Study Abroad

Getting Started
with Study Abroad

Campus image

Thank you for exploring the possibility of developing and directing a study abroad or domestic travel study program! The information on this page was written to help potential faculty directors think through the planning and proposal process. If you don't know much about directing a program, we encourage you to read the information that follows and to talk to staff in the Institute for Global Studies and to colleagues who have directed programs in the past. (Go to the list of programs for winter and summer session, and you'll see the names of the faculty directors.) If you’re wondering how study abroad can have such a profound and positive impact on student learning, read an inspiring article on its “seven cardinal virtues”. Proposals are due approximately one year in advance, and you will probably need a semester of lead time to prepare. We look forward to working with you during this early phase of your program.

Before you design your program, be sure to reference the IGS Course Development Tool and refer to guidelines issued by the Forum on Education Abroad, of which UD is a member. In addition, discuss your plan first with your department chairperson to ensure that your proposal aligns with your department's international goals, and that funding is available for your S-contract.



Is directing study abroad right for you?

Are you adventurous, flexible, adaptable? Will you be able to maintain your composure and improvise if things don't go as planned? Remember that travel is full of unexpected events.

Do you enjoy spending time with students in a non-academic setting and helping them with non-academic matters? You may have to deal with homesickness, lost passports, conduct issues [excessive drinking, lateness], family emergencies, roommate or host family issues, and more!

Do you have a sense of humor? VERY important!

Are you a good organizer and bookkeeper? You will need to gather cost information, develop a budget (with our help), and stick to it. You will be entrusted with thousands of dollars of University funds and will have to properly account for how you spend them. At the same time you will have to teach your course(s) and grade assignments.

Do you have the time (for preparation, program, and wrap-up)? Will other obligations permit you to recruit students, attend several pre-departure meetings, invest time in budget and itinerary planning, go abroad , and come home to deal with financial reconciliation and the program report?



What are the responsibilities of being a Faculty Director or Co-Director?

Student recruitment and preparation:

  • Promote program (class visits, e-mail, word of mouth, etc.).
  • Organize and facilitate at least two interest meetings.
  • Interview and select applicants in compliance with UD's non-discrimination policy.
  • Organize at least two pre-departure orientation meetings.
  • Disseminate site-specific orientation materials to students, including a day-by-day program itinerary, faculty pre-departure and on-site contact information, and student housing information (with copies to the Institute for Global Studies [IGS]).
  • Be informed about student pre-departure materials provided by IGS.

Program planning and design:

  • Establish program itinerary.
  • Select group flight in consultation with IGS coordinator.
  • Organize and plan all group trips and events (academically and culturally relevant excursions, speakers, farewell dinner, etc.).
  • Liase with overseas agents and vendors (host institutions, hotels, travel agency, housing coordinator, etc.).
  • Establish preliminary and final program budgets to be reviewed by IGS coordinator.
  • Attend pre-departure meetings held by IGS.

Academic responsibilities:

  • Distribute course syllabi to students (one for each course), with copy to IGS.
  • Teach course(s) approved on program proposal with the appropriate number of contact hours.
  • Obtain any necessary approvals from UD departments for courses taught by on-site instructors.
  • Collect copies of syllabi for courses taught by on-site faculty and submit to IGS.
  • Select and arrange for local guest lecturers to enrich course(s).
  • Oversee drop/add procedure where applicable.

On-site responsibilities:

  • If the program has a group flight, fly outbound with students. If not returning with students, then accompany them to the airport and through the check-in process, remaining at airport until their flight has departed.
  • If the program does not have a group flight, provide students and IGS with detailed arrival instructions prior to departure, and monitor student arrival at arrival location.
  • Check in with IGS upon arrival at program site.
  • Participate in group excursions and events.
  • Provide students and IGS with faculty contact information during program free periods; attempt to collect such information from students.
  • Proactively assist students as needed with logistical challenges (how to ride public transportation, change money, use a telephone, etc.).
  • Respond in a timely manner to students in crisis (accident, illness, family problems at home, etc.); contact IGS about serious cases.
  • Monitor group dynamics and activities as is feasible and intervene as needed.
  • Promptly report to IGS and document any inappropriate student behavior of which faculty is informed.
  • Monitor spending against program budget.
  • Schedule time shortly before close of program for students to complete online program evaluations and DLE assessment. For programs in remote locations with no internet access, actively encourage students to complete online forms immediately upon return to the U.S.

