Pre-Departure Orientations for International Students - Article

Most pre-departure orientations have moved online because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the absence of face-to-face interaction may be challenging, international students will find that attending pre-departure orientations online is valuable in helping them prepare for their studies abroad. 

Here are some of the benefits of attending a virtual pre-departure orientation:

Practical Benefits

Safety From COVID-19

In accordance with local regulations to mitigate the risks of spreading COVID-19, most organizations and businesses have shifted to digital platforms to continue operations.

In the past, pre-departure orientations for international students were conducted in physical locations. Because of the current health crisis, making hundreds of students gather in one place can be dangerous.

As an alternative solution, most pre-departure orientations are now virtual. Students who will be studying abroad can attend these orientations in the comfort of their own homes or rooms.

Since these orientations are now held online, there are no in-person interactions, which reduces the risk of virus transmission. 

Fewer Expenses

You won’t have to spend money on transportation and protection kits if you’re attending a virtual pre-departure orientation. 

It will also be beneficial to the facilitators of the orientation, as they wouldn’t have to incur expenses that are usually associated with a physical orientation. For instance, they wouldn’t have to spend on renting a venue or equipment, and refreshments for attendees.


Conducting orientations virtually offers time and geographic flexibility. It makes attending possible for an international student whose location can make attending a physical orientation difficult. 

Virtual pre-departure orientations are also not restricted by time. To cater to students in a different timezone, the orientations can be recorded and played on the set schedule. 

Online pre-departure orientations can also be viewed on most devices including tablets, mobile phones, and laptops, making them more accessible and convenient. 

Personal and Educational Benefits

Understanding of Local Culture

Pre-departure orientations cover topics related to adapting to a different culture. For international students, it is important to have a good understanding of the culture of their host country before they go there.

With virtual pre-departure orientations, you’ll get to have a comprehensive understanding of the customs and traditions of the locals abroad. Knowing this will help you know what to expect once you land, making the adjustments much easier to make.

Learning about a different culture is also essential to ensure that you avoid offending others. This would be the initial step in upholding cultural sensitivity when living in a different environment. Having a good understanding of your host country’s culture and social norms can also help make interacting with others easier.

Discovering Life Abroad

Virtual pre-departure orientations also illustrate what daily life looks like in the host country. This includes cost of living, accommodation, daily expenses, banking and currency, as well as leisure activities and entertainment.

Attending a virtual orientation allows you to have a good grasp of the lifestyle you need to adapt to. They may also cover topics such as getting a part-time job while studying or landing an internship during semester break.

Coping With Culture Shock and Language Barriers

Some of the hurdles that may affect your transition are culture shock and language barriers.

Culture shock is a normal reaction, and language barriers can’t be prevented. However, there are things you can do to get past these challenges. You will learn all about these and more when you attend virtual orientations.

MSM Unify is your reliable source of information about international student life. Keep notified with relevant and up-to-date news on virtual pre-departure orientations, applications, higher education institutions, and policies from our articles!

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