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The Ohio State UniversityOffice of International Affairs

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Student Organization Travel

The Ohio Union has over 1,000 registered student organizations. Each year, multiple organizations coordinate volunteer and service projects abroad. This travel is non-credit bearing and the development of the travel opportunity is managed directly by the student organization, not by an administrative office of the university. While this travel is largely independent, student organizations are still required to follow certain university policies as set forth in the Student Organization President Training section on Travel Abroad.  

Sponsoring a student organization’s travel abroad activity

Before any student organization can undertake any recruitment for travel abroad or other activities, they must be a registered organization with the Ohio Union. This process is completed through the Office of Student Life.

If your organization has an active registration status (new/reestablished or established) with the Ohio Union, it may sponsor a travel abroad activity. The organization’s leadership should submit and complete a Group International Travel Form, 90 days in advance of your travel.   

If your organization is seeking a program provider for your experience or is looking to vet a service experience, the Office of International Affairs encourages you to use the resources of the International Volunteer Programs Association (IVPA) to determine if the experience is the right fit for you. In particular we recommend the sections on:

  • Principles and Practices – a more in depth measure of how to identify a reliable program that offers worthwhile program experiences.

IVPA also has a membership directory of organizations that meet the principles and practices outlined in the links above.   

Additionally, consider the following features:

  • Does the program offer a comprehensive website? You should be able to access a thorough program overview, host city/country information, staff contacts, current information on travel dates and costs, application submission instructions, relevant course descriptions and alumni feedback.
  • Does the program offer pre-departure services? These may include responsive and accessible staff, advising services, visa assistance (if applicable) and comprehensive orientation materials.
  • Does the program offer in-country services? These may include on-site staff to provide airport pick-up (or assistance) and housing placement, as well as 24/7 emergency and day-to-day support.

Ohio State Travel Policies

All Ohio State students pursuing registered student organization travel abroad are required to adhere to the policies and guidelines set forth by the University’s International Travel Policy Committee.

  • Be sure to check the status of your prospective host country with the list of Ohio State Risk Designated Countries. If your host country is currently listed as a Risk Designate Country, you must submit a petition to the International Travel Policy Committee.
  • Students traveling to international locations for academic or co-curricular purposes are required to enroll in the university's supplemental travel insurance. Visit supplemental travel insurance for detailed steps on how to apply for the supplemental insurance online.

Self-report Form and Pre-departure Checklist

Once you have been accepted to your program, be sure to complete the online independent education abroad self-report form and review the pre-departure checklist.