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 www.global.umich.edu 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)
- 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
- Miscellaneous contingencies (photocopies, parking fees, luggage transfers, emergency funds)
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 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.
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.