Program Development from Start to Finish

Please keep in mind that it takes a minimum of 12 months from initial proposal development to trip commencement to prepare a short-term international group travel program. The steps include:

  • Step 1: Draft a Proposal, Create an Itinerary, & Establish a Budget
  • Step 2: Submit the Proposal to Appropriate Approving Bodies
  • Step 3: Implement Program 

Overview of Process


1. Proposal

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)
  • Accommodation
  • 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


On-site Logistics

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.

2. Approval

Submit the Proposal the Appropriate Approving Bodies 


Departmental Approval (mandatory)

Complete any internal departmental approval processes. Course content, credit, required excursions, and prerequisites are determined by the program leader and must be approved by the program leader's department and/or school/college.


International & Global Studies Approval (optional)

The International and Global Studies Program is an interdisciplinary program that aims at providing students with a framework for focusing on international relations and global trends. The program has grown out of the conviction that International and Global Studies merits its own focus. The purpose of the program is to enable students to gain a global perspective of human events and behavior; to appreciate the cultural diversity of the World; to discern global patterns and processes and to understand their impact on particular regions. Students can major in one of the existing fields (e.g., history, management, or nursing) with a minor in International and Global Studies. 

Faculty may choose to lead a study abroad program that is sponsored by IGS. Courses are structured by the program leader, in consultation with IGS, and can be for undergraduates, graduates, or both. To lead an IGS program so, faculty are required to submit a proposal to the IGS Study Abroad Committee. Faculty who choose to lead an IGS-sponsored program receive the added benefits of having the program associated with INT credit, which attracts a larger, more diverse student population. In addition, selected scholarships have been designated for IGS programs. 

2014/2015 International & Global Studies Study Abroad Course Proposal Guidelines 


International Travel Advisory Committee Approval (mandatory) 

All University of Michigan-Flint faculty and/or staff who propose to take students abroad are REQUIRED by the Office of the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs to first register and gain approval for their course/trip through the International Travel Advisory Committee (ITAC).  The primary purpose of this requirement is to address the significant health, safety, and liability issues that exist when students go abroad as part of a university led/sponsored experience. Individual departments, including the International and Global Studies Program, and those within the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Education and Human Services, School of Health Professions and Studies, and the School of Management retain academic and pedagogical autonomy in study abroad trips.  

International Group Travel Health & Safety Approval Form


Please do not replicate the example. It is meant to serve of a guideline of expectations of the responses required by ITAC. Please note that the responses to the questions around health, safety, and security will be different for each region of the world. 

Submission Deadlines

  • For Health and Safety Review Only: This form must be submitted a minimum of 90 days prior to trip commencement.
  • For Health & Safety Review,  student scholarship eligibility and Education Abroad Office marketing: This form must be submitted by May 30th of the previous year. This deadline ensures that approved trips will be included in fall term marketing campaigns.

**NOTE**: If you want your program to be an IGS-sponsored program and be cross-listed with INT credit, you will need to submit a proposal and supporting material to the International and Global Studies Committee AND the  International Group Travel Health & Safety Approval  form directly to Dr. Ananth Aiyer, IGS Chair by May 1, 2014.  Students participating in IGS-sponsored programs generally receive more scholarships than students participants in strictly departmental programs.

3. Implement

The Education Abroad Office (EAO) will provide support in the implementation your program. A Project/Grant (P/G) will be created for the program, where all monies for the program will be put into. Program implementation steps with EAO include: 

  • Marketing the program 
  • Accepting and processing applications and deposits
  • Collecting all payments and depositing in the P/G
  • Ensuring all student pre-travel forms are submitted, health insurance cards provided
  • Booking airfare, arranging for travel visas, etc.
  • Paying for any onsite expenses to service providers
  • Providing pre-departure orientation


International Travel Group Leader Handbook