Guidelines for Developing Instructor-Led Short Programs

Welcome to Western Sydney University’s guidelines for planning, developing, and implementing Instructor-Led short programs abroad. These guidelines provide advice about the program life cycle and policy for taking students abroad. In addition, this webpage provides video interviews from Western staff sharing their knowledge about developing opportunities and leading students abroad. Feel free to watch these videos and gain valuable insights into implementing overseas programs.


Content

Section 1: Conceptualisation and Approval

Section2: Implementation

Section 3: Resources and Quick Links

Section 4: Videos

Section 5: Main Contacts


Section 1: Conceptualisation and Approval

“By Failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

Conceptualisation is the action of formulating the scope of a program and considers the desired features and challenges: locations, time periods, costs, risks, academic recognition, promotion, in-country logistics, partnerships, legal agreements and more. Ideally this process would be completed 12-18 months before departure, and prior to the submission of a comprehensive Proposal and Risk Assessment for a Short Term Education Abroad Program (see Section 5).

Provided below are some features to consider. To help with conceptualisation, feel free to download and use the Checklist Worksheet (TBA).


1. Selecting a Host Location

1.1 Knowledge of the Host Location

  • What knowledge or experience do you have in the host location?
  • How will your proposed program leverage the unique learning opportunities of the destination?
  • Have you explored and physically visited the potential site?
    • Before implementing a program, a valuable exercise is to conduct a site visit to assess the host country's services, on-site logistics, and research potential ideas for excursions. During your site visit, the primary focus should be the evaluation of student services, health and safety, transportation and housing. Conducting a site visit also provides a good opportunity to collect materials specific for promotion and pre-departure sessions.

1.2 Student Interest and Relevance

  • Have you surveyed or gauged interest from students about the prospective program or host location?
  • What is your Value Proposition?
  • What academic relevance does this location have?
    • Each year a number of overseas programs are postponed or cancelled due to low demand or competing activities. Students may not find the opportunity appealing, be able to afford the experience, or have the time or ability to participate due to work commitments. Make sure that you research the opportunity and create a Value Proposition that is attractive to students.

1.3 Culture

  • How familiar are you with the cultural values, norms and language of the host community?
  • How will your program respect the values and norms of the host community and avoid imposing an undue burden on its resources?
  • How different is the host location to Western Sydney or Australia?
  • What types of students will be participating in the experience? What is their background?
  • How much cultural adaption will the students require?
  • Students may go through a number of emotional challenges that could affect their study and participation in a program. Living, working or studying in a new culture requires students to learn a new set of cultural patterns and behaviours. Depending on the host location, students and staff may require numerous training sessions that will concentrate on the culture and customs, and also discuss the participant’s knowledge, attitudes, and expectations. A suitable cultural awareness program would provide a blend of information, self-evaluation and development of skills.

  • View a short video about Cultural Adaption.

1.4 DFAT Risk Rating

  • How safe is the proposed destination?
  • What is the current DFAT Travel Advice?
    • To guide Australians and avoid difficulties overseas, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) maintains travel advisories on Smartraveller for more than 170 destinations. These advisories assist people in making informed decisions and highlight the risks that they could face in the host location(s). Smartraveller includes information about security, safety, health, local laws, or natural disasters. The advisories also highlight areas that are clearly not safe for travel.
    • Smartraveller has 4 levels of risk:
      • Level 1 – Exercise normal safety precautions
      • Level 2 – Exercise a high degree of caution
      • Level 3 – Reconsider your need to travel
      • Level 4 – Do not travel
    • Further information about these precautions can be found on Travel Advice Explained.
  • When evaluating the host location, you may wish to utilise the Host Location Checklist (TBA) and review information provided by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Smartraveller website.

1.5 Health

  • What are the health risks?
  • Are vaccinations required?
  • Will the participants need to take any medications?
  • Do the participants need to have a certain level of fitness?
    • Although participating in an overseas activity is exciting for participants, the activity may have the potential to expose students and staff to serious health risks. Further, every person has a different medical history. Consequently it is important that prospective participants visit a doctor 6 to 12 weeks before leaving Australia and have a check-up. Prospective participants should find out about vaccines and medications that may required before and during the trip. If vaccines are required, participants may need several doses, which will take time for the body to develop full immunity. It is also advised that prospective participants visit a dentist before going abroad.
    • Information about health risks can be found by visiting Travel Doctor-TMVC, Smartraveller, and the Australian Government's Department of Health websites.

1.6 Mental Illness

  • What attitude does the host location have towards mental illness?
  • What happens if a participant suffers from mental illness?
    • According to the Australian Government’s Productivity Commission, 1 in 5 Australians suffer mental ill health each year. It is important to consider the host location and the attitude towards mental illness.
    • The Australian Government stresses that anyone travelling abroad is subject to foreign jurisdictions, which may view mental illness different from back at home. Consequently, it is important to thoroughly research the destination and determine if there are any concerns that may trigger mental health concerns - see Australian travellers with mental health conditions.

1.7 Local Laws

  • How do the local laws compare to Australia and New South Wales?
  • Are there any unusual rules that will affect your prospective program, or participants should be aware of?
    • All participants are subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that may appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling. If you're arrested for a major offence, participants could go to prison for several years before receiving a verdict. Further information about these precautions can be found on www.smartraveller.gov.au.

1.8 Preventing Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Harassment (PSEAH) Policy

  • What attitude does the host location have towards sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment?
  • Will your prospective international partners abide by the Australian Government’s PSEAH Policy?
    • The Australian Government and Western Sydney University does not tolerate sexual exploitation, abuse or harassment (SEAH) of any kind. The PSEAH Policy sets out expectations and requirements for all delivery partners to manage SEAH risks and incidents. This includes a risk assessment to PSEAH Minimum Standards and a contract with all downstream partners. For further information see Section 4.4.

