If you’re considering building a new short-term study abroad program, you’re likely wondering how long the process will take. While the length of time you will need to design your program and obtain the necessary approvals will vary dependent on your organization’s rules and regulations, but based on our experience we have found this timeline guide works for most universities and colleges.
The ultimate timeline guide to short-term study abroad planning will outline the milestones you should be hitting during these identified windows of time to ensure that your program is on track for success.
12- 18 Months in Advance
Between twelve to eighteen months in advance of the desired operation date of your program you should be able to answer the following questions:
- How long will my program be?
- What countries or cities are on my wish list?
- What is my per student budget?
- What are the internal deadlines I need to adhere to?
By deciding on these variables at the beginning stages of the planning process, you will allow ample time to finalize the details and be able t shift your focus to variety of moving parts of the program.
At this stage, you should also consider if the faculty member or university staff will be planning and operating the problem alone or if you are going to seek the support of a third party. By bringing in a third party to support your program in the early stages of planning, you will be able to shift the weight of the responsibility to the provider to seek out options for accommodations, activities, included meals and the variety of other details that will need to be nailed down in advance of the program.
8 – 10 Months in Advance
At around the ten to eight-month mark in advance of your program, you should have a finalized and approved program itinerary. This should include:
- Other Program Inclusions
As many short-term study abroad programs operate during high season, it is critical to lock in reservations as far in advance as possible, most of which should be finalized by the eight-month mark.
Also, during this time you should begin the recruitment process for your program. Most short-term study abroad programs have a minimum number of required participants in order to be operational, so the sooner you can begin recruiting your student participants the better.
4-6 Months in Advance
When you are between six and four months away from your program, all of the specifics and details of your program should be finalized. Including:
- Number of Student Participants
- All activities, guides and reservations
- Course Pre-requisites
- Travel Visa and Passport Requirements
Half a year away from your program run date you should have almost every final detail accounted for as well as a final or semi-final list of your student participants.
1-3 Months in Advance
When you have reached one to three months in advance of your program you should be focusing on preparing your students for their experience abroad.
Some recommended pre-departure information to share with students:
- Information on currency abroad (credit and debit card information)
- General Idea of Spending Money Needed
- Packing Lists
- Course Expectations While Abroad
- Supplemental or Required Travel Insurance
For many students, a short-term study abroad program will be their first experience out of the country and you should prepare them accordingly. Provide as must information as possible in the months leading up to the program departure to allow ample time for them to prepare and obtain anything they may need before heading abroad.
This period of the timeline is also an excellent chance to hold a preliminary pre-departure workshop or seminar where students can come and learn more about the final program itinerary and ask your faculty or staff any questions they have.
1-2 Weeks in Advance
One to two weeks in advance of the trip everything should be ready for your departure. Be sure to send final itineraries to students and parents prior to departure and ensure that all participants have the necessary travel documents before heading abroad.
By this stage, you are ready to execute your short-term or faculty-led program having taken the necessary steps along the way!