Most students will undertake fieldwork for a period of at least one-year. During that time, you will be pursuing a particular research interest. It is advisable that you maintain copious notes during your tenure away from the University, and that you make duplicate copies--whether you are "taking notes" in a note-book or on a computer. These should be kept separately, and one copy may even be forwarded to your dissertation sponsor or elsewhere for safekeeping. Maintaining contact with your advisors during fieldwork is crucial. Often, they can detect lacunae in your research, or can help you to redirect or reformulate your research agenda as you encounter new and unpredicted circumstances. They can also help you to maintain a sense of perspective during a period that can be extremely demanding, both intellectually and personally.
You should also maintain contact with the Department Administrator or the Graduate Secretary, who will help to ensure that you are appropriately registered and receiving any University funding that is due to you. It is essential that you advise the Department of your field address or an appropriate contact for you. Inform the Department when you intend to return, with sufficient lead time to permit registration, the assignment of teaching duties, and the allocation of department funds where appropriate. It is your responsibility to ensure that you remain in good standing with the University while away from campus for the purposes of research. Also, remember to inform U.S. (or other, as relevant) embassy officials of your residency in the country of your research, so they know where to locate you in the event of an emergency.
Visas - Most countries require that researchers apply for and obtain permits to undertake research over extended periods of time. The procedures for obtaining such permission vary from country to country and may require that you submit a version of your research proposal. You should consult the relevant embassy for information on local requirements. Be aware that some countries may delay your entry for as much as a year while they process your application. Apply early.
Health and vaccinations - The University Health Service offers advice about travel health risks, and provides vaccinations and prophylaxis as appropriate. You should be sure that your health insurance will cover any medical costs you might incur if you are outside of the U.S.
Columbia Apartments - Students who are in Columbia apartments should take into consideration that if you give up your apartment while away from campus, you are not guaranteed a space upon your return. You can, however, keep your apartment by making arrangements, in accordance with the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences housing policy, to sublet the apartment while you are away.