At first, the thought of teaching abroad may seem daunting, but it shouldn’t! Clearly, there are certain things that you must consider, but the Study Abroad Office appreciates that, as a scholar, your primary input to the course is a curricular one. Working with you, the logistical details will be predominantly assumed by the Study Abroad Office.
If you decide that you want to teach a course abroad, various questions about the format should first be considered, such as should the abroad experience be an entire course or should it be a component of a course that already exists? If it is an entire course, how long should you be abroad? How many sessions should take place before travel to prepare the students? How many sessions should take place after the travel to complete the course? Will there be examinations? Papers?
Once you have decided these issues, the following questions should be considered.
Questions to Ask Yourself
The study abroad location that you choose should be desirable to your students and relevant to the course being taught. It’s fair to say that the more popular and/or exotic the location is the more attractive it is to the students.
Students often feel that time spent abroad will delay completion of their degree. The ideal program abroad should not be extracurricular. Offering it as an integral part of the student’s curriculum makes it more of a viable and attractive option.
If it is not a requirement, will there be a sufficient number of students? This is an academic question, which needs to be answered by the academic department involved. Consider the following: If the course is not required, are there enough students who would want to go? If there is not initially a core of students who are interested, it is not likely that additional students will be found. Time and effort, as well as financial considerations, make groups smaller than 10 impractical. The larger the group is, the less expensive it is for each student. Since the faculty/chaperone’s trip will be paid for by the students, it is obvious that the more students who register for your course the less it will cost each one, since your expenses will be spread out over a larger group of students. Cultivating student interest in study abroad begins in the classroom. A grass roots effort with your current students is the most effective way to build enthusiasm and enrollment for a program you’re planning to direct abroad. If the course is required, obviously it cannot be scheduled while the student is taking other classes.
A study abroad course is like any other course. It needs to have appropriate departmental and collegiate approvals. As you will see from the timetable below, it is crucial to follow all deadlines, since frequently it is necessary to work with very short lead-times.
If travel is the major component of the course, it will most likely take place either during the winter break or the summer. In either case the course should be offered and listed as a Fall Semester course. The logic of this is as follows:
Full-time students registering for a fall semester course can have it included in their flat (up to 18 credit) tuition. The students will need to register during priority registration in April for the following Fall. This permits sufficient time for arranging course logistics and provides the money needed to make travel arrangements in a timely fashion. Registering in this manner also allows the student to have the course fee (travel costs) taken into account for financial aid. Students must be told that a run/no-run decision for a course will be made right after priority registration, so it is crucial to register at that time.
Summer courses: If travel is during the summer, they will be traveling before the fall semester actually begins. Students will have the fall semester to complete any course requirements and grades will be submitted at the end of the fall semester.
Winter session travel: If travel is during the winter, they will be traveling after the fall semester actually ends. Students will have the fall semester to prepare any course requirements. A grade of “I” will be submitted at the end of the fall semester, pending a change to a grade after travel and any other course requirement completion.
Once you have satisfactorily answered these questions for yourself, it is time to plan the logistics of the course. You have decided on the “what”, “where”, and “when”, now it’s time to make it happen! Taking a group of students abroad does have its responsibilities, but we’d like you to be confident in your endeavor and for the experience to run smoothly. There is some legwork involved and we can help you with it. The Study Abroad Office will work with you on the following:
- Flight and hotel arrangements
- Visa and passport advising
- Medical insurance paperwork
- Assistance in the setting up of tours, ground transportation and activities
We will act as the “home base” while your group is both here and abroad to assist with faculty and parental concerns.
The most important thing for you to appreciate is that you are not undertaking this enterprise alone; the Wroxton and Study Abroad Offices are here to assist you in all phases and at all times.