1.9 Child Protection

  • Will your program involve working with children?
    • The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has a zero tolerance approach to child exploitation or abuse. DFAT recognises that it is the shared responsibility of all adults to prevent child exploitation and abuse. See https://www.dfat.gov.au/international-relations/themes/child-protection/Pages/child-protection. In Australia, there is recognition that organisations that work with children also have a role in protecting them, and need policies and procedures to enable them to do so. The DFAT Child Protection policy sets out expectations and requirements for all delivery partners to act in accordance with the policy principles outlined in the document, and abide by their own relevant policies, international declarations, conventions, agreements and domestic legal frameworks, which seek to protect children. For further information see Section 4.5.

1.10 International Partners

  • Will you be working with overseas universities or third party providers?
  • Does the institution or organisation have an agreement with Western Sydney University?
    • Western Sydney International (WSI) is the central point to manage the establishment for all international agreements. Staff considering engaging with overseas institutions or third party providers, must consult with WSI before entering any negotiations.
    • If the overseas program includes a commercial contract or proposal*, the following is required:
      1. A signed partnership agreement (see above if relevant)
      2. A review of the contract or proposal by the Office of General Counsel. For legal services, use the online request form. You will need to attach all relevant documentation related to the request, as well as Dean/Director approval to approach the Office of General Counsel for advice on this matter.
      3. The completion of the University Procurement Processes. Please consult with your School Manager or Management Accountant in regards to whether or not this step is needed.
    • Note, the program leader in consultation with the School/Institute is responsible for creating a program budget and assuming all financial risk associated with the study tour (see Section 3.4).

2. Academic Considerations

2.1 Syllabus and Itinerary

  • What are the learning goals for the program?
  • Is the prospective location academically sound and culturally relevant?
  • How will the program support the students’ personal and intercultural development?
  • What is included in the itinerary?
    • Designing a program takes skill due to the inherent time restraints, quick pace, and special dynamics of group travel. To ensure success, it is important to have clearly defined curricular goals, academic standards, and onsite logistics planned long before departure.  A well-planned program will successfully incorporate academic content with daily or weekly excursions, lectures, and site visits. The syllabus should clearly explain the subject, expectations, and how the students will be evaluated.
    • A poorly planned program can be exhausting for students and staff. Try to avoid burnout by scheduling free time, as well as frequent opportunities for the students to de-brief their observations and reactions to the cultures they are experiencing. Make sure that you have enough time in your itinerary for travelling between venues and balance your activities appropriately, e.g. do not plan three gallery visits in one day.
    • To assist with this process, download and use the Checklist Worksheet (TBA) - this includes a blank Itinerary form.

2.2 Academic recognition

  • Will the students be enrolled in a Western unit or receive unspecified credit?
  • What is the value of the overseas short program?
    • On average, standard Instructor-Led Programs have a value of 10 Credit Points and the duration of the trip would between 2 and 3 weeks. This is the norm, however there are short programs that could last up to 10 weeks and have the value of 40 Credit Points.
    • A Credit Point is the numerical value given to a unit that indicates the total contribution required to complete a course. At Western Sydney University the standard workload for one session is four units (40 Credit Points) with most units valued at 10 Credit Points each. The average 10 Credit unit requires approximately 3-4 hours of face-to-face teaching each week, not including additional work outside of this instruction.
    • A useful way of determining the academic value for an Instructor-Led Program is to arrange the itinerary in a grid and record the number of academic hours for each day. Depending on the nature of the program, academic hours can be mapped to the program outcomes and could include pre-departure, arrival and post-departure instruction; lectures at overseas universities, on the bus, in the field or at work sites; assignments, readings, and journals; independent exploration etc.
    • A well-designed program will take full advantage of the cultural opportunities and local idiosyncrasies and thread these into the itinerary.
  • Important: Students that are not eligible for academic credit, are disqualified from receiving OS-HELP or NCP mobility grants.

2.3 Academic calendars

  • Will the program be offered during the mid-year or end-of-year breaks?
  • Will the timing of the program coincide with student assessments?
  • What season will it be at the overseas location (spring, summer, autumn, winter, rainy or dry)?
  • Will the program be offered to students that are studying in their last semester?
    • Deciding on the right time to hold a program, is very important. The itinerary can be affected by the weather, national holidays, or other events.
    • Individual students considering the program may be affected by their year of study (1st, 2nd, or 3rd), e.g. eligibility for OS-HELP, or complications with graduation. For students participating in 3 year degrees, the ideal time for students to participate in a program is usually from second year to the middle of third year.

2.4 Excursions

  • What types of excursions or field activities, will be incorporated into the program?
    • Academic Excursions: These outings are related to themes of the course and have a clear academic purpose which is communicated to the students. The program leaders accompanying the students facilitate the learning.
    • Orientation Excursions: These usually occur during the first days for the program and are designed to help students adapt to their new surroundings. Examples included guided tours through the immediate neighbourhood or city.
    • Recreational Excursions: These could be inexpensive side trips for tourism or recreational purposes. Longer or more expensive options should generally be optional and at the student’s expense. The program budget should only reflect academic excursions.
    • Field Assignments: In addition to excursions, leaders should incorporate structured field assignments into their program. Field assignments are an important variety of active learning. The analysis of the experience may be individual (a written report), team (oral report to the class), or the full class (group discussion, or a written report to which each student contributes one part.

2.5 Assessment

  • How will you prompt the students to reflect on their learning in and outside of the structured experience?
  • How will you support the continuity of student learning pre-departure, on-site, and post-program?

