Program Design & Teach Abroad Resources

Why Teach Abroad: Benefits to Faculty & Program Directors

Professionally, teaching abroad may be counted for tenure and promotion in your area while directing abroad may be counted as service for tenure and promotion. Inquire within your department to be certain about how it will count for you. Teaching abroad challenges you to see the curriculum in a new light as you design or redesign your course. See Making Study Abroad a Win-Win Opportunity for Pre-Tenure Faculty, a discussion of the goals of service, teaching, and research through study abroad programs.

Personally, your own discovery of the location enables growth in independence and a renewed excitement. This informs both the growth of your teaching and of you personally. It's okay to check off items on your bucket list through teach abroad.

Of course teaching and directing abroad is hard work. These resources spell out the difficulties but also the rewards of teaching abroad.

Program Development

If you haven't already perused the information provided in Step by Step to Teaching Abroad, you should start there. The information provided there will:

  • Help you determine whether you're ready to design a program on your own or
  • Whether you need the assistance and support of a provider OR
  • Whether you should teach your first course abroad through a consortium. Consortium are partners of Murray State University that allow you to plug your course into existing structures (currently KIIS and CCSA).

Why? As you begin to consider program development and design, you should start with your course. Program development should always center on the course you want to teach and why. What do you want students to learn? Why do your students need study abroad? How will study abroad fit into the academic degree plan of your students? And, certainly, how supportive is your department in this endeavor?

Program Leadership. As you develop your program, consider that Murray State requires faculty-led programs to have two Murray State leaders. Here are the most common scenarios:

  • You connect with an Murray State faculty or professional staff colleague in your department or across campus
  • You are paired with a leader designated by the Education Abroad Office
  • In some cases an on-site liaison who will be with the program the entire time has been able to fill the role of a second leader. This is most often approved in the case of working directly with a university abroad for program arrangements.

The second leader for your program should be decided early in program development in order to work on design and recruitment as a team.

Questions to consider in whole Program Development:

  • Have you chosen a faculty or professional staff member you trust and with whom you can work seamlessly?
  • Is the program designed to help students develop global competencies and cultural learning? Is this clearly stated in the program goals?
  • Does the program adhere the the Standards set in education abroad?
  • Does the program clearly contribute to the achievement of the Murray State mission?


Academics & Course Development

The Course. Ultimately the overarching question to consider is why offer this course in this location. For students to make a connection between the academic field of study and the international experience will illustrate whether your program was able to make the marriage of content and location work. You must avoid simply picking up a course you offer at Murray State and transporting it to the location with the intention of teaching it in exactly the same way. If that is your plan, go back to the drawing board. Don't spend valuable resources to offer the same experience as you would at home. Partner with the location and allow it to transform your course.

Student Learning Abroad. What is it that our students are learning and what is it that we're missing altogether? A new resource focusing on student learning provides in its opening chapter, "Student Learning Abroad: Paradigms and Assumptions," an excellent overview addressing the critical need for attention to program design and intentional and guided learning. Students won't learn by being abroad. We must pay attention to course and program construct and guide the learning process for our students. Some resources that may help you as you consider program design and student learning are:

Course Choice. Infusing new international content into a current course might mean, for example, teaching International Mass Communications with a focus on Britain to be taught in London for the summer. This course might also be a requirement for all of the majors in your area, giving you a large recruitment pool to work with. Alternately you may choose to create a new course under a Special Topics designation to be offered as an upper-level elective. Some faculty have been successful offering University Studies courses as well. Do not, however, offer a 100-level course. These have not been successful recruiting tools in study abroad. The most appealing option for students is to take a course that is required for their major, minor, or university studies. By and large, the most successful programs are those offering content directly related to a student's major.

