Lead a Study Abroad Program 

Lead a student study abroad program! Short-Term Programs generally take place over summer, spring, or winter breaks and are led by SUU faculty or staff (Program Directors). Summer programs range from 2-4 weeks long and offer between 3-6 course credits. Shorter 1-week programs, called Cultural Immersions, are non-credit bearing and have subsidized program costs for students. Staff members who do not teach courses may lead Cultural Immersion trips. Faculty members may lead either program type. 

Questions?  Contact Tayah Nelson (tayahnelson@suu.edu) or Kurt Harris (harrisk@suu.edu) in ST 169 for more information. 

 Steps: Proposing a Program

  • Course-Bearing or Cultural Immersion
    • Course-Bearing: Typically runs for 1-2 weeks over summer break and offers course credit.
      • Program Directors leading a course-bearing trip may receive compensation in the form of an instructor fee. An instructor fee of up to $250 per student may be charged.  
      • Staff members who do not teach classes may still participate in a course-bearing program. In such cases, they would need to collaborate with a faculty member who could teach a course. They would then accompany the trip as solely a Program Director while the faculty member would be a Program Director and course instructor. 
    • Cultural Immersion: Typically runs for 1 week over winter or spring break, not course-bearing, inexpensive, and may be subsidized by OLA.
  • Course Selection (if not planning a Cultural Immersion) 
    • Do you teach a course that would benefit from an international setting? 
    • Which courses do you believe students would be interested in taking abroad? 
    • Do these courses have mandatory pre-requisites? 
    • How many courses are you interested in teaching while abroad?
    • Courses do not need to be limited to one subject. For example, course in English, Outdoor Recreation, and Theater could all be offered on the same trip. 
    • While the majority of course lectures should take place while abroad, required readings and homework may be given outside of that timeframe. For instance, sometimes students are given a month after returning from their time abroad to complete an essay on the course material. Program Directors may decide how they would like to structure coursework. 
  • Location Selection
    • Is there a location that complements the selected courses? 
    • Do you have previous travel experience in a particular location? 
    • Do you speak the language of the potential location? Will a language barrier present any issues? 
    • Does the area have a Level 3 or higher Travel Advisory
      • Travel to a Level 3 country is possible but requires extra paperwork. Travel to a Level 4 country is prohibited.  
  • Interdepartmental Collaboration 
    • Partner up! A program may have multiple Program Directors. Both faculty and staff are welcome! Is there any other office or department you feel could contribute to this program?
  • Gauge Campus Support 
    • Is there student interest a program like this? 
    • Will your department support a program like this? 
  • Decide whether to plan the program yourself or to go through a third-party provider such as CEPA.  Pros and cons of each option, as well as a list of potential third-party organizations, are located in the Resources column.
  • Select dates for the program to run. 
  • Create a rough draft of the trip itinerary.
    • Research potential academic and cultural excursions in the selected location.
  • Determine the minimum and the maximum number of students the program can accommodate. 
    • The minimum number of students is the number of students it would take to make the program financially viable (should be no lower than 5).
    • The maximum number of students is the number of students that can reasonably be housed and guided abroad without hindering the program. Program Directors should ideally not exceed a ratio of 10 students to 1 Program Director. 
  • Draw up a tentative budget.
    • This is used to determine the program fee that students will be asked to pay. 
    • Budgets should include the cost of lodging, in-country travel, and activities for students. In some cases, this may also include student flights and meals.
      • The program fee for each student must include: 
        • OLA Application Fee: $250 
        • International Insurance: $55 
        • Instructor Fee: $0-$250 per student (for course-bearing programs only) 
    • Total Program Director costs, including per diem and flights, should be calculated and then divided between the minimum number of students. That amount is added to the student program fee.
      • Program Director costs should also include $55 for international insurance that will be purchased by OLA.     
  • Submit the program proposal.
  • After the proposal is submitted, it is reviewed by the Advisory Board for Learning Abroad (ABLA). ABLA may not review proposals until after the September 15th deadline. ABLA will reach out with questions, concerns, or recommended changes (if any exist) during the review process.
  • Program Directors will be notified once their program has been approved, approved pending changes, or denied.
  • Prospective Program Directors should not advertise or move forward with plans for their proposed program until after it has been approved
  • Once all submitted proposals have been reviewed, the student application for each approved program will be posted on the Learning Abroad website. Program Directors will be notified when this occurs. 
  • Advertising is important! Programs that do not reach their minimum number of students may not be able to run. In such cases, the application deadline may be temporarily extended, the budget revised to accommodate a new minimum, or the program may be canceled. 
  • OLA Advertisement
    • Soon after programs are approved, OLA will host a Study Abroad Fair. The Study Abroad Fair will have a table with flyers for all of the short-term study abroad programs. 
    • OLA will create a general flyer for each program, but Program Directors are welcome to make their own as well. Personalized flyers may be shared with OLA for further distribution. 
    • OLA will create program posters for the digital screen near their office and the digital screens near the SUU Bookstore. 
    • OLA will create social media posts about proposed programs 
    • OLA will list programs on their website, including a page in the interactive program map on the main page (and the interactive map by the bookstore). OLA may reach out to Program Directors to request a brief video about their program to embed in these program maps. 
    • OLA will send out a program announcement to Academic Advisors, Department Chairs, and those subscribed to receive OLA updates
  • Program Director Advertising 
