University of Delaware

Institute for Global Studies

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Study Abroad

Suggestions for Orientation Meetings

Attendance. You are likely to get a better turnout at your meetings if you e-mail students a couple of days before each meeting. Have students sign an attendance list at each meeting. Follow-up right away with students who miss meetings.

Ice-breaker. These students (and you) will be spending a lot of time together. It is a good idea to have some kind of activity planned to help you all get to know each other (esp. important for programs in which students choose roommates).

Handouts. Be sure to give students information in writing (flight itinerary, housing arrangements, program itinerary, your contact information abroad and pre-departure [address, fax, phone, e-mail if available], group contact information on excursions, etc.). Send your coordinator electronic copies of all of your handouts, or upload them to the database.

Payments due. Remind students of that all charges have posted to their UD student account, and they will be billed for the final balance in the month prior to departure.

Registration. Students on all programs must take courses for credit and a grade (no auditing, no pass/fail).

If your program allows a choice of courses, ask students which courses they intend to take. (Have them note this on attendance list.) This will help you to better keep track of enrollment in your program's courses when the class rosters become available in UDSIS.

Arrangements for Honors sections and registration must be made before departure. Students enrolled in Honors sections should receive a handout explaining this additional component.

On most programs, there will be little occasion to drop or add courses. However, if students do wish to drop/add (Honors to non-Honors, for example), they should take care of this before departure. While abroad, students can drop/add online or via email to the Institute for Global Studies. If drop/add is an option on your program, your coordinator can inform you of the drop/add dates.

Look over your class lists in UDSIS and make sure everyone is registered correctly. Students should double-check their registration on their own via UDSIS.

Classes. Talk to students about what each of their classes will be like, who will teach them, how often they will meet, how they will be graded, etc. Tell them that attendance is mandatory for class and excursions; there will be no refunds for activities in which students do not participate, for whatever reason.

  • VERY IMPORTANT: Closely monitor courses taught by foreign faculty to make sure that they provide students with a syllabus which includes the grading policy. Have them keep you informed of any problems which arise in their class (including attendance & student preparation), and visit classes once in a while during your program to make sure that everything is running smoothly.


Books. Show students which books they will need to buy and bring with them on the program, and give them this information in writing. If you placed a book order, books should be available at the University Bookstore before finals week, and students must purchase them before the end of the semester. Non-UD students may order their books online. Also, let students know which books and other materials they will have to purchase abroad so they can budget for this expense.

Send textbooks & syllabi to foreign faculty early, if needed. The Institute for Global Studies will pay for sending textbooks to foreign faculty via airmail, but not via FedEx, so be sure to leave time for mailing.

University Policies/Procedures. Discuss with students the importance of appropriate behavior and the consequences of any form of misconduct, including use of illegal drugs, excessive drinking, hitchhiking, etc. Use the orientation meetings to set the tone for your program. Be very frank about your feelings regarding the use of alcohol while abroad and the penalties you will impose for abuse. Talk about your responsibility to consider the feelings of all the students on the program, most of whom will vocally object to the presence and behavior of those abusing alcohol.

The director, as a representative of the University while abroad, reserves the right to request that a student be removed from a program in extreme cases of violation of University regulations. If you feel that such a violation has been committed on your program, immediately call your coordinator. The Assoc. Director of Study Abroad will collaborate with you and the Office of Student Conduct  to find a solution and create a plan of action.

Students are also required to complete an online orientation before they participate in a program and are prompted to do so upon acceptance. Feel free to remind them of this task as you discuss your own expectations of conduct.

Flights. If your group is traveling on the same flight, please provide students with detailed flight information in writing, including where and when to meet you at the airport.


If students are traveling independently, make sure that they know where and when to meet the group. Remember that it is the student's responsibility to make arrangements to meet the group on-site, and that they bear any additional costs related to their on-site transportation. Collect flight (or train) itineraries from students, so that you know roughly when they should arrive. If a delay causes a change of plans, explain how the students should notify you.

If you have arranged (on your own) for group transportation between campus and the U.S. airport (i.e. a bus or shuttle), let the students know the precise meeting time and place, and provide your coordinator with this information as well. This will help us respond to calls from frantic parents wondering where they are supposed to bring their son or daughter.


