Stage 1: Planning

Program Development

When you are developing your program, consider establishing your goals, learning outcomes and the logistics of your trip. The time and care you take in this step will determine how smoothly your trip comes together in the following months.

1. Curriculum

Your program will should reflect the learning outcomes you expect students to achieve upon successful completion. To meet these goals, you may want to consider a number of activities:

Learning Activities

There are many learning activities that could be created or modified for a faculty-led study abroad course.  Some examples are listed below:

  1. Presentations
  2. Reflective Paper
  3. Assignments

For assistance with creating your curriculum, you may want to connect with the Centre for Teaching and Learning.

Reflective Practice

It is critical for students to be given the time and space to reflect on their experience in the course, what they are learning, and how it applies to other courses, their personal and academic growth and future career goals.

  • Global Context – It is important to note that reflexive practice in a global context is associated to cognitive dissonance and adaptation.

    1. Assignments from Learning Activities (see above)
    2. Connection to Critical and Ethical Global Engagement module through pre-departure training, Foundations of International Mobility and Engagement (FIME), in OWL
    3. Research on host country and region is critical – It is important for students to complete research, even at a basic level, of the country or courntries and region(s) that the course will be travelling to

  • Review Community Engaged Learning Resources with Student Experience. 

2. Course Approval

In order to have the course available for students to register, please consider the following steps needed for course approval:

  1. Instructor proposes course and course outline
  2. Course is reviewed by unit’s curriculum committee and undergraduate Chair
    • Reach out to other units that teach similar content or have similar areas of interest
  3. Deans: Academic Programs (DAP) is developed
  4. DAP reviewed at the Educational Policy Committee (EPC) at the Faculty level
  5. Following approval from EPC, the DAP is submitted for review by the Associate Deans – Academic


DAP approvals are then submitted to the academic calendar for publication and made available to students.

3. Partnership Agreements and Service Providers

Collaborating with other organizations will help to achieve learning goals, as well as provide access to on-the-ground resources.

Western University partners with a number of international institutions and third party providers for various types of student mobility programs. Existing partners can be consulted for the development of faculty-led experiences, depending on the unique structure of the course, or new partnership proposals can be reviewed.  Please consult Cindy Cripps, International Agreement Manager, International Learning regarding partnership agreements to ensure appropriate documents are in place.

4. Travel Logistics

Whether travelling by land, sky or sea, and staying in a hotel or homestay, thinking about travel logistics early on helps you determine what is practical for the trip’s duration.


  • Plan your itinerary early, determine your accommodation, transportation and meal needs.
  • Consider the length of time in each location.
  • Consider the number of activities that you have in any given day, and the length of the day.


  • We recommend the group (faculty & students) be transported by a third party. Faculty members should not be responsible for driving the students, and students should not be responsible for driving each other.
  • If you are working with an organization or partner institution, they may be responsible for in country transportation.
  • If you are coordinating the in country transportation, please research bus companies and hire a bus and driver, or if train, cabs, subway, etc. are available, consider these modes of transportation.


  • The type of accommodation you choose will be dependent on your course and location.
  • Accommodation options to consider:
    1. Hostels
    2. Apartments
    3. Guest Houses
    4. Residences in university partners
    5. Homestay

Safety Planning and Mitigation

The safety and well-being of Western University students is always considered and made a priority. It is essential that faculty and staff members leading students abroad are familiar with Western’s Safety Abroad Policy and follow the required protocols.

Western International's Safety Abroad Website

All students, staff and faculty planning international travel should read and review the Safety Abroad information. This includes learning about the host country where the program abroad will take place and taking reasonable precautions to ensure participants stay healthy and safe. 

Western's Safety Abroad Policy

This Policy sets standards to help ensure safe experiences for Western undergraduate and graduate students who travel internationally as part of a University activity. The policy and its accompanying procedures are meant to offer assistance in managing the risks associated with University-sanctioned international programs and activities and to provide processes to undertake the following:

  1. Approval of student international travel for University sanctioned activities and programs
  2. Risk assessment of travel locations, regions and/or countries
  3. Centralized and accessible risk management resources to enable University travelers to be informed of and manage the risks associated with travelling abroad

International ISOS

All Western University students, staff and faculty leading students abroad have access to international medical emergency and travel assistance services provided through International SOS (ISOS). ISOS is a global health and travel security company that assists in preparing students, staff and faculty for travel and supporting them while abroad. Through this service, students, staff and faculty leads have access to health, safety and security advice pre-departure and while abroad. ISOS provides services such as region specific health and security information, assistance and advice during medical emergencies and evacuations. Please note International SOS is NOT a health insurance provider.