Post-program responsibilities:

  • As required by Procurement, reconcile cash advance with original receipts within 30 days of end of program.
  • Submit program report to IGS within 30 days of end of program.
  • Submit grades to Registrars Office according to schedule posted by Registrars Office.

Compensation (assuming that program meets minimal enrollment goal):

  • S-contract salary commensurate with number of credit hours taught
  • One administrative credit per program for administrative work associated with non-academic aspects of directorship, to be paid when program responsibilities have been met (Credit may split as agreed upon between co-directors.)
  • Program expenses paid as budgeted for the duration of the program (normally includes group airfare, U.S. and international ground transportation, per diem, lodging, group excursions and events)



Where should you go?

Where in the world have you lived and traveled? Where might you feel comfortable leading a group? You should have a certain level of logistical expertise at your program site, and academic expertise will be necessary for sound and rigorous courses.

What sites relate best to your discipline area? What sites might appeal to students? Remember that students may be less interested in the courses or area of study than they are in the site. But don't force a fit; the site and the course material should logically connect.

Where do you have professional contacts? For example, perhaps you know of a host institution where you could hold classes, or you know a person who could help with on-site arrangements.

Where does the University have an infrastructure or contacts? If you haven't traveled much and have few or no leads of your own, you may want to consider building on what UD already has. We have resident directors in London, Paris, Granada, and Puebla, Mexico, but we also have contacts in many other locations around the world - in China, Argentina, India, Austria, South Africa, and many more.

Where is the University under-represented? Broadly-speaking, we are under-represented in Asia and Africa. We strongly encourage faculty with ties and expertise in these areas to develop new programs.



When should you go, summer or winter?

Is your site more pleasant in winter or summer? Do you have other obligations during either term? Think about research, teaching, conferences, child care, family events. When can your host(s) best accommodate the group? Maybe they have other groups coming in January or June, or the locals are away on holiday during all or part of the month. Keep in mind that it is more difficult to recruit for summer than winter. We typically run roughly 12 summer programs versus over 60 winter programs, yet more summer programs are canceled each year due to under-enrollment vs winter programs.



What type of program should you offer: traditional or UDmicromester?

If you would like to opt for a program that does not span the entire length of a winter or summer session, the UDmicromester may be a viable option. UDmicromesters are 3-week, thematically-based programs led by one faculty member and offering one course (up to 4 credits) taught in one or two locations. Travel time to the site must not exceed 10 hours, and the program must fall in the middle three weeks of winter session.



Which courses should you offer?

Do any of your usual course offerings lend themselves to being taught at a particular site? Think about what advantages the site lends to your course material. Try to choose courses that will allow you to get the students out of the classroom and incorporate things like attendance at performances, visits to companies or museums, city walkabouts, interviews, observations (data collection), interaction with locals . . .

Will you be able to cover necessary course material abroad? Remember that, as a rule of thumb, a 3-credit course meets for approximately 35 hours (not counting breaks); courses abroad should hold to similar standards.  Review these helpful guidelines about contact hours on UD travel study. Though instruction abroad often takes place outside of the classroom, it is often not the case that each hour of a course-related excursion is as content-rich as each hour of traditional classroom instruction. Tours are meant to enhance instruction, not replace it. A rule of thumb is that two hours of out-of-class instruction count as one hour of traditional instruction. However this will necessarily depend on the nature of the excursion and the individual who delivers the content. For example a superficial museum tour typically booked by tourist groups cannot be considered the academic equivalent of an in-depth lecture given especially to your students by a local art historian. Courses should also be completed during winter session, not in fall or spring semester.

Should the program be co-sponsored (one course taught by co-director in a different academic department)? Think about what disciplines go well together. Is there a colleague in another department with whom you might like to travel? Co-sponsored arrangements work best when both faculty are recruiting from the same large pool of students (for example Political Science and Foreign Languages) and when they are equally committed to the program. If your department is large enough, both directors could come from the same department; this is a good way to train new faculty directors. Enrollment is also a consideration-a co-directed program must enroll a minimum of 24 students.

