Planning Your Program

Detailed program planning will contribute significantly to your short-term program’s success.
  1. Policy and protocol review. Program leaders should be familiar with university policy for education abroad programs. Visit the Travel Policies page of our website for a complete list. If program leaders have questions, they should contact us.
  2. Itinerary preparation. Beyond the obvious of avoiding or mitigating risky locations, activities, or general situations, a good itinerary can benefit programs by channeling the students’ focus.
    • Develop a preemptive itinerary. Just as in the classroom, students should be engaged constructively. Providing too much leisure time allows the students’ focus to wander, creating conditions for potential problems. The goal should be an itinerary that allows students time to explore, but generally keeps them focused throughout the program.
    • Guide leisure time pursuits. Take the time to research area attractions and activities as part of building the itinerary. Incorporate leisure time in areas with appropriate or constructive activities, then provide students with suggestions. Be sure you understand what activities are excluded from international insurance and plan appropriately.
  3. Program leader orientation. The University Policy on Health and Safety in Study Abroad requires program leaders to attend a health, safety, and security orientation before taking students abroad. Learn more about Program Leader Orientation.
  4. Student preparation. Program leaders should prioritize their efforts to prepare students prior to departure. Preparation must include an orientation; other steps include clarifying expectations for the program and building rapport between participants.
    • Student orientation. The University Policy on Health and Safety in Study Abroad requires program leaders to provide a health, safety, and security orientation to students before program departure. Learn more about Pre-Departure Orientation for Students.
    • Student expectations. The idea of traveling abroad, potentially for the first time, creates many expectations. Program leaders should manage those expectations as part of the orientation and preparation process. Even for short programs, students should be prepared for culture shock, large and small inconveniences, and differences between “postcard” images and reality.
    • Expectation of students. Just as it is important to manage a student’s expectations, students should understand what is expected of them. In the program syllabus, clearly spell out what is expected of students and dedicate time during the orientation to explain the importance of those expectations. Explain the cultural differences that may require conservative dress, refraining from taking pictures, or other actions considered normal in the United States.
  5. High-risk travel destination requirements. The university International Travel Safety Policy requires a review and consultation for programs traveling to high-risk destinations designated by the U.S. Department of State as Travel Advisory Level 3 (Reconsider Travel) or Level 4 (Do Not Travel). Visit our Identifying High-Risk Destinations page for a complete list. Program information must be recorded on the Study Tour Reporting Form and submitted to us at least 60 days in advance.

Next: Review & Approval

After planning your program, we will review your itinerary and offer guidance and support for its success. Learn more about the review and approval process.