Role and Expectations of Resident Director
The role of an education abroad resident director extends beyond the traditional classroom and/or academic advising setting. Education abroad, by definition, is a 24/7 involvement for participants and resident directors alike. The resident director will handle non-classroom issues and situations which differ significantly from the demands and challenges of the classroom environment.
In the position of resident director, daily interactions and close living quarters will acquaint you with student life and culture outside the classroom. You will need to establish appropriate boundaries between yourself and the students while you are resident director of an education abroad program.
In this leadership role, it is critical for the resident director to understand and accept that they are a role model. Their behavior, actions and words will always be on display. They will want to maintain professional and neutral relationships with all students in their group and avoid displays of preferential treatment and/or favoritism. Such displays, at best, will be resented by students and, at worst, misunderstood and considered objectionable.
Above all, the resident director will often have to put the needs of the students above your own and view this experience as a team effort, not an individual one.
Primary Duties and Responsibilities:
- Work with the education abroad specialist to provide input on flights, in-country itinerary and program budgetary matters, as needed
- Submit and review required documents and information to OIA in a timely manner through the online application portal
- Assist with recruitment for the program, including but not limited to attending information sessions and classroom/club visits
- Assist the education abroad specialist with the student participant selection process
- Assist with preparation of students through individual advising and group pre-departure sessions
- Attend and participate in OIA’s mandatory resident director health and safety and GET card orientation sessions
- Work to determine division of labor with assistant/co-resident directors
- Verify all students have enrolled in the correct education abroad course(s)
- Read and know Department of State and Centers for Disease Control information for the countries the program will visit
- Oversee academic and cross-cultural learning program components in-country including navigating any unforeseen itinerary changes
- Provide in-country orientation to students
- Hold regular meetings with students throughout the program
- Manage student expectations
- Maintain regular contact with education abroad specialist
- Manage cash advance funds
- Respond to medical/non-medical emergencies with support from OIA as needed
- Serve as liaison between the host institution and/or vendor and OIA
- Submit receipts for cash advance funds to OIA business operations in a timely manner
- Attend debrief meeting with education abroad specialist
- Assist future program leaders
- Begin planning for next year (if applicable)
- Submit grades for program participants in accordance with the university requirements for the term in which you were abroad.
- Sense of humor
- Common sense
- Endless patience
- Physical stamina
- Excellent communication skills (verbal and non-verbal)
- Strong record-keeping and documentation skills
- Caring, helpful and supportive attitude
- Genuine interest in host culture and country
- Firm but fair attitude
- Basic first aid knowledge
- Ability to remain calm in stressful situations