Draft a Proposal, Create an Itinerary, and Establish a Budget
Assess the Needs of the Program. Ask the following:
- Does the program fill a need?
- Is there an existing program that already meets these needs?
- Does the program offer something unique that cannot be accomplished on campus?
- Is there a specific reason that this program should take place in the specified location? What is that reason?
- Does the time of year when the program is planned appeal to students?
- Are seasonal costs, airfare, lodging, food, etc. higher or lower during the time this program will be offered?
- Is there a minimum requirement for program participation?
- Minimum level of physical fitness required?
- Safety issues: country-specific and regional travel safety issues should play a critical role in your decision about suitable locations for overseas study experiences. Review the UM Travel Policy SPG 601.31 around international travel and destinations that are considered a University Travel Warning and University Travel Restriction.
Create a program itinerary
Be sure not plan your program so tightly that participants do not have the opportunity for self-exploration,shopping, socializing, and doing what appeals to them. They need time to experience the host culture to get the full benefit of being overseas. When possible, please address how you will combine the following elements in your program:
- Instruction by local scholars and experts
- Opportunities for student interaction with members of the host culture
- Opportunities for experiential learning
- Exercises for focused reflection on learning experience
- Cultural activities and site visits related to the program
- Plans to connect with any UM-Flint Alumni who are from the host country or currently working in the program vicinity
Establish a budget and create the per-student program fee
In preparing a budget, please identify all costs to participants and develop a program price that allows for an affordable, high quality program. Draft two versions of the program budget: one based on the minimum number of participants and another based on the maximum number of participants. Consider the following items as you calculate the cost per participant based on the budget:
- Airfare (usually, a faculty leader’s flight costs are included as part of the program budget; you can decide whether you want to include student's airfare in the budget, or allow for students to arrange individually)
- Meals (you can include some meals, all meals, or not meals)
- Ground transportation, including gasoline, chartered buses, public subways, buses, rental vehicles
- (as needed)
- Mandatory international health insurance ($1.10/day + $5 administrative fee)
- Cultural activities such as entrance fees to museums, sites, cultural events, cultural experiences,
- group tours, etc.)
Generally, passport fees, visa fees, vaccinations, airport exit fees, gifts for hosts, and excursions outside of those planned by the program are not included in the program budget.
Utilize the Program Budget Calculator
Making arrangements for lodging, transportation, site visits, etc. in-country can consume a lot of a program leader’s time and energy. For those who have few in-country contacts and maybe have less experience with the local territory and/or language, having the assistance of an organization that specialize in travel to that destination is extremely beneficial. A number of organizations called program/service providers specialize in arranging educationally focused group travel. They can assist program leaders with takes such as securing group flights (if required), hiring local guides, making housing arrangements, locating classroom space abroad, arranging in-country transportation, and arranging excursions and site visits.
Program/service providers general take on the liability associated with the program. There may be additional costs associated with using a program/service provider, but depending on the services requested and the number of students involved, the per-student cost can be quite reasonable, especially considering the time and effort included in making some of the arrangements. Because these program/service providers always work with groups, they will likely be able to negotiate lower rates for airfare, hotels, etc. Again, arranging programs through a program/service provider may be the best option for faculty who are new to leading study abroad programs.
Some providers include:
Particularly for new programs, it is recommended that program leaders obtain a couple of quotes from different travel operators/service providers in order to compare prices.