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Best Practices and Procedures all Campuses- Departmental International Travel Programs Involving Students, Alumni, and Other Attendees

Best Practices and Procedures all Campuses- Departmental International Travel Programs Involving Students, Alumni, and Other Attendees

This document is intended to provide guidance to Purdue departmental areas that sponsor and are planning international travel.  These best practices and procedures are not intended to be all encompassing or the complete authority on international travel, instead they are intended to provide a prudent framework for consideration in planning international travel. Our framework below identifies three most common categories of international travel that may be associated or appear to be associated with Purdue.             

Study Abroad (Purdue sponsored):  Study Abroad includes arrangements in which Purdue students complete part of their degree program outside the U.S., including classroom study, research, intern or externships and service learning.  Study Abroad Programs must be formally approved through the Office of Programs for Study Abroad, Education Abroad Office, International Programs Office or equivalent office at the applicable Purdue campus.

Non-Study Abroad Activity that is Purdue-Sponsored:  Non-Study Abroad Purdue-Sponsored Activities include   travel outside of the U.S. sponsored by a Purdue department and or financed through a Purdue account, but not formally approved through the Office of Programs for Study Abroad, Education Abroad Office, International Programs Office, or equivalent office at the applicable Purdue campus.    

Independent International Activities:  Independent International Activities include activities in which Purdue students and other attendees participate outside the U.S., but that are not sponsored by any Purdue department.  Independent International Activities include trips led by students and group trips during school breaks. Independent International Activities are not Purdue sanctioned or sponsored activities and do not require approval of any Purdue office. 

For Non-Study Abroad Activity that is Purdue-Sponsored and for formal Study Abroad Programs, the following are the Best Practices and Procedures recommended by the Office of Risk Management for all departmental areas and program participants (i.e., employees, students and others) on all campuses:

