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Pre-Departure Arrangements

Passports and Visas

Buckeyes exploring IsraelResident directors and students are responsible for having a valid passport in advance of the program’s departure. Applying for a passport is at the resident director’s and students’ own expense. Students should apply for a passport immediately, even if they are just considering studying abroad. For more information, visit the Passports section under travel.state.gov.

Some destinations require a visa in addition to a passport. It is the resident directors' and students' responsibility to ensure there are enough blank pages in their passport for a visa – requirements vary by country. The education abroad coordinator will inform the resident director and the students if they need to apply for a visa. In some cases, the education abroad coordinator is able to help facilitate applying for visas as a group; in other cases, it is the responsibility of the resident director and students to take care of it themselves. International students should visit FAQ: Study Abroad for International Students.

All resident directors and students must understand visas are granted solely at the discretion of the issuing embassy or consulate of the host country. Ohio State, OIA and its visa service provider Travisa have no control over visa denials, immigration and visa regulations and/or any changes in the Embassies’/Consulates’ policies.


The resident director is responsible for the overall academic oversight of the program. In some education abroad programs, the resident director is exclusively responsible for grading students’ work. In most programs, however, the resident director assists host institution instructors in the evaluation of students’ work and performance.

Students will take their grading concerns with them when they study abroad. Education abroad students will be keenly interested in how, when and by whom they will be graded. It is important for the resident director to clarify grading procedures and expectations with the host institution before the program begins. This information must be clearly communicated to students in the form of a syllabus, preferably posted on Carmen in advance. Some resident directors have suggested including conduct/participation points in their syllabus, as well as points for attending pre-departure orientation meetings.

It is your responsibility to verify all participants have enrolled in the appropriate education abroad course(s) before departure. Enrollment information and instructions are communicated to students in their OIA acceptance notification email. At the program’s conclusion, you are responsible for submitting their final grades through the faculty center at buckeyelink.osu.edu.

Resident Director Cellphones

Buckeye pride in FranceResident directors are required to carry a smart phone with them 24/7 during official program dates (including departure from and return to Columbus in the case of group flights) to respond to emergencies and communicate with the in-country contact and their students.

If a resident director already owns a smart phone, the Office of International Affairs strongly recommends this phone be used abroad so the resident director does not have the burden of setting up a new and unfamiliar rental phone and experience a disruption/delay with communication. Resident directors will be reimbursed for the costs that are incurred for adding an international plan and for program-related calls, texts and data by submitting receipts, a cell phone invoice or other appropriate documentation.

If a resident director does not own a smart phone or prefers not to use their personal phone, the Office of International Affairs will rent or purchase a smart phone for program use prior to departure. Phones can be rented or purchased in the host country only if the resident director is arriving several days in advance of the students. Phone numbers must be established and communicated to OIA and the group prior to the students’ arrival.

In-Country Messaging

If your group will have access to Wi-Fi, consider using a messaging app to send out reminders to the group such as departure times, daily schedules or other notifications. Some mobile apps that have been successfully used include WeChat, WhatsApp, GroupMe, Viber and Snapchat.

Program Arrangement Procedure

The Office of International Affairs selects in-country service providers based on their ability to provide responsive, high quality and safe program arrangements at a fair price. When the unexpected occurs, these entities can provide support, information and solutions to OIA. OIA is not able to make program arrangements directly with service providers (hotels, airlines, bus companies, etc.) and secures these services through Ohio State’s designated travel provider. If you prefer to make these travel arrangements yourself without the assistance of a host institution, program provider or travel agent, you will be responsible for securing official invoices to be submitted to OIA for approval in advance. OIA cannot make payments directly to vendors in excess of $50,000. Providers must meet OIA and Ohio State service, quality and safety expectations. OIA reserves the right to deny use of any provider(s) that do not meet OIA expectations.

If you have taken on the responsibility to develop the in-country itinerary, a proposed list of required services/activities or a detailed day-to-day itinerary must be submitted to OIA. It will then be forwarded to the in-country provider for a quote by the established deadlines. You will have one opportunity to make revisions to the program itinerary content prior to advertising the program fee. Please refer to the Dates of Activities for more information.


Education abroad coordinators will make group arrangements and in-country arrangements only through the use of Ohio State’s designated travel agency — with the exception of programs managed by a host institution or in cases when airfare is arranged by the individual participant.