    • Program Directors are free to advertise however they see fit. If Program Directors have an idea for promotion but require help, they can reach out to OLA.  A Learning Abroad student worker may be available to help with promotional efforts. 
    • Program Directors are invited to put up a table display at the Study Abroad Fair to advertise their program. If they can, Program Directors should plan to stay at the table and answer student questions. 
    • Some other possible methods of advertisement include:
      • Tabling in the student center 
      • Hanging flyers on bulletin boards around campus
      • Presenting to classes or asking others in related departments to share with their classes 
  •  Program Director Responsibilities
    • Program applications will be moved to a folder and spreadsheet in a designated program Shared Drive. Program Directors can elect to review applications as they are submitted or wait until after the January 15th application deadline to review the applications en masse.  
    • Program Directors are responsible for reviewing applications and determining student status. 
    • When reviewing applications, Program Directors should take into consideration the student's submitted recommendations, GPA, major/minor, student status, etc.  
      • Non-students have joined trips in the past (recent graduates, students from other universities, etc.), but current SUU students should be given priority.
    • Program Directors are responsible for notifying students when they have been accepted, denied, or waitlisted. 
    • If possible, it is recommended that Program Directors cultivate a short waitlist after their program has been filled. It is not unusual for a student or two to withdraw from the program, which can impact the trip if it lowers the number of students below the required minimum.
  • Office of Learning Abroad Responsibilities
    • OLA will move the applications and recommendations into the provided program Shared Drive. 
    • OLA reserves the right to deny student applications due to poor recommendations, a GPA that does not meet the 2.5 minimum requirements, or other concerns. OLA will notify Program Directors prior to denying any student application. 
    • OLA will reach out to accepted students with information regarding program fees, international insurance, and required travel documents. 
  • Review the available program resources. 
  • Attend the Program Director Meeting that OLA will set up. 
  • Prepare an Emergency Action Plan. 
  • Submit travel documents. 
  • Keep in contact with Program Participants! 
    • All programs are required to have at least 2 meetings/information sessions with program participants prior to departure.
      • At these meetings, information about courses, trip itinerary, health and safety, culture shock, and travel plans can be discussed. 
      • If student flights are not included in the proposed budget, students should be notified of what day to arrive, which airport to fly into, what time to arrive, where to meet the group, etc. Students may decide to purchase tickets together so they are not flying alone. 
    • Staying in consistent contact with participants, via email or other means, helps to build trust between students and the Program Director. This may be a student's first time leaving the country. Consistent communication can help to allay student fears and decrease general confusion and anxiety. 
  • Apply for (or reactivate) a purchasing card
    • Review all P-Card rules and restrictions.
    • OLA will let Program Directors know when they can begin program booking and purchasing.  
  • Start planning and booking the logistics for the program. This should include activities, lodging, and anything else in the program itinerary. 
    • When booking their flights, Program Directors should consider having a Program Director fly out a day early.  This ensures that, even if the Program Director's flight is delayed, students will not be in the host country alone. 
  • To make changes to the program, Program Directors should submit the Request to Change an Approved Proposal form.  
  • File receipts and keep an updated budget spreadsheet of expenses. 
  • Contact Tayah Nelson (tayahnelson@suu.edu) if you have any questions. 
  • Fly to the destination and meet up with students. 
    • Program Directors should establish early where they will meet up with students once they arrive in-country. 
    • When booking their flights, Program Directors should consider having at least one Program Director fly out a day early.  This ensures that, even if the Program Director's flight is delayed, students will not be in the host country alone.
  • Conduct an on-site orientation.
    • This orientation should include a discussion of things such as: 
      • Safety and health precautions 
      • How to navigate in-country travel 
      • When students will meet each morning 
      • Where to buy an international sim card and exchange currency (if necessary)  
  • Let OLA know you made it to the host country. 
  • Guide students through the planned activities and coursework. 
    • Maintain consistent contact with students. 
  • Keep a record of all new receipts. 
  • Conduct a program completion meeting with students at the end of the program. 
    • This meeting should include things such as: 
      • When and how course assignments can be submitted
      • A reflection of the overall experience 
  • Review student coursework and submit grades to SUU.
  • OLA will send students an anonymous program feedback form. Data collected from this form will be shared with Program Directors. 
  • Meet with the Office of Learning Abroad to discuss: 
    • Trip highlights - what went well, what could be improved, etc.
    • Tips for future Program Directors.
    • Travel Reimbursement form and budget. 
  • Congratulations! You've successfully led a study abroad program. 

Advisory Board for Learning Abroad

The following are the ABLA members in the 2021-2022 academic year:

  • Meagan Beesley, International Affairs Business Manager
  • Breanna Bradshaw, Registrar's Office Scheduling Specialist 
  • Jeb Branin, Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts 
  • Jaycee Carter, Learning Abroad Student Assistant 
  • Patrick Clarke, Chair of Aviation Sciences
  • Grant Corser, Associate Dean of Humanities & Social Sciences
  • Kurt Harris, Director of Learning Abroad (ABLA Chair) 
  • Landry Igiraneza, Center for Diversity & Inclusion Coordinator 
  • Michiko Kobayashi, Associate Professor of Education 
  • Dayna Larm, Learning Abroad Student Assistant 
  • Marcus Lawrence, Assistant Professor of Kinesiology 
  • Nathan McNamee, Assistance Professor of Finance 
  • Magnum Morgan, Student Success Advisor 
  • Tayah Nelson, Learning Abroad Specialist 
  • Cameron Pace, Assistant Professor of Physics 
  • Iliana Portaro, Associate Professor of Spanish 
  • Zoe Prettyman, Learning Abroad Coordinator