  • Creating an entirely new course for study abroad will follow the regular Murray State procedure through your department and Academic Council for approval. Guidelines set for course creation can be found on the website for Academic Council.
  • Proposing your study abroad course for the University Studies thematic category Global Awareness, Cultural Diversity, and the World's Artistic Traditions will be done on your behalf by the Education Abroad Office after your program/course is approved IF it is not already a University Studies approved course. See the University Studies site for the study abroad policy.

Course Content should be that of your academic area and focus. Study abroad is an academic endeavor and should infuse academics with an international experience. Leave the 'travel' pieces to the orientation and use your class time as academic preparation and cultural integration for your students. Mandatory orientation is the appropriate time to inform students and parents of travel demands.

Short-Term Program Contact Hours and Course Terms. Your short-term faculty-led program will either be offered as a winter, spring break, or summer program abroad. All programs that are abroad for less than 3 weeks must have an on-campus component attached to them. To calculate total contact hours you should include your weekly course meetings at Murray State pre-departure AND the on-site hours spent in a lecture/classroom setting. All on-site excursions and experiential hours will count as 1/2 of a lecture hour, according to the Murray State Academic Bulletin. Both the course at Murray State and the program abroad are mandatory portions of the course grade. While abroad, assignments and excursions should connect with the learning that took place prior to departure. Here are the short-term program terms available:

  • Winter Program Abroad: This program will include a second-half fall semester course. You will teach this course beginning in October with the start of second-half semester classes. You may choose to meet for 2-6 hours each week with your students for class. The class is followed by the program abroad in December/January.
  • Spring Break Program Abroad: This program will include a full spring semester course. Your course will be taught for a full spring semester with the abroad portion in the middle of the class. Many faculty enjoy this option as it gives you both a pre-departure research and readiness component and a post-program debriefing and application component.
  • Summer Program Abroad: This program will include a second-half spring semester course. You will teach this course beginning in March with the start of second-half semester classes. You may choose to meet for 2-6 hours each week with your students for class. The class is followed by the program abroad in a summer session anytime between May and the end of July.

Cultural Content. Though it is our responsibility to teach about culture, we most often shy away from this because of our lack of knowledge. Don't be afraid to admit that you have some learning to do about the location and take this opportunity to do so in conjunction with your students. Utilize the Culture Learning section below for resources on local culture and activities to learn about culture. Also consider requiring your students to obtain a language phrasebook and learn basic history and foreign relations between the U.S. and the location.

Murray State Schedule of Classes. Your class must be inserted into the Murray State Schedule of Classes by the Education Abroad Office for the relevant time period. Every study abroad class MUST have a section number that begins with "A." For example, a CIV class taught abroad would appear as CIV 202-A01. If your on-campus class will be open to non-study abroad students, they must be in a separate class without an A section number. Failure to do so will be in violation of Murray State policy and state regulations. 

Service Programs are becoming more popular among academics across the curriculum. Consider utilizing a provider for service projects if you do not already have established contacts and in order to avoid repeating services provided by a previously well-intentioned group.

Questions to consider in Course Development:

  • When will my course meet for academic content prior to departure?
  • Does the course meet Murray State academic standards as defined by SACSCOC?
  • Are the academic goals feasible?
  • Is the course designed in tandem with the location, creating a clear connection between content and country? Is this clearly stated in the course objectives?
  • Are learning outcomes clearly linked to the international experience? Are there cultural learning goals incorporated into the course?
  • Does the program take full advantage of the cultural resources of the country to enrich the course?
  • Are the academic resources needed for successful implementation of the course adequate (e.g. space, computer/internet access, library access)?

Culture Learning (for you, too)

"knowing the world better is knowing the self better" - John Engle

As Faculty and Program Directors we first must be able to admit to ourselves that we don't know everything - shocker, yes. But when it comes to culture, we must demand our own flexibility and learning as much as we demand this from our students.

Despite how badly we wish it were so, study abroad participants (and leaders!) do not automatically integrate into the local culture, or even appreciate it. They must be introduced to it and given tools to do this for themselves since we cannot be next to them for every step while abroad. In an ideal world we have the opportunity to help students with this process before departure, while abroad, and after they return home. Here are some resources to help you infuse cultural integration activities into your course as well as to help students reflect on the choices they are making in relation to their study abroad experience.



