Before Leading a Study Abroad Program

Prior to going abroad, take these steps to ensure a successful program.


Recruitment and Marketing

Intentional marketing and recruitment is important to create a robust pool of applicants. While UC International will help to develop an online brochure and application, faculty are the best recruiters for their programs.

Consider your target audience and the different reasons that students choose to participate, such as location, area of study, duration, or familiarity with the faculty leader. Use a variety of mediums to advertise your program:

  • Design a flyer and post in hallways, bulletin boards, and digital displays
  • Promote program through a newsletter or listserv
  • Give classroom presentations
  • Hold an informational session
  • Reach out to relevant student organizations
  • Table at the study abroad fair
  • Ask past participants to share their experiences
  • Advertise on departmental or college social media


Selecting students

Prior to accepting students, establish your selection criteria.  These could be a minimum GPA, successful completion of pre-requisite courses, an interview, etc. All applicants should be evaluated based on the same criteria and selection should follow the practices outlined in the UC Notice of Non-Discrimination.

All programs will have a standard application deadline that includes plenty of time for application review and acceptance. The application deadline can typically be extended to a point if additional recruitment time is needed.

Most faculty do not wait until the application deadline to begin accepting students. Rather, they will accept qualified students as they receive their applications. This allows students to commit to the program earlier in the process, which often results in higher participation.

Interviewing, even if informal, allows faculty to assess student interest and readiness for group travel. This is often an excellent time to discuss expectations with students, including any particularly unique or challenging components.


Application Management

Terra Dotta (TD) is the database and application portal for UC study abroad programs. Individual and group trainings are offered by UC International.

In TD, students will be able to:

  • Search programs in the directory
  • Complete an online application
  • Commit to participate in the program
  • Complete pre-departure tasks

 Faculty leaders will be able to:

  • Review program brochure and application
  • Review completed student applications
  • Access student roster and information
  • Complete pre-departure tasks

Application Decisions

  1. UC International will help monitor applications and notify faculty when an application is complete.
  2. Faculty leaders will review the application and notify their UC International program coordinator of their application decision. 
  3. The coordinator will send an acceptance letter via email or notify the student that they have not been selected. 
  4. Students will be given approximately 2 weeks to confirm their commitment to participate in the program, after which their spot may be given to another student. 


Course Registration

Study abroad programs are credit-bearing experiences. Faculty should work with their departments to order the course associated with the program. The course should include the I-attribute to indicate that it includes international travel. 

All accepted students must register for the course(s) associated with the program (a minimum of 1 credit) by the add/drop deadline. Any students not traveling must enroll in a separate section. UC International will verify student registration, but faculty will serve as the primary contact for students throughout the registration process.


Fees and Scholarships

Program fees, tuition and scholarships will be applied as independent line items in a student's bursar account. Though each of these three may be posted at different points of the term, the sum will equal the student's total cost due to UC.

Program fees will be posted to students' bursar accounts after they have committed to the program in their application portal. The charge will be posted by UC International or the home department, depending on who is managing the budget.

The charge will appear in the term that the course is offered. Due dates for payments are determined by the Bursar and can vary by student. 

Tuition and fees are assessed based on total enrolled credit hours for a term. This will include the credit hours associated with the study abroad program. Students who enroll in more than 18 hours for the term will be assessed additional per credit hour fees over and above the flat fees associated with being enrolled full-time (for most students, full-time is 12-18 hours).  

Students enrolling in a summer course will be charged summer term tuition. While some students regularly enroll in summer courses, others may be surprised by this additional cost. 

Your UC International coordinator will post the block scholarship to students' accounts once the following requirements are met:

  • Registered in course
  • Completed relevant TD requirements
  • 2.0 GPA or higher

Students may be eligible for additional financial aid based on the tuition increase associated with the program. To process this potential increase, the Financial Aid Office must receive a Group Travel Budget with details about program costs.

Coordinate with UC International and your financial manager to make sure that this document is appropriately submitted.


Pre-Departure Orientation

UC International requires all study abroad participants to attend a mandatory pre-departure orientation. This orientation covers general travel, safety and basic intercultural skills.

Faculty are encouraged to conduct program and country-specific orientation(s) to better prepare students for travel, cultural immersion and academic success. Consider using a variety of formats (discussions, presentations, journaling, etc.) to orient program participants. During the orientation, faculty should address topics such as: 

  • housing, behavior and academic expectations 
  • culture (food, language, social etiquette, history, etc.)
  • program logistics and itinerary
  • health and safety preparedness
  • passport and visa requirements 
  • crisis management and emergency procedures 
  • emergency contacts 
  • money matters
  • packing list
  • introductory course materials


Pre-Departure Materials

All students are required to complete and submit a number of pre-travel materials in the application portal (passport information, emergency contacts, etc.). Emphasize to students the importance of completing all requirements.

Faculty are often most effective in encouraging students to complete these tasks. Earlier submission of these materials will best prepare faculty and students prior to travel and help program leaders to avoid any last-minute logistical issues.


Emergency Planning

Faculty leaders will develop emergency action plans before travel and share these with UC International and students. Clear communication is the best way to mitigate and respond to risk. Educate students on emergency response procedures and how the group will communicate before leaving the U.S. 

Remember that cell phones are only one method of communication and you may want to consider options such as Whatsapp or GroupMe in addition to email and phones.

Emergency plans should include:

  1. How do you reach UC International?
  2. How will students contact you?
  3. How will UC International reach you?
  4. How will you reach students?
  5. What is the equivalent of 911 (emergency number)?
  6. In the event of local emergency / natural disaster, and the communication plans don’t work, where will the group plan to meet? Establish two locations. 

Review further emergency preparation resources (emergency contacts, insurance, and embassy list) on the UC International website.