3. Logistics

3.1 Program Models

  • Who will you collaborate with on campus to develop this program?
  • What type of program model will you be utilising?  
  • Will you be leading the students abroad independently or will the program be supported by partner universities or third party providers?
  • Will your program be sufficiently staffed to achieve learning goals and respond to emergencies?
  • Will you need to hire local experts or service providers? How will they be vetted and arranged?
  • When developing a program, it is important to clarify who is responsible for the overall management of a program, the day-to-day administration, and logistics in-country. To assist in formulating the logistical roles, download the Learning Abroad Logistics Tool Worksheet. This process can also contribute in deciding the type of model you wish to utilise.The diagram below illustrates three basic program models. Each model has distinct advantages and disadvantages. Short Programs may be a combination of each of the following, requiring different considerations and formal agreements.
  • Institutional models: are programs that are organised and managed by another university, located in Australia or overseas.  The institution usually provides pre-departure, airport pick up, student support, in-country transport, accommodation, and more.Depending on the program model, Western staff may or may not accompany the students overseas. The institutional model requires an agreement with the external organisation. For information about current university partners or establishing new relations, see Selecting a Host Location section 1.10.
  • Program Providers: The Program Provider model, also known as the Third Party Providers (TPP) model, utilises an external company to manage program logistics. These organisations can provide 'off-the shelf' opportunities or can tailor a project to your specifications, incorporating many additional activities such as industry visits, expert lecturers, and complimentary travel and accommodation for staff. Depending on the program model, Western staff may or may not accompany the students overseas. If you decide to engage with a provider, there must be a Preferred Placement Agreement or equivalent with Western Sydney University in place - See Selecting a Host Location, Section 1.10.
  • Instructor-Led Programs: A 'pure' Instructor-Led model means that a Western Sydney staff member has full responsibility for every aspect of the program, with no support from third party provider or partner institution. Apart from the academic content, the leader is accountable for many of the operational aspects such as arranging accommodation, in-country transport, industry visits and more.
    • It is good practice to have a staff to student ratio of 10:1. Further, to deal with an emergency situation, all programs should have a minimum of 2 project leaders, a leader and a deputy.
    • Short programs require extensive knowledge and resources and unless you are a highly experience trip leader, it is recommended that you take advantage of the mixed model which includes third party providers and institutions.

3.2 The Role of Western Sydney International

  • What is the role of Western Sydney International (WSI)?
  • Will WSI be managing or providing administrative support for my program?
    • Western Sydney International (WSI) is responsible for:
      • Assuring compliance with University and Australian Government policy - see Section 4.2 Compliance.
      • The assessment and screening of all proposed international student mobility programs across the University, including study tours, placements, work experience, practicums, conferences, and student exchange see Section 4.2 Compliance.
      • Providing guidance and recommendations for current and prospective program leaders
      • Ensuring all programs and students are listed and recorded on the University’s student mobility platform Terra Dotta.
      • Producing webpages, online applications and acceptance forms
      • Arranging online pre-departure orientation for students
      • Administering international scholarships and travel grants
      • Implementing program leader workshops
      • Collecting data for University and Government reporting Data collection and auditing

3.3 The Role of Schools and Program Leaders

  • What is my role as the program leader?
  • A program leader is responsible for:
    • Complying with University and Australian Government policy - see Section 4.2 Compliance
    • Establishing the program concept – See Section 5.1
    • Meeting and discussing the program concept with Western Sydney International (Mandatory) - See Section 5.2
    • Ensuring the program is endorsed by the School/Institute - See Section 5.3
    • Completing a Proposal and Risk Assessment - See Section 5.4
    • The implementation and management of the program - See Part 2 Implementation
      • Sample of responsibilities:
        • Program design and budget
        • Approval of the program
        • International travel and contracting
        • On-site arrangements, including travel, housing and meals
        • Program promotion and recruitment
        • Application review and student acceptance
        • Program-specific pre-departure orientation
        • On-site health, safety and emergency planning
        • Academic content design and delivery
        • Main point of contact for students and stakeholders

3.4 Program Costs

  • Who creates and approves the budget?
  • What are the costs?
  • How much are students willing to pay for this opportunity?
  • How will the opportunity be resourced and financed?
  • Will low enrolment affect the program?
  • What does the program fee include (credits, flights, meals, excursions, transportation, visas)?
  • How will I pay for goods and services while abroad?
    • Budget: The program leader, in consultation with the School/Institute is responsible for creating a program budget and assuming all financial risk associated with the study tour. To assist with this process, use the Draft Budget found in the Checklist Worksheet (TBA). Experiment with the Draft Budget  and work out all of the expenses and how much it might cost for each student. Try dividing your costs with several different participation numbers and see what impact it will have on the budget. It is better to set the fee higher, rather than overestimating the participation rate and not having enough money to cover program expenses.
    • Flights: All group travel must be booked through the University Travel and Expense Management System (TEMS). For further information see Part 2 Implementation.
    • Insurance: Students that travel overseas on approved University activities are covered by the corporate travel insurance policy for the official University component of their trip. This may include travel overseas for the purposes of placement, work experience, practicums, research, conferences, student exchange and study tours. For further information see Part 2 Implementation.

3.5 Finance Options for Students

  • What scholarships or finance is available to students?
  • Can the students receive OS-HELP or are they eligible for government grants?
    • OS-HELP: a large majority of student mobility experiences are funded by OS-HELP, a deferred HELP debt loan for undergraduate Australian citizens undergraduate or postgraduate students enrolled in a Commonwealth Supported Place who want to undertake some of their study overseas. Loans over $8,000 are available. Academic approval is required; have completed 80 credit points of study, and have 10 credit points remaining on return. OS-HELP can be used for a range of expenses such as airfares, accommodation and other travel or study expenses. Students can access a total of two OS-HELP loans over their lifetime. The debt has the same repayment conditions as HECS-HELP and are indexed accordingly.
    • New Colombo Plan: The New Colombo Plan (NCP) Mobility Program provides funding to Australian universities and consortia to support Australian undergraduate students to participate in semester-based or short-term study, internships, mentorships, practicums and research in 40 host locations across the Indo-Pacific region. Mobility projects must attract course credit or fulfil mandatory course requirements. Short-term grants up to $3,000 per Student are available. Projects must have a minimum duration of two weeks.

