The following section gives a brief overview of the administrative responsibilities while you are abroad.
#1: Airport Pickup and Delivery to Housing
Timeline: Upon arrival
Reliable, on-time airport pick-up and transfer, or some equivalent alternative, is critical to the students' feeling that the program is well organized.
#2: On-Site Orientation and Welcome
Timeline: Day 1
To ensure a positive beginning for the group, you should be prepared to do the following:
- Have students call their parents to tell them of safe arrival.
- Register your group with the U.S. State Department or have group members register themselves.
- Distribute Intent to Divert from Group Plans forms (PDF) and make sure your students use them!
Organize an on-site orientation and welcome reception. Topics should include:
- Services available in the program (housing, program, computers, etc.)
- City/site attractions and moving around independently
- Safety/security issues for specific locale
- List of reputable local medical clinics/hospitals, physicians, counselors, police (names, phone numbers, addresses, hours of operation)
- Final program itinerary
- Your roles and expectations, policies and guidelines for program
- Make sure students know how to get a hold of you at all times, including late night/early morning hours. The university is responsible for them while they are on the program, and you are their most direct contact to us.
#3: Check-in with SAO on Safe Arrival
Timeline: Day 1
You must check back with the SAO Coordinator for Short-Term Programs, either by email or a phone call, upon arrival to let us know the general mood of the students/program and any unusual incidences that occurred during travel. This line of communication is important, especially because we always have nervous parents who call and want to know if their children have arrived safely, etc.
#4: Ongoing On-Site Activities/Logistics
- To facilitate reimbursements, bill paying, and general financial resolution of a program, SAO depends upon faculty directors' careful accounting of program expenditures. SAO helps facilitate this by giving accounting sheets to you prior to their departure. Receipts must be kept for all but personal per-diem expenditures, as there can be no reimbursement for expenses without them. All accounting sheets and receipts must be turned in upon return from the program. Directors are reminded to keep the program costs within the budgeted figures, as costs that exceed what is budgeted may not be reimbursable.
- Keep in touch with SAO by e-mail, briefly, to let us know how your program is going and to tell us of any potential discipline issues/concerns. Also, keeping SAO aware of potential student issues is a good way to keep documentation/records to support your actions, if they ever need to be supported, as well as to get help or advice on how to deal with behavioral and other issues.
- If students plan on deviating from the course itinerary, please have them fill out and submit the Intent to Divert form to you. This form is important to know where to locate the student in case of an emergency situation.
- Have at least weekly informal gatherings with your students so that you can monitor their adjustment to the new locale/program, etc. It is particularly important to pay attention to housing and cultural adjustment issues, how they are spending their free time, etc. These meetings help to build group cohesiveness and alleviate possible dissatisfaction.
- Take pictures and make special notes of your program that you can contribute to the SAO/LAS Scrapbook for Courses Abroad.
#5: Provide Releases of Responsibility Forms
Timeline: As needed
Students who travel outside of the program's planned excursions, usually done on weekends, must complete a Release of Responsibility form before leaving. This form has students acknowledge their responsibility for their own travel, safety, health, etc., while off the program itinerary. These forms are provided by SAO to you prior to the group's departure.
#6: Students Complete Program Evaluation Form
Timeline: Final day
SAO collects feedback on the program, our services, and the students' perception of their growth on this experience. This information is important for future course abroad offerings and for general advocacy purposes. SAO conducts an online survey at the end of the program. Results are shared with faculty after it is completed and the data is processed.