Pre-Departure Classes for IL

All travel courses are required to hold several pre-departure class meetings.  Here are some guidelines to help you plan a reasonable number and type of pre-departure classes for your IL May course.

How many meetings/classes should you hold before departure?

  • 2 -4 (roughly one per month starting in February)

What should you do with your students in pre-departure classes?

  • General orientation: information about passports, visas, shots/medications, if applicable.
  • Cultural orientation: information about the country, what to expect, what to wear/pack, how to behave, and so on, if applicable.
  • Content coverage: identify the readings, assignments, and other activities that students will be asked to complete during the course; identify websites, library sources, and any other materials that students ought to consult in advance for projects due very early during the IL term.
  • Reading and discussion: ask students to read an article or chapter and be ready for discussion during a pre-departure meeting, but reserve this for the final meeting or two during the spring term.

When should you hold pre-departure classes/meetings?

  • At a time suitable for everyone, probably on a Friday or Saturday.
  • Some classes meet on campus immediately before going abroad or off-campus.

What should you do about attendance at pre-departure classes?

  • You can make attendance mandatory - within reason. You might need to make reasonable accommodations for students who have legitimate reasons for not being there (e.g., they're off campus during spring term at Washington Semester or study abroad).


  • Assign reading that will not be onerous to complete during spring term.
  • Hold off on quizzes and other graded assignments until IL term begins. Do not administer quizzes or require assignments that'll be graded before IL term actually begins. Hold off on quizzes.
  • Assign work that'll be due on or after the first day of IL term.