Identify the Project
- Brainstorm Ideas - Capture an idea and go for it!
- Read about cultural activities and issues that you want to know more about.
- Read about activities in your area of interest and find needs for them in other cultures.
- Listen to the experiences of others.
- Take leads from others who have engaged in cross-cultural endeavors.
- Find the Contacts
- Explore contacts already established by the School of Nursing.
- Follow leads provided by those who have already participated in the activity or been in the culture.
- Initiate contact with those who have written material in which you are interested (e-mail, postal mail, phone).
- Students already prepared as RNs may want to explore opportunities with Health Volunteers Overseas. All students may want to explore opportunities through Himalayan Health Exchange.
Communication & Logistics
- Start the process early, especially with countries where language is an issue.
- Check the US State Department Travel Warning website for the country of your proposed experience.
- Obtain your passport (can take 3 weeks or more).
- Check if other foreign entry requirements exist for the country of your proposed experience. Obtain a visa if required (can take 3 weeks or more).
- Make sure you have taken precautions for a safe journey.
- Book your ticket early. Plan your in-country travel as well.
- Get immunizations. Consult with the Travel Clinic at the UW Hall Health Center for a list of recommended immunizations for the country in which you are planning your experience.
- Be sure you have paid for health insurance during your experience.
- If applicable, send outlines ahead for translation.
Budgeting the Trip
Consider the cost of:
- Gifts for the hosts
- Books, copying, and learning materials
Additional Details to Remember
- Establish your primary contact and work via the bureaucratically correct channels.
- Clearly communicate your abilities and define what involvement your site/primary contact would like you to have.
- Set boundaries and contract the intent for your visit.
- Obtain an official invitation, if needed.
- Be sure that official School of Nursing affiliation agreements are signed and in order.
Prepare for your Cultural Awareness Experience
- Interview those who have experienced the culture.
- Ask questions about dress, greetings, customs.
- Remember that this is an EXCHANGE, so be prepared to learn from the people you meet and/or treat.
- Use a phrase book to attempt to be responsible for getting your own needs met.
- Consider familiarizing yourself with the look and sound of health care information in a different language, particularly the language spoken in your destination.
- Minimize issues with sanitation by being prepared.
- Most of all, balance ACTIVITY and REFLECTION, and have FUN with both!