Complete Group Travel Program Proposal

Have you considered leading a study abroad program? Could you incorporate group travel into a course? 

Group Travel Programs proposal forms are now available! If you are interested in leading a study abroad program during the 2019-2020 academic year, please know that the proposal process has changed just a bit! We are developing a central study abroad portal and application site so we can better assist Program Directors in recruitment, advising students on available programs, and financial planning for students.  

You will need to complete the Group Travel Program Proposal and Group Travel Program Estimated Budget Sheet by April 1 for any program you wish to organize the following academic year.

The Office of International Programs is grateful to our faculty and staff members who offer these opportunities for our students to ENGAGE THE WORLD! For any assistance regarding program development and customization please do not hesitate to contact Liz Dille in the Student Life- Office of International Programs (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).


Complete Safety Assessment

The health and safety of students is USC Aiken's highest priority. A safety assessment helps to ensure that the university has covered all possible aspects related to program safety to every extent possible.

Risk Management for Group Programs

The health and safety of students is USC Aiken's highest priority. Risks associated with travel to and study in program locations must be addressed thoroughly to ensure that the university has covered all possible aspects related to program safety to every extent possible.

Site Risk and Safety Assessments

USC Aiken Study Abroad relies on the collaboration of program directors, as experts on the program site, to be closely aware of safety concerns in the program location, to address any safety concerns that may affect the program, and to complete a safety assessment prior to departure. At the same time, if directors have any questions or concerns, he/she should discuss those with the Study Abroad Office as further research can be done jointly. Safety assessments are required to aid on-site personnel in planning for student safety and to serve as written documentation of the safety planning that has taken place prior to a program’s departure. While it would be extremely rare for a program to be canceled or changed substantially, adjustments to onsite arrangements are sometimes necessary or legally required.

The Safety Assessment:

Ensures that USC Aiken Study Abroad and program personnel are informed about risks associated with program location and how to mitigate those risks.

Ensures that each program director has developed a plan to respond to health, safety and security issues if they arise.

Helps USC Aiken Study Abroad to respond to questions from students, parents, or any University officials about program safety.

Addresses any new issues that may have arisen since the previous year’s assessment.

Serves as a written record of any changes made to a program in order to mitigate risks and ensure student safety


Additional Resources:

Department of State Travel Advisories

Department of State Consular Information

CDC Travelers Health Information 

DOS Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)


Working with Diverse Students

The Office of International Programs is committed to fostering a safe and inclusive environment and to encouraging a diverse student population to study abroad. As program directors and valued colleagues, it is important to continue this commitment throughout the design and implementation of your program. To best support program directors in this mission, we have curated some resources below.

For all students, studying abroad can be an empowering and challenging experience, particularly for those from diverse and/or underrepresented identities. By leading students on a study abroad program, you may find yourself assisting students as they navigate unfamiliar, challenging and thought-provoking situations. Therefore, in addition to teaching the content of your course and introducing the culture of the host country, you may also find yourselves working with students as they explore their varying identities. Here are some resources that may be helpful as USC Aiken students plan and prepare for study abroad.

Things to Consider:

  • In what ways can I create a commitment to diversity, positive group dynamics, and a culture of care within my program?
  • Does my program require a particular level of physical mobility? Are there ways in which I can make my program more accessible to students with limited mobility?
  • Is there a way to connect students from underrepresented populations to a local, shared identity-based community for my students?
  • What can you do to prepare to discuss diversity issues in the host country? Are there any guest lecturers you can invite to provide a framework and lead a discussion regarding current local issues related to diversity, discrimination, or inclusion initiatives?

When a student’s need arises that you’ve not encountered before, are not comfortable with, or are unable to address, please contact your program coordinator. We have a wealth of resources available at USC Aiken; we want to work with you and our students to make study abroad accessible to all of our students.

Program-Specific Orientation Checklist

In the weeks and months leading up to departure, program directors should hold at least one pre-departure orientation with accepted students. Below is a list of suggested topics to cover at orientation meetings.

Please note, this checklist is meant to serve as a guide and is not all-inclusive. Program directors should add any additional information specific to their program.