Web Resources

  • Country Insights. Provided by the Centre for Intercultural Learning section of Canada's Foreign Affairs and International Trade division, this site allows users to search by country to gain more detailed cultural information (some countries are more detailed than others).
  • The Thiagi Group, a FREE resource providing hands-on activities to engage groups in culture learning and group dynamics.
  • University of Kentucky Faculty Toolkit, Anthony C. Ogden. An excellent FREE resource providing hands-on detailed activities to get students engaged in the culture one-on-one. Dozens of tools are available with specific goals and step-by-step plans for utilizing the tool with your student.

Course Texts. No matter the academic content of your course, you might also consider these opportunities for students to learn more about the location as part of your course. Incorporating the location is the only way your study abroad program will be successful. Consider adding one or more of these as requirements for your students:

  • Culture Smart is a series of books that are country-specific and contain an overview of a country and culture
  • Autobiographies of U.S. American experiences living or traveling in the location often help to inform students of the types of things that might challenge them on-site and help them understand that their experiences are not abnormal. It also tends to get students interested in the location and enables them to experience the program in a deeper, more meaningful way once on-site.
  • Travel Guides. The current generation of students most often fails to obtain location knowledge for their free time. Requiring a travel guide or a travel guide smart phone app and creating an assignment around designing their free time can assist with their maximizing the program while abroad. Popular options include DK Eyewitness, which often include pull-out maps, and Rough Guides.
  • Language Phrasebook. Phrasebooks are compact and can be found with location-specific dialect. Lonely Planet has an excellent series of small and user-friendly phrasebooks that come highly recommended from Murray State faculty and students. Rough Guides has a free phrase audio download for several languages.
  • Atlas. An atlas or class mapping activities will help students visualize where they are going. Let's face it, they don't always know where other countries are. Make sure they know the bordering nations and where the location fits geographically before you stick them on a plane and take them there.
  • Current Events. Have students find location-specific newspapers/news sources online and read/listen to them prior to program departure.
  • Basic History. Find a basic history text that your students may use as an overview, informing their experience on-site.
  • Foreign Relations. What is the history of US-location relations? How will this inform your program? Providing context for your students about the relationship between their nation and the foreign nation will further understanding of their possible integration with the locals. Keep any international student participants in mind in this endeavor and allow them to focus on their home nation.

Program Dates & Length

In considering when to offer your program key factors will be travel and program expense and your own availability. Certain times of the year are considered high or low season for your study abroad location. If possible, you may wish to seek out the lower season in order to secure lower prices for your students.

Your time is valuable and there are many considerations for you personally in determining when to offer your course abroad. If you are teaching two new classes, which require new course preparation, then you may not want to add a study abroad to that semester or the following one. If you are a single parent you will want to consider the best time of year to secure additional child-care and the length of time for which you feel comfortable doing so. If you are taking a sabbatical or will be on leave for any reason from the institution, that will adversely affect your ability to recruit. As such you should not plan to apply to teach abroad in a sabbatical/leave year. Other considerations will come up for you as you discuss this opportunity with your Chair and your family. Be open and honest about your own ability to juggle all of the requirements you already shoulder along with study abroad. Many faculty choose to incorporate a 2-3 year rotation in order to have the incredibly rewarding experiences of study abroad but also balance the demands of study abroad and work/home life in the process.

Length. The length of your program abroad is very flexible, though there are several considerations for Murray State.

  • All programs of 1-3 weeks must include the on-campus course pre-departure.
  • Summer programs of at least 4 weeks in length may be self-contained abroad without an Murray State pre-departure course.
  • One week programs cannot include two countries. Programs splitting time between two countries should be at least 12-14 days in length.
  • One week programs cannot be counted in the Honors Study Abroad requirement.

