Program Development from Start to Finish

Illustrated below is an overview of the cycle:

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 includes itinerary, budget, and academic curriculum

  • Step 2: Acquire Approval unit-level, health/safety, IGS

  • Step 3: Implement Program market program/enroll students, orient students, lead program


To initiate the process:

  1. Review the UM-Flint Policies and Procedures for International Group Travel.
  2. Download the Resource Guide for International Group Travel Programs.
  3. Review the Implementation Basics PowerPoint.
  4. Utilize the Program Budget Calculator when creating your budget.

Program leaders are encouraged to contact the Education Abroad Office (EAO) and the International and Global Studies Program (IGS) in advance to discuss their goals for designing a program. They are also encouraged to participate in program leader preparedness sessions hosted by IGS and EAO.

Tentative Calendar for Academic Year 2016/2017 

For programs taking place in 2017:

Activity Deadline
Application for International Group Travel Due March 15, 2016
Marketing Preparation May – August 2016
Student Application Opens September 2016
Student Application Closes December 2016
Student Scholarship Application Due January 2017
Student Program Fee Due March 2017
Program Takes Place May – August 2017

Review the tabs below for more details about creating, submitting, and implementing a program. 




1. Draft a Proposal

The proposal usually includes a detailed overview of the program, a syllabus, a tentative itinerary of pre-departure activities, a tentative itinerary of day-to-day activities that will occur onsite, and a budget.

Assessing the Needs & Goals of the Program

Before you draft your proposal, consider 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 at around international travel and destinations that are considered a University Travel Warning and University Travel Restriction.


The Curriculum, Program Content and Itinerary

While planning your course content or program subject, consider cultural site visits, tours, lectures, or interviews with local residents which can complement course content. Once you have determined your academic and cultural concentration for the program, begin planning the syllabus design: readings, discussions, and interviews with experts, trips, tour of sites, journal assignment, and lectures. Coordinate the timing of assigned readings and related discussions to site visits. 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 abroad. When possible, 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 who  are  from  the  host  country  or currently working in the program vicinity

As your write your proposal, consider identifying and including the following:

  • Definition of Program/Project/Theme: Define the project theme. Indicate how the proposal relates to the enhancement of student intercultural learning, as well as departmental and school/college priorities
  • Project Implementation: Be specific about what the project will entail. Explain what activities will be carried out, by whom, and how materials will be used. Include the names and qualifications of all on-site hosts, institutions, or consultants who will be funded by the grant. Indicate how and where students will be accommodated and how local team logistics will be handled.
  • Impact on Learning: Discuss the effects the project and travel will have on student learning. Identify the specific diversity/multicultural learning anticipated.
  • Local Contribution/Service: Projects should benefit the sites visited as much as it benefits UM-Flint and students. Indicate how the project will meet this goal.
  • Scope: Specify the number of students and other teaching staff who will be affected by the project both immediately and eventually. Identify specific departments, programs, and/or courses which will be impacted, as well as the local populations that will be affected.
  • On-Campus Teaching Impact: Describe how this experience will be incorporated into your own department’s teaching and curriculum development. State how the project will contribute to the multicultural/diversity goals of your unit.
  • Timeline & Itinerary: Experiences are typically 1, 2, 3, or 4 weeks in length. Most average around 3 weeks. Indicate the anticipated timeline for carrying out the experience. Include all points of evaluation and a proposed travel itinerary.
  • Personnel: List personnel who will be involved in the project and provide a sentence or two about each of their qualifications. Explain how the prior experience and skills of key project staff qualify them to perform their project responsibilities. Samples of prior work, if available (e.g., web pages, multimedia programs, relevant course materials) should be submitted to demonstrate expertise. Do not include curricula vitae.


Budgets & Finances

In preparing a budget, 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:


  • Roundtrip airfare (usually, your 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)
  • Lodging
  • Transportation in host country (taxis, chartered buses, public buses, subway, etc.)
  • Meals (how many and which meals will be included. Some programs pay for breakfast and dinner and advise students that they will pay for their own lunches)
  • Special admissions fees (to museums, events, theaters, etc.)
  • Payments to guest speakers, lectures, host institutions
  • Mobile phones, fax, etc.
  • Health insurance
  • Project materials
  • Pre-departure events, dinners, etc.
  • Costs to exchange currency, allowing for fluctuations in exchange rate
  • Tips
  • Miscellaneous contingencies (photocopies, parking fees, luggage transfers, emergency funds)
  • Taxes

Budget on the high side: while you want to keep the program as affordable as possible for students, it is important that the program fees you collect are adequate so you don't run into a deficit. Determine the minimum group size and set the per-student program cost. If your department has established a minimum under which the program will not operate, use that minimum for budgeting. Utilize the Program Budget Calculator to determine your program budget and per-student cost.

