Important Travel Reminders

The time is almost here to leave for Ghana, but before you depart for the airport make sure you have all of your immigration needs taken care of! It is important to keep any immigration related paperwork on your person/in your carry-on luggage and ready for your arrival in Ghana.

Two important reminders for best practices when traveling abroad:

1.     In order to board your international flight you will need your passport.  You should have copies of your passport elsewhere.  OGS recommends keeping a color copy of your passport and visa separately in your carry-on luggage.  You should also have access to a digital encrypted copy of your passport and visa online that can be obtained from any computer.  Additionally, you may want to leave a copy of your passport and visa with a parent or guardian, or whomever you trust and would call in an emergency. If your passport/visa is lost or stolen having a copy of such may help expedite getting a replacement.

2.    After you arrive at your study away site, you should register with your local Embassy or Consulate.  U.S. citizens can register with the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program     which will automatically alert the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate to your presence in country.  Non-U.S. citizens should register with the relevant home country Embassy or Consulate abroad.

What to do if you Encounter Flight Cancellations or Delays

While our hope is that you arrive at your study away destination without any challenges, we know at times these can occur for a variety of reasons.  Please note that NYU is unable to act as an intermediary between the traveler and airline, but it may be helpful to keep in mind the below tips should you encounter any flight cancellations or delays:

*Potential British Airways Strike 

For those of you traveling on British Airways to Accra, it does not seem your flight will be affected by the strike if you are traveling on Jan 19, 20 or 21. You can see any updates on their website. Please note that if the strike causes you to arrive after January 22nd, the NYU Accra staff will coordinate a pick up at the airport- just make sure to be in touch with them (their contact info is in the Arrival Cheat Sheet). 

Contact Your Airline First

Number one tip: Whether it’s an airport delay or flight cancellation, contact your airline – immediately.  It is most beneficial to act quickly so that you are able to grab a seat on the next available flight if necessary.  Many passengers will be trying to rebook and options may become more limited the longer you wait.

If Your Flight is Canceled:

  • Multi-task communications: If your flight is canceled or delayed, immediately get in line for a gate agent; at the same time, call the airline (it may be quicker).
  • If you have a frequent flyer status with the airline that gives you access to a priority phone number, using this may expedite the service you receive.

Note: There are no federal requirements that require airlines to provide you with any hotel or meal vouchers due to events outside their control such as weather, but airline policies on this vary. When in doubt, ask. Some will provide you with certain amenities.

If Your Flight is Delayed:

  • Stay in touch with the airline: Follow the tips above; stay connected to your carrier
  • Don’t be late to the gate: Even if you’ve been told your flight is delayed, stay in the gate area. Delays can evaporate and windows of opportunity for take-off can be short; if you’re not present for boarding, you may be out of luck

Note: Always be at the gate at least 20 minutes before departure, minimum.

Ultimately, if you are in an area where you still have access to email or phone service, please contact the appropriate staff member(s) at NYU Accra listed on your Arrival Cheat Sheet to forward your updated itinerary.  This is another reason why it is important to have a copy in your carry on.  

The staff recognize these occurrences are beyond your control so will work with you to catch up if any material is missed.  On behalf of the entire NYU Global Programs team, we wish you safe travels!

NYU Accra Online Global Health & Wellness Orientation

In the coming days, you will receive an email from site staff at NYU Accra with instructions to complete an Online Global Health & Wellness Orientation.

This mandatory online exercise provides useful information about health and safety resources in Accra. It encourages you to practice self-care, to support your fellow students and the NYU Accra community, and to remain curious about all the things that are different and exciting in Ghana.

It should take you about 45-60 minutes and must be completed by January 25. Please access the orientation by clicking the link in the email you received.

If you have questions about the content please email Marian Ansa-Otu at mao9@nyu.edu.

 

Global Safety Tips

Keeping you safe — and ensuring your ability to make academic progress — are top priorities for NYU. As you prepare to spend the semester away from your home campus, we wanted to share with you some tips and best practices that will help to do so.

The University continuously monitors events in cities and countries around the globe, and adjusts security precautions, as necessary, based on the local environment. Should an urgent situation arise, the University maintains an emergency notification system, which delivers alerts via text message and email.

  • Register your travel with your respective embassy or consulate – both while you are at your study away location, and anywhere else your travel plans may take you.
  • Make sure to have a mobile phone with you whenever you’re away from the site – and be sure to keep it charged!
  • If you are planning on traveling away from your site – even if only for a night — please be sure to register your trip in NYU Traveler, and let a member of your local site staff know.
  • Please be sure that your site staff has a local contact phone number for you.
  • Do your homework before you travel away from your site. Check for potential travel warnings for cities and countries to which you are thinking about traveling (the US State Department website is a good place to start.
  • Always be fully aware of your surroundings. Avoid at-risk areas (in many cities, this could include locations that are very popular with tourists). And if during your travels you ever find yourself in a situation in which you feel uncomfortable, trust your instincts and leave.
  • Whenever possible, travel in groups. Whether you’re going out for an evening, or are planning to explore the region (or beyond), go with friends!
  • If you don’t know the person entering a building right after you, make sure they have their own ID — don’t allow “piggy-backing” at entrances to NYU academic centers and residence halls.
  • If you ever have a question or concern about your safety – either at your site, or while you are traveling – either check with your local site staff, or call the NYU Public Safety Command Center (open 24/7) at +1.212.998.2222.
  • Should you ever feel anxious or upset during your time away, or you simply want to have someone to speak to, please call the Wellness Exchange (24/7). You can always reach them at +1.212.443.9999, but many sites also have local numbers, which can be found here.