You will include course contact hours abroad to meet SACSCOC requirements in addition to the pre-departure and/or post-program hours you meet on-campus. Relevant course contact hours abroad will be any and all activities that are related to your course. For example, a Nutrition course that visits an olive grove, receives a lecture about the growth and production of olive oil, and has a tasting will include those hours in the course contact hour report at the close of the program.

Questions to consider regarding program dates and length:

  • When is high/low season in the country of study?
  • What are the current work/life demands on my plate?
  • When can you get away for 1-3 weeks? How will your work/life be affected by leaving? Is there a time of year that would be better or worse for you to be out of the country?

Activity & Itinerary Development

Your course will define your program itinerary from day one through the end of the program if you're paying attention to the academics as intently as you should for study abroad to be an academic endeavor. In some cases you may be joining a pre-existing program with some activities pre-determined. You may view those activities as cultural enhancements to your program or with some research you may find they fit in well with the content you have planned.

In working with a provider or designing the itinerary on your own, you will need a list of activities to choose from. You may start with some serious time on google and/or travel guides online or in print (yes, they still exist) to guide your searches. You likely already have some ideas about things that would be relevant and beneficial for your course. Make a long list of sites, activities and excursions along with relevant contacts. You may also find relevant walking/boating/guided tours and companies that would work for your class. Next consider the proximity of these activities to one another and sketch out a lumping of activities that could work. Submitting these ideas to a provider with your top priorities indicated will help determine what ultimately ends up in your itinerary. If you are designing the program on your own, then you can do the planning with the vendors abroad to determine what will work for your program.

Price and time will make many of the decisions for you after your wish list is done. You can work with the Education Abroad Office once you have some pricing ideas to determine what price range would be viable for the program. You can negotiate with the provider or determine yourself which activities to cut depending on expenses for certain activities.

Class time abroad can be built into your itinerary via traditional classroom setting or in a more 'trenches' environment on the bus, in a museum, or other on-the-go activity. One way to accomplish this is by having your students meet daily over breakfast at the hotel/housing. You accomplish not only course prep and daily debrief but also ensure students are actually eating. Other possibilities may include other program meals, use of conference meeting space at the hotel for class time, lecture and group discussion on a longer bus ride en route to an activity, outside park/green space to sit and rest/debrief/snack post-activity. Be creative. Don't plan to have students sit in a classroom for hours a day on a short-term program. They will resent it and ultimately the program will not succeed. Build in a healthy balance of shorter traditional time and on-the-go time to meet your course goals.

Questions to consider in activity and itinerary development:

  • How does each activity contribute to the learning outcomes for the program?
  • How much class time do you need on the ground? Where/when will that be accomplished?
  • Can you replace one more expensive activity with two less expensive activities to get more out of the program?
  • Are you willing to stay in less expensive/lower class accommodations in order to include more activities?
  • What is the proximity of desired activities to one another? Lump activities that are close to each other on the same day(s).

Logistical Arrangements

Logistical arrangements include literally everything that will need to be in place from departing Murray to returning to Murray. You may choose to make these arrangements on your own or you may choose to request the Education Abroad Office help locate a provider for your program. A provider will be the go-between for you and most or all of the arrangements on the ground, meaning you will work with one person instead of many as the provider will make ground arrangements on your behalf. This most commonly means that you will pay a fee to the provider instead of to individual companies.

You should include the following:

  • Housing
  • Breakfast daily for 1-2 week programs or for any program on which students cannot make their own breakfast in apartment-style housing
  • All required class activities and excursions
  • Local transport to all required class activities and excursions
  • Local transport pass, if feasible and available
  • Travel insurance: the Study Abroad Office incorporates this requirement into every student application. Your program participants and you will all be on the same group travel insurance.

