Why study abroad?

The benefits to study abroad are many.  Here are a few:

How do I choose a seminar?

How long is a Global Seminar?

The Global Seminars are six weeks long.

How many students attend the seminar?

Each Global Seminar has a maximum of fifteen students and a minimum of twelve.  Three to five students from the host institution may also enroll in the seminar.

Where can I find the application forms?

Application forms can be found on the PIIRS website at: http://www.princeton.edu/~piirs/curriculum/index.html. Click on your seminar of choice and then on “Application Information.”

What happens once my application is submitted?

Applicant interviews for the 2010 Global Seminars will be held during the week of February 22, 2010.  Acceptance emails will be sent out Thursday–Friday, March 1–2, 2010. The deadline to reserve a place in the seminar is Monday, March 22, 2010. A nonrefundable deposit of $500 will be charged to each seminar student’s account by April 1.

Should I make my own travel arrangements?

Students are required to make their own flight arrangements to and from the seminar. Transfer information will be available before you depart: transportation from the airport to the university or hotel will be arranged for you, or specific information on taxis or other public transportation to your accommodation will be provided. You will need to complete the travel database (click on link below) before you depart the U.S. for your Global Seminar.
What documents do I need to provide once I enroll in the seminar?

My passport expires a month after the seminar concludes. Is that okay?

No. For U.S. passport holders, most countries require that the passport be valid for at least six months beyond the departure date and have at least two blank pages for the visa.

Students holding non-U.S. passports should check with their embassy for specific requirements.

How do I get a passport?

Please refer to the U.S. State Department website for passport information and an application.  Forms are available online or at the post office, which also may offer application processing by appointment

Do I need a Visa?

Yes. Almost all foreign travelers to Turkey and Egypt need a visa.

How do I obtain travel visas before the Global Seminar in Turkey/Egypt?

The seminar administrator will assist students in determining the required visa documentation based on their citizenship.  The seminar administrator will coordinate submission of visa applications with Travisa, a visa expediting service.

Where is the housing in Cairo and Istanbul?

In Egypt, students will stay at American University in Cairo. Rooms will be shared and meals taken at nearby restaurants and cafes. In Turkey, students will stay in the residences of the Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations (RCAC), Koç University, right in the center of the European side of Istanbul. Each single room has its own bathroom with a shower and a kitchenette with a small refrigerator. Tea or coffee and a cold breakfast or snack may be prepared in the kitchenette, but no cooking is permitted in the room. Bedding, towels, etc., are provided, as is daily housekeeping. A laundry facility is also on the premises. Most lunches will be eaten together at the student cafeteria at the RCAC; dinners are on your own at any of the very good nearby restaurants, coffeehouses, bakeries, and markets.

What happens when I arrive in the host city?

Students  are responsible for making their own way to the hotel in Hanoi. Full details will be provided by the seminar director.  Check-in date will be confirmed by the seminar director. After check-in in both Cairo and Istanbul, an orientation session/dinner will be held to introduce students to the host institution and city.

Can I arrive at the seminar early or leave later and stay at the seminar hotel or host university dormitory for the additional days?

The seminar housing fee collected by PIIRS covers accommodations for only the advertised dates of the seminar. Dormitories at host universities generally do not accommodate students for additional nights; students will have to make their own arrangements, if needed, at a local hotel and cover all expenses. Your seminar administrator may be able to recommend a reasonably priced hotel in the host city.

What type of community service is planned in Istanbul?

There are two possibilities for community service in Istanbul.  The first is with Children of Hope, an organization devoted to helping/saving street children.  The second is with a Rotary-sponsored children’s center, where students may assist staff with outside activities.   The seminar director will provide the full details.

Do I need health/travel insurance?

Yes. All participants MUST have proof of up to date health/travel insurance.

Is Turkey safe for travelers?  Is Egypt?  