3.6 Finance Options for Staff

  • How many staff are participating in the program?
  • How much will staff participation cost?
    • The cost of staff participation is the responsibility of the School/Institute.If you are creating a budget and there are insufficient funds, incorporate staff participation into the final program fee (see Program Costs Section 3.4 above). Feel free to discuss this option with WSI.
    • NCP Administration Funding: If you are managing an NCP project, 5% of the Administration funding is given to project leaders for administration of the program - see New Colombo Plan (NCP)

4. Objectives, Policy, and Good Practice

4.1 University Objectives

  • Does your proposed program support the University’s Strategic Plan or Academic Unit's (School or Institute) objectives?
    • The Global Futures: Internationalising Western Sydney University Strategic Plan issues a challenge to increase the number of students participating in international study to 25% of the graduating cohort. In achieving this goal student mobility will become a distinctive capability of the University, enriching the student experience, embedding opportunities for cultural engagement, experiential learning, study abroad and work integrated learning, within curriculum. The challenge to achieve 25% mobility is both ambitious and necessary to support our students in aspiring to contribute to their communities and make their mark in the world. Participation in learning abroad experiences, supported by a well-structured academic program, is a key step for students in their journey to becoming global citizens. International study experiences cultivate students’ desire for knowledge, challenges their beliefs, and engages them as active participants in their learning and development.
    • Your Academic Unit may have fine-tuned the University’s goals by concentrating on certain countries for the development of strategies in recruitment, research, and international student mobility. This often includes working with the other departments in the University, overseas institutions, organisations, and governments. There may also be existing strategies and programs for the country of interest, that have been developed by other entities within the university. It is advised that you consult with your Academic Unit about the international strategy and how your concept aligns with these goals.

4.2 Compliance

4.3 Critical Incident Guidelines

  • If there is a critical incident, how will you or other participants respond?
  • What are your responsibilities?
  • Western Sydney University's Critical Incident Guidelines enable the University community to respond to serious events or issues in a timely manner with care, support, respect and flexibility. They also ensure that professionally trained staff who possess up to date training in critical incident response and/or psychological first aid, are involved at the appropriate time in managing or responding to an incident, and are able to provide information, resources and support to students, staff, family members and others involved when required. This procedure applies to all incidents at Western Sydney University, including International Mobility Programs. See Critical Incident Guidelines.

4.4 Preventing Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Harassment (PSEAH) Policy

  • What attitude does the host location have towards sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment?
  • Will your prospective international partners abide by the Australian Government’s PSEAH Policy?
  • The Australian Government and Western Sydney University (WSU) does not tolerate sexual exploitation, abuse or harassment of any kind. The Preventing Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Harassment (PSEAH) policy sets out expectations and requirements for all delivery partners to manage SEAH risks and incidents. This includes a risk assessment to PSEAH Minimum Standards and a contract with all downstream partners. WSU and partners must assess the level of risk for SEAH occurring and apply the PSEAH Minimum Standards.
    • Risk Management:
    • Mandatory Reporting:
      • Staff and partners must report any alleged incident of sexual exploitation, abuse or harassment related to the delivery of a project within 2 working days of becoming aware of an alleged incident.
      • Staff and partners must report any alleged policy non-compliance; for example, failure to adhere to the PSEAH Policy Minimum Standards or principles within 5 working days of becoming aware of an alleged incident.
      • Further information about mandatory reporting can be found on the Preventing Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Harassment (PSEAH) Policy webpage.
    • Compulsory Training: The University has implemented a number of initiatives and strategies to affirm that sexual assault and harassment is not permitted at this institution. All staff and commencing students are required to undertake compulsory training on Respectful Relationships. further information can found on the Mental, Health, and Wellbeing website.
    • First Responder Training: Western Sydney University offers First Responder Training for staff and students who may be the first point of contact for students or staff needing assistance with sexual assault or sexual harassment-related issues. The training is delivered by the Gendered Violence Research Network (UNSW) and facilitated by Western's Respect. Now. Always. campaign. For further information or queries, please contact respectnowalways@westernsydney.edu.au or visit https://www.westernsydney.edu.au/respectnowalways

4.5 Child Protection

  • Will your program involve working with children?
    • The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has a zero tolerance approach to child exploitation or abuse. DFAT recognises that it is the shared responsibility of all adults to prevent child exploitation and abuse. See https://www.dfat.gov.au/international-relations/themes/child-protection/Pages/child-protection. In Australia, there is recognition that organisations that work with children also have a role in protecting them, and need policies and procedures to enable them to do so. The DFAT Child Protection policy sets out expectations and requirements for all delivery partners to act in accordance with the policy principles outlined in the document, and abide by their own relevant policies, international declarations, conventions, agreements and domestic legal frameworks, which seek to protect children.
    • Risk Management Tool:
    • Reports and notifications: to report an instance, suspicion or allegation of child exploitation and/or abuse you may do so by using the form available on the DFAT website. Child exploitation and abuse is not tolerated by DFAT and attracts criminal penalties under Australian legislation.

4.6 Standards of Good Practice

5. Endorsement and Approval

5.1 Establish your concept

Consider the desired features and challenges your prospective program may have: locations, time periods, costs, risks, academic recognition, promotion, in-country logistics, partnerships, legal agreements and more. To assist with this process you may wish to use the Checklist Worksheet (TBA)

5.2 Meet and discuss with Western Sydney International (Mandatory)

WSI is responsible for the assessment and screening of all proposed international student mobility programs across the University, including study tours, placements, work experience, practicums, conferences, and student exchange - see the Section 4.2 Compliance. To schedule a meeting with WSI, submit the Initial Questionnaire for a Short Term Education Abroad Program. WSI will discuss the prospective program which may include information about partnerships, providers, legal requirements, budgets and resourcing.

5.3 Endorsement from the School/Institute

WSI will seek endorsement from the Dean, School Manager, and Associate Dean for the School, or equivalent delegates in an institute.  The Academic Unit will consider objectives and resourcing.

5.4 Completing a Risk Assessment and Proposal

  • If the concept is endorsed by the Academic Unit, the prospective leader is required to complete the following forms and send to the Manager Short Term Mobility:
  • It is advised that prospective leaders seek further advice from their Academic Unit about any additional processes.
  • Note: if a third party provider is involved in the management of the proposed program, the organisation must have completed the Third Party Global Provider Due Diligence process and entered an agreement with the University. Where the partnership involves a commercial arrangement, the provider may be required to enter into a contract with the Academic Unit. The Office of General Counsel must be advised of this fact and be involved in the preparation or review of the contract documentation prior to signing – see Purchase requisitions and contracts

5.5 Implement the program

If the Learning Abroad Proposal is approved, it’s time to implement the program and take the students abroad. The implementation stage includes a number of important tasks. See Section 2 Implementation.

I've already received approval to implement a short program, what do I do next?

