LIU Global negotiates the least expensive multi-site ticketing option at a group rate for CRC students. Students are responsible for arranging their own travel to and from the designated starting and ending points. Once the ticket price is negotiated and flights booked, students will be asked to contact the travel agent directly to pay for the tickets individually. Look for future emails giving more information about the itinerary and ticketing as it becomes available.
All students must have passports that will be valid for at least 3 months beyond the end of the program. Applying for and receiving a US passport will take at least 4-8 weeks. If you have not provided the LIU Global Admissions Office with a photocopy of your passport (opened to the information photo page) please mail, fax or attach as an e-mail attachment as soon as possible!
Apply for tourist visas. Do not apply for student visa(s). Visas for Thailand and India should be secured in advance of departure. US citizens can enter Taiwan without a visa. They will be granted a stay of 90 days upon arrival. US citizens can obtain a visa for Turkey at the point of entry to the country. Note that countries vary in when they initiate the beginning date of your visa period. India begins the visa time period upon granting the visa. Thus, if you obtain a 6-month visa for India July 1st it terminates 6 months from that date, which can be a big problem if it expires while you are there. Keep this in mind when applying for your Indian tourist visa. The Thai tourist visa period begins at the date of entry. You are advised to contact the Consular offices closest to you for specific information regarding what steps to take and how much time to allow to ensure that you receive your visas in time. Citizens of countries other than the US should check visa requirements for their nationality for all the countries visited. See the CRC section of the following page for more information here.
PHOTOCOPIES OF DOCUMENTS
Make a photocopy of your passport (front page and the pages with your visas) and keep it with you, as you travel, in a safe place. You should also photocopy your flight itinerary when you receive it and keep it with your passport copies. In India, as per security regulations, you will not be able to enter the airport without a copy of your flight itinerary. Finally, you should make a list of account numbers of all of your credit cards, ATM cards, etc., and the phone numbers to call if the cards are lost or stolen. Keep one copy of this with your other photocopies. One year a student lost her wallet and did not have any information to cancel cards.
You should also leave one copy of all these documents at home with a relative or trusted friend.
HEALTH & MEDICAL ISSUES
Sometimes changes in itinerary may be called for at short notice, in response to well-grounded concerns about safety. The safety of students is the program's top priority and, to that end, the Director, traveling Faculty Advisor and local coordinators seek advice on local conditions from local scholars and officials and from US embassies and consulates. The advice of the US State Department is a guiding factor at all times.
If a travel warning is issued, students will be evacuated from the country in due course once it is safe to do so. We encourage all students to subscribe to the U.S. Department of State Travel Warnings (DOSTRAVEL) electronic mailing list by sending an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org type in the message body "SUBSCRIBE DOSTRAVEL YOURNAME" (omit the quotation marks and leave subject blank). You can also use the online subscription form at: travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ui/. It is good practice to keep a copy of your passport and entry stamp with you when you travel and in a separate bag from your wallet in case your passport is lost in transit.
For their own safety, students are strongly advised not to travel to countries with State Department Travel Advisories or to areas with high health or safety risks even if such travel is for recreational purposes and/or during semester breaks.
LIU Global requires all enrolled students to have certain standard immunizations (listed on the "Health Examination Form" enclosed in the deposited student mailing). For other vaccinations for international travel, go to www.cdc.gov and perform a search under the countries we will be visiting to see what inoculations and other prophylaxes are required and/or suggested. Consult your doctor, local clinic or health department early, as some series of vaccinations may take weeks. Please discuss the potential side effects of particular malaria prophylaxes with your medical professional. Many students travel with the "International Certificate of Vaccination." This booklet will contain a record of all your vaccinations.
It is recommended that you bring required medications for the duration of the program, as it is difficult to find most North American medications overseas under the same product or name brand. Please carry copies of your prescriptions, especially if you are on long-term prescription medication. This helps if you happen to be stopped for a Customs inspection. Bring strong sunscreens and DEET-based insect repellents with you. Additionally, tampons can be difficult to find in Thailand and India so bear that in mind when preparing for your trip.