Try to choose courses that fulfill requirements for your target audience (such as group requirements in Arts and Science, major/minor requirements, multicultural requirement).

Try to choose courses that work well together so that out-of-classroom experiences can be used for both classes. The program must be built around all students enrolling in TWO courses. This has in fact become standard among virtually all winter and summer programs. The exception is the UDmicromester, which is designed around ONE course and a location-specific theme.

If you wish to offer experimental courses, keep in mind that these must be put forward for permanent status after they have been offered twice. In addition, note that experimental courses do not fulfill any requirements, since they do not appear in the catalog. It is the faculty director's responsibility to obtain approvals from the appropriate college and/or University committees in order for experimental courses to fulfill such requirements. Since knowledge of the host location is critical, experimental courses that are designed to jump from one destination to another should be avoided.

Please see the Course Design study abroad development tool to help you design and plan your courses.



What would it involve to include a service-learning component?

Study abroad faculty directors are encouraged to add a service-learning component to the existing academic courses on their programs. Service-learning courses abroad are first and foremost academic courses with lectures, readings and reflective assignments that integrate the academic theory learned in class with the hands-on experience. The service component may count towards the minimum contact hour requirement, but with the weight of a lab or practicum (2-to-1 in most cases). Study abroad programs include two courses for a total of 6-7 credits, with the following rubric recommended for programs involving service:

  • 3 credit service-learning course with a minimum of 15-20 lecture or discussion hours and a maximum of 20-35 hours of service
  • 3-4 credit traditional academic course

For more information, check the Office of Service Learning website or call 831-8995.



Who is your target audience and how will you recruit them?

Is the program relevant only to a specific major or other group? If so, can the program attract enough students from this group to remain solvent? This approach can be risky, but we have many successful examples. Two are the Australia Civil/Mechanical Engineering and the Costa Rica Entomology programs-very specific groups of students, but the programs always fill.

Can you target feeder courses? For example Foreign Language programs that offer Spanish, French, or German 107 target students in the lower level course, 106.

Is the program targeted to too wide an audience? If the program appeals to everyone but is not targeted at any specific group, then where do you recruit? You have to rely on the attractiveness of the site. The London English program attracts students from all majors and does very well every winter session, but the Vienna Music program has often struggled to recruit students.

How will you recruit? We will post your program on our Web site, advertise your interest meetings, and can produce a color poster if necessary. We highly recommend that you e-mail students in target majors and/or target courses. Classroom visits can also be very effective. If colleagues don't permit class visits, ask them if they would be willing to distribute handouts and mention the program to their students.



Where should you go for excursions?

Study abroad programs are not "educational tours" and should not involve students spending most of their time on a bus or plane together as a group. Most excursions should be directly related to your academic courses; others should focus on the history or culture of the host site. Activities that are essentially tourism or that have nothing more than recreational value should not be included in the program; students may choose to engage in such activities during their free time and with their own funds.

What excursions make sense from a cultural standpoint? For example, if in Rome, the Vatican is a must.

What excursions make sense from an academic standpoint? Remember that you are not taking students on a vacation tour. One of the reasons for your program is to enable them to engage in learning that they would not likely be exposed to if they went abroad themselves as tourists. Typical tourist fare should be avoided, even if it seems relevant to your course. Giving students a more authentic experience, with as much in-depth contact with the host culture and environment as possible, will provide a more fulfilling, memorable, and educational program.

What excursions give the most bang for their buck? Consider distance, time, and expense. Is this excursion going to be worth the time and money? Is it relevant enough to the program's core component--the courses--that it's worth the investment of limited resources (time and money)? What would you gain if you didn't go? (A lower program fee? More free time? A slower-paced program?) What would you gain if you did go? (Nothing more than a "selling point" for recruitment purposes? A valuable educational and course-related experience?)



What size group is right?

Programs generally enroll between 14 and 30 students. The IGS policy for full faculty funding is a minimum 14 students per faculty member (for both traditional and UDmicromester programs). With at least 18 students, a program with one faculty director may request a program assistant; with 32 students (maximum group size), a program with two faculty may request an assistant. In rare cases in which a program with a single faculty director enrolls at least 28 students, two program assistants may be funded.