If you have an approved Learning Abroad Proposal or equivalent Academic Unit documentation (see Section 5 Endorsement and Approval above), you are free to start implementing the program (below).


Section 2: Implementation

Implementation is when your vision becomes a reality. This stage considers a number of tasks including promotion of the program, recruiting and selecting students, booking transport and accommodation, providing pre-departure training for students and staff, organising in-country logistics  and more. Every short program is different and each task will differ depending on the type of model utilised.


1. Promotion and Recruitment


1.1 Advertising a Program

  • How will the program be promoted?
  • What techniques will be used?
  • Who will be doing the advertising?
    • Program leaders are responsible for promoting and recruiting students for their program. It is advised that you commence advertising your program very early used mixed methods:
      • To develop a webpage and online application, download the Webpage Development Form, complete the details, and return to WSI
      • Create a flyer to hand out during lectures and around the university
      • Create a digital footprint - post your program information on VuWs, Yammer, Facebook, online newsletters, etc.
      • Develop a 1-page Power Point that can be used briefly at the start of lectures and shared with colleagues
      • Ask your current and former students to share your program information on social media
      • Hold information sessions
  • NOTE: Western Sydney International will only promote programs that have passed a due diligence process, e.g. the submission and approval of a Learning Abroad Proposal or equivalent Academic Unit documentation and/or Provider information. Find out more.

1.2 Program name, slogans, and Unique Selling Points

  • Before making a webpage or flyer, it is important to come up with a good title, slogan, and  Unique Selling Propositions (USPs) for your program. The information should be simple, easy to understand, create excitement and ‘hook’ the students’ interest. The USPs are sometimes used in the slogan, and the slogan may become the title of your program. Provided below is a simple example of an opportunity for engineering students:
    • Title: See the World – engineering internships in the USA!
    • USPs:
      • $3000 scholarship on offer
      • Academic credit available
      • Life changing career opportunity
  • This short example can be used on postcards, webpages, flyers, announcements, emails, and social media (usually including a weblink to further information).
  • If you have difficulties with this exercise, as a starting point, try using the interchangeable formula - Location, Experience, Discipline, Reason (LEDR). Provided below is a list of reasons and USPs that are commonly utiltised for promoting study abroad:
    • See the World…..
    • Immerse yourself
    • Learn about new cultures
    • Hone Your Language Skills. ...
    • Career Opportunities. ...
    • Life changing experience. ...
    • Personal Development
    • Find New Interests. ...
  • Apart from the the program title and slogan, the content should consider the the following questions that students often ask:
    • What will I Study?
    • Will I receive academic recognition?
    • Are there any cultural excursions?
    • What type of accommodation will I be staying in?
    • What are the costs?
    • Is finance available?

1.3 Misleading Advertising

  • Avoid misleading or deceptive claims about your program. It is illegal to engage in conduct that misleads or deceives consumers of a product – see Australian Competitor and Consumer Commission (ACCC) website. When advertising the program to students, ensure the cost is factual and does not change (e.g. Program cost: $2595 AUD, not including airfares and visas). Make sure to work out an accurate final cost for each student. For instance, when working on your final budget, add on 20% for creeping costs.
  • Ambiguous Advertising Techniques
    • "Promotional pricing" is a sales technique that involves intentionally reducing the price of a product or service to make it appear more attractive to consumers. It is advised that the overall cost of the program should not intentionally be reduced to save money or make the program look more attractive to students. This could potentially diminish the quality of the program and put at risk the safety of participants, the reputation of the University, or lead to financial hardships for your School/Institute. For instance, if you are organising a New Colombo Plan project that is subsidised by a $3,000 grant for each student, and the actual cost will be $5,000 per student, it is advised that students self-fund the remaining $2000 via OS-HELP.  This includes paying the costs of staff leading the program (see Finance Options for Students and Staff below).
    • "Drip pricing" is where the original advertised cost of a program is incrementally disclosed with additional fees and charges, resulting in a higher price. This is illegal and you must advertise the final cost to students.

2. Selecting Students


2.1 Methodology

  • How will you select the students? Will students need to complete an Expression of Interest? What will be the selection criteria - a GPA requirement, Short answers, interviews?
    • There are many different methods used to evaluate students for an overseas experience. This may include assessing academic achievement, Grade Point Average, a statement of purpose, knowledge about a country or program etc.
    • Contact Western Sydney International (WSI) for further advice and support. WSI are very experienced in this area and can develop efficient tailored online applications and evaluation processes for program leaders.

2.2 Confirming Selected Students

  • Program leaders, or associated staff, must send a list of selected students to Western Sydney International (WSI), as early as possible, prior to departure.WSI will request students to:
  • The above requirements are not country specific and do not replace the Program-Specific pre-departure sessions provided by program leaders or the Academic Unit.

3. Pre-Departure Training for Students


3.1 Pre-Departure Information Sessions

  • It is advised that all participants are provided with comprehensive information about the overseas activity at least 3 months prior to going abroad.  It is also essential to have an established health and safety plan that provides the necessary training and information for people travelling on the program. Participants should be provided with pre-emptive strategies for responding to emergencies and crisis. The information should be presented in multiple formats, and numerous times, to ensure the information is committed to memory. Information sessions can be action-orientated, focusing on activities and scenarios overseas.
  • There are two different types of Pre-Departure Training on offer to students:
    • Generic Pre-Departure Training: Program leaders, or associated staff, must send a list of selected students to Western Sydney International (WSI), as early as possible, prior to departure. WSI will request students to complete a number of processes including the Online Pre-Departure Tutorial & Quiz and participate in a university-wide Pre-Departure Session (face-to-face or via Zoom). These processes are not country specific and do not replace the sessions provided by program leaders or the Academic Unit.
    • Program-Specific Pre-Departure Orientation – these sessions are provided by the program leader or Academic unit. The information provided to students can include:
      • Specific information particular to the program such as the cost, itinerary, risks, and academic program
      • On-site emergency plans and contact information (see 'Emergencies' below). Emergency plans should take into consideration the numerous potential issues that may arise while abroad such as  loss of phone service, power outages, political demonstrations, terrorist attacks, and natural disasters. Plans should include how to quickly contact each other in an emergency.
      • Topics from the Before I Go (BIG) Checklist or from the other sections below.
    • Tips:
      • Invite campus experts to present at different portions of the training.
      • Have students do an assignment  prior to the pre-departure session (not just pre-reading).
      • Ensure some of the content is action-orientated, focusing on activities and scenarios overseas.
      • Assess the students comprehension of the content and use evaluations to improve future content.
      • Involve returned student ambassadors in the pre-departure planning and presentation.

