Penn Hosts Africa Study Abroad Orientation

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Media Contact:Jacquie Posey | | 215-898-6460April 11, 2012

What is an International SOS card? Are pre-departure vaccinations required for some foreign travel? What to pack? When traveling abroad, it’s always better to know before you go.

Penn’s Office of International Programs and African Studies Center will host an Africa Study Abroad Orientation for faculty, students and staff planning to travel in sub-Saharan Africa this summer, fall or next academic year.  The orientation will be Friday April 27, 3-5:30 p.m., in Room 250, Huntsman Hall. The free pre-departure event is also open to students and staff traveling to Africa for internships, study abroad or other programs.

Experts on Africa will discuss historical and cultural trends in the continent as well as research, study abroad and service and internship programs in Africa. Past participants and students native to the countries and regions of Africa will be on hand to answer questions. Food will be catered by Kilimanjaro Restaurant.

“We really want to identify trip leaders,” says Susan Zingale-Baird, OIP overseas program manager. “If you’re a trip leader of a group, we want you to encourage those travelling in your group to attend the orientation.”

OIP has conducted these orientations for three years, fine-tuning the programs to be shorter and provide more information each year.

Those interested in attending the orientation must view a 12-minute pre-registration online module, “2012 Africa Orientation Health, Safety & Security Webinar,” in its entirety to access the registration page. A PennKey is required to access the module at

The webinar provides tips on how to keep personal documents and finances secure, information about International SOS, Penn’s international travel assistance partner, and the Global Activities Registry, which stores traveler’s emergency contact information and provides email alerts regarding security issues in the regions in which they are travelling.

At the orientation, Lee Cassanelli, director of the African Studies Center, will discuss African history and cultural trends. The Center maintains a listing of school specific African initiatives,, and information on study-abroad programs, service trips and summer-internship programs in Africa.

“More than two dozen programs give students opportunities for short-term internships, and four programs offer active study abroad opportunities in Senegal, Ghana, Botswana and Kenya,” Cassanelli says.

Additional information about the orientation is available by emailing Cara Bonnington or Susan Zingale-Baird or by calling 215-898-9073.