Compass: Online Pre-Departure Course

A New Tool to Prepare Students for DIS

There are many resources available to help students prepare for studying and living in Scandinavia, not least the pages of this website. To ensure all students receive the right information at the right time, DIS curated one cohesive online course that contains essential pre-departure advising and resources.

The Compass Course was designed by alumni and DIS staff to answer frequently asked questions and serve as a resource to students before and during their time abroad. It will be mandatory for all admitted students to complete before arrival at DIS.

Enrollment in the Compass Course

Upon registering for DIS, students will be invited to Canvas – our platform for all DIS courses – and asked to use the login/temporary password DIS sends them. When they log in to Canvas, they will have access to the Compass Course. Modules will be time-released over the months leading up to their departure for Scandinavia; students will be notified by email when each module is released. See below for detailed information regarding what each module entails.

About the Modules Within Compass


Goal: To guide students through course registration and set expectations for a new academic setting


  • Academic Model: Core Courses, Field Studies, Study Tours, and electives
  • Who are DIS faculty, and how teaching styles, classroom settings, and academic expectations are likely to differ
  • Academic policies regarding adding/dropping courses, academic accommodations, and academic regulations


Goal: To encourage students to think critically about their housing as not only a place to sleep, but an opportunity for cultural engagement and community-building


  • Overview of DIS housing options, application and matching process, and tips for writing a successful housing application
  • Introduction and expectations regarding commuting
  • Policies and procedures related to housing accommodations, roommate requests, move-in schedule, and more

Preparing for Your Life Abroad 

Goal: To provide practical information on areas students need to start preparing for in advance of Arrival Day


  • Legal Residence Process: what it is and what students are expected to do in their Student Registration to prepare
  • What to consider when booking a flight
  • Packing list and suggestions for how much luggage to bring for a semester
  • Cell phone plan options and general financial planning
  • Advice and regulations related to ongoing treatment needs, including bringing medication abroad

Living Like a Local

Goal: To provide a framework for what it looks like to live like a local in order to spark students’ curiosity about engaging in cultural opportunities


  • Getting to know Scandinavia: resources, recommendations, and transportation overview
  • Introduction to the DIS Care Team, its role, and how to get in touch
  • DIS insurance coverage and exclusions, and how to access health care
  • Cultural engagement opportunities within and outside DIS, including fitness, religion, and identity-based groups
  • Diversity at DIS and in Scandinavia: preparing students for similarities and differences in their new cultural landscape
  • Scandinavian context surrounding urban safety, sexual health and consent, and alcohol and drug use