3.2 Culture Shock

  • Culture is a strong part of our lives. It influences the way we think and it easy for people to stick with what they know, rather than trying to understand other people’s perspectives and understandings along with culture, values, traditions and laws.
  • It is extremely important for participants to learn every aspect about the countries they are visiting.
    • Description of the host country culture - drink and alcohol, food, traditions, beliefs, values
    • Major areas of cultural difference - etiquette, discrimination, sex, and religion
    • Language resources (where applicable)
    • Apart from the information that program leaders can provide, participants are encouraged to research the destination thoroughly.
  • Culture Shock and Adjustment: Students may go through a number of emotional challenges the could affect their study and participation in a program. Living in a new culture requires students to learn a new set of cultural patterns and behaviours. The typical pattern of cultural adjustment often consists of distinct phases: Honeymoon, Crisis, Recovery, and Adjustment. It is advised that you discuss this phenomenon with students during pre-departure. For further advice see Cultural Adjustment: A Guide for International Students (University of Texas).
  • Another model to consider is the Jafari Model, which is a useful tool that provides insight and a framework for understanding staff and student travel experience and transformations associated with a Learning Abroad Experience. Further information about the model can be found in an article co-authored by Western staff: Jafari and Transformation: A model to enhance short-term overseas study tours
  • Provided below is video made by The Global Society about the Cultural Adaption Cycle

3.3 Respectful Relationships Training Program

  • When participating in an overseas program, all participants must comply with all university policies and standards.This includes a commitment to preventing sexual assault and harassment, and promoting positive respectful relationships. Western Sydney University has agreed to participate in the development of a respectful relationships education program to be implemented across the Australian University sector. Through the Respect.Now.Always. campaign, the University has implemented a number of initiatives and strategies to affirm that sexual assault and harassment is not tolerated at this University. All commencing students will need to undertake from 2020 compulsory training on Respectful Relationships. For further information about these initiatives visit: https://www.westernsydney.edu.au/respectnowalways
  • New Colombo Plan projects: DFAT does not tolerate sexual exploitation, abuse or harassment (SEAH) of any kind. In April 2019, the Secretary of DFAT released the DFAT Preventing Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Harassment (PSEAH) Policy. The PSEAH Policy sets out expectations and requirements for all DFAT staff and delivery partners to manage SEAH risks and incidents. It applies to all DFAT staff and all DFAT partners, in Australia and overseas. For further information about reporting to government about incidents overseas, visit the PSEAH website.

3.4 CISaustralia Green Book - The Guide for Sustainable Learning Abroad

  • At CISaustralia, they understand that international education is about much more than simply seeing new places and having an incredible experience, it’s the first step on the journey to becoming a global citizen. That is why CIS has developed a Green Book to help students and staff understand the positive impact they can have on the world and what steps we can all take to lighten our environmental footprint when travelling abroad.
  • The guide is divided into three easy-to-follow sections:
    • Before You Go
    • Finding the lowest carbon flights
    • Cutting waste and saving resources
    • Packing light
    • Measuring you carbon footprint
    • Once You Get There
    • Getting around
    • Sustainable eating
    • Understanding local climate issues
    • Once You Come Home
    • High impact ways to tackle climate change
    • Change-making skills as a career boost
    • Share your experiences and keep learning
  • Students and staff can request an electronic version via the CISaustralia website (opens in a new window).

3.5 Emergencies

  • Preemptive strategies:
    • It is advised that students and associated staff going abroad are provided with the preemptive strategies to deal with health and safety issues.
    • Instructors must provide students with a the 24-hour emergency contact (Word Travel Protection).
    • Instructors should explain to the students that they are required to inform them about any emergency and the information will be treated with the strictest confidentiality, and that it will be shared only on a “need to know” basis.
    • Students should be informed that if a crisis is grave enough to jeopardise his or her safety or well being, the emergency contact given on the affected student’s application will be informed.
  • Who to call for help:
    • Emergency calls can be made any time, day or night direct to World Travel Protection on +61 2 8907 5686 (Reverse Charge).
    • Download World Travel Protection information (opens in a new window) and quote membership number: CC112UWS
    • Please note, students and staff are not required to register to with World Travel Protection. All students and staff that are registered on the University Travel Management System (TEMS) are automatically covered under University’s travel insurance during the program course when they undertaking approved University activity.
    • When calling, please have the following information ready:
      • The number and precise location you are calling from
      • Your personal details
      • The nature of assistance that you require
    • For more information, please see the World Travel Protection (opens in a new window).
    • If you need to speak urgently to a Western Sydney International staff member due to a critical incident, call +61 414 274 211 or Western Sydney University Campus Security (24 hours) +61 1300 668 370
  • Who should I call first?
    • World Travel are the experts. They have in-depth knowledge about the country you are visiting, including advice on medical facilities, insurance, laws, security and diplomacy. The following steps are recommended:
      • 1. Call World Travel Protection first
      • 2. Inform supervisor and university
      • 3. If it is a crisis, see DFAT advice
  • What about insurance?
    • When a person informs World Travel about an incident that has occurred during your overseas program, a record of the incident will be documented in the event of a claim against the University's travel insurance. For more information about insurance see section 4.1.

3.6 Critical Incident Guidelines

Western Sydney University's Critical Incident Guidelines enable the University community to respond to serious events or issues in a timely manner with care, support, respect and flexibility. They also ensure that professionally trained staff who possess up to date training in critical incident response and/or psychological first aid, are involved at the appropriate time in managing or responding to an incident, and are able to provide information, resources and support to students, staff, family members and others involved when required. This procedure applies to all incidents at Western Sydney University, including International Mobility Programs. See Critical Incident Guidelines.

