Office of Global Citizenship

Before You Travel

Pre-Departure Student Orientation

Program leaders must host at least one pre-departure orientation session for his/her students. Pre-departure orientation session(s) should take place after students are notified of their acceptance and before the program deposit is due, allowing students to understand the program in greater detail before paying the non-refundable deposit. Clearly communicate to students that:

  • They are subject to local laws and should expect no immunity or other special treatment by local authorities;
  • There may be limitations on their rights while abroad and that some rights protected under their home country law may not be recognized or protected;
  • They have individual responsibility to inform themselves about the limitations of rights and the impact of foreign laws or restrictions and to conduct themselves accordingly;
  • They have the responsibility to undertake reasonable efforts to familiarize themselves with the host country including its language and to be sensitive to and respectful of host society and community cultural norms.

Materials distributed to program participants at orientation must include:

  • A list of documentation required for entry to and exit from the program location
  • Detailed itinerary for the programList of recommended medical facilities near sites on itinerary
  • Office of Global Citizenship Code of Conduct
  • Emergency Management Plan Participation,
  • Release and Hold Harmless Agreement (see below), including information about any travel advisories

Other topics covered should include:

  • Cultural differences
  • Packing tips
  • Travel arrangements
  • U.S. Department of State country background notes on the country(ies) on itinerary and State Department or CDC advice or advisories.
  • Other country-specific safety concerns 
  • Advice on Managing Risk
  • How they will maintain contact with the leader at all times
  • Accommodations (details and any student financial responsibility beyond program fees)
  • Meals (details and any financial responsibility beyond program fees)Personal budgeting and use of cash, credit/debit cards, and ATMs
  • Academic obligations
  • Expectations for participant conduct and policies for termination of participation Sewanee Study Abroad Programs’ Expectations for Student Behavior
  • Use of Social Media Abroad‌

Groups traveling to countries with travel advisories and/or recent natural disasters are encouraged to hold additional health and safety orientations with relevant experts.

Documentation required by the Office of Global Citizenship before departure

The following administrative components should be filed with the Office of Global Citizenship no less than three weeks before departure.

Contact Information: International contact information for all faculty, staff and local partners associated with the trip. Leaders should also designate at least one contact person in the US for the group

Final Detailed Itinerary: If any part of the itinerary changes after it is submitted, the Dean of the Office of Global Citizenship or the the ACGA should be notified in writing

Final Participant Roster: If any part of the itinerary changes after it is submitted, the Dean of the Office of Global Citizenship or the the ACGA should be notified in writing.

Travel Documents: Request a copy of the passport biographical page from each participant to be filed with the Office of Global Citizenship no more than three weeks before departure. You should also carry this documentation with you in hardcopy and digital form.

Proof of International Health Coverage: The University offers limited insurance for faculty and staff traveling abroad on official University business. This insurance covers liability issues and emergency assistance. The University’s health care plan may provide coverage to faculty and staff while abroad. Further information is available from the Office of Human Resources and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee. 

  • Faculty and staff should determine whether to purchase additional insurance. Please be advised that the University’s international coverage does not apply in countries which are subject to US economic and trade sanctions, unless authorized by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control.
  • All University of the South students going abroad on programs with any connection to the University are required to provide proof of international health coverage. Ask students to verify that all countries included in the itinerary are covered by their insurance policy, as there are often exclusions. If students do not have international health coverage, they are required to acquire a short-term international health insurance policy. Students must provide proof of international insurance coverage or they will not be permitted to take part in the international program. If students do not have international coverage for the itinerary, they must purchase a short-term international health insurance policy.
  • Faculty may choose to include a short-term international health insurance plan in the budget for the trip. InsureMyTrip helps you compare policies and premiums.

Emergency Information Form: An Emergency Information Form for any student taking part in an international experience affiliated with the University, and any faculty/staff leader of such a program should be filed with the OGC/ACGA no less than three weeks before departure. Leaders should take printouts and digital copies of each student's emergency information on the trip abroad and should destroy these documents as soon as the program is finished.Registration with the U.S. Department of State: The faculty/staff leader is responsible for registering each participant who is either a U.S. citizens or permanent resident in the U.S. Department of State's STEP program. Information required includes passport details, the address and phone of your hotel(s) abroad, and the phone/e-mail info of your emergency contact(s) in the United States. It is recommended that you not grant permission for the Department of State to contact the media.

Emergency Evacuation Plan: Leaders of any international experience are required to develop an Emergency Evacuation Plan to be distributed to students at orientation and filed with the OGC. The plan should include protocols for contacting the University, U.S. Embassy, medical/insurance services, and how to access emergency funds.

Participation, Release and Hold Harmless Agreement: Every Sewanee student traveling on a University-affiliated International Experience must sign a Participation, Release and Hold Harmless Agreement. While certain details of these forms vary, every such agreement must contain:

  • Acceptance of participant responsibilities,
  • Acceptance of a written code of conduct detailing expectations for behavior during the experience, and consequences of academic or behavioral misconduct,
  • Acceptance of a cancellation and refund policy (that they are responsible for their own costs of returning to the US if separated from the program for misconduct),
  • Acknowledgement of any U.S. Department of State travel warning or alert or Center for Disease Control Warning.

Two sample Sample Participant Agreements may be used as templates for drafting your agreement. You may also contact Abby Colbert, Assistant Counsel for Global Affairs (ACGA), for help adapting the template to your program.

Please forward the final draft to ‌Donna Pierce, General Counsel, for approval before distributing the agreement to students. 

File the signed originals at the University in the office of the ACGA along with other required administrative components no more than three weeks prior to departure.

Hard copies and scans of this document should be carried on the program.