Group Dynamics

Introductions

Description of roles

Icebreakers and team-building activities

Group rules and expectations

Diversity Abroad Network’s Matrix for Self-Care and Creating Brave Spaces as Education Abroad Program Directors

Health and Safety

Local health care overview

Legality of medication

How to use international health insurance

Local food and water

Crime and safety advice/host country laws

Group responsibility

Emergency Response Plan

Meeting place

Backup plan

Key contacts

On-site partners

International health insurance

Nearest U.S. consulate/embassy

Home institution emergency phone

Counseling crisis line

911 equivalent

Nearest hospital and pharmacy

Academics

Course syllabus and materials

Culture and academic norms in host location

Academic expectations

Participation and attendance requirements

Program-specific rules, expectations, and guidelines

Logistics

Program itinerary

Host country entry and exit requirements

Travel information

Airfare

Arrival time

Directions

Local transportation tips

Housing expectations

Communication

In-country communication options

Group communication plan

Family communication plan

Electronic device requirements and advice

Money

Overview of program cost and inclusions

Payment tips for host location

Money saving tips

Currency


Upon Return

Program Review and Assessment

USC Aiken Study Abroad strives for a culture of continuous improvement, including group programs. Each program coordinator will schedule a meeting with the program leadership upon return to discuss and reflect on the current year's program and to begin planning for the future. 

The Office of International Programs completes an annual and ongoing assessment of all programs, with the goal of enhancing their success and ensuring that programs support strategic goals.

Program Assessments Include:

A debrief with the program director and study abroad staff

Student program evaluations (program evaluations compliment course evaluations, focusing on programmatic support, global competencies, health and safety)

Program budget review

Feedback from department heads

Risk management

Student interest and program enrollments

The primary goal is to work with program directors and corresponding academic units to make program improvements and address any issues; however, the Office of Intenational Programs reserves the right to cancel programs should it determine that strategic goals for effective program delivery are not being met and high-quality programming cannot be maintained.


Criteria for Cancelling or Not Renewing a Program

The Office of International Programs, as well as the appropriate department and/or college, reserves the right to cancel or not approve an application to renew a study abroad program if any of the following occur:

Events at the study abroad site(s) indicate that the security of students cannot be reasonably protected.

The program director does not fulfill his/her responsibilities as defined in the contract and the on-site program-director handbook.

The program director has been unwilling to collaborate with the OIP on the management of the study abroad program. Examples include, but are not limited to the following situations:

  • The program director does not pursue obtaining solid, accurate estimates from vendors for on-site program expenses and/or does not actively engage in the program budgeting process.
  • The program director does not submit program receipts within the 20-day period upon return from the program.
  • The program director or faculty are not responsive to requests and communications from the OIP

The minimum number of students has not been met. First-year programs are expected to reach a minimum enrollment of 12 students. Programs should have a minimum enrollment for 15 students in subsequent years. After several years, if a program cannot meet minimum enrollment, the program may not be recommended for renewal.

Program evaluations contain consistent negative feedback from students and changes to the program have not led to improved feedback.
Programs will be evaluated regularly by participants, program administrators, instructors, and the appropriate college-based liaison to determine the extent to which program objectives are being met. If necessary, changes or adjustments will be made in light of the findings. If after changes have been implemented and program evaluations have not shown improvement, the program may be recommended for cancellation.

The status of the program director or faculty member in the department/college/university changes.

A complete renewal application is not submitted by the deadline, or information is insufficient to assess program viability.

The OIP staff determines that the program is no longer feasible for financial, organizational, or other reasons.


Emergency Assistance

All program staff and students are expected to check in with USC Aiken if there is a major emergency situation (terrorist activity, acute political unrest, natural disaster) in the location in which they are studying or traveling.

Emergencies

For medical emergencies, seek medical help first by calling the 9-1-1 equivalent in your area. Then, you can contact:

During Office Hours (8:00 am – 5:00 pm EST)

 

USC Aiken Study Abroad

803-648-6851

USC Aiken Counseling Center

803-641-3609

USC Aiken Psychology Clinic

803-641-3775

24/7 Availability 

 

USC Aiken Police Department (University Police will contact the Study Abroad Emergency Response Team)

803-648-4011

Note: Collect calls are accepted by the Study Abroad Office and University Police.

 

Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence

Immediately contact University Police at 803-648-4011 or the Rape Crisis Center at 803-641-4162 (after hours and weekends at 648-9900).

View USC Aiken's Sexual Assault Policy

The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act

The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act requires U.S. colleges and universities who participate in Title IV federal student financial aid programs to disclose information about crime on and around their campuses or in off-campus facilities. Study Abroad programs are subject to the Clery Act; therefore, the Office of International Programs must submit information about crimes to the police.

The Campus Security Authority incident report and study abroad incident reports should both be submitted as soon as possible after becoming aware of a crime or any other incident.

Submit a Campus Security Authority Incident Report Form