Planning & Review for RSOs
Detailed program planning and review will contribute significantly to the success of your RSO trip.
Planning Your Program
- Policy and protocol review. RSO trip leaders should be familiar with university policy for travel abroad. Visit the Travel Policies page of our website for a complete list. If RSO trip leaders have questions, they should contact us.
- Itinerary preparation. Beyond the obvious of avoiding or mitigating risky locations, activities, or general situations, a good itinerary can benefit programs by channeling the travelers’ focus.
- Develop a preemptive itinerary. Travelers should be engaged constructively. Providing too much leisure time allows the travelers’ focus to wander, creating conditions for potential problems. The goal should be an itinerary that allows travelers time to explore, but generally keeps them focused throughout the program.
- Guide leisure time pursuits. Take the time to research area attractions and activities as part of building the itinerary. Incorporate leisure time in areas with appropriate or constructive activities, then provide travelers with suggestions. Be sure you understand what activities are excluded from international insurance and plan appropriately.
- Program leader orientation. The University Policy on Health and Safety in Study Abroad requires RSO trip leaders to attend a health, safety, and security orientation before taking students abroad. earn more about Program Leader Orientation.
- Student preparation. RSO trip leaders should prioritize their efforts to prepare travelers prior to departure. Preparation must include an orientation; other steps include clarifying expectations for the program and building rapport between participants.
- Student orientation. The University Policy on Health and Safety in Study Abroad requires leaders to provide a health, safety, and security orientation to students before program departure. Pre-Departure Orientation for Students.
- Student expectations. The idea of traveling abroad, potentially for the first time, creates many expectations. RSO trip leaders should manage those expectations as part of the orientation and preparation process. Even for short programs, travelers should be prepared for culture shock, large and small inconveniences, and differences between “postcard” images and reality.
- Expectation of travelers. It is important to manage a traveler’s expectations and help them understand what is expected of them. In the program itinerary, clearly spell out what is expected behaviors and dedicate time during the orientation to explain the importance of those expectations. Explain the cultural differences that may require conservative dress, refraining from taking pictures, or other actions considered normal in the United States.
- High-risk travel destination requirements. The University Policy on International Travel requires a review and consultation for programs traveling to high-risk destinations designated by the U.S. Department of State as Travel Advisory Level 3 (Reconsider Travel) or Level 4 (Do Not Travel). Visit our Identifying High-Risk Destinations page for a complete list. Program information must be recorded on the RSO International Travel Reporting Form (PDF) and submitted to us at least 60 days in advance.
Program Review & Consultation
We strongly encourage RSO trip leaders to submit any short-term program abroad plans for review and consultation.
The University Policy on International Travel requires a review and consultation for programs traveling to high-risk destinations designated by the U.S. Department of State as Travel Advisory Level 3 (Reconsider Travel) or Level 4 (Do Not Travel). Program information must be recorded on the RSO International Travel Reporting Form (PDF) and submitted to International Safety and Security at least 60 days in advance.
Optional Review & Consultation
For travel to non-high-risk destinations, we encourage RSO trip leaders to provide their plans for review. We will provide insight on areas of potential risk and how to mitigate those risks.
RSO Travel Waiver
All participants in RSO-related travel abroad must read, understand, and complete the Acknowledgment and Assumption of Risks, Release of Liability, and Waiver of Rights for RSO Travel Abroad below.