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Recruitment & Orientation

Promotion & Recruitment

Promotion and recruitment are essential components of any successful education abroad program. Active involvement in the recruitment process by the faculty director can make all the difference in a program’s success or failure. Education Abroad staff members collaborate with program directors on promotional materials and strategies, but glossy brochures and attractive websites are no substitute for face-to-face faculty-to-student contact. Feedback provided by UK students ranks faculty recommendations as the primary reason for participating in education abroad.

After a program has been approved by both the College and UK Education Abroad, program directors should actively promote their programs and recruit students in a variety of venues. UK Education Abroad and faculty may collaborate to recruit students through the following recommended promotional outlets:

  • Class visits and other promotional activities in relevant courses
  • Interactive and dynamic information sessions
  • Fliers, catalogs, posters, videos and website announcements
  • Student organization meetings
  • College/departmental listservs
  • Academic advisors and colleagues in your home department, other UK departments and other universities
  • Education Abroad Fall Fair and other EA organized campus-wide events

Promotion & Recruitment: Why do UK students choose UK Sponsored Programs?

Students who choose to participate in a UK Sponsored Program are likely to do so for one or more of the following reasons:

  • The desire to go abroad with a UK faculty member. The faculty member may have a reputation, teaching style, or personality that attracts particular students. Students may feel more comfortable going abroad with someone they know and have a relationship with (or have at least heard of) prior to departure and whom they (or their parents) view as a representative of the University abroad. This is particular relevant at UK where a large number of students and their families might have limited personal international experience.
  • Curriculum integration. The assurance that credit earned abroad is actually a UK course that will seamlessly fit in with a student’s degree plan is a particularly attractive feature of UK Sponsored programs. Students do not have to worry about seeking special academic approval or worrying about transfer credit.
  • The appeal of a program organized by UK. Going on a UK program can be comforting for parents and students alike because they are assured the same quality teaching experience the student would receive in Lexington and the support of UK Education Abroad throughout the program cycle.
  • The appeal of a program that primarily consists of UK students and faculty. Many students want the independence of being abroad but may find an independent immersion experience daunting. The current American student and parent culture increasingly leads to student selection of highly structured programs.

Promotion & Recruitment: Establishing Expectations

Students have many different personal motivations for participating on an Education Abroad program and it is important for faculty to make sure that students understand the many different facets of each unique program before deciding that a particular program meets his or her needs. Agreement on the academic, behavior, and social expectations between the program director and each participation makes for a much more enjoyable and successful program for everyone involved.

Establishing expectations is something that occurs throughout the recruitment process, not just when everyone arrives in-country. Directors are encouraged to think about the way they talk about the program during the recruitment phase. As a program director, if you primarily highlight the picturesque location, show nothing but exciting pictures to entice students, and talk about the educational experience abroad as a trip, the students are going to go into it thinking this will be more like a vacation than a course. It is important to actively and creatively promote the educational expectations of the program throughout the recruitment phase as well as the more touristic features. The Education Abroad experience is designed to be enjoyable and fun, but there’s a big difference in how each of us prepares for and behaves while on vacation versus how each of us prepares for and behaves while taking a course.

The program director is the primary person responsible for setting the tone for student behavior during the program. UK Education Abroad suggests that each director establish clear expectations that become threaded throughout the recruitment, admission, and pre-departure phases. Prior to departure, program directors should create and share with the group a specific code of conduct, similar to classroom expectations for an on-campus course. Creating a specific code of conduct as a group after all of the participants have been admitted as a group might increase participants’ buy-in. Program directors may also choose to incorporate expectations for student behavior into the course syllabus. Program-specific considerations may include behavior regarding:

  • Timeliness for events and activities
  • Etiquette for hotels, hostels, homestays, etc. (including overnight guests)
  • Social situations including the consumption of alcohol & other substances
  • Etiquette regarding host institutions and guests of the program—speakers, partner faculty, etc.
  • Awareness of, etiquette for, and safety implications regarding local transportation
  • Expectations for participation on academic excursions—site visits, field trips
  • Respect for and awareness of local customs
  • Group dynamics – inclusion, mutual respect, non-discrimination, etc. 