Travel to Program Site

Winter or spring break education abroad programs

Resident directors travel with the Ohio State students to and from the program site. In this case, OIA will arrange the group travel and purchase the round trip air ticket for the resident director.

Regular length education abroad programs

The decision to have a group flight is made on a program-by-program basis. If you travel separately from the students, you must still travel on the official program dates. In the event you arrive early or stay after the official program dates for personal reasons, you will be responsible for any cost difference in airfare.

To arrange travel to the program site, the education abroad coordinator will arrange resident director travel with the university’s designated travel agency. The education abroad coordinator will arrange for OIA to make direct payment to the travel agency and obtain a unique travel or “T” number for the resident director.

Deviation from a group flight is by special permission only. Please refer to the resident director flight guide.

Transportation and Rental Vehicle Policy

Exploring castles in IreladTransportation on education abroad programs should be coordinated by a reputable transportation company that supplies both vehicles and drivers. Arrangement of these services should be done during the OIA program development process. Under no circumstances should an employee’s private vehicle be used to transport students on programs abroad.

Use of rental vehicles by resident directors or other program staff is highly discouraged but may be allowed in exceptional circumstances. Resident directors and program staff can only rent vehicles if OIA concludes no suitable alternatives exist to accommodate the itinerary and academic objectives of the program. Requests for an exception should be submitted to the appropriate education abroad coordinator and will onlyl be allowed after consultation with the international risk manager.

Should a request to rent a vehicle be approved, the following conditions apply: approved drivers should have a valid U.S. driver’s license, a good driving record and familiarity with the handling of the type of vehicle to be driven. Approved drivers should also make sure they have the appropriate credentials for driving in the destination country and for the type of class vehicle that is rented. For many destinations this will include an International Driving Permit or an Inter-American Driving Permit (AAA is authorized by the Department of State to issue both). The cost is $20 and can take four to six weeks to process. Programs with approved drivers are required to request and read a copy of the Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT) Road Travel Report for their country. The fee for these reports will be included in the program budget, and reports can be obtained via the Office of International Affairs. Approved drivers also need to be aware of local traffic laws and the penalties for violating them, which in some cases can be far more severe (e.g. incarceration) than they are in the United States.

When renting an approved vehicle abroad, it is advisable to use the supplier agreement negotiated by the Office of the Controller with National Car Rental. If not renting through the supplier agreement, an arrangement should only be made with large domestic agencies (Avis, Hertz, etc.). In all cases the vehicle should be rented with a Collision Damage Waiver, inclusive of windshield and glass, with a $0 deductible as well as liability insurance. Depending on the country where the vehicle is being rented, the agreement may or may not include some form of LDW, CDW and/or liability insurance. If it does include a Collision Damage Waiver, it should be verified if there is a deductible and exclusions. If there is a deductible or exclusions, extra insurance options should be available to reduce the deductible to $0 and cover the entire car. The purchase of Collision Damage Waiver with a $0 deductible and liability insurance is an allowable expense for approved vehicles. There is no need for additional personal accident insurance. If insurance is not purchased, the university’s deductibles for collision are $10,000 and liability is $100,000, which would be the responsibility of the department/unit sponsoring the program. University policy restricts the use of 15-passenger cargo vans. For international travel, this is also extended to cargo style vans that are configured for 12-passengers (driver and 11 passengers).

A minibus with a driver is permissible, although these will often require a different licensing requirement. The preference for approved rentals is for cars, SUVs or seven to eight passenger minivans. Only resident directors or approved program staff are allowed to drive the vehicle(s). Under no circumstances are students allowed to drive program vehicles or transport students in vehicles they have rented.

In addition, the following safety precautions should be observed: resident directors and other approved drivers should read the “Traffic Safety and Road Conditions” section of the Department of State Country Specific Information sheet for their destination. Vehicles should be evaluated for overall maintenance; a car should not be rented if it appears to have notable body damage, poor tires or other visible deficiencies. All drivers and passengers should be required to wear seat belts during travel. While driving locally after dark is permissible, no itinerary should include an overnight drive between two destinations on the program. Vehicles rented for program purposes should only be used for program-specific activities and should not be used to transport students to optional activities during scheduled free time. Maps should be obtained and travel routes determined prior to the start of the program. Travel plans should be followed, and no side trips should be made.