4. General Information


4.1 Passports

Prior to travelling abroad, students require a valid passport with more than 6 months until expiration from the date of return. For further information see the Australian Passport Office or  the relevant foreign consulate (non-citizens / international students).

4.2 Visas

  • What type of visa will participants require when participating in the program?
    • A travel visa is an official government document that temporarily authorises a non-citizen to enter and temporarily remain in a country. A visa is usually a stamp, sticker, or card that is placed in a passport and is checked when entering a country. As a program leader, you will need to consider the type of visa required for the overseas program. Depending on the experience or location, visa processing can sometimes take many months. Therefore, it is important to contemplate visas when developing a timeline. In addition, be aware that prospective participants in the program will have different backgrounds, such as places of birth and/or citizenship. Due to different circumstances, this may affect visa requirements
  • Advising Participants about Visas
    • Staff employed by the Australian Government or Western Sydney University are not permitted to provide direct advice to participants about visas. Ultimately the individual participant is responsible for determining with the appropriate consulate(s) if they have the correct visa and requirements for the country(s) they are entering, well in advance of travel. Only the embassy or consulate for the host location(s) can provide up-to-date information about visa requirements. This information may change constantly. It is advised that this information is given to participants during information sessions.

4.3 Insurance

  • Students and staff that travel overseas on approved University activities are covered by the corporate travel insurance policy for the official University component of their trip. This may include travel overseas for the purposes of placement, work experience, practicums, research, conferences, student exchange and study tours. Please note this cover is limited and does not include personal travel or participating in extreme or high risk activities. It is advised that you visit the Overseas Travel Insurance webpage and review the the information and policy provided on this site.
  • How to make an insurance claim
    • Before going abroad, travellers should Download World Travel Protection Information and have this handy when overseas
    • When an incident occurs, call Word Travel Protection +61 2 8907 5686 (Reverse Charge). A record of the incident will be documented in the event of a claim against the University's travel insurance.  Claims will need to be supported by all documents, medical certificates, police reports etc.
    • To submit a claim, go to the Staff and Student Overseas Travel Insurance webpage. Further information about the insurance and what is covered, can also be found on this page.

4.4 Health Risks and Medical History

  • Although participating in an overseas activity is exciting for participants, it may have the potential to expose students and staff to serious health risks. It is advised that travellers visit a doctor 6 to 12 weeks before leaving Australia, have a checkup, discuss their future travel, and any medications they made need to be taking. It is also advised that they visit a dentist.
  • With respect to vaccines, it is advised the travellers do not wait until the last minute, since they may need several doses of a particular vaccine and time for their body to develop full immunity.
  • Further information and advice can be found by visiting Travel Doctor-TMVC, Smartraveller, and the Australian Government's Department of Health websites.
  • Exercise for students: What are the Health Risks for the country you are visiting?
  • If a participant need to take medication overseas, make sure it is legal in the host country by contacting the embassy or consulate.

4.5 Mental Health and Travelling Abroad

  • If a student is facing any barriers that may affect their travel or experience in the host country, they are encouraged to access Western Sydney University's confidential counselling services as early as possible before going abroad.
  • Note: Face to face counselling is usually advised for more serious or ongoing problems.

4.6 Centrelink Benefits

  • To continue payments, students need to provide Centrelink with evidence that they are continuing their studies at Western Sydney University, and will be participating in an overseas activity to the host country as a legitimate part of their study.Further information can be found on the Centrelink webpage:

4.7 Collecting Payments from Students

4.8 Program Deposits, Cancellations and Refund Policies

  • If a student is paying for any portion of a student mobility program, it is highly advised that a cancellation/refund policy is put in place and the students are made are made aware of rules.
  • Program leaders should decide whether a program deposit is required and the amount required. Charging a deposit ensures that a student that confirms a spot in a program are serious about participation and eliminates the need for a standby list.
  • The School/Institute is responsible for establishing a refund and cancellation policy. Cancellations will affect your budget and the ability to pay program costs that are not refundable or recoverable, such as travel arrangements and accommodation. If a student cancels the School/Institute will incur these costs.
  • Depending on the type of program, it is important to have refund policies and disclaimers in place.
  • Sample: Cancellation and Refund Policy:  Any participant who cancels at any time after the confirmation deposit has been received, will be responsible for the program deposit in addition to the minimum penalties upon cancellation from the program. These penalties are the minimum amounts due. Participants will be held financially liable for all non-recoverable costs that exceed these amounts. The information contained in the Cancellation and Refund Policy supersedes any verbal or other written information that participants may have received regarding this policy.
  • Cancellation Period

    Minimum Penalty

    60 days or more before start of program

    $400 plus program deposit

    45-59 days before start of program

    25% of full program fee

    30-44 days before start of program

    50 % of full program fee

    15-29 days before start of program

    75% of full program fee

    14 days or less before start of program

    Full program fee

  • Sample: Statement for Fee Changes:  The university reserves the right to vary program fees in the event of changes in exchange rates or price rises made by partners or other suppliers. If the cost of any service increases due to exchange rate fluctuations, price increases, tax changes or any other reason, participants are required to pay the increase when notified or may cancel a program which may result in cancellation fees.
  • Sample: Statement for Program Cancellations: The university reserves the right to cancel any program if there are insufficient registrants (in the rare case that minimum numbers may apply) or if the university determines it is in the best interest of the applicants’ safety and quality of programming to cancel the program. The university is not responsible for costs incurred by applicants preparing for a program. Should a program be cancelled for any reason, applicants will, where possible, be offered the option of positions in other university opportunities, or a full refund on all fees paid.

4.9 Paying Students

If you need to pay individual students a grant that is related to the overseas experience, please discuss further with Western Sydney International.