You may consider the following optional inclusions:

  • Airport shuttle stateside to and/or from the Nashville airport
  • Airfare: if your program is recruiting students from various universities/locations throughout the country, you may wish to opt out of a group flight. Keep in mind that the management of flight problems for short-term programs can turn the first couple of days on-site into logistical soup so be prepared for that possibility.
  • Other group meals

The Murray State Education Abroad Office will:

  • Bid out the program to a provider in order to provide you with a company that will make all logistical arrangements for you if you wish. You may, of course, make these arrangements on your own.
  • If included in your program fee, arrange the shuttle to and from the Nashville airport.
  • Provide a cell phone stipend for program leadership. The cost for this will be included in your program budget.
  • Purchase program leadership travel insurance (included in the program budget).
  • Bid out flight prices for any group flight requests and make the final purchase. You must choose the final flight and check every detail of it to ensure we got it right prior to purchase.
  • Assist with making sure your vendor payments get completed, though you must start this paperwork and follow up.

No matter how involved the Education Abroad Office is in program design and development, it is ultimately up to you to make sure you have every detail you need prior to departure. It is highly suggested that you create a file or a notebook that is used only for program planning. Keep detailed notes about all logistical arrangements, assurances, confirmations, prices, etc., so that you can refer to this as any complications or questions arise. Do not rely solely on multiple other departments, offices, providers, or companies to provide all of the detail you need or to read between the lines for what you need or want for your program. Follow up regularly and stay on top of arrangements to ensure the greatest design success for your program.

Questions to consider in Logistical Development:

  • Is the housing location in close proximity to course activities? If not, will a transport pass be included in the program fee? Is it safe to walk between housing and course activities?
  • Is transport safe? Can it be arranged ahead of time? How will transport be paid?
  • Is there clear evidence of the reliability of a program provider?
  • Does the program provider have adequate insurance protecting you and your group against liabilities?
  • What details do I need help with from the Education Abroad Office?

Budget Development

In developing your budget you will need to consider flights, housing, activities, meals, on-site transportation and anything else that will be a required part of the program. The staples are housing (preferably with breakfast daily), all class activities, and local transportation. Other considerations include:

  • Flights are always included with winter and spring break programs (though not required), but with summer it varies according to program departure month. If you leave in May right after school is out, include it. If you leave in June or July after students have moved home, think about the students you might recruit who would wish to fly from another city. If you choose a group flight, the EAO will request flight bids for your program but will not approve a flight until you provide final confirmation.
  • Meals. You may consider including additional group meals, but if possible try not to include them all. Pushing students to seek out their own culinary delights within their own budget is an experience they most often not only enjoy but report learning from both culturally and linguistically.
  • Stateside Airport Transfers. Consider including an airport shuttle from Murray to Nashville and back to Murray. This cost is included for you in the Budget Worksheet should you wish to have a shuttle. Having a shuttle ultimately saves hassle and expense for multiple families involved in your study abroad program.
  • Transport for Independent Activities. If your program provides a local transit pass or housing is close enough to the city or interest points for the participants you can save time and frustration for the students for those independent excursions they want to pursue.

Developing a budget for your program can be stressful. The Budget Worksheet required with your application takes you one step at a time through the budget pieces you need to consider. The Education Abroad Office also offers a Budget Workshop annually, which is required for first-time program budget managers.

