January 27, 2020
IU-Sponsored Student Travel Abroad: Update and Approval Process
Providing a rich array of opportunities for education abroad is one of the central pillars of our commitment to integrate international and intercultural perspectives into the IU curriculum. This past fall we were happy to see our efforts recognized by the 2019 Open Doors Report
on international educational exchange, released by the Institute of International Education. That report ranked us sixth among U.S. institutions for the number of domestic students studying abroad. In 2017-18, the latest school year for which data is available, 3,044 IU Bloomington students studied abroad. Of those, 1,233 students spent a semester abroad, ranking the campus third in the nation for mid-length study-abroad programs. At IUPUI, 578 students traveled outside the United States as part of their academic programs. IU East tripled the number of students who studied abroad from the previous year, and IU South Bend's study abroad numbers grew 10 percent between 2016-17 and 2017-18.
Many thanks to the faculty members and administrators who develop, promote, teach, and support these activities. (And if you are interested in beginning such activities, you might want to consider applying for an Overseas Study Program Development Grant.)
For anyone who is planning to engage IU students in study- or travel-abroad activities in the future, I am setting out below important information regarding the approval process, which is designed to maintain the integrity of IU’s study abroad programs. The most important thing to bear in mind is that all activities involving IU students studying or traveling abroad with institutional assistance must be approved by the Office of Overseas Study.
This means that all Indiana University individuals involved with directly arranging activities that take place outside of the United States for IU graduate, undergraduate, or pre-college students must submit a proposal to the university-wide Overseas Study Advisory Council (OSAC).
Examples of such activities include 1) exchange programs; 2) courses with an overseas component designed by an IU faculty member, school, or campus; 3) opportunities abroad for which IU directly facilitates local arrangements, including internships, research, conference attendance, and independent study; 4) non-credit-bearing activities abroad arranged by an IU office, department, or organization that involve clubs, choruses, or teams engaging in volunteer work, sports activities, music ensembles, theater outings, etc.
Please note that there is an abbreviated proposal process for student activities involving conference attendance, field research, sport activities, or music performances organized or designed by IU faculty and staff. Moreover, if students are traveling alone, based on a faculty or staff recommendation or encouragement but without their direct involvement, no proposal is needed, even if the students have IU funding to support their travel.
The Council’s approval procedure provides consistency in the process of granting credit (where relevant) and ensures that overseas activities adhere to IU’s high academic standards. It also helps to safeguard the health and safety of all IU participants. The process also serves to introduce best practices to all program organizers, including how to minimize risk.
The Overseas Study Advisory Council, chaired by the Associate Vice President for Overseas Study, Kathleen Sideli, must approve all proposals before any recruiting, advertising, or scheduling for the proposed program begins. Please refer to the Overseas Study web site to review the Guidelines.