Planning to travel abroad on Temple University-affiliated international travel can be exciting but also overwhelming. The following resources and recommendations have been compiled to assist an individual traveler as well as group program leaders plan and prepare for international travel, as well as comply with the university's international travel policy. The compilation of recommendations below is based on best practices within the field of education abroad as outlined in the Forum on Education Abroad's guidelines for programmatic development.
Planning to Travel Abroad
Start conversations with your department head, college dean and/or the Education Abroad Office about who will be sponsoring your individual or group travel at least one year in advance of the target term. Some colleges on campus do have their own study abroad/international offices and/or designated staff for international experiences, so exploring your options within your college/department first is a good start.
In these discussions, it is helpful to have an idea of the type of experience you are constructing for the participants and to consider the following questions.
- Will you be awarding or receiving credit?
- Are there limitations or best practices around academics abroad?
- What are the goals for the time abroad?
- Who must I collaborate with on my campus to develop/implement this experience?
Regardless of the traveler, it is recommended that the traveler have a general understanding and knowledge about their host location. For groups with program leaders, it is recommended that at least one program leader should have firsthand experience in the host country and if applicable, possess host country language abilities. The experience/course should be integrated with the location. It should facilitate comparative study within the field, and reflect the city, country, culture, significant people and sites, foreign language, and more.
When considering where to host the experience, consider the following.
- Has the location been attempted in the past with success?
- Does the location appeal to Temple students?
- Is this location a popular travel destination?
- Are there similar programs already operating in this location/space?
- Are there barriers and/or challenges to operating in that location?
Risks associated with traveling abroad can vary, however as a either an independent traveler or a group leader, it is your responsibility to understand the risks associated with your destination and intended activities. Temple University uses a variety of sources to determine the potential risks of locations, as well as to individual travelers. The U.S. government and other governments provide destination-specific information to their citizens planning international travel. Temple travelers are encouraged to use these resources, and do additional outside research, to understand the potential risks and their host country prior to departure.
Group Program Leader Role
Leading a group abroad is an exciting experience for both the group leader and the participants on the program. Along with teaching the course or providing guidance on a project outcome, the program leader serves many other roles leading up to the departure date and while on-site. These roles can include, but are not limited to, the following.
- Team builder
- Group facilitator
- Emergency contact / 24/7 response for troubleshooting
- Incident response reporter
- Mentor / pastoral care of participants
- Travel organizer
- Financial / budget authority
Collaborating on campus
In addition to the department head, college dean and/or Education Abroad Office, group program leaders should consult with the director of international risk management, university counsel and the Office of International Affairs about collaborating on the implementation of the experience.
Depending on the type of experience you are organizing, it may be recommended that you establish an agreement or Memorandum of Understanding between Temple University and the host organization. Generally, memorandums of understanding outline the services provided to Temple University as well as the terms and conditions around financial commitments, refunds and cancellations. It is strongly recommended to consult with university counsel to determine if an agreement is needed.
In most cases, the host organization will be required to provide proof of insurance prior to the program being delivered. Risk Management can provide guidance on the types of insurance that will be required, as well as insurance limits, that should be provided in advance of any payment being issued to the host organization.
Depending on the administrative unit supporting your program/experience abroad, there may be a proposal process. It is best to consult with that unit around the requirements for a proposal, timelines for submission as well as areas that should be addressed.
Timelines for Group Travel Development
The following is general guidance on programmatic development for groups traveling internationally. Group leaders should pay close attention to these guidelines, as well as the program assessment and review timelines for the 2023-24 academic year.
In advance of departure
Discussions and approval within your unit
18 months in advance of program departure
12–16 months in advance of program departure
6–12 months in advance of program departure
Logistics (both student and faculty prep)
3–6 months in advance of program departure
1–3 months in advance of program departure