How do I get a passport?
Of course you’ll need a passport to travel overseas. Once you are accepted to a Global Program, one of the first things you should do is get a passport.
Do you already have a passport? Check the expiration date. If your passport is expired or will expire within six months of departure, you must renew it immediately.
If you don’t have a passport, apply immediately.
- Have passport photos taken.
- Complete the application found at the U.S. Passports website.
- Apply at your local post office, county clerk’s office, or other approved location.
- Allow six weeks to obtain your passport. If six weeks is too close to your departure date, pay the extra fee for expedited service.
- When your passport arrives, sign it immediately. Your director will book all the airline tickets with a travel agent and will require your passport name and passport number.
For more information, check out this government website. Note that any costs incurred for obtaining a passport, postage, or photos are your responsibility.
While in the country, your director will be glad to keep your passports in a secure location to assure that they are not lost. Feel free to keep your passport with you as long as you keep it locked up. Before you leave for your Global Program, make a couple copies of your passport. Give one to your director and one to a friend. Having copies of your passport will minimize complications that may arise if it is lost or stolen.
Do I need a visa? How do I get one?
In order to be allowed into some countries, you will need a valid visa. The cost of applying for your visa is included in your Global Program fee. Visit this government website for information about any visa requirements for the country where you are headed. Each GP director is prepared to help you with the visa process if required for your country.
Do I need special insurance?
Participants are required to have at least $50,000 of medical insurance coverage while overseas. Check your current health insurance policy to make sure it has international coverage. If you do not already have a policy or are not covered by a parent, you need to purchase coverage for your trip which meets these specifications. This can be a travel insurance policy. One option is to visit Short-term Optional Travel Insurance. Click on “Get a Quote” under “Short-term Group Outreach Travel Medical Plan 1 Day – 2 Years.” Cost ranges from $30-40 for a one-month trip.
Their optional short-term coverage benefits include:
- Coverage begins when you depart for your overseas trip
- Your choice of $100,000, $250,000, or $500,000 in international major medical coverage
- Emergency room coverage
- Trip interruption insurance
- Lost luggage
- Identity theft
- Injuries from sports and other activities
- 24/7 worldwide assistance included
- Medical evacuation coverage (up to $500,000)
For questions regarding this policy, contact Jeff Jones at 651-289-1501.
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA insurance will not cover the deductible.
What immunizations do I need?
InterVarsity Global Programs does not make recommendations for immunizations or other preventative care, but strongly advises participants to follow CDC Guidelines for the country they are visiting. At least 6 weeks before your trip, make an appointment with your local public health clinic, campus student health clinic, or travel clinic for recommendations as well.
Many immunizations are expensive, but some immunizations, such as Hepatitis A and B, last a lifetime. You cannot raise the cost of your immunizations through InterVarsity, but you could consider asking a donor to fund this expense as a personal gift to you (not tax deductible).
Can I get academic credit for a Global Program?
You may be able to earn academic credit for participating on a Global Program, usually as an independent study course. You will need to contact your academic advisor or a professor at your college or university for information on your school's policies and requirements. The Global Programs office is happy to work with you to supply you with the necessary documentation that your school requires.
China Global Programs and other language-cultural exchange programs are often directly connected to a university. On most China GPs, students live on campus and spend each morning in class with their Chinese roommates, studying Chinese culture. In some cases, you may even be enrolled as a student at the Chinese university. Some GPs involve teaching English and may relate to your interest in education or TESOL. The GP office can supply you with information about the university where you'll study, curriculum for the classes, and suggested supplemental readings or writing assignments.
Other Global Programs may be more suited to an internship, practicum, or general requirement. For example, the Kenya Global Program invites nursing students to serve at a missionary hospital, observing the medical staff and helping as needed. All Global Programs are cross-cultural experiences, if your school has a general cross-cultural requirement, and some focus on issues such as human trafficking or migration. Global Programs may also qualify as a service-learning course, with additional readings and assignments.
How safe is the country where I will be going?
InterVarsity Global Programs are reviewed and approved by our Overseas Crisis Management Committee. You may learn more here about how the programs are vetted. In addition, visit the US State Department website for travel advisories for the country that you'll be visiting. Contact your program director with questions or concerns.
I’m not a US citizen. Can I participate on a Global Program?
If you are studying at a North American college or university, you may apply to go on a Global Program. Once accepted, you should work with your GP program director to learn what the passport and visa requirements are for you to visit the country where your GP program is held. In some cases, the visas fees may be lower for you than for U.S. citizens! You’ll want to confirm ahead of time the regulations for your return to the U.S. after being abroad.
Regretfully, we are not equipped to handle applicants who are studying outside North America.