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Hegyvary Citizens of the Word Fund: Tips for the Process

Identify the Project

  1. 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.
  2. 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 web site for the country of your proposed experience.
  • Obtain your passport (can take 3 weeks or more).
  • Check if other foreign entry requirements exist for 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:

  • Travel
  • Passport
  • Visa
  • Immunizations
  • Gifts for the hosts
  • Books, copying, and learning materials

Some 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.