Drug use threatens not only the health of students, but can easily lead to criminal charges. It also can jeopardize the standing of the entire group, as well as the reputation of our hosts. All four countries in the CRC Program do not take lightly to illegal drug use and severe punishment is enforced by local authorities if discovered. If you feel unable to refrain from using illegal drugs during the semester, then please withdraw from the program. Please also refer to the "Five Agreements" for more on the prohibition of drugs on CRC.
Help Available in the United States
The Citizens Emergency Center in the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs provides emergency services relating to the welfare of Americans arrested or detained abroad, searches for Americans missing overseas, transmission of emergency messages for Americans to their next of kin and transfer of private funds to US posts abroad for delivery to destitute Americans. Assistance at the Citizens Emergency Center is available Monday through Friday from 8:15 am to 10:00 pm at Call 1-888-407-4747 (from overseas: 202-501-4444).
For Overseas American Citizen Services in the United States call 1-888-407-4747. If calling from overseas dial 202-501-4444.
Don't run out and buy a huge backpack for CRC. If you have a good rolling suitcase, that may be as good as or better than a backpack. The vote is split among past CRC students. Some people, who started out with backpacks, eventually sent them home and purchased rolling suitcases because they were easier to pack, unpack and handle at the airport. Others swear by their big backpacks. It seems to be a personal preference, but there is no need to spend a lot of money on new luggage for CRC. In addition, make sure that your luggage is in good shape and is sturdy enough to last throughout the entire year without ripping or breaking. In some locations it is difficult to find replacement luggage that is sturdy (i.e. the zippers usually break).
How much to pack
As for what to pack in your luggage, try this test: can you load up all the things you would like to bring and carry them by yourself around a quarter-mile track? Can you carry them up two flights of stairs? You WILL have to do this—don't make things difficult for yourself, you will be sorry. We will be packing, unpacking, and moving luggage frequently, so the less you have, the easier it will be to travel. You will have opportunities to purchase items as we travel, so you will want to leave extra space in your suitcase. For example, you will be able to buy excellent and inexpensive clothing in each country that we visit. Most students bring one piece of checked luggage, and another small backpack or personal bag which can be a carry-on for flights and bus rides. Bringing more than this is not suggested. You do not need to bring enough shampoo, toothpaste, soap, etc. for the entire trip, because these are easily obtainable in each country we visit.
As a general rule for packing, bring clothes you can layer and feel comfortable in. Backcountry wear is not necessary. Some students feel silly wearing hiking gear, as in many of the countries we visit people wear casual clothing like jeans/ pants and blouses or button-up dress shirts. You may want to bring at least one warm sweater, sweatshirt, or light jacket. You do not need a sleeping bag or sheets for CRC, though some students bring slipcovers or sleep sacs. Bringing a lightweight towel is essential as not every place we stay has towels.
The best advice is to bring versatile clothes that you really like to wear because you will wear them over and over and over again. Comfortable, sturdy shoes are a must (sport sandals are a CRC favorite). Keep in mind that in many of the countries we visit, shoes are taken off before entering an interior space, and you may take them on and off many times a day. So bring shoes that you can slip on and off easily.
When packing, bear in mind that in all the countries you will visit; clothing customarily covers more of the body then does the clothing worn by young Americans. Moreover, to be a university student is considered an honor. Most students dress rather formally by American college student standards. Both men and women should bring one slightly dressy outfit: there will likely be some occasions when you will want to dress up, such as thank you luncheons or an evening at a concert.
Men will want at least one pair of long pants. One regular and one lightweight pair of cargo pants are a good start.
Women will need a long skirt and a scarf to cover the head when visiting mosques and temples. In virtually all places of worship, it is appropriate to dress modestly – shoulders covered and at least knee-length pants or skirt. Tank tops and sleeveless shirts may keep you cool in hot weather, but they are not always appropriate. Make sure to carry something that you can throw over your shoulders when necessary. One benefit of buying local clothes is that they are more often culturally appropriate and designed for the weather and terrain at the place you are visiting.
While men will be comfortable in regular pants and collared shirts in each country we visit, women may need to modify their dress according to the customs of each country we visit. Below are suggestions from previous students.
