Planning Trips

Each study abroad faculty member is given the opportunity to conduct a pre-program planning trip, to support the development of the program. The Study Abroad Office will provide a detailed planning trip checklist.

As a general guideline, planning trips should be between 7-10 days in duration, and cost approximately $4,000 per faculty.

If a faculty member wishes to conduct their planning trip during another Principia contractual engagement (for example, an Academic Dean’s workshop), the approval to miss the engagement should be sought directly from the Academic Dean.

Pre-planning Trip Expectations

The purpose of a pre-planning trip is to identify, test, and assess:

  • Accommodations
  • Modes of transportation
  • Places to eat
  • Sites to visit


Specifically, it is to:

  1. Find the real costs and where the program can and cannot be modified
  2. Make tentative reservations if appropriate; NOTE: firm reservations with deposits and dates will be done after you return
  3. Identify and assess accommodations at each location – will they accommodate the size of the group, accept students, will the room arrangements work for you and your group, is the accommodation located sufficiently close to sites to be visited/shops, close to public transportation, room size, laundry, internet access, cost/group rates, identify a few appropriate accommodations for each location; obtain name, address, phone number, email, brochures; give them your business card, etc.
  4. Identify and assess transportation options to and from each location as well as at each location – what are the options available for transportation, what will you use, what is its cost/group rates, is it reasonable, how long does it take to get from one site to the next; obtain name, address, phone number, email, brochures, give them your business card, etc.
  5. Identify and assess eating options at each location – will the students find the food acceptable, cost/group rates, is the location appropriate to the day’s activities; obtain name, address, phone number, email, brochures, give them your business card, etc.
  6. Visit and try out on-site cultural/drawing/lecture locations – do they provide you with the educational experience you were hoping for; what assignments would you give students at this location; which class does this location support; does it contribute meaningfully to the themes of the program; time to get there and time at site; their hours and days of operation, best times to go; is there a place to eat there; cost/group rates; obtain name, address, phone number, email, brochures; give them your business card, etc.
  7. Test out guides, their ability to give you tours that you need/understand, their cost; and to schedule them; obtain name, address, phone number, email, give them your business card, etc.
  8. Assess the pace you have planned – is there sufficient ‘soak’, processing, and down time
  9. Practice keeping track of money and expense reports
  10. Try out various telephone and email communication links – what are the options and what is the most effective and efficient, cost
  11. Make contact with the local CS community. In addition to providing mutual metaphysical support, these contacts may be able to help with the logistics of your abroad (home stays, cultural sites, get-togethers, etc.)
  12. Identify and lay groundwork for community service activity

What is expected?

Upon your return you will collaborate with the program manager to develop a detailed itinerary – including accommodations, sites, transportation, and costs/budget. All this information will be gathered from your research during your pre-planning trip.

Funding Request

To receive Study Abroad Office funding for this trip a funding request and application must be completed and submitted to the Study Abroad Office. The study abroad program manager will review the request with the program faculty, and then submit to the Director of Study Abroad for final approval.

Program faculty are responsible for finance accounting and receipt collecting during their planning trip. The Study Abroad Office will assist with program faculty with the planning trip expense report, upon their return.

Report & Debrief Expectations

An informal, written report is expected upon completion of the planning trip; submitted to the study abroad program manager. General report and debrief prompts include:

For Academics:

  1. Did the overarching theme of your abroad change or get clearer as a result of your planning trip? How would you currently state your theme?
  2. What are the key sites and venues you plan to go to that contribute meaningfully to this theme?
  3. Briefly describe how these sites provide the educational experience you are looking for and which course they support.
  4. What assignments would you give students at these locations?
  5. What thoughts do you have about other assignments (activities, readings, projects, speakers, etc)?

For Logistics:

  1. What are your current ideas for your itinerary? Are there any significant holes or missing pieces?
  2. Are there any reservations we need to make immediately? Or in the very near future? What is your sense of the timing for reservations?
  3. How is the pace of the itinerary? Is there time for students to immerse themselves in various locations?