Education Abroad

Pre-Departure Arrangements

Passports and Visas

Resident directors and students are responsible for having a valid passport in advance of the program’s departure. The passport must be valid for at least six months after returning from the program. 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. Students can be directed to the Education Abroad office for assistance with this process.  

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 specialist will inform the resident director and the students if they need to apply for a visa. In some cases, the education abroad specialist 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 have no control over visa denials, immigration and visa regulations and/or any changes in the Embassies’/Consulates’ policies. 

Academics

The resident director is responsible for the overall academic oversight of the program. For most education abroad programs, the resident director is exclusively responsible for grading students’ work. In some 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, if applicable, before the program begins. This information must be clearly communicated to students in the form of a syllabus, preferably posted on Carmen in advance. We encourage including conduct/participation points in the syllabus, as well as points for attending pre-departure orientation meetings. 

It is the responsibility of the resident director 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, resident directors are responsible for submitting final grades through the faculty center at buckeyelink.osu.edu

Resident Director Cellphones

Resident 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, post program, 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 the 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.). OIA will secure these services through Ohio State’s designated travel provider. 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 resident directors take 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 the education abroad specialist. The specialist will then forward the requests to the in-country provider to obtain a quote by the established deadlines. Resident directors will have one opportunity to make revisions to the program itinerary content prior to advertising the program fee. Please refer to Program Deadlines for more information. 

Transportation

Education abroad specialists 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. 

Summer education abroad programs

The decision to have a group flight is made on a program-by-program basis. In the event the resident director is not able to travel with the group, they should contact their education abroad specialist.

To arrange travel to the program site, the education abroad specialist will arrange resident director travel with the university’s designated travel agency. The education abroad specialist 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

Transportation 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.