Orientation Meeting Guidelines

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Guidelines for

Study Abroad Orientation Meetings 

All UD Study Abroad faculty are required to host mandatory pre-departure orientations for their study abroad students. These are a series of recommendations for successful sessions:

You are likely to get a better turnout at your meetings if you send an email reminder a couple of days in advance. Have students sign an attendance list at each meeting and follow up right away with students who miss meetings.

You and your students will be spending a lot of time together. It is a good idea to have some kind of activity planned to help you all get to know each other.

Be sure to give students the following information in writing. Send your coordinator electronic copies of all of your handouts, or upload them to the database:

  • Flight itinerary;

  • Housing arrangements;

  • Program itinerary;

  • Your domestic and international contact information (phone, email and address); and

  • Group contact information on excursions.  

Remind students that all charges have posted to their My Finances, and that they will be billed for the final balance in the month prior to departure.

Students on all programs must take courses for credit and a grade (no auditing or pass/fail).

If your program allows a choice of courses, ask students to note which courses they intend to take on the attendance list. This will help you to keep track of enrollment in your program's courses when the class rosters become available in UDSIS.

Look over your class lists in UDSIS and make sure everyone is registered correctly. Students should also double-check their registration on their own via UDSIS.

Arrangements for Honors sections and registration must be made before departure. Students enrolled in Honors sections should receive a handout explaining this additional component.

On most programs, there will be little occasion to drop or add courses. However, if students do wish to drop/add, they should take care of this before departure. While abroad, students can drop/add online or by emailing the Center for Global Programs & Services. If drop/add is an option on your program, your coordinator can inform you of the deadline.

Talk with students about what each of their classes will be like, who will teach them, how often they will meet and how they will be graded. Make sure everyone understands that attendance is mandatory for classes and excursions. There will be no refunds for activities in which students do not participate, for whatever reason.

It is very important to closely monitor courses taught by foreign faculty to make sure that they provide students with a syllabus which includes the grading policy. Have them keep you informed of any problems which arise in their class and plan to visit once in a while during your program to make sure that everything is running smoothly.

Show students which books they will need to buy and bring with them on the program. Give them this information in writing. If you placed a book order, books should be available at the University Bookstore before finals week, and students must purchase them before the end of the semester. Non-UD students may order their books online. If students need to purchase books or other materials abroad, let them know so they can budget for this expense.

Send textbooks & syllabi to foreign faculty early, if needed. The Center for Global Programs & Services will pay for sending textbooks to foreign faculty via airmail, but not via FedEx. Be sure to leave ample time for mailing.

Discuss with your students the importance of appropriate behavior and the consequences of any form of misconduct, including the use of illegal drugs, excessive drinking and hitchhiking. Use the orientation meetings to set the tone for your program. Be very frank about your feelings regarding the use of alcohol while abroad and the penalties you will impose for abuse. Share your responsibility to consider the feelings of all the students on the program, most of whom will vocally object to the presence and behavior of those abusing alcohol.

The director, as a representative of the University while abroad, reserves the right to request that a student be removed from a program in extreme cases of violation of University regulations. If you feel that such a violation has been committed on your program, immediately call your coordinator. The Associate Director of Study Abroad will collaborate with you and the Office of Student Conduct to find a solution and create a plan of action.

Students are also required to complete an online orientation before they participate in a program and are prompted to do so upon acceptance. Feel free to remind them of this task as you discuss your own expectations of conduct.

If your group is traveling on the same flight, please provide students with detailed flight information in writing, including where and when to meet you at the airport.

If students are traveling independently, make sure that they know where and when to meet the group. Remember, it is the student's responsibility to make arrangements to meet the group on-site, They bear any additional costs related to their on-site transportation. Collect flight (or train) itineraries from students, so that you know roughly when they should arrive. If a delay causes a change of plans, explain how the students should notify you.

If you have arranged (on your own) for group transportation between campus and the U.S. airport (i.e. a bus or shuttle), communicate with your students about the precise meeting time and place, and provide your coordinator with this information as well. This will help us respond to calls from frantic parents wondering where they are supposed to bring their student. 

During Winter and Summer Session study abroad programs, student participants are automatically covered under the University's insurance policy with GeoBlue. This coverage does NOT apply to students on domestic travel study programs. Remind your students to print their UD Member Card and to register using the app. 

If students are taking medication, they should plan to bring an ample supply with them, as well as a clearly written copy of their generic prescription. Even students not on medication should bring with them a small supply of standard, over-the-counter products that they typically use. Students who wear glasses or contact lenses should bring an extra pair with them.

Please take the time to read your students' health reports to see if any students suffer from allergies or other medical conditions that you, the host family or flatmates should know about. Do not discuss a student's medical condition with anyone without first asking the student's permission. In your pre-departure packet we will include a printout of the health reports from the Study Abroad Portal to take with you.

Discourage students from engaging in high-risk activities such as bungee jumping, skydiving, and scuba diving. GeoBlue insurance does not cover injuries sustained while engaged in such activities, nor does it cover injuries sustained while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Describe students’ living arrangements in their host community. It is extremely important to stress to students that they will be guests, and should behave accordingly. If your program has a homestay, we suggest that you distribute a "housing guide." Discuss it at one of your meetings so that students are well aware of what to expect from their host family, and what their family expects of them. You can gather students' housing preference information from the housing report in your Study Abroad Portal

Students should obtain a calling card or SIM card to facilitate making calls locally. For most programs, it's best for students to buy their calling cards in the host country. Let students know what works best at your site. For contacting family and friends at home, Skype, FaceTime or Whatsapp is best when free high-speed internet is available.

Give students an idea of how much spending money they should take on the program. Gather estimates by talking to a few of last year's participants. Depending on the site, students might not be able to rely on an ATM machine to obtain cash. It is a good idea for them to procure a small amount of foreign currency ahead of time, which can usually be done at the airport before departure. They should also have a major credit card on hand for emergencies.

If a student uses their UDID as an ATM card, and if they lose it while abroad, the University cannot issue a replacement until they return to campus in person. Therefore, students should take with them an ATM card issued by a bank.

Make sure that students are clear on what the program fee covers and does not cover and give this information to them in writing. Make clear to your students that there will be no refunds for excursions or cultural activities in which they do not participate or meals which they miss. The program is a "package deal", and individual expenses will not be itemized. Please do not reveal to students the cost of any individual budgetary items.

Help students understand what type of clothing is appropriate for your program, as well as what other items they should and should not bring along. A packing list is helpful, as well as repeated reminders to pack light.

Brief students ahead of time on some of the major differences they will encounter abroad. This will ease the culture shock they are sure to face. Give your participants some tips on how they can avoid negative American stereotypes.

Invite a few carefully chosen participants from past programs to your location to come to your meeting, talk about their experiences, and answer students' questions.

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Photo taken by Jenna Jackson on the 19S Hong Kong Exchange Program.