The Project/Grant

The Education Abroad Office will work with the Program Leader and Business Administrator to set up an individual project/grant (PG’s) program each program under each designated supporting unit. The PG will be administered by the Business Administrator, with all travel advances, reimbursements, receipts and reconciliation activities happening at the university level. Once EAO has verified a budget, it is considered final and the student program fee firm.

Program Leaders will be able to post charges against their PG as soon as they receive their account chart-fields, but actual program monies will not be officially transferred to the PG until the term the program takes place. Program funding must be used for agreed upon project expenses only.

Customizing Programs

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 

Faculty and staff are required to submit the Application for International Group Travel when seeking approval to take students abroad. This application includes a number of campus reviews and approvals:

  1. Department/Unit-Level Approval (required).  Program leaders should complete any internal unit review and processes. Course content, credit, excursions, and prerequisites are determined by the program leader and must be approved by their department and/or school/college.
  1. Health & Safety Approval (required). 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 gain approval for their program 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
  1. International and Global Studies Approval (for those seeking IGS endorsement). IGS Core Faculty will review proposals seeking IGS approval. Proposals will be reviewed for academic rigor, interdisciplinary focus and the ability to provide students with a global perspective at three levels: chronological, spatial, and thematic.

3. Implement

There are 5 stages of program implementation:

The Education Abroad Office (EAO) will provide support in the implementation your program.

Resource Guide for International Group Travel

the Education Abroad Office

The goal of the Education Abroad Office (EAO) is to provide quality service and support to students who seek international opportunities through education abroad and to support the internationalization efforts of the University of Michigan-Flint. The Education Abroad Office is committed to academic excellence and cultural enlightenment to equip students for active and intellectual participation in the global society.

EAO staff are available to meet one-on-one with approved program leaders, as well as faculty and staff who are interested in developing a short-term international group travel program. EAO can provide information on the process, as well as guidance of resources. Other support services EAO offers to approved program leaders and units includes:

  • Program Marketing & Promotion. The following are the marketing provisions available for program leaders:
    • Webpage in M-Flint WorldLink
    • Individual program flyer (small and/or large)
    • Inclusion in the annual brochure
    • Invitation to the Education Abroad Fair
    • Assistance with information session(s)
    • Promotion during individual advising sessions
  • Enrollment of Applicants. Students will utilize M-Flint WorldLink—the education abroad online management software—to submit applications, as well as other requirements. Enrollment requirements include:
    • Application Form
    • Deposit
    • Disciplinary Information & Criminal Information
    • Participation Agreement
    • Health Information Form
    • Health Care Provider Clearance Form
    • Emergency Medical Treatment Authorization Form
    • UM Travel Warning Destination Liability Waiver
    • Additional items, as requested by program leaders
  • Scholarship Support. The Education Abroad Office supports the facilitation of scholarships earmarked for faculty/staff-led programs. Scholarship applications and recommendation letters are submitted in WorldLink.  Award decisions are provided to students via email in February.
  • General & Country-Specific Health and Safety Pre-Departure Orientation. The Education Abroad Office will provide to students a general health and safety pre-departure orientation and concurrent quiz. The orientation and quiz is accessible to students in WorldLink.
  • Enrollment in Highway to Health (HTH) Insurance. The Education Abroad Office will enroll all program participants in Highway to Health (HTH) Insurance. Insurance cards will be provided to program leaders to distribute to students.
  • Registration in U-M Travel Registry. The Education Abroad Office will register the program travel details as well as participant details in the UM-Travel Registry.
  • Incident & Crisis Management Support. In conjunction with the International Travel Advisory Committee (ITAC) and other relevant units, the Education Abroad Office will provide on-going crisis management support throughout the duration of your program.
  • Communication with Students. The Education Abroad Office will communicate regularly with students to ensure safety compliance, information about deadlines, and respond to general questions about the program.


M-Flint WorldLink

M-Flint WorldLink is the UM-Flint education abroad online management software.  As a program leader, you will be granted access to WorldLink to view the applicants and provide decisions to EAO to accept, deny, or waitlist a student. You will also have access to view the various items submitted by students.