As a high school teacher, you know that young, impressionable minds can often benefit from international study and travel. This can be the perfect age to introduce young students to the world and to take them on the adventure of a lifetime. Studies show the many ways that young people can profit from these types of experiences, from developing enhanced social skills, learning to adapt, and engaging in cultural exchanges.
While the thought of planning and implementing at teacher-led study abroad program for your students may feel overwhelming, there are many resources out there to help. One popular option is to use a program provider, an established third-party organization that can take care of planning and logistics and help make your teacher-led trip a tremendous success.
Read on to learn more about finding and organizing a faculty-led high school abroad program.
Photo credit: Thomas Shahan 3.
Choosing a Program
Study abroad program providers are third-party organizations that manage, facilitate or operate programs overseas for students. Program providers offer programs in a variety of disciplines and locations worldwide, including countries where tourism is not readily available to travelers from the United States. Program providers offer a wide range of services that vary based on cost, program type and location.
Most providers provide accommodation, tours and meals. More inclusive programs will also include flights, language classes and tuition. It’s possible to find programs that include free or discounted rates for teachers and staff.
Some program providers offer structured courses, but most are able to customize and tailor their offerings to better meet the needs of your students and course. Program providers exist to make the experience of studying abroad easier and more meaningful for you and your students.
Why choose a provider instead of organizing my own trip?
There are many benefits to using a program provider for teacher led programs. Here's our breakdown:
- Program providers are in-country experts who know these countries like the back of their hand. You will be able to leverage their experience and knowledge to create the best possible experience for your students.
- Program providers may have ideas for activities or experiences that you weren't aware of that will further enhance your course.
- Using a program provider allows you to focus your concerns on teaching and cultural immersion instead of dealing with logistics. As a teacher you are busy enough teaching. Let someone else help you with details.
- Sometimes turning dreams into reality can be difficult, especially without any help. Program providers can tailor or customize their experiences to create a course that meets, and exceeds, everything you are looking for in a study abroad experience.
- Who couldn't use additional support, especially when traveling abroad? Working with a program provider means you will have backup, reachable in person, by email or phone, if you find yourself in a sticky situation or even just need more information to answer questions that pop up while you are overseas.
- Program providers have emergency management protocols that will make handling any issues that arise on your study abroad experience a smoother experience. Regardless of the level of assistance a program provider provides, their protocol will ease your mind.
If you use a program provider, who teaches the course?
When going through a program provider, the provider will be in charge of organizing the logistics of all travel details while faculty members will be responsible for teaching the course, administering homework or exams, and grading assignments.
Program providers can help you draft and adapt an itinerary to fit the curriculum of your course and also help arrange for activities, tours and guest speakers that will support the topics you are teaching and help your students engage more deeply in the course. By having someone else arrange transportation, accommodation and logistical details, you can focus on what you do best – teaching!
How do program providers handle emergencies abroad?
Emergency management is a big consideration for teachers looking to lead programs overseas. It is important to know the protocol for handling emergencies, such as student injury or illness, criminal activity, natural acts or other events that could potentially present harm to students and faculty.
Though all program providers have strategic protocols, the way they handle emergencies abroad also varies greatly. Some have insurance policies that cover medical and emergency costs for the length of the trip, but students going abroad will need to have their own health insurance back in the United States that includes emergency medical transportation, hospital care, accidental death and dismemberment, repatriation of remains, and evacuation coverage. It's also recommended that students have a travel insurance policy that will cover changes to transportation and loss or theft of personal items.
Regardless of the protocol, teachers on the program will need to be available to help handle emergencies at all times.
Typically, when a teacher or staff member decides to use a program provider, students will still pay tuition directly to their high school. The school will then be responsible for paying the program provider for the cost of the program.
By paying the tuition directly to their school, students may be able to use scholarship money towards the cost of the program.
Most program providers do not charge teachers or staff for the cost of the program. Some will even give schools an additional spot for faculty or chaperones free of charge if a certain number of students sign up to participate.