Q: What will our Compass cities be like to live and learn in? Are they safe places?

A: All 4 of The Compass cities are known to be among the most exciting, dynamic and safe urban centers in the world. Public transportation abounds in each of the cities, with subways, trams, busses, rental bikes, canal taxis and pedestrian-only streets being facts of daily life for all European who live in cities. We will walk you all over each city, too, just like European do every day. And while we will remind you regularly about basic safety guidelines for life in major urban areas, we will also see as you do that Europe in general is known to be a far safer urban place than our own cities in the USA.

Q: Do I have classes on weekends on The Compass?

A: We do not keep to a “normal” academic calendar on The Compass. Your academic calendar will be posted for you to review and plan around well before we leave for Europe, but do not be surprised to find your classes sometimes meeting on Saturday but not meeting on a Thursday or Friday.

Q: Do we have host families on The Compass? If not, how do we meet locals during the program?

A: The Compass does not use host families, given how much mobility and dynamism are at the program’s heart. To help you meet locals in each city, The Compass faculty will orient you to each city on your itinerary and otherwise help you to get out and explore in a deep and meaningful way the places you will call home this summer.

Q: I like to volunteer. Are there volunteer or service opportunities on The Compass?

A: Service learning and civic engagement are critical parts of most college students’ lives today. On The Compass, however, you will move so fast and so far with your focus turned toward almost constant learning that our five weeks will likely not feature the volunteer and service learning experiences that characterize your home campus experience.

Q: What are The Compass hostels like?

A: All of our Compass hostels are centrally located, safe and clean. Most of them feature group sleeping rooms, separated according to gender. In some cases, rooms will be doubles. But expect to have more roommates than that from The Compass as you travel from city to city. Be flexible and embrace a mantra of “no drama” and high flexibility. You will be well rewarded as your Compass roommates choose to do the same.

Q: Can I choose who I room with on The Compass?

A: We will create a housing plan for each city based on our group’s room assignments along the way. We will break the group according to gender but not make specific rooming assignments beyond that. The more people you room with as the summer unfolds the more you will learn, grow and build your solidarity as a group.

Q: My parents and maybe even my boyfriend might want to visit me on The Compass. Is that possible?

A: You will be so busy and so motivated to travel with your Compass compatriots that having folks from home visit and travel with you during Authentication would be a negative. Your professors and Compass staff won’t stop you from having friends travel to see you from the USA, but we will discourage you from planning these visits. Your whole life lies ahead to travel with dear friends and family. Take these five weeks are for yourself and The Compass.

Q: Is there WIFI at The Compass hostels or at other important places we will go and see in Europe?

A: Yes. But be prepared to use facebook and the Internet in general less than you do at home. Not only are our classes and your travel plans going to keep you busy, but the cities will call loudly to you and ask you to leave your room, get out and meet your new neighborhoods.  All of our hostels will have Wifi in their common rooms and lobbies. Some will likely have it up in the bedrooms as well.

Q: What will my Compass hostel rooms be like?

A: Prepare for basic, safe, clean and Spartan. You won’t be disappointed. Our hostels are in center city, which means that they are small and not elaborate. Your room will be shared with friends from The Compass. Bathrooms will be shared, down the hall, and separated in most cases according to gender.

Q: Should I take my US phone on The Compass? What about my laptop?

A: Contact your US cell carrier and find out about what plan you can get for basic coverage overseas in case of emergency. Then bring your U.S. cell for setting up skype calls or purchase an inexpensive pay-as-you-go phone in one or more of our Compass cities.  If you own one or can buy one before the program, bring your tablet, iPad or laptop with you.  Before leaving home, be sure to synch all of your Needle and Dial course content to your devices.  And don’t forget your iPod, which can hold most of the lectures and other segments that are required for your courses.  Get these loaded onto your iPod as soon as possible, so that you can already have the material down before you arrive in Europe.

Q: What about meals that the program price includes? What are they like?

A: Hostel breakfasts are basic and European in flavor. They are included on The Compass. Expect cold cuts, bread, cheese, yogurt, coffee, cocoa, and orange juice. Hot breakfasts are a rarity in Europe. Your other program meals will consist of a dinner in each city. We will try to find foods that are customary and cool in each city where we live on The Compass. Otherwise, you will have a range of street foods, simple dinners, pizza joints and other foot options to choose from in our cities. Those extra meals will be yours to pay for, beyond The Compass program price.

Q: Does The Compass have internships during or after our session?

A: You won’t intern during of after The Compass in a formal way that the program oversees. If you seek out and get an internship and would like help from Compass faculty or staff, just ask us and we will do what we can do.

Q: If I get sick on The Compass or something happens to me health wise, what do I do?

A: Our faculty and staff will help you to get medical attention. We will offer you help remotely if a medical issue arises while you are traveling on Authentication.

Q: How safe will we be in general while we are in our cities and traveling?

A: The Compass will ask you to take your own safety very seriously. Our professors and staff will work with you over the course of your five weeks in to think carefully and smartly about how to be safe when you are on your own. We will help you to understand how to be safe in a group, how to manage yourself in cafes and bars, where to watch for possible safety issues and how to make careful travel plans. Our goal will be to teach you awareness and vigilance, as you move with us in our cities and prepare to Authenticate. Beyond the counsel and coaching you will get from us, The Compass will also insist that you carefully fill out your “away” travel forms, so that we know where you are going when you do travel. Finally, we will counsel you carefully about what to do in the event of any international incident that might occur while you are traveling.