Government of Canada

Western University encourages all Canadian Citizens to register with the Government of Canada while abroad. For those with non-Canadian citizenship, please consult your home country's consular services. The Government of Canada provides travel advice and advisories for Canadians travelling abroad. Review and monitor this information regularly before and during the program.

  1. Registration of Canadians Abroad
  2. General Travel Safety
  3. Health Notices
  4. Travel Advisories


Visa Requirements

Dependent on the country that you are travelling to and the citizenship of your students, there may be visa requirements to enter the country. Be aware of general visa requirements for students. It is a student’s responsibility to research their own visa requirements and apply for a visa if necessary. Selected students should visit the Consulate or Embassy website of the country they are travelling to.

Finance and Funding

Considering your overall budget, how you will pay vendors and collect program fees are essential aspects of program development. This can often make or break a program and being realistic about your budget helps determine what can be achieved. Some preliminary considerations include:

  1. Ensure that you are up to date on the costs of services and providers, so that your budget is accurate.
  2. Be aware of deadlines for payments with your vendors, as this may affect application deadlines for students.
  3. Pay attention to the currency in which you will pay your vendors, as this will affect your payments.
  4. Take into account any money considerations while in country, such as the use of debit or credit cards, opening a bank account and documentation required, currency and exchange rate, etc.
  5. Consult with your Administrative Officer or Assistant upon return to close any cash advances for the program, or to submit any expense reports.


There are a number of factors associated with setting a budget and determining the program fees for students. A budget worksheet is available to help you determine the total cost of the program and therefore, what each student would be required to pay for their respective program fees. Contact the International Learning team for assistance with determining program costs.

Consider the following factors when developing your budget:

  1. Accommodations – How many nights are included in the travel component of the course? Are there additional fees associated with accommodations, such as internet access, separate meeting space, etc?
  2. Ground Transportation – Students and faculty members should not be driving themselves or others in the course. Ground transportation could include a bus (and driver fees), taxis, public transit or walking.  Safety precautions related to ground transportation vary, depending on the foreign destination(s). 
  3. Meals – Will the group eat together for meals, or are students responsible for their own meals? If the former is selected, then faculty may want to include the cost of those group meals in program fees. If students are responsible for their own meals, ensure that students are aware of this and provide an estimate of breakfast, lunch and dinner expenses for students.
  4. Excursions – Does the course require students to visit a museum, play or other site that has an admission fee? If yes, then those fees should be included in the program fees.
  5. Insurance – Students will be responsible for their insurance coverage. This may include coverage under the student’s parent policy, bank, Western’s USC/ SOGS health insurance or other. Remind your students to consider pre-existing medical coverage in their policy.


The International Curriculum Fund is administered annually by Western International to promote innovative curriculum initiatives that help establish and support international and intercultural learning opportunities for students.

A complete ICF submission will include:

  1. A summary description of the project
  2. The proposal
  3. Cover sheet with endorsement from the Dean

Recruitment and Promotions

Promotion and recruitment is vital to the success of any faculty-led program. Involvement in promotion and recruitment by the faculty member leading the program can determine the success and longevity of the program. Western International along with Student Experience (for Community Engaged Learning programs) staff will work with faculty members to develop promotion and recruitment strategies.

Faculty members are generally involved in delivering student presentations and answering questions from interested students. Faculty members are also encouraged to reach out to their communications departments for promotional resources. Consider how you and your Department/Faculty have promoted international learning programs in the past and how you might want to promote your program in the future. Think of online media, print media, guest speakers, etc.

Program Page in Atlas

The first tool you can use to promote your international experience is to set up a program page in Atlas, Western’s international experiences portal. Having a program page in Atlas allows students to search for your international experience, find important information on the program and how to apply. A program template is available to help you set up your program page in Atlas. Contact the International Learning team in Western International for more information.