Helping Students Determine Spending Money Amount

  • Meals. Identify how many meals are not included in the program fee. Using your own experience and that of other travelers via online and print resources such as Lonely Planet, TripAdvisor, DK Eyewitness, and many more you can find thru Google, you can create some helpful advice for students on spending for meals and estimate the cost for those not covered with the program fee.
  • Independent Activities. Find some good websites that you can pass along to your students simply by searching "things to do in (city)." Empower your students to use the resources at their disposal to find activities and accompanying costs for those things they want to do in addition to the required program activities. In recent years students have been less likely to purchase guidebooks or have these with them while abroad, but in addition to that they increasingly expect activities to fall into their lap or to follow others along and then express frustration when they discover exciting things other groups did that they were not aware of. It is not your job to tell them about every single possibility available to them, but you can help to let them know what resources exist to give them information and inquire about their independent plans or even require that they submit their personal top 10 to you as an assignment prior to the program.
  • Optional Activities. If your program will have an optional excursion that costs additional, provide that cost to the students with the spending money estimate.
  • Local Transportation. If students will not have a local transportation pass as part of the program, then you should give them information about how to obtain one if needed for independent exploration and the proximity to a transport station or commentary on the proximity to the city if a student wanted to walk. Include transport costs in your spending money estimates.
  • Personal Spending. It is very difficult to give an estimate for what students will spend on gifts, souvenirs, shopping, and alcohol. Consider the cost of living in the location and consider providing a range and/or a minimum that students must have available to them. You can give your students the costs for a bottle of water, a beer, an ice cream, a pair of jeans, a slice of pizza, a stamp. These are things that can help them determine if they would be on the lower end of your range or the higher end depending on how active they plan to be while abroad and what their shopping habits are.

Faculty & Director expenses should be included in the budget as well. Most common Murray State practice is that faculty teach abroad as an unpaid overload, but your expenses should always be included in the program budget so that you are not out anything extra to teach on or lead a program abroad. The Budget Worksheet should help walk you through these expenses, but they should include all related travel expenses for you, including getting to and from the airport stateside.

You may seek overload pay within your department if your course is not incorporated into your regular teaching load.

Questions to consider in Budget Development:

  • What is the maximum price point for your audience - in other words at what price will students walk away?
  • Has the budget included reasonable and realistic prices with a cushion for exchange rate fluctuation?
  • Will your department consider your course in-load or offer overload pay?

Murray State Required Documents:
There are several documents required to make sure your financial paperwork is completed for your program abroad. These are detailed in the Budget Workshop and throughout the Accounting Office Travel Procedures.

  1. Purchasing Card Application, due June 1
  2. Vendor Information Form, as needed to pay vendors via check or wire transfer
  3. Group Travel Request
  4. Travel Voucher Form

Student Selection

When considering students for your program, there are several components to consider. Hopefully you have practiced selective recruitment and so have a plethora of excellent applications to choose from. Do not accept students simply based on submission of their application, but instead take the time to seriously review applications and make decisions for acceptance based on the program fit instead of on the program finances. Decision making based solely on your deep desire that the program goes can come back to haunt you if you accept a student with a marginal application just for the program to make. As such, take time to review and consider the following:

  • Essay. Does the essay go into depth and explain the applicants' fit for your program? Does the applicant leave questions unanswered? Is the applicant ready for the academic program or does the essay reflect someone more interested in a 'trip' or 'vacation' experience? The essay often outweighs every other aspect of the application, assuming minimum gpa requirements are met. Don't be afraid to require a revision, interview, or outright rejection for students who don't seem serious.
  • Transcript. Does the transcript meet the minimum gpa requirement of the Education Abroad Office, which is a 2.0? If you set a higher gpa requirement, has that been met? How has the student done in courses in your content area? Keep in mind that a student with a 2.3 may be as successful abroad as a student with a 4.0. Education abroad courses are taught in completely different environments and circumstances that may be more suitable to alternative learning styles. As such, take the whole student into consideration.
  • Recommendation. If your application requires a recommendation, consider the source of the recommendation and the depth of information provided. If you see red flags, consult the Education Abroad Office for advice.

Other Considerations:

  • If you have limited space on your program and you have an applicant who has studied abroad before, you may consider rejecting that applicant for a student who hasn't had the opportunity to do so yet.
  • Applicants who present themselves as disruptions to courses on campus now won't get better once you're abroad. Practice selective recruitment and don't be afraid to reject applicants.
  • Poor essays don't mean you have to give applicants a second chance. You can reject students who don't seem serious and move on to those applicants who are a better program fit.
  • Students who have already had the course you are offering may be tempting to accommodate, but can also create much more work for you as faculty. Don't feel obligated to create cross-listings to fit students into your program OR if you do so, be sure to consider the amount of work required to accommodate the(se) student(s).