Apart from IGS guidelines, there are other questions to consider regarding group size. How many students can your host site handle (housing, site visits, buses)? Can you trek through the wilderness (or stroll through a museum or visit a local school) with 25 students? With 30?

How many students can your courses handle? Think about time for discussion, presentations, field work, and access to facilities. What are the typical enrollment limits for such a course on campus? How might this need to be changed abroad?

How many students can you handle? This answer will be determined in part by your level of comfort with the host site, your support system at the host site, and your ability to handle multiple students' problems.



What program model works best for your site and courses?

In keeping with the Standards of Good Practice for Short-Term Education Abroad Programs issued by the Forum on Education Abroad in January, 2009, faculty should design programs around one or two primary locations which are closely linked to the program's academic content, and with short, class-related excursions originating from those locations as necessary. Programs which involve multiple in-country or intra-country flights and/or long bus rides are often more expensive than more stationary programs and do not grant students the same opportunities to become well-acquainted with a particular site and its inhabitants. In addition, extensive travel increases the risk of serious disruptions in the program itinerary (for example due to weather or strikes), as well as unduly complicates the management of student crises (because the group must be prepared to move on to the next location). If it is safe to do so, faculty directors may build a small number of free days into their program itinerary (typically 2-3) during which students and faculty may choose to travel on their own and at their own expense if they wish.



Can everyone afford it - faculty, students, IGS?

Will the program fee be reasonable? Students on UD's programs pay two separate charges: tuition (the same amount they would pay if they were to take courses in Newark) and a program fee which will differ from program to program (consisting of airfare, housing, excursions, meals [if you choose to include them], ground transportation, site-specific fees [exit tax, visa], etc.). You have no control over tuition, nor do you have much control over costs at your host site, but keep in mind that many of the choices you make about your program will impact the program fee. For example, extra travel (particularly intra-country flights) increases program costs. Not including meals or local ground transportation (subway pass) in the program fee will help keep the fee low, but students may not appreciate paying these "hidden costs" in addition to the program fee.

Will other expenses be reasonable? Expenses directly related to instruction and program administration are not charged to the program fee (for example, faculty salary and expenses, on-site instruction and fees, guest lecturers, facility rental, phone calls). However, this does not mean that these expenses can go unchecked, and IGS will provide written guidelines for you. If expenses in one of these areas is unusually high at your site, think about how you can lower costs in other areas.

What about faculty compensation? Faculty expenses are normally covered for lodging, per diem, ground transportation in the U.S. and abroad, excursions, and site-specific expenses such as airport taxes. They also receive their regular S-contract salary for any course they teach which enrolls at least five students. Finally, each program is given an administrative stipend amounting to one credit of S-contract funding. For co-directed programs this S-contract may be paid to just one of the directors, or split between both directors at their discretion. IGS does not cover the cost of faculty passports or routine immunizations; any and all faculty expenses to be covered by the program must appear in the program's approved final budget.

Will the program attract the minimum number of students necessary? What happens if it doesn't? If a program's budget is in the red due to under-enrollment, we usually work with the faculty to reach a compromise on their compensation (for example a reduction or relinquishing of per diem, ground transportation, or other items.) On occasion, a faculty member's department or college has agreed to pay all or a portion of the budget shortfall. If no agreement can be reached, or if there are too few students to sustain the program, then the program will be canceled.



How and when do I submit a proposal?

Read first: New Proposal Guidelines FAQ

Submit the Proposal Form.

Proposal deadlines: For winter session, the deadline is December 1st, about 13 months in advance. For summer session, the deadline is July 1st, about 11 months in advance.

Students want to know nearly a year in advance what their study abroad options are. Therefore we ask for winter proposals in December so we can get them all approved before the holidays, and then they are posted to our Web site in January. With summer proposals we have a bit more time, so we ask for submissions by mid-July in the hopes of having everything on the Web before fall semester begins.

Who can I talk to about my proposal? Before you submit a proposal, we highly recommend that speak to a member of the IGS staff about your ideas.


  • Institute for Global Studies  •  Clayton Hall, 100 David Hollowell Drive  •   Newark, DE 19716, USA
    Phone: (302) 831-2852  •   Fax: (302) 831-6042  •   © 2018