Trip Preparation
  • Orientation should be held to brief participants on general ethical guidelines when traveling abroad, as well as cultural norms, political situations, and security matters of concern. 
  • Sponsoring Purdue departments are expected to ensure that leaders and participants have the means to make purchases in-country, particularly those locations where credit cards are not accepted.
  • All travelers not classified as Purdue faculty or staff in paid status must sign the appropriate travel expectations and release form RM55.  Departmental areas organizing travel are responsible for maintaining releases for a minimum of two years following the travel.
  • Program leaders should instruct participants to consult their preferred healthcare professional or other reputable sources (e.g. CDC website) regarding immunizations, etc.
  • The Office of Risk Management has made available for review by all international travelers its International Travel Field Guide.
  • Program leaders should remind all participants to check consular information of their home country in regard to visa needs related to travel to the host country. 
Safety and Emergency Planning
  • Program leaders should consider safety planning which includes both program design and communication planning.  See section on "Creating an International Travel Security Plan" within the Purdue Risk Management International Travel Field Guide.  Click here for a plan outline.   Sponsoring Purdue departments are expected to have sufficient emergency contingency funds available for extra flights, hotel stays and related expenses that might be reasonably foreseen in the event of an emergency.
  • Each Purdue Campus should have in place a safety committee that reviews student travel to OFAC countries and US Department of State (DOS) relevant stages of alerts and warnings by country.  A named Senior International Official responsible for the final approval or non-approval of such travel should also be in place.  Safety committee will assess the risks of such travel compared to the benefits of such travel, assess best practices/procedures, assure safety protocols have been considered, and compliance is maintained with this and other Purdue travel protocols suitable to international travel.  Committee recommendations should be submitted for final disposition to that campus senior official responsible for approving such non-employee student travel.  This best practice should apply to Non-Study Abroad programs as well as Study Abroad programs.      
  • Program leadership should register travelers (who are US citizens) with the U.S. Consulate overseas via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), a free service provided by the U.S. Government (which also provides a link to Learn About Your Destination).
  • Program participants should never be left behind in a foreign country without a Purdue representative or designee to assist them until the participant can be flown back to the U.S., evacuated, or until a family member of the participant arrives in the country to assist the participant.
  • The department should assure that all international travelers have been reported to the Office of Risk Management for appropriate international travel insurance.  This insurance provides assistance in the event of injury, natural disaster, evacuation, etc. while abroad. Participation in the travel insurance and evacuation program is mandatory for all who are traveling as part of a Purdue-sponsored program.  Exceptions will only be granted by the Office of Risk Management upon proof of identical or better coverage evidenced from an international travel hosting entity.  Click here to learn more.
  • The sponsoring department should explain the terms of the international emergency insurance including use of the insurance card and how the emergency travel assistance service functions.
  • Advise travelers to be aware of foreign intelligence threats, as referenced by the FBI.
  • If a program includes a non-parent accompanied minor (under the age of 18), the departmental area should assure the RM28 form is completed by the parent or guardian and kept at the program site in case of medical emergency.
  • Group programs should have a specific identified and documented person responsible for the overall program.  Programs must also have a sufficient number of qualified leaders to safely and effectively manage the program on the ground.  Leaders are responsible parties that provide leadership and guidance to the group and can be a Purdue faculty/staff/student or third party partner. Groups should have at least 1 qualified and documented leader and a back-up.  Larger groups should consider the need for additional on-site leaders.     
  • In cases where two different programs are conducted in parallel (e.g. PMO program for students and PAA program for alumni), each program should have separate leadership.  (Note: When conducting parallel programs which socially mix students and non-students, this can create special challenges not always in the best interest of student program facilitation.  For this reason, departments should consider carefully the need to design such parallel programs; parallel program designs should be considered an exception, with the department being able to appropriately document why the presence of the conjoined non-student program contributes to the mission of the student program.).
  • It is the organizing unit’s responsibility to review Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctions and make sure all rules and regulations are being followed.  That is, if traveling to an OFAC country, OFAC may limit travel and financial payment into sanctioned countries. The OFAC website will provide a current list of sanctioned countries, and the sanctions imposed.  Any questions related to OFAC sanctions should be relayed to the Purdue University Export Control Office at exportcontrols@purdue.edu
  • If volunteers are traveling, the sponsoring department needs to make sure they fall under the official definition of volunteer, as per the University Volunteer Policy and the Administrative Manual on University Volunteers.  The department needs to assure full compliance with University Volunteer Policies and Manuals. 
  • For other travelers (who are not official volunteers, students, faculty, or staff), departments need to facilitate background checks for attendees (which essentially follows the process referenced above within the University Volunteer Policy).
  • All Purdue international students, faculty or staff must secure appropriate entry authorization to the country/countries that they plan to visit as well as appropriate re-entry authorization to the US.  Entry (visa) requirements of other countries can be reviewed on respective foreign embassy/ consulate websites.  International students, faculty or staff should liaise with Purdue’s Office of International Students and Scholars (ISS) regarding US re-entry requirements.  This procedure refers to any international activities including but not limited to study, research, conferences, or other educational purposes.
  • All Purdue University investigators (including students) who are engaged in human subjects’ research while abroad remain accountable to the Purdue Institutional Review Board (IRB) and Purdue's Human Research Participant Program, Office of Research Administration. It is advised that all forms be completed before departure since email signatures are not legally acceptable.   Contact IRB for more detailed information about conducting international human subject research.
  • Program leaders must be aware of Title IX compliance requirements.
  • Program leaders must be aware of expectations surrounding the Clery Act
  • Any program involving minors should also be in compliance with the University’s Operating Procedures for Programs Involving Minors

Purdue disclaims any responsibility for any Independent International Activities not sanctioned, sponsored, or controlled by Purdue.  Though Purdue takes no responsibility for international travel associated with such individuals or groups, this material is available to these groups and may be used by them as a guide.                  

Any questions regarding this document should be addressed to Lois High or Dann Van Hoosier in The Office of Risk Management.