Planning Your Activity Abroad

Whether you’re incorporating an international excursion as part of a course or conducting a long-term research project abroad, Global Programs is here to guide you through the assessment, proposal, and implementation stages and provide the knowledge, tools, and resources for success. We can help you explore different program models; familiarize you with the approval process and steps needed to get your project off the ground; and provide examples, tips, and templates to help you effectively manage the details of your activity.

  • 1Assessment

    Working with experts within and outside of the BU community, we will help you assess the strategic, academic, and operational risks that can adversely affect a project, how to avoid them, and also what to do in the event they occur. The questions below will provide you with a basis for assessing many of the risks typical to conducting an activity overseas. Completing this exercise will better inform you of the feasibility of your project and prepare a framework for submitting your project proposal for approval, as appropriate. Refer to the best practices provided throughout our website for help in answering these questions.

Risk Areas and Considerations

  • How does your project fit within the strategic goals of both your department and the University?
  • Are there similar projects at the same location?
    • If so, does your project provide added value or a chance for collaboration, or could it possibly threaten the other project?
  • How could the project impact the University’s reputation?
    • How is BU’s name being used either domestically or abroad?
  • What impact will your activity have on fundraising opportunities in the destination country?

    • What are the learning outcomes for your course or program, and do the resources available onsite support the students’ ability to achieve them?
    • How will students’ level of preparation to participate in the activity abroad be assessed?
    • How will you assess the quality of the academic programs abroad?
    • If you’d like to partner with an educational institution or agency abroad, does that institution meet or exceed Boston University academic standards?
    • Does your activity affect University or program accreditation and/or licensure?
    • Does the activity constitute a change to an existing degree program, including admissions requirements?

    • Health, Safety, and Security
      • What are the general health and security conditions and resources at your destination?
      • Who will conduct a health, safety, and security assessment and develop emergency plans for your activity?
      • Who is your point of contact for emergencies in Boston and abroad?
      • Does BU have liability or other appropriate insurance coverage for your destination/activity?
      • Are waivers of liability needed for participants and have they been signed?
      • How will participants in your program be trained on health and safety issues?
      • Who will ensure that program facilities, if any, conform to local code requirements and possess basic security and fire safety protocols?
    • Legal
      • What are the legal requirements, such as registering with government agencies at the destination?
      • Has BU already been operating in the country of destination?
        • If yes, is there already a recognized BU entity, affiliate, or contracted partnership?
        • If no, will your activity trigger any requirements that may have tax or legal consequences for the University?
      • Have you already sought legal advice?
        • If yes, from whom?
      • Have you addressed any Export Control issues?
        • Are there any sanctions imposed on your destination country?
        • Have third parties or foreign nationals been screened against Restricted Party lists?
        • Are you or any participants traveling with or shipping/importing equipment/data that may be restricted?
    • Employment
      • Does your staffing plan involve BU faculty/staff travel and/or hiring abroad?
      • If using BU faculty/staff, are there any immigration regulations that need to be addressed?
      • If hiring abroad, what are the employment laws in your destination country?
    • Financial
      • What is the source of funding for your project, and what are the requirements or restrictions placed on it?
      • What is the budget for your project? Have you considered the following:
        • US or local corporate, real estate, or employment taxes?
        • Salaries, fringe rates, and other associated costs?
        • Cost of travel to and from the site during the planning phase and throughout the project, including immigration or vaccination costs, if applicable?
        • Fees to third parties, such as institutional partners or service providers?
      • If your activity involves students, how will you assess the cost to the students and their ability to pay it?
        • Will it be necessary to subsidize the cost, and if so, from which budget?
      • Will housing, office, or classroom space be needed and does such space already exist or need to be procured?
      • Will you be able to open a bank account, if needed, and how will you manage cash flow with or without one?
      • How will exchange rates affect your budget and expenses?
      • If you are providing a fee for service to institutions or individuals abroad, what are the tax and legal implications for doing so?
        • Will it be necessary to subsidize the cost, and if so, from which budget?

      • 2Proposal and Approval

        Review the Teaching and Research pages to learn more about the specific operational considerations and the proposal and approval process for your activity. We recommend that you work with us early in the proposal development process to help you address the operational considerations that may impact your activity.

        Planning a project in Cuba? Due to U.S. financial sanctions, you will need to obtain special approval for travel. Refer to the Travel to Cuba page for more information.

      • 3Implementation

        Once your project has been approved or funded, you can build on the information gathered in the assessment and proposal phases, as well as the operational best practices throughout this section, to help in the implementation and management of your project abroad. Be sure to use the tools provided to help you keep track of expenses, develop and maintain emergency plans, and/or book your travel. We’re here to help, so contact us at any step along the way.