Program Site Visits
Updated August 2020
Formal site visits for the review of and familiarization with education abroad programs are among those tools which help to:
- maintain and improve program quality
- provide accurate and needed information to students
- exercise of due diligence toward bolstering participant safety.
Use this guidance together with the Standards of Good Practice for Education Abroad and the Code of Ethics for Education Abroad for guidance on effective and collaborative site visits.
- Site visits, hospitality, or any honoraria do not imply, require, or guarantee endorsement or approval of any program.
- Successful site visits are based on clear communication between the host and the visitor in advance of the visit. This communication should include but not be limited to establishing mutual agreement on:
- the specific purpose and goals of the visit
- the qualifications of the visitor and resident staff, e.g. director, advisor, faculty
- the schedule and duration of the visit
- the opportunity for unmediated contact between the visitor and students, faculty, and administrators
- any cost-sharing of visit expenses between the program and the visitor
- the gifts, hospitality, or honoraria provided
- the criteria for any planned formal evaluation of the program, and how this evaluation will or will not be used and disseminated
- Among the materials that might be requested to assist a site visit are:
- student program and course evaluations
- orientation materials
- syllabi and course materials
- faculty and staff background, qualifications, and training
- information on co-curricular and student life programs and resources
- health and safety information
- emergency plans
- director’s reports (if they are appropriate and not internal documents)
- written feedback or evaluations from staff or on-site partners, e.g. host families, internship supervisors, etc.
- Culturally appropriate behavior is expected at the program site and in the local community.
- The visitor should not abuse the hospitality of the local program or community.
- Appropriate activities include visits to classes, facilities, homestays, internship placements, co-curricular activities, and field study events.
- The program sponsor should be offered an opportunity to respond to any site visit report as appropriate.
- Comments about specific personnel should be made to the program operator or provider confidentially and separately from the main report unless otherwise agreed.
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