Orienting students to your off-campus semester or interim class can go a long way to assure the success of the experience.  The resources found on this page include activities and resources for pre-departure as well as examples of activities you can create to help student adjust to their new surroundings once you depart. 

On-Site Orientation Template

Sample Academic and Program Expectations - You can adapt this form to be used for your interim or semester program.

Rivertooth - How you can use storytelling as an opportunity for your group to get to know each other better.

Gender Roles Worksheet - Examining Gender Norms as a Participant Observer


Getting Ready to Go:  It is important to provide students (and possibly parents) with information about your expectations and what they can expect once they arrive.  Here is one example of a pre-trip handout.  Use it as a reference as you create your own material (thanks to Jeff Bouman). 

ISDSI Orientation Checklist:  Here is a checklist from a Calvin-supported program in Thailand (ISDSI) on the things they want to make sure they cover in their orientation. Use it as a resource and include your own important “must cover” topics (thanks to ISDSI for sharing). 

Student Panel Best Practices: Guidelines for setting up student panels for student orientation.

Alcohol and Study Abroad: Resource for students and faculty to foster a conversation about alcohol use when abroad.

Teambuilding resources:  An important part of any study abroad experience is the group of people who accompany you on the trip.  As you plan your orientation, think about how you want to build and shape your group.  Here are a few resources that can help in this process: 

Creating a Group Covenant:  This document has been used with groups of students working and studying abroad during the summer as well as groups living in Project Neighborhood houses.  It could be adapted to help you create a group contract or covenant on how the group will work together over the course of your experiences (thanks to Don DeGraaf). 

Creating a technology policy for the group:  Technology is playing a bigger role in shaping our off-campus programs (for both good and bad).  How can you as an instructor or director help the group to be aware of the benefits and challenges in using technology while they are off-campus?  How can you help the group be intentional in drafting a technology policy for your time away (thanks to the Off-Campus Programs Office). 


Getting to know Budapest:  Check out this fun approach to orienting students to the city of Budapest, Amazing Race style (thanks to Jeff Bouman for sharing).

Risk Management, Table Talk Exercises:  A tabletop exercise simulates an emergency situation in an informal, stress-free environment.  The participants gather around a table to discuss general problems and procedures in the context of an emergency scenario.  The focus is on training and familiarization with roles, procedures, or responsibilities.  Click on the following links for Table top exercises you can do with your group: