The following is a suggested template for your Pre-Departure sessions. We encourage you to request that your in-country provider join via Skype if possible, or provide material to help you complete many of these elements.
Why are pre-departure sessions important?
Orientation is essential to any international experience; it ensures students stay safe and healthy while abroad. Part of your role as a Program Leader is to orient students to the specific experience they will have and to counsel them in a range of social, academic, and other practical issues.
Your pre-departure session(s) should help to:
- Assuage student fears or concerns regarding travel & program elements
- Ensure students are organized prior to the program and ready to begin as soon as they arrive
- Establish and manage student expectations for the program
- Establish group norms before students arrive in-country
Who leads pre-departure sessions?
The Program Leader is expected to lead at least 3 pre-departure sessions or their equivalent online. Education Abroad is required to be attendance at one session to cover Health, Safety, Insurance, Billing, Financial Aid, and Registration.
We strongly recommend you work with your program provider to build out your pre-departure content. Utilize them to provide country-specific pre-departure information. Often providers will Skype in or join in person where possible. This is part of their role, so don't hesitate to ask!
How many pre-departure sessions should I hold and when?
We recommend you schedule 3-4 pre-departure sessions, though, at the bare minimum, you are required to host one Pre-Departure session with Education Abroad present. You should schedule your pre-departure sessions as soon as your program is confirmed to run (has met minimum enrollment).
Where can I hold pre-departure sessions?
Education Abroad can reserve a room for you on the sixth floor of KMC (Karl Miller Center), space permitting. Please contact the Graduate Assistant or the Education Abroad Advisor responsible for your program for help with this, if we have not contacted you already.
Alternatively, if it makes sense to hold the session in your department space (this works especially well if your department has a dedicated space for your majors or minors) please reserve this and let us know the room and time so we can (1) be in attendance and (2) add it to the website and other promotional materials. Keep in mind you can always hold them online.
Pro-Tip: Build out these resources in your Canvas shell, so students have access to them ahead of time the Office of Academic Innovation will open a Canvas shell for you before the CRN is created.
Are pre-departure sessions considered class time?
It is up to you; most pre-departure sessions include going over the syllabus and laying the groundwork for the program, which includes academic content. If this is the case, you can consider this as class time, meaning you can require students to attend these sessions as part of their participation in the program. Further, feel free to weave in your coursework to the suggested pre-departure session activities.