Leading Student Trips

Advanced planning is one of the most important aspects of running a successful and safe program overseas. Faculty and departments should consider the items below when planning a program or trip overseas:

In-Country Contact

Who will be the English-speaking contact person or host in country and how they can be reached by phone in case of an emergency? Please ask your contact to provide information about nearby hospitals and medical resources and English-speaking doctors at each location.

Health and Safety Planning

All participants should have adequate health insurance coverage for their overseas stay. They will need to understand the terms of coverage, including what services are or are not covered, the deductibles, and their insurance provider's definition of a medical emergency. If the participants take medication or need treatments on a regular basis, they should check with the appropriate consulate about restrictions on medications brought into the country. With their physicians, participants should develop a plan for medications or treatments during their time abroad.

Participant Documentation

Participants should submit all of the following documents to your office before traveling:

  • Copy of passport (copy of visa, if applicable)

  • Copy of health insurance card 

  • Risk acknowledgement form
  • Emergency contact information

Participants should also bring a copy of each document and keep them in a safe place separate from their original documents.

MIT Point of Contact

Designate an administrator in your office to be the MIT point of contact for the group during the trip. The Global Education team can work with this person in case any situation arises.

Pre-Departure Orientation

All participants benefit from attending a pre-departure orientation, facilitated either by the Global Education team or the department. In this pre-departure orientation, we review important considerations such as cultural differences, what to expect in terms of food/housing and money matters, what activities are planned, and, when appropriate, local language instruction.

In-Country Orientation

An orientation for students once they arrive in country is important as well. In this session, the host or faculty coordinator should discuss what to do in case of an emergency, provide local medical information, and expectations of the program and student conduct.

For more information on planning or programming, please contact the Global Education team by email at globalmit@mit.edu.

Welcome-Back Programming

It is important to organize a welcome-back session for students who participated in the program or trip. This will allow the students to share reflections about the program with one another and with the program leader and to discuss reverse culture shock if they are experiencing it. It also could facilitate a discussion to assess if program goals were met.