While setting expectations, program directors should be mindful of the diversity of the students in the group. Students should feel welcome and included regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, introversion/extraversion, choice to consume or not consume alcohol, or how they choose to spend their time outside of scheduled activities.

Promotion & Recruitment: Scholarships, financial aid & funding opportunities for students

UK Sponsored program directors should encourage students to investigate all possible funding opportunities early in the planning process. Finances can often be perceived as a barrier to participation in education abroad and yet with advance planning, creativity and commitment, most UK students are able to make their international goals a reality. At UK, because students are enrolled in ISP 599: Study Abroad (1 credit hour), if a student is eligible to receive their current UK financial aid package (scholarships, loans, grants, etc) during the summer, winter or regular semester it is highly likely that the aid can be applied to education abroad. Students should investigate with UK Financial Aid to determine if aid can be released during the term in which the student intends to study abroad. 

Students should be encouraged to investigate and apply for a variety of funding opportunities. There is rarely a “magic bullet” or one-size-fits-all approach to securing funding and students should understand that it may take time and energy to investigate and apply for the various scholarships and awards. Students should consider the competitive, need-based UK Education Abroad Scholarships, as well as UK College & Department Scholarships and External Scholarships. UK Education Abroad has a lot of resources to assist students in identifying creative ways to finance programs abroad.

Directors can assist students in understanding the realities of participating in the UK Sponsored program and should take care to find a balance in talking about the finances required to participate. It is important not to “oversell” the notion that scholarships are easy to get (they are – if you do the necessary legwork for them!) nor should directors “undersell” and understate the amount students will need for a program. There is nothing more devastating than a student who has made plans for months only to find out at the last minute that they don’t have enough funds to actually purchase the plane ticket or feed themselves while abroad. The goal should be to set realistic expectations regarding program costs. 

Promotion & Recruitment: Officially accepting students

Education Abroad advisors assist program directors throughout the application review process. Each EA advisor will communicate regularly with applicants and will seek approval from the primary program director (not all directors) prior to officially accepting any student to the program. In order to be eligible for acceptance, each student must minimally complete/meet certain UK Education Abroad requirements.

  • Read and digitally sign a series of documents—participation agreement, health & emergency acknowledgement statement, fee policy & cancellation statement, ISP 599 enrollment consent, etc.
  • Submit a Statement of Academic Purpose, a 400-500 word essay outlining why he/she is interested in participating in this Education Abroad program
  • Meet the minimum GPA required for the program as established by you and be in good academic standing (verified by EA advisor)
  • Be in good disciplinary standing with the university (verified by EA advisor).
  • Be approved by you as the primary program director.

Program directors are able to require additional application requirements if desired—e.g., a required interview, résume submission, etc. The EA advisor assigned to each program and webpage created for each UK Sponsored program will communicate the additional requirements to the students.

Program directors will be granted access to view each student’s application materials via the myEA system. Additionally, directors are able to email applicants/participants through the myEA system.  

Course Preparation
Faculty and staff program directors, and associated academic department staff, are responsible for building the course associated with this Education Abroad program according to the guidelines and protocol established by the University of Kentucky.  

Course Preparation: Building EA courses in myUK

As a program director, if you are not the designated person in your unit responsible for building UK courses please consult with your dean’s office to determine who that individual is. Course delivered via UK Sponsored education abroad programs should be built according to the following guidelines. It is at the discretion of the program director to build their courses as controlled enrollment, with enforced pre-requisites, etc. 

UK Sponsored (non-embedded)
UK courses taught entirely abroad (non-embedded courses) should be built in SAP as “off-campus” with the international location indicated and a section number of 700-799. In accordance with established section number protocols across campus, the second digit of the section number will indicate the term the course is being offered. For example:

  • Summer Session I = section number of 710
  • Summer Session II = section number of 720
  • Winter = section number of 730
  • Fall or Spring = section number of 701

Additionally, there should be a note attached to each course that is visible in the course catalog indicating that it is taught overseas. An example course note is: “This course is part of an Education Abroad program and is taught in India. Please contact Dr. ABC, or visit for more information.”