Clothing suggestions for Taiwan
Taipei is a fashion savvy city in Taiwan. The youth are usually sharply dressed in trendy attire. You will most likely feel out of place wearing hiking gear in the city. You will need to have your shoulders covered and wear either long pants or a long skirt to cover your legs when entering temples. Weather: For the majority of the time it is VERY hot and humid. Towards the end of October when you leave it gets into the rainy season. Having a light rain-resistant or rain jacket is recommended. Unfortunately you can only pack so much, therefore be conscious of bringing clothes that are versatile. Some girls felt out of place as they brought only their basic wardrobes without style, but this is not to worry. Buying clothes in the night markets of Taipei is both easy and usually well-priced.
Clothing suggestions for Thailand
In Thailand, women should be modestly dressed. Most Thai women cover their shoulders. Longer shorts are ok, but short shorts are inappropriate. Long pants/skirts and covered shoulders are required to enter temples. Weather- It is beautiful weather in Thailand that usually stays in the 70s-80s during the day and can drop down to low 60s or so in the evening. When you go to the mountains for a meditation retreat it gets VERY cold in the early morning and evening.
Clothing suggestions for India
India is the most conservative country we will visit in terms of dress. Women should always dress modestly with their shoulders and legs covered at all times. No short skirts, shorts of any length, or tank tops will ever be appropriate. In previous years, female students bought the traditional salwar kameez outfits in the first week of the India program and wore them throughout our stay there. You can buy these outfits premade or have them tailored for about $5-10 USD. Females will feel more comfortable and attract less attention if they wear traditional Indian clothing. Weather- In the south it is hot, usually in the higher 70s-90s during the day. At night it does cool down, but not terribly. When you move to Varanasi it is cooler, but not by much. You may need warm clothing for the last portion of the India section if we go to Sikkim (in the foothills of the Himalayas).
Clothing suggestions for Turkey
Turkey is a fashionable country, especially in the major cities where you will be spending most of your time. Most women wear boots, fitted clothing and makeup. When we go to the countryside though, dress is very conservative. Long skirts and long sleeves are suggested. By the time you reach Turkey you will have probably already purchased over three scarves, but just in case, having a scarf to cover your hair is very important as you need one to enter mosques. Weather- Cold! Sometimes it is snowing at the first stop – Ankara. As you near the end of the program it does warm up in Istanbul but it is still in the 60s. You can easily purchase a warm jacket in Turkey, or you may want to purchase a jacket before departure in India.
While all of these dress codes vary considerably, you do not need to pack for them all, but please do consider this when selecting clothing options. Most likely you will buy clothes in each country, which is also a fun shopping experience.
Laundry facilities will vary from laundromats to buckets to sinks – expect it all.
COMPUTERS AND ELECTRONICS
A laptop computer is indispensable. It is not necessary to bring a printer. Most students choose to save their work to portable devices and print at local print shops or libraries. For the purposes of backing up your work and portability, USB storage devices (flash/pen/thumb drives) are recommended by past students in lieu of portable printers. Oftentimes assignments can simply be emailed to your faculty advisor, and printing is not necessary. All students should bring a power converter/transformer as well as plug adapters or "shape changers." Most laptops nowadays are equipped with a power converter, in which case only the plug adapter is needed. For other appliances (e.g., battery chargers, hair dryers), both converters and adapters are necessary. A helpful website on electrical requirements and accessories is www.traveloasis.com. The use of a surge protector is recommended whenever possible, as the electrical current in countries traveled to on CRC is much less stable than in the United States and can cause damage to electronics, especially in India.
MAIL AND COMMUNICATION
Since the CRC program involves so much travel, it is impossible to guarantee that mail sent from the US will be received by students. Email communication and/or blogging are the preferred modes of communication for most CRC students.
We have had problems in every country receiving packages. What is dutiable varies from country to country. It is best not to send massive quantities of any one thing to any country we visit. Also, it is better not to send any electronic equipment through the mail: usually it is dutiable and additional charges that must be paid to receive the package can be very high.
It is possible to mail items home from every country in which we study, so if you find that you packed too much or have bought too much you will be able to mail some of it home. Airlines impose strict limits on the permitted weight of luggage, and students are individually responsible to pay the penalties for excess luggage.