Personal & Professional Liability

In regard to the issue of employee liability, liability defense is not absolute and each individual may choose to obtain a personal liability insurance policy. Any defense extended by Murray State University to an employee will be according to terms and conditions determined by Murray State University. Even if the University decides to provide a defense to an employee, considerations may subsequently arise which demonstrate that it is no longer in the University’s best interests to extend a defense. Any decision to extend a defense is done with the understanding that the University may take later action to discontinue such a defense. Similarly, any decision by the University to extend a defense to an employee cannot be construed as the University’s agreeing to pay any adverse judgment. For additional information, please refer to Murray State Board of Regents Policies Section 2.26.

Faculty Behavior Cases to Consider

Disciplinary & Student Affairs Matters

Consider the students you work with now. These are the same students applying to study abroad and joining your program. You can be assured that they'll have the same draw to their technology and connectedness with their parents as those students you see on a daily basis in your classrooms now. Additionally, you'll have students who are on anti-depressants, have chronic illnesses, and are sexually active, along with a whole slew of other student dynamics. Faculty and Program Director orientation will go into great depth regarding support in place at Murray State for you during your program.

Student Disciplinary Affairs Abroad

Students on study abroad programs will have completed a release section within their program application that acknowledges the understanding that they may be kicked out of the program. Of course we hope it doesn't come to that, but in order to avoid it, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Establish the academic expectations and program rules early.
  • Let students know where the behavioral line is and what happens when they cross it. This is necessary to establish early in regards to alcohol consumption.
  • Utilize a warning system and keep written records of disciplinary incidents and procedures followed.
  • Keep in touch with the Murray State Director of Education Abroad for consultation in disciplinary matters that require more than an on-site reprimand.
  • Know that students' disciplinary incidents abroad will follow them home and become a permanent part of their Murray State record.

Working with Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities can and do study abroad. The Education Abroad Office and the Murray State Office of Student Disability Services will assist Program Directors and Faculty planning programs that will be accessible for students with disabilities. We have created and executed programs in England, Greece, Italy, and South Korea that were designed with accessibility in mind. If you would like more information about working with students with disabilities on programs abroad, here are some resources to consider:

  • "Federal Disability Laws: Do they Translate to Study Abroad Programs?" NACUA: National Association of College and University Attorneys Notes, April 26, 2012, vol. 10, no. 7
  • Murray State Office of Student Disability Service. The Murray State SDS Office has played an integral role in determining need, defining goals, and working with the Study Abroad Office and faculty to design programs for students with disabilities.
  • Mobility International USA has a variety of resources serving cognitive, hearing, learning, mental health, physical, systemic, vision, and other disabilities. MIUSA is an excellent resource throughout your planning for questions about accessibility, use of language in your program materials, and much more.

Health & Safety

A plethora of resources exist for you as you research your program site and make crucial decisions about housing, transport, and activities. The resources in this section will assist you in learning about safety and health in study abroad, but also more specific details about your program location.

Whole Program Health & Safety Planning

  • Guidelines for Creating a Location Safety Assessment Some helpful guidelines for you as you plan your own program LSA, required for all Murray State Signature programs.
  • Understanding & Managing the Risks of Short-Term International Programs, by William P. Hoye, United Educators 2008. This FREE resource helps faculty understand the challenges facing all constituents in study abroad and managing the risks for their students, themselves, and the university.
  • Travel Wise: How to Be Safe, Savvy and Secure Abroad, by Ray S. Leki, US DOS trainer and professor at American University's Graduate School of International Service
  • SAFETI Clearinghouse. This online FREE resource provides online orientation courses, a program audit checklist, and an amazing and quite comprehensive Health & Safety Issues A-Z Index that covers discussions, articles, and additional resources on everything from alcohol in study abroad to mental health to water safety. You won't be disappointed by the input and guidance of field professionals compiled here.

