not for you.
We will be staying at comfortable hotels with air-conditioning and western style facilities. Students will be sharing a room with another same-sex student. Participants can select their roommates during the Spring 2020 semester when we will get to know each other during the pre-departure academic sessions.
You will need a passport with 5-6 blank (unstamped) pages, that is valid for six months after 05 June 2020. You will also have to pay separately for travel visas (entry permits) for each country we visit (approx. $150 in total), and recommended inoculations (Typhoid oral; Hepatitis A; Cholera) and travel medications (Malarone) recommended by the Center for Disease Control. You will need to carry proof of inoculations when we travel. More on this and EL expenses at the EL information sessions.
We will have an accompanying travel executive who can help us on the ground, and travel insurance that lets us airlift EL participants back to the U.S. if there is any sort of emergency. So, we are taking every precaution to make this a safe trip. Accordingly, please think carefully through the points mentioned above, so that if you decide to join this EL seminar, you have done so responsibly, and can therefore enjoy the travel with minimum discomfort.