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Orientations and Workshops

Hungary education abroadThe Office of International Affairs provides a variety of professional development opportunities for leaders of university-managed education abroad programs.

Health and Safety Orientation Requirement

Resident directors (program leaders) are required to participate in an annual health and safety training. The training covers resources for preparation ahead of departure and response protocol for routine incidents and emergencies abroad.

First-time resident directors:

  • Must attend the Core Health and Safety Orientation. In order to effectively implement the content, this requirement is ideally completed early in the term prior to the travel start date.
  • May attend any of the Special Topic Health and Safety Workshops in addition to the Core Orientation.
  • Please note the Financial Orientation is a separate requirement.

Experienced (repeat) resident directors: 

  • Must attend an orientation or workshop within the 12-month period preceding the start date of travel:
    • Must attend the Core Health and Safety once within every 24-month period. The content is updated annually.
    • Those who have completed the Core Orientation within the 24-month period preceding the start date of travel may complete the annual training requirement by attending any one of either the Core Health and Safety, Advanced Health and Safety or a Special Topic Health and Safety Workshop.
  • Please note the Financial Orientation is a separate requirement.
  • OIA maintains records of date of attendance for those needing clarification of their status.

Health and Safety Orientations are open for all spring break and summer resident directors.

Core Health and Safety Orientation
The core orientation covers pre-departure resources to mitigate health and safety concerns and reviews use of the Incident Response Handbook for incidents that arise. Specific attention is paid to utilizing the resources of the U.S. Department of State, CDC, OIA Health and Safety information and supplemental insurance. The session also reviews federal compliance related to education abroad including Clery Act and Title IX.

Advanced Health and Safety Orientation
This orientation assumes recent prior knowledge of the core content. The primary focus is on use of the Incident Response Handbook and utilization of the supplemental insurance. The content is based on previous questions that have risen in response to student concerns and incidents abroad. The session aims to encourage conversation among experienced program leaders to broaden their response capacity.

Special Topic Health and Safety Workshops

Alcohol Use Abroad: Preparation, Mitigation and Response
The Alcohol Use Abroad workshop reviews research studies on expectations and norms of alcohol consumption among education abroad students. The data highlights trends that may result in higher rates of consumption among some program participants. The workshop also will focus on elements of program design and behavioral standards to mitigate potentially disruptive or harmful behavior. Topics addressed will include the Code of Student Conduct, group expectations contracts, signs, symptoms and reactions to alcohol poisoning and use of the supplemental health insurance for assisting students.

Essential Documents: Crafting and Using Emergency Action Plans and Group Expectations Contracts
An emergency action plan is an indispensable component of health and safety planning for education abroad programs. It provides the core information that program leaders and participants will need in responding to an urgent or critical incident. A group expectations contract sets standard guidelines for participant conduct and engagement. This workshop will review templates for crafting effective documents. It will also provide examples on how the documents are utilized, including the use of the Incident Response Handbook along with various technology apps and social media platforms. This workshop is scheduled multiple weeks in advance of travel, to allow participants to effectively implement content for their program.  

Managing Participant and Group Dynamics: Responding to Student Concerns and Incidents
The role of resident director requires a high degree of interpersonal contact with students in residential and non-classroom environments. Issues routinely arise that may challenge individual students, small cohorts or the entire program. While these often do not constitute an urgent health or safety matter, they may require significant intervention and ongoing management. This workshop will pose sample incidents, review management techniques from the Office of Residence Life and resources for response and maintaining resiliency. It will also cover the use of technology and social media in maintaining consistent interaction with a group.

Supporting Student Mental Health in Education Abroad
The Supporting Student Mental Health workshop will focus on strategies program leaders can use to assist students managing mental health conditions complete safe and rewarding education abroad experiences. It is designed in collaboration with Office of Student Life Counseling and Consultation Services and based on principles of Mental Health First Aid®. Topics discussed will include pre-departure resources, student access to the Office of Student Life Disability Services, traveling with prescription medications, use of the Incident Response Handbook to respond to distressed and disruptive students abroad and the Code of Student Conduct. In addition, it will review the supplemental health insurance and campus resources for assisting in emergency response.

Financial Orientation Requirement

If OIA will be issuing you a GET credit card for your program, you will be required to attend a meeting with OIA Business Operations to review the usage guidelines. Please review the In-Country Finances webpage before attending the GET Card Orientation. These sessions are for spring break resident directors only. 

The following GET Card Orientations are for summer resident directors: