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Propose a New Faculty-Led Study Abroad Program

Are you interested in putting together a new faculty-led study abroad program? Taking a group of students abroad can be an amazing opportunity to expand their learning and provide hands-on experience. Study abroad has also proven to be a high impact practice that can improve retention and graduation rates among students as well as helping them to develop confidence, adaptability and communication skills that are vital in the workplace. That being said, leading a short-term program is a lot of responsibility and takes time to organize.

These programs tend to last from 10 days to a month and can take place during Summer or Allen Term as well as in the form of an extension on one of your regular classes. For example, a spring B term class could include a travel lab in May after the end of semester.
How to submit a proposal:
To submit a formal proposal, please download the linked file below and fill out the form. You can send the completed form to to start the review process!
Education Abroad | Faculty-Led Program Proposal
Important things to remember:
  1. Timeline: Generally, you want to submit a program proposal about a year before you plan to go abroad. This gives us time to plan the program details and recruit students. Proposals submitted on a shorter timeline might need to be moved to a later semester.
  2. Recruitment: Per AU policy, all faculty-led programs need to have at least 10 participating students to run. Programs that don’t make the minimum number are cancelled for that term. That being said, you don’t want to have more students than you, your co-leader if applicable, and the host-site can handle. It’s a question of finding the right balance.

    As the lead faculty member, you are responsible for recruiting the students. The Education Abroad office will help as much as possible and will post information about your program on our website but your connection with the students through various classes and other faculty members whose students might be interested are invaluable.
  3. Designing a program: So how do you go about designing a program? First and foremost, a study abroad program is an educational experience. You’ll want to start there and talk with your department chair about how this program fits in with other course offerings. You’ll also need to decide how many credits the course will be worth and how you’ll get your contact hours in to meet the requirements.

    Do you want to cross list your program? A great way to improve recruitment is to cross list your program with a another department. If you can get another faculty member to co-lead the program with you, that is often a huge plus as well since you can draw in more students and share responsibilities for managing the students while you’re abroad. Your program doesn’t have to have the same activities for both groups either, as long as you’re in the same area, one group could be doing one thing while the other could be participating in a different activity. This is also a great way to promote interdisciplinary learning and is definitely encouraged if you can manage it!

    Where should you go? Have you travelled to certain parts of the world before, do you speak the language? Your destination should directly contribute to the academic content of your class but it also needs to be attractive to the students. Do you have any professional contacts in the area that might be able to provide connections on the ground?

    If you aren’t familiar with the area you want to go to, you can also build on contacts AU already has in the region. It’s something to discuss with the Education Abroad office. Another thing to keep in mind when choosing a location is what other AU study abroad programs already exist in that area. If there are three programs that go to the same country during the same time period, that dramatically decreases your applicant pool no matter what each program is about.

    Environmental conditions are also important when planning a program. You may not want to be in Norway in January but July in Australia could be lovely.

    The last thing to determine is what you want the students to do while they’re there and how long it will take to get from place to place. Sticking to one city or region can help to avoid logistical mishaps (missed trains, etc.) if you can manage it. It’s also common to build a few days of free time into your schedule so the students can have time to process and really explore the location.
  4. Cost: Your program needs to be cost effective for the students. A high price tag will give you trouble when recruiting participants and of course the idea is to make study abroad accessible to as many students as possible. There are several ways to keep costs reasonable. For example, students pay tuition along with the program fee so tuition for a travel lab associated with an A or B term class will already be rolled into their semester tuition while Allen term or summer classes will have tuition added on top. It also matters what country you decide to go to, do they have a lower or higher cost of living?
Next steps: Once you’ve submitted your program proposal form to, the next step is to set up a meeting with the Education Abroad office so we can go over the details and planning process!

Leading Short-Term Education Abroad Programs
Standards of Good Practice for Education Abroad