Orientation and Re-Entry

Pre-departure and Re-entry Orientation

The Intercultural Office coordinates both pre-departure and re-entry orientation for students participating in semester-long and short-term, off-campus programs. These are mandatory. The sessions are designed to prepare students for a successful semester off campus and to assist with transition back to the US and to campus.

The pre-departure sessions for semester-long programs include:

  • Logistics of Off-Campus Study
  • Cross-Cultural Adjustment & Communication
  • Growing Globally: Spiritual, Professional and Personal Development
  • Health and Safety in an International Environment

The pre-departure sessions for short-term, cross-cultural and discipline-specific courses include:

  • Cross-Cultural Adjustment & Communication
  • Health and Safety in an International Environment

The re-entry retreat for all students studying off campus is designed for students returning to campus.

Session Descriptions

This session will focus on the tackling the logistics on campus such as housing and registration (both before students leave and while abroad). Additionally, students will be provided with information on the how they will fulfill their Experiential Learning Initiative (ELI) during their semester off campus.

This session incorporates three components will focus on general health and safety issues related to studying internationally.


This session is facilitated by a nursing faculty member with international experience and a community health background.  It provides a general introduction to safety concerns relevant to both large international cities and to remote rural villages.  Students are given practical suggestions for how to be “street smart” in densely populated urban areas, and discerning and prudent in the two thirds world regarding such health risks as food and water-borne diseases.  Emphasis is placed on taking pro-active measures for minimizing risk.  Information is also provided on how to address common traveler’s ailments, include deep vein thrombosis associated with long international flights. 

This session introduces students to the various dimensions of culture and helps raise awareness and sensitivity to cross-cultural issues.  It also helps students anticipate and appreciate some of the cultural differences they may encounter while studying abroad. Students learn to recognize symptoms and stages of culture shock and are offered suggestions and resources for coping with cross-cultural adjustment. 

This session encourages students to develop goals for personal faith development while studying abroad.  Students are reminded of the diversity of Messiah-approved programs.  Some are intentionally faith-based, wrestling deeply with the interface between Christianity and culture.  For such programs, integration of faith and learning is central to their core identity. 

As part of Messiah’s support of students who study abroad, Messiah University conducts a “re-entry retreat’ to help students transition back to the U.S. and to main campus. The retreat was developed to address reverse culture shock, provide students with skills to cope with this phenomenon, as well as create time and space for students to reflect together on their experiences abroad and explore opportunities on-campus to continue to explore and expand their global competencies .









Information on Orientation and Re-Entry