UK Sponsored Embedded
A UK course taught as an embedded education abroad program (majority of instruction occurs domestically during the typical fall or spring semester with a brief international component) should be built as a regular semester course. The course should NOT be built with the 700 section number. Additionally, there should be a note attached to each course that is visible in the course catalog indicating that a portion of the course is taught overseas. An example course note is: “This course is part of an Education Abroad program. It meet regularly on the Lexington campus during the spring semester and has a REQUIRED international component. Please contact Dr. ABC, or visit for more information.”

Course Preparation: Student enrollment in myUK

Students are responsible for enrolling themselves in the discipline-based courses associated with UK Sponsored programs. Students will self-enroll during university established priority registration and drop/add windows. Some program directors prefer to enroll students directly into the discipline based courses in lieu of having the students register themselves. This practice is left up to the discretion of the program director.

UK Education Abroad will enroll participating students in ISP 599: Study Abroad (1 credit hour) during secondary registration windows each term. Each student is responsible for having all academic and personal holds lifted in order for this enrollment to take place.

Course Preparation: College-level Curriculum Committee Approval&

In addition to the department chair and college dean’s approval, to further ensure appropriate academic oversight, the University Senate requires that all UK courses taught as part of a credit-bearing, faculty-directed education abroad program obtain college-level Curriculum Committee approval each time the course is taught abroad. This requirement applies to all courses, even those that have already been approved by the University Senate to be taught domestically. The purpose of the approval is to ensure that UK courses taught abroad meet college-approved learning objectives and outcomes. The Curriculum Approval Form must be submitted to UK Education Abroad at least two months prior to program departure.

The UK International Center prioritizes the health, safety, and wellbeing of our students, faculty, staff, and community members. Studying and traveling abroad requires a great deal of preparation including but not limited to personal health and safety, cultural expectations, academic expectations, etc. UK Education Abroad provides many optional and required orientation meetings, readings and activities for all participants. 

Pre-Departure Orientation: Faculty & Staff Program Directors (Required)
Understanding how to avoid basic problems and knowing what to do when an incident occurs is key to conducting a safe and successful program abroad. Most UK Sponsored program directors and participants experience moderate incidents and emergencies such as lost items, petty theft, and typical health situations such as colds, allergies, etc. Fortunately, it is rare for UK faculty and staff program directors and students to encounter traumatic events such as aggressive violence, significant bodily injury, or civil unrest. However, the best time to prepare for an incident or emergency is BEFORE one occurs. UK Education Abroad facilitates a pre-departure orientation for all program directors approx. 1-3 months prior to program departure, typically at the end of the semester preceding travel. The director orientation will cover topics ranging from participant health and safety, emergency response protocol, handling finances abroad, establishing student codes of conduct, compliance with academic and university protocol, etc. 

UK Sponsored Faculty Orientation Dates
UK Sponsored Embedded Faculty Orientation Dates

On-going Orientation: Faculty Workshop Series

UK Education Abroad regularly facilitates workshops and discussions related to specific topics of interest to program directors such as, managing finances abroad, successfully dealing with health and safety issues while abroad, enhancing intercultural learning, and many more. For the complete list of offerings each term. 

Faculty Workshop Series Spring 2014
Faculty Workshop Series Fall 2014

Pre-Departure Orientation: Students

Students are required to read a pre-departure handbook and attend one Pre-Departure Orientation session toward the end of the semester prior to their program’s departure. (There are several sessions each semester to accommodate the volume of students going abroad, but each student is required to attend just one.) UK Education Abroad asks that each UK Sponsored Program Director choose one Pre-Departure Orientation session to attend with his/her participants. The first half of each session is presented by UK Education Abroad staff and covers items that are applicable to all programs’ participants, such as health and safety while abroad. The second half of each sessions sees participants released into small groups by program, so having the Program Director present to cover items such as the academic component and country-specific cultural adjustment provides the most benefit to students.