Health Related Items. During winter and summer session study abroad programs, student participants are automatically covered under the University's insurance policy with HTH Worldwide. (This coverage does NOT apply to students on domestic travel study programs.) Along with their airline ticket students will receive an insurance card and a brochure containing coverage information and exclusions.  We will mail these documents to the campus address of those students who purchase their own airline tickets. For instructions on how to log into HTH’s extensive database of approved medical facilities and providers around the world, contact your program coordinator or Lisa Chieffo,

If students are taking medication, they should plan to bring an ample supply with them, as well as a clearly written copy of their generic (as opposed to brand name) prescription. Even students not on medication should bring with them a small supply of standard, over-the-counter products that they typically use (aspirin, cold medicine, etc.). This is particularly important for programs in locations where students often get sick. Students who wear glasses or contact lenses should bring an extra pair with them.

Please take the time to read the students' health reports in the database to see if any students suffer from allergies or other medical conditions that you, the host family or flatmates should know about. Do not discuss a student's medical condition with anyone without first asking the student's permission. In your pre-departure packet we will include a printout of the health reports from the database to take with you.

  • VERY IMPORTANT: Discourage students from engaging in high-risk activities such as bungee jumping, sky diving, and scuba diving, and remind them of the risks associated with alcohol consumption (reduced inhibitions, physical vulnerability, disorientation, etc.). HTH insurance does not cover injury sustained while engaged in such activities, nor does it cover injury sustained while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.


Housing Issues. Describe the living arrangements in the host country. It is extremely important to stress to students that they will be guests in someone's home, or guests in a hotel (on most programs), and should behave accordingly. If your program has a homestay, we suggest that you distribute some kind of "housing guide" and discuss it at one of your meetings so that students are well aware of what to expect from their host family, and what their family expects of them. You can gather students' housing preference information from the database housing report.

Telephone. Students should obtain a calling card or SIM card to facilitate making calls to the U.S. For most programs it's best for students to buy their calling cards in the host country. Let students know what works best at your site. Stress that they will most likely not be permitted to make long-distance calls from their flats, or from the home of their host family, although they must be allowed to receive calls during reasonable hours. Direct calls from hotel rooms will likely be quite expensive. Skype is the least expensive way of phoning if there is free high-speed internet available.

Money Matters. Give students an idea of how much spending money they should take on the program. (Estimates can be obtained by talking to a few of last year's participants.) Depending on the site, students might not be able to rely on an ATM machine to obtain cash. It is a good idea for them to procure a small amount of foreign currency ahead of time, which can usually be done at the airport before departure (for major currencies), and to have a major credit card on hand for emergencies.

It's also important for students to know that if their UD I.D. card is also their ATM card, and if they lose this card while abroad, the University cannot replace it until they return to campus in person. Therefore students should take with them an ATM card issued by a bank, since banks have procedures for replacing lost ATM cards without having the owner appear in person.

Make sure that students are clear on what the program fee covers and does not cover; give this to them in writing. Make clear to them that there will be no refunds for excursions or cultural activities in which they do not participate, meals which they miss, etc. The program is a "package deal", and individual expenses will not be itemized. Please do not reveal to students the cost of any individual budgetary items.

Packing. Give students an idea of what type of clothing is appropriate for your program, as well as what other items they should and should not bring along. A packing list is helpful, as well as repeated reminders to pack light.

Cultural Differences. It is important to brief students ahead of time on some of the major differences they will encounter in order to ease the culture shock they are sure to face. Consider discussing the differences in things like political correctness, gender relationships, etc. Talk about the "ugly American" and how students can avoid fitting that stereotype. This handout describes some creative ways to help your students engage with their host culture.

Past Participants.  Invite a few carefully chosen participants from past programs to your location to come to your meeting, talk about their experiences, and answer students' questions.

  • Institute for Global Studies  •  Clayton Hall, 100 David Hollowell Drive  •   Newark, DE 19716, USA
    Phone: (302) 831-2852  •   Fax: (302) 831-6042  •   © 2016