Istanbul and Egypt are relatively safe for travelers. Caution should be taken in crowed places against pickpockets. Take taxicabs from a known taxi stand rather than hailing one on the street; this will provide you with a place to register a complaint if you have one and lets the taxi driver know that you know his home base.

Istanbul does have a population of beggars that includes fairly young children. If you are bothered on the street in Turkey, the best response is to frown and walk onward with purpose. The typical American response of smiling and looking at someone who addresses you will not dissuade someone who is bothersome. Eye contact and smiles can be interpreted as encouragement.

In any city, normal precautions are in order. Do not wear exposed, expensive jewelry; do not carry large amounts of cash—handle your cash discreetly; be aware of your surroundings; and don’t befriend strangers.

Read the following carefully: http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/safety/safety_1747.html

Are there any health concerns in Turkey and Egypt?

The University’s McCosh Health Center will provide information on required immunizations and other health precautions (e.g., regarding water and food).
What if I have a medical emergency abroad?

Will I be able to purchase my preferred brand of over-the-counter medicines?

You should bring any preferred brands of over-the-counter medications such as cold and flu tablets or antidiarrheal, etc. If you are taking any prescription medications, we advise you bring slightly more than you’ll need for the duration of your stay. 

What student policies apply to the Global Seminars?

Princeton University regulations on conduct, health, safety, and academic integrity apply to all Global Seminars. Additionally, students are subject to the regulations of the host institutions. Please consult the university’s Rights, Rules, and Responsibilities for more information.

How much spending money shall I bring?

This depends on the individual and is really a personal decision. You’ll need enough to cover entertainment, transportation, and meals during your free time, as well as any shopping you make want to do. An overview of expenses in Istanbul includes:

How does money exchange work in Cairo and Istanbul? How should I bring money?

Let your credit card bank know that you will be traveling to Egypt and Cairo and the dates of your visit. If you use your card without letting them know first, there is a good chance that they will block all payments.

What clothing should I bring?

You will need comfortable walking shoes and a sweater or light jacket for cool evenings while in Istanbul.  Although you will be in Turkey during the summer months, bring a light jacket or a sweater for cool evenings or excursions on the Bosphorus.   

Egypt will be hot.  Modest attire is to be worn when visiting mosques. For women this means a long- or medium-sleeved blouse or dress and a shawl to cover their head. No shorts for women or men.  It would be best to avoid ragged or see-through clothing at all times, though you will naturally make your own negotiation with Turkish public culture. You will need comfortable walking shoes.

Where can I do my laundry?

In Cairo, laundry service is available for a fee.  In Istanbul, you can do your laundry and ironing at the facilities at RCAC, though there are also laundry services in the area.

What’s the weather like in Istanbul? In Cairo?

Istanbul’s summer climate is not oppressively hot; the temperature averages is 80–85° F during the day. It can feel hotter in the city where students will be living, but the residences are air-conditioned.  There may be occasional rain.

Cairo will be hot.

Can I find vegetarian food in Instanbul? In Cairo?

It is possible to find vegetarian food in the Middle East. As both Egypt and Turkey, are predominantly Muslim societies, pork and pork products are never used in cooking, though fairly realistic “ham” made from veal is offered in some establishments. All meats sold in Turkey are halal. 

Turkey is a Mediterranean food culture. Most seasoning comes from olive oil, fresh herbs, mild peppers, nuts, garlic, and sea salt. Tomatoes, onions, eggplants, and peppers are basic ingredients of many dishes and fresh bread is a staple.  Familiar Mediterranean favorites like stuffed grape leaves, olives, grilled eggplant, feta cheese, candied fruits, milk puddings, and baklava are common.

What voltage is used in Turkey and Egypt?

Turkey and Egypt both use 220 volts (the U.S. uses 110 volts) and European-style wall sockets. You will likely need a voltage converter and plug adaptor to use your appliances in India. Both may be available for purchase at the U-Store.

What is the best and least expensive way to stay connected while abroad?