October 28 Meeting

On Oct. 28, the pre-departure orientation forum held its first public meeting with colleagues from across campus.  41 participants representing 16 university units came together to learn about some examples of best practice in pre-departure orientation already occurring at Notre Dame as well as to discuss how a university-wide pre-departure orientation for independent summer programs would facilitate their individual programmatic needs.

Materials and minutes from this meeting are provided below.  Additional handouts are being collected in electronic form and will be posted here shortly.  I invite any interested campus colleague to review these materials and comment on them below.

Pre-Departure Orientation, Oct 28 Meeting [Agenda]

Sample Pre-Departure Orientation & Discussion Questions

Pre-Departure Orientation Meeting Minutes [Oct 28]

Specifically, I would invite additional comments and suggestions on the potential content for the pre-departure orientation that has been proposed in the materials above and excerpted in part below.

Some potential content foci that were suggested include:

  • Safety, security, health (insurance, etc)
  • Political/cultural pieces
  • Risk Management sessions
  • Pharmacy, medical sessions
  • How to properly explore
  • Language learning
  • Ethics of photography
  • IRB and human subjects
  • Disparities of power/wealth
  • Self Defense / First Aid program
  • Culture shock during study abroad and upon reentry
  • Understanding local educational systems
  • Technology, web, electronics
  • Legal counseling/ Notre Dame policy sessions
UPDATE (11/9): You can download  the complete compilation of participant feedback from the meeting discussion questions here: Compiled Discussion Question Responses 
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4 thoughts on “October 28 Meeting

  1. I understand the reasons that we would focus on students traveling abroad over the summer. However, we also have a significant number of students who travel overseas over their breaks (fall, Christmas, and spring). At some point, it may be useful to consider expanding the pre-departure orientation to these students as well.

    • Thanks Jen. I saw this issue raised by a couple of groups in the compilation of discussion question responses as well. I think that we might consider whether a portion of the summer pre-departure orientation could be replicated for these smaller and more focused groups throughout the year. One might even consider video capture of each year’s set of pre-departure sessions for summer study abroad participants and making these recordings available to academic year programs that wish to make use of them. Though, such use would like require some program-level mediation as well.

  2. Lance, so sorry I missed the meeting. I have a few things that I could not decipher if they were addressed or not in the meeting, so sorry in advance. 1. Do you also include a systematic approach to using local alumni in areas of travel? 2. We admire the Rachel’s CSC program that includes addressing “living in community.” Is this addressed? 3. Was the role of Risk Mgt. addressed in the safety and Security section? 4. Are you advocating a universal application process for approval like has been done via OIS? 5. We are kind of an odd program so we try to work through the existing systems without reinventing the wheel. Will we now use only the Office of Internationalization? Or is that TBD? Thanks! Sarah

    • Hi Sarah. These are good questions. Some of these were indeed discussed during the Oct. 28 meeting, but others are novel and are helpful in furthering our discussion here.

      1) Using local alumni to facilitate international travel was cited as a potential mechanism or focus for this pre-departure preparation, but has not yet been codified. We might explore this further on Dec. 2
      2) Informed community engagement and integration during international study is a point of focus that was articulated by Rachel and others during our last meeting. It seems likely that it will be addressed through one or more sessions of the orientation.
      3) Risk management and safety was a major area of concern among all participants and will be addressed in detail during the Dec 2 meeting. Please review the Dec. 2 meeting tab above-left for more information regarding our approach to this.
      4) This pre-departure program is distinct from any OIS programs. We are not advocating for a universal application process or procedure, but this university-wide pre-departure orientation will certainly help standardize best practices and facilitate information sharing. It is also worth noting that this university pre-departure program cannot and should not replace program specific preparations; rather, it addresses areas of common and universal concern to study abroad students from many different programs so that program specific orientations can focus on their own specific issues for pre-departure preparation.
      5) The provosts office and the international office will facilitate a common framework and resources to address many pre-departure orientation issues, but programs are still encouraged to provide their own program specific preparation as well. Our goal is exactly what you suggest, however; we want to prevent individual programs from having to reinvent the wheel for issues of common interest like risk management and community engagement.