For more safety tips, visit: http://www.nyu.edu/accra/student-life/safety.html 

Reminder: Complete the Visa Status Survey &Upload a copy of your Visa

OGS sent a mandatory Visa Status Survey to all students in December (unless you have already informed us that you have obtained your visa or if we know that a visa is not required based on your citizenship). Please fill out this survey as soon as possible so we know where you are in the visa process. It is imperative that you let us know if you are struggling, are in need of assistance or are delayed in applying for your visa. If this is the case, please contact OGS immediately at ogs.outbound@nyu.edu or 212-998-4242.

If you have already received your visa, OGS requires that you upload a copy using the Visa Upload. If you have not received your visa yet, please indicate this on the Visa Status Survey and then upload a copy of your visa to us once you receive it.

Practical Pre-Departure Checklist & Packing Tips

Below is a final checklist full of practical items and packing tips to ensure your travel goes smoothly:

  • Read the NYU Accra Resource Sheet: this includes packing tips!  Check the luggage restrictions for your airline before you pack.
  • Take note of what NOT to pack by visiting this website. And try to pack LIGHT.  Layers, layers, layers!  You will inevitably come home with more than you started with.
  • Have all medications you may need for the full term & bring a copy of prescriptions (medication, eyeglasses, etc.) and carry it with you in your carry on.  Your carry on should also have all important paperwork, phone numbers, and a change of clothes in case your luggage arrives late.
  • Don’t forget that you cannot bring more than 3 oz. of any liquid in your carry on for your flight overseas.  Airport security can be very stringent.
  • Do not plan to use your blow dryers and flat irons that you use currently. Even with a plug adaptor and converter, the higher voltage can destroy (as in burn to a crisp!) your appliances and could potentially knock out power in entire buildings, which isn’t a great way to make friends abroad. If you’re not willing to forgo the blow dryers and flat irons for a few months, then it’s best to purchase local versions that operate on 220 volts once you get abroad.
  • Make photocopies of your passport/visa, ID, and cards (bank, credit card). Leave one copy of this packet with your parents and bring a set with you in your carry-on.  That way, if these items are lost or stolen, they’re much easier to replace.
  • Bring your flight confirmation printout to the airport.
  • If you follow a special diet (vegetarian, kosher, etc.) don’t forget to inform your airline ahead of time. It’s horribly unpleasant to be hungry and thirsty while you’re on a plane and they control when you get meals, so bring some snacks (stay away from fruit, as some countries don’t want you to bring perishable food into their airports). And make sure you have your own water on the flight (though, remember, you can’t take any through security).
  • Notify your bank and credit cards that you will be abroad.  Make sure they won’t block your accounts when they see international charges, and ask for phone numbers to call from abroad in the event you have any issues. The 1-800 numbers on the back won’t always work from overseas.
  • Have some cash on hand to get you through the first few days (you can exchange at the airport if needed, but service fees can be hefty.  Banks may be able to issue the local currency, the Ghanaian cedi, ahead of time if they have notice.  Or simply withdraw cash from the ATM directly once you land – this can be easiest)
  • Have a copy of your Arrival Cheat Sheet and Last Minute Details – and leave copies with your family.

And some tips for staying connected to friends and family, and making the most of your experience:

  • Set up a plan of communicating with your family members while abroad—we recommend calling or e-mailing them only once or twice a week while abroad. Your parents will ALWAYS want to talk to you more often than that, but remember that part of studying in another country is putting some distance between you and your old life. You’ll be better for it!
  • Buy a journal.  Study Away is a profoundly personal experience and Facebook updates alone won’t capture the spirit of what you are doing.  Keep a journal that is meant to be just for you.
  • These articles may help with your move to a new city:

Arrival Cheat Sheet and Last Minute Details

Don’t leave for Accra without your Accra Arrival Cheat Sheet! It contains helpful information about navigating the airport, getting to your housing assignment, and NYU Accra contact information. Please provide a copy of this document to your parents.

Also make sure to read these Last Minute Details!

And here are some other things to keep in mind:

  • Know the time difference between your hometown and Accra, and discuss a communication plan with your friends and family.
  • Check the exchange rate for your host country’s currency regularly.
  • Purchase any necessary voltage convertors and/or adaptors.

And remember these tips from our First Time Traveler Post. (They’re actually quite good for everyone!)