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Frequently Asked Questions


Frequently Asked Questions


What is the difference between the Fall and Spring programs?

Fall Program - September through December, 21 credits, 4 weeks in Africa, 2 months in Switzerland with weekend travel throughout Europe, open to all majors and years.

Spring Program - January through April, 18 credits, optional 2 weeks in Africa, 3 months in Switzerland with weekend travel and 3-10 day breaks, primarily business and communication majors that are rising juniors and seniors. 

What do I need to travel internationally?

You must have a valid passport from your home country. You can check here to see if the countries you plan on visiting have additional passport requirements (e.g., length of validity from departure date or number of blank pages available). We will obtain the visas for your travel to Africa.


You should also ensure that you have the proper vaccinations. This can be done through a travel clinic, a county health department, or your family physician. You can see a list of recommended vaccinations and other health information at the CDC travel website.


These sites have additional information for international travelers:


Travel Advisories (U.S. State Department)

Destination Information (U.S. State Department)

Health Information (U.S. State Department)

Customs Information (Homeland Security)


Do I need to contact the embassy in the countries where we are staying?

We will enroll you in the US State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).  This registers you with the nearest embassy or consulate.


The fees include international medical insurance; what kind of coverage is it?

Our policy comes from Cultural Insurance Services International.  You can find the policy brochure here.


Who should I contact in case of an emergency while we are abroad?

You should contact the local coordinator or faculty member living with you.  You will be given their local and US-based numbers before you leave.

How much should I budget for traveling and personal expenses?

We recommend budgeting $7,000 for the fall program and $10,000 for the spring program. Students can spend more or less depending on their budget and spending habits.


Which airport does the group depart from when traveling from the US to Europe?

The group flight departs from Washington Dulles International Airport, Newark International Airport, or JFK International Airport depending on ticketing.

Where are we staying in Lugano?

You are staying at the Montarina Hostel. 

Which meals are covered?

The program provides dinner Monday-Thursday night. Breakfast and lunch are not provided during your stay, but you will have access to a refrigerator, stove/oven, microwave, and cooking/eating utensils.

Do I need to bring my own sheets and towels?

Sheets and towels are provided by the Montarina and Franklin. You might want to bring your own sheets or towels for your travels.

How will I do my laundry?

The Montarina provides laundry service once a week. All clothes are washed on hot and dried on high, so expect your clothes to shrink. There is a small, coin-operated washer and dryer in the Montarina for clothing items that require special care. 

Will I have internet access at the Montarina?

Yes, the Montarina has wireless internet.  


Can I get my books shipped to Lugano?

Yes.  Books can be shipped to:


Your Name

c/o David Brinberg

Montarina Hostel

via Montarina 1

CH-6900 Lugano




Where are we staying in Africa?

You will stay in a hotel or guest house near your assigned non-profit's volunteer site.


Which meals are covered in Africa?

All meals are covered.


Do I need to bring my own sheets and towels?

Sheets and towels are provided by your accommodations.  


How will I do my laundry?

Laundry varies at each site. Most locations you will hand wash. You will be provided with laundry soap and detergent. Clothing lines, buckets, and sinks will be available for you to use.


Will I have internet access while in Africa?

You will not have dedicated internet access at your accommodations, but internet cafes are available in the towns and affordable.

Can I drink the water in Africa?

No; bottled water will be provided for you.  Boiled water is also okay.

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