ATM cards are the best way to get money everywhere we go. Make sure that the card is on either the PLUS or Cirrus network (you can tell by looking at the symbols on the back of the card). However, there may be instances when, inexplicably, your ATM card will not work. Bring some back up money in the form of cash or travelers' checks (probably not more than a few hundred dollars) and/or a credit card.
Some of the things students spend their own money on are entertainment (going out, movies, concerts, etc.), internet, coffee, laundry, phone cards, transportation (buses, taxis), gifts for family and friends, books (both for pleasure and for classes), copying and printing, newspapers, etc.
The amount of money spent by former students has varied greatly. Each student receives a food stipend to cover basic meal costs. You will need extra spending money to cover food beyond basic meals, nights out, transportation (buses or taxis to use during your free time); and buying clothing or souvenirs along the way. Students are also responsible for all expenses during the fall and spring recess. Over the course of the program, some students manage to stretch their food budget to cover some personal spending, while some end up spending a lot of extra money.
INTERNATIONAL STUDENT IDENTITY CARD & PASSPORT PHOTOS
This card can be used for discounts on travel, museums, and lodging worldwide, and provides a limited amount of health insurance (but can NOT be used to waive the program's health insurance requirement). It is recommended, but not necessary. STA travel at www.sta.com issues these cards. In addition, bring 6-10 passport size photos. The group has used them on several occasions in the past when encountered with unexpected bureaucracy.
Over the course of CRC, students reside at a mix of dorm-style university accommodations and modest hotels "close to the action," which makes it easy for students to explore on their own in free time. It also offers opportunities to get to know people from the host countries and begin seeing the world through their eyes. However, students should be ready for anything. Past CRC groups have stayed at primitive camps, slept on hard surfaces and encountered the cold bucket shower and other rustic experiences on field trips.
At various times during the year our hosts may offer meals to you. Take some time to think about what dietary compromises you are willing to make in order to engage your hosts and their religious and cultural heritage better.
That said, for most meals you will be free to explore the culinary delights of all the places we will visit on your own. It can be hard for vegetarians and for picky eaters, especially when you don't know what might be lurking in your lo mein. India, on the other hand, is easy for vegetarians. Restaurants designate whether they are veg or non-veg. Paneer is easily avoidable for vegans and that is the only cheese we've seen in India. Great fruit is available in almost every country we visit. Sadly, in India especially, not all food is safe to eat. NEVER eat from street food carts in India – though in other countries it is safer.
The food is just as much an adventure as anything we encounter during the year and, fortunately, everywhere you go, you can find chocolate, which can make even the worst of meals seem not quite so bad.
Other advice from CRC alumni
- You can't have too many pairs of underwear.
- Don't pack for the entire time of travel. There are plenty of places to pick up clothes. Your bags will be lighter and it is more fun to find things locally. No need to bring 4 months of shampoo, deodorant, etc. unless you are very particular about the brand you use.
- If you start CRC with a bag full to the brim, it is hard to pick up anything along the way. Accumulation of stuff is inevitable.
- White clothes won't stay very white.
- Not many people wear shorts in Asia.
- Portable Music Player is recommended. Bring your favorite music, rechargeable batteries and a battery charger.
- Bring a Nalgene or other brand camping bottle.
- Small items from your home state (magnets, pins, etc.) make good gifts for hosts along the trip.
- Ziploc type bags are a great cheap way to keep things waterproof and organized.
- Do not bring any item of value, sentimental or monetary, that can be lost, stolen or damaged. On the other hand bring items that you cannot do without (specific toiletries/cosmetics) as they may not be available.
- Bring a light-weight micro-fiber towel.
- Be ready to experience anything.
- Be open; have an open heart and open mind.
- Come without expectations or be ready to be disappointed or surprised.
- CRC is not always easy, and actually quite challenging. Be ready to be challenged.
- Some of the biggest challenges you will learn to overcome are yourself, your biases, traveler's diarrhea and packing for an entire year (anticipate sending things home).Be ready to be adaptable, see things from new perspectives and experience other learning techniques.
- Have fun and enjoy the ride.