4.10 Organising Flights

  • Securing the flights early: If you are booking students flights, tickets can potentially be secured in advance. For example if you are taking 10 students to China, you can book the flights via TEMS:
    • A deposit will be required for 10 students
    • Student details are not required until after acceptance in the program
    • The main disadvantage is if 10 students are not recruited, for instance only 8 students are selected, the deposit will be lost for 2 places
    • Please contact the contact the Western Sydney University Travel Team (opens in a new link) for further information.
  • Group Bookings: All group travel should be booked through the University Travel and Expense Management System (TEMS). See Western Sydney University Travel. For further advice about booking travel for students, contact the Western Sydney University Travel Team (opens in a new link).
  • Independent Bookings: In some circumstances, students are permitted to pay for costs directly to the agent and/or provider including visas etc

5. Training and Information for Staff


5.1 First Aid  Training for Instructors

It is recommended that Project leaders or associated staff who are taking a group of students are trained in first aid. Staff at Western Sydney University may undertake the Surf Life Saving NSW first aid certification and recertification training. First aid training is delivered via flexible delivery, whereby 50% of the course is completed online prior to the practical session. First aid courses are managed through MyCareers Online (accessed through Staff Online). Search "First Aid" and register for the appropriate activity.

5.2 Mental First Aid Training for Instructors

Mental health problems are prevalent in our community with 1 in 5 people suffering from a mental illness (depression, anxiety, substance abuse, or other).  It is recommended that Project leaders or associated staff who are taking a group of students are trained in Mental First Aid. Mental First Aid courses are managed through MyCareers Online (accessed through Staff Online). Search "Mental First Aid" and register for the appropriate activity.

5.3 First Responder Training for Sexual Assault or Sexual Harassment

  • Respect. Now. Always. is an initiative launched by Universities Australia to ensure that university campuses are places of safety and respect for all students and staff.  The Respect. Now. Alwayscampaign is about raising awareness in the university community that sexual assault and sexual harassment are completely unacceptable. Western Sydney University recognises the seriousness of sexual assault and sexual harassment - further information can found on the Mental, Health, and Wellbeing website (opens in a new window).
  • In the event that a student experiences sexual assault and sexual harassment while abroad, please contact Customer Care on 61 2 8907 5686 (24/7).
  • Western Sydney University offers First Responder Training for staff and students who may be the first point of contact for students or staff needing assistance with sexual assault or sexual harassment-related issues. The training is delivered by the Gendered Violence Research Network (UNSW) and facilitated by Western's Respect. Now. Always. campaign. For further information or queries, please contact respectnowalways@westernsydney.edu.au or visit https://www.westernsydney.edu.au/respectnowalways

5.4 Preventing Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Harassment (PSEAH) Policy

  • In April 2019, the Secretary of DFAT released the DFAT Preventing Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Harassment (PSEAH) Policy. The PSEAH Policy sets out expectations and requirements for all DFAT staff and associated partners to manage SEAH risks and incidents. This includes a risk assessment to PSEAH Minimum Standards and a contract with all downstream partners.
  • If a project is funded by the New Colombo Plan, DFAT expects staff to report any alleged incident of sexual exploitation, abuse or harassment related to the delivery of DFAT business within 2 working days of becoming aware of an alleged incident. Further information about this process can be found on the PSEAH webpage.

5.5 The SBS Cross Cultural Competence Program

The SBS Cultural Competence Program (CCP) is an online training course aimed at building capability around cultural diversity in the workplace. It features engaging multimedia learning modules and a wealth of resources. The program builds capability around cultural diversity, and participants will gain practical skills and cultural specific knowledge for use both at work and in everyday life. Currently the SBS Cultural Competence Program (CCP) is available at a small cost for individuals as an app for tablets and mobile devices. See the SBS Cross Cultural Competence Program.

5.6 Standards of Good Practice

5.7 Trip Leader Training

If the proposal is approved and the correct agreements are in place, all staff taking students abroad are required to complete trip leader training every two years. Trip Leader Training (TLT) is conducted by WSI and will consist of online instruction and a face-to-face workshop. It is beneficial for program leaders any associated staff to complete trip leader training early, during the proposal phase. TLT discusses the entire learning abroad life cycle from proposal to return from overseas.  Further information will be provided soon.

6. Arrival Overseas and Evaluation


6.1 On-Site Orientation

  • On arrival students should be provided with a comprehensive on-site orientation that builds upon the pre-departure orientation students had already received prior to leaving (see Training and Support for Students above). The onsite orientation should discuss:
    • Academic expectations
    • Policies and procedures
    • The country, city, and community environment
    • Local culture’s norms and practices regarding gender, ethnic and religious diversity
    • Living arrangements
    • Behaviour expectations and disciplinary policies (see below)
    • Local travel
    • Excursions
    • Independent travel
    • Health and safety
    • Emergencies
    • General support
  • Instructors should discuss preventable accidents with participants, such as traffic patterns, pub and drinking culture, drug laws, unsafe swimming, and the type of things that can happen when walking down a street alone at night in a foreign city. It’s helpful to get very specific about safe and unsafe behaviour, such as certain types of sexual behaviour and how to dress and behave to avoid unwanted attention.
  • Students should be given a guided tour of the local area and shown how to use public transportation and identify daily living resources such as restaurants, grocery stores, etc.

6.2 Student Conditions of Participation

  • Students should also sign a Condition of Participation when participating in an overseas program. Students must assume certain obligations to the University, prospective country and other participants in a program. It is important that students behave in an appropriate manner and must not endanger themselves or the group. See Conditions for Participation

6.3 Student Behaviour

6.4 Evaluation

  • Evaluation is the objective assessment of the overseas short program. The aim is to determine the performance and level of achievement.
    • Were the the objectives met?
    • What were the challenges?
    • What can be improved?
    • Will the program be sustainable?
  • During this process students complete an  online evaluation which appraises their overseas experience and collects testimonials. Instructors can utilise the information collected by this evaluation to review the program and gain feedback from participants. This information may also be used to inform the Government and University about student mobility programs.
  • For projects that are funded by the New Colombo Plan, see the appropriate administration web page about final reporting.

Videos


Main Contacts

Manager, Short-Term Mobility
Steven McDonald

Western Sydney International, Go Global
Phone: (02) 9685 9847 / 0447612523
Email: s.mcdonald@westernsydney.edu.au

Administrative Assistant, Government and Mobility Programs
Nancy Go
Western Sydney International, Go Global
Phone: (02) 9685 9969
Email: n.go@westernsydney.edu.au