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The roles and responsibilities of the Trip Leader extend beyond the traditional classroom and/or academic advising setting with which you are familiar. Travel Study, by definition, is a 24/7 involvement for participants and the Trip Leader alike. This means that you will handle non-classroom issues and situations which differ significantly from the demands and challenges of the classroom environment. In your position as Trip Leader, daily interactions, and close living quarters will acquaint you with student life and culture outside the classroom. You will need to establish appropriate boundaries between you and the students while you are Trip Leader of a Travel Study program. If you have more questions about the program Leader’s job, or Otis Travel Study Programs, please email dgrosch@otis.edu.

Proposing a Program

  • Develop a Travel Study program proposal. Discuss your program idea with your Department Chair. Consider the feasibility of your program idea, including student interest, in-country contacts, departmental support, potential overlap with existing programs and academic content.
  • Consult with the Center for International Education to discuss program ideas and work on your proposal/renewal, program budget and timeline.
  • Using the Travel Study Budget Template, develop a preliminary program budget. The program budget is a planning tool to help outline the costs associated with program activities and will ultimately help identify the program fee and the number of students needed for the program to be sustainable.
  • Contact in-country program providers to get accurate price quotes for the services you will require.
  • Design the program curriculum.
  • Submit your Proposal/Renewal to the Center for International Education by the posted deadlines.

Recruitment & Application


  • Develop marketing materials to promote your program.  Use the poster/flyer/presentation templates provided by the Center for International Education…or create your own!
  • Share your program with the Otis Community through website development. The Center for International Education will create individual program specific webpages on the travel study website. Students will use these websites to apply to programs.
  • Actively recruit applicants for your program using info sessions, classroom visits, former participants, student organizations, online networking sites, etc.
  • Participate in the Fall Travel Study Fair
  • Host at least one information session.


  • Finalize student roster in cooperation with the Center for International Education. Minimum enrollment needed to run is confirmed when all payment contracts are received.

Preparing to Depart

  • Review and adhere to the deliverables found in the Leader and Safety Guide.
  • Review and adhere to the Task List and Timelines.
  • Develop course and program syllabi to inform students of course activities and requirements, communicate how students will be evaluated and graded, as well as academic and behavioral expectations.
  • Develop a program calendar of your in-country course-related and extracurricular activities.
  • Order any required books or course materials needed for the program.

Program Logistics, Budget and Advance Payments

  • Finalize program logistics: verify reservations, negotiate final prices and secure resources (instructors, guests, classroom, housing, food, tickets, transportation, activities, etc.).
  • Finalize program budget and make any needed adjustments based on enrollment, final logistics, etc.
  • Arrange for any advance payments or deposits. Collect invoices from vendors and forward to the Center for International Education to process payments.

Orient Students

  • Plan at least two required in-person orientations with students during the semester prior to travel to go over program details, course requirements and preparations, travel planning, health and safety, etc.
  • Start to build a collaborative group dynamic and learning community among students.
  • Develop and communicate the arrival plan/place to your students: where and when they meet the group, how they get to the meeting place and who they should contact in case they are not able to get there (i.e. missed connection).

Final Preparations

  • Provide Emergency Contact information to the Center for International Education to keep on file for the duration of your program. Submit this information before your departure.
  • Get emergency contact information cards from the Center for International Education and distribute to your students.

In the Field

  • Using the Travel Log, complete all tasks indicated on pages 5-9.
  • Reference the Leader & Safety Guide while on course.
  • Oversee all academic aspects of the program.
  • Oversee all program logistics if not working with a program provider
  • Track all program expenditures on-site and collect required documentation (receipts, etc.).
  • Act as primary resource for student inquiries and problems.
  • Act as the initial responder to logistical, medical, behavioral, and other crises.
  • Serve as the program's primary liaison with the Center for International Education and Otis College.

Program Wrap-up

  • Gather receipts and documentation for your Travel Advance, and T&E form. Submit your completed paperwork to the Center for International Education.  
  • Write and submit a Course Debrief on your  program
  • Submit your signed Travel Study Course Log.
  • Capture end of program feedback from students.