Mental Health

Site-Specific Health & Safety

  • The Department of State has a section on travel with Country Specific Information guides that are free and downloadable and provide a quick look at areas to avoid. Their Students Abroad section provides user-friendly information directed at students traveling the globe.
  • The Overseas Security Advisory Council online and phone contacts will provide clarification and assistance with routing you plan to use, terrorism reports, and local travel risks
  • The Association for Safe International Road Travel provides road safety facts and travel reports and is an excellent resource for faculty designing their own programs in determining the safest routes and road rules of the location
  • Centers for Disease Control will provide a location breakdown of health issues to be aware of, including vaccinations you and your participants may wish to consider

Crisis Management & Emergency Response

Murray State has guidelines set for crisis management and emergency response specifically for education abroad programs. Having dealt with everything from broken bones and passport theft to hotel shut downs and student hospitalization, Murray State is prepared to assist you and guide you through emergencies as they arise.

In preparation for your program you will participate in a training program that asks you to design a Location Safety Assessment detailing common safety concerns for your program location. Program management and design and student training with safety in mind will eliminate many problems before they begin. However, no program is immune no matter how well one plans ahead of time. As such, the Education Abroad Office will conduct a safety and crisis response training to make sure Faculty and Directors are aware of Murray State procedure and the resources available to you while abroad.

Accompanying Family Members or Companions

A companion is any person who accompanies a member of leadership. A companion may be a spouse, partner, child, extended family member, or friend. Companions are permitted to join the leadership of a study abroad program at the discretion of the Program Director. Companions will only be considered if there is space available after student applications have been vetted. Companions are limited in number, defined as follows:

  1. One adult companion (spouse, partner, extended family, caregiver, or friend)
  2. Children (legal dependents of leadership) with the stipulation that the adult companion serves as the caregiver

Any companions accompanying a Faculty or Program Director are responsible for the full cost of their participation. Companion rates will not be subsidized by student program fees, even if the companion is an Murray State employee. A companion rate for Signature programs will be determined based on actual program expenses. Companions are not guaranteed group discounts. Companions are responsible for paying all fees online (via Marketplace) in full prior to departure according to the following schedule. Companions who do not meet these payment deadlines will be removed from the program and forfeit all monies unrecoverable to Murray State.

  1. $200 deposit by application deadline
  2. Full airfare paid within 1 month of application deadline
  3. Full program fee paid no later than 30 days prior to program departure.

Minor children must be accompanied by a non-program adult on the program who can serve as their caretaker on a daily basis and in case of illness or emergency. Other faculty or staff members involved with the leadership of the program cannot be asked to serve as a caretaker. Student participants cannot be asked to serve as a caretaker.

Teaching/Directing abroad requires a great deal of attention while abroad, so the idea of a family vacation is not an accurate view of what your availability will be like with your companions, especially if an emergency occurs. Your primary duty while abroad will be to teach/direct regardless of the desires of your companions to participate in program activities. As such, your companions may opt-out of many of your class-related events in favor of items on their personal to-do list. Companions may not interfere with the academics or logistical arrangements of the program. The presence of companions may not compromise, disrupt, or alter the student program in any way.

Please note the following when bringing companions:

  • All companions must complete the online Murray State application as a participant - one for each member of the family. This includes acknowledgement that they have chosen to join a student program, where student success will be the primary goal, and an understanding that companions may also be asked to leave a program if they cause a disruption.
  • All companions must purchase the mandatory travel/health insurance for the program. Murray State currently utilizes CISI. Details on the coverage plan for Murray State is linked within the application.
  • Companions cannot be both a companion and a student participant seeking credit. Companions who wish to seek credit for the program shall pay fees as a program participant and participate in all required course activities without exception.

Murray State University is not responsible for minor children, family members, or other individuals who accompany education abroad program leadership.