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Vice President for International Affairs


IU Faculty – All Campuses

Hannah Buxbaum, Vice President for International Affairs

IU-Sponsored Student Travel Abroad: Update and Approval Process

Indiana University is known worldwide for the education abroad opportunities we provide our students. Increasing those opportunities is a priority for the university, and one on which we’ve made significant headway in recent years. In 2013, system-wide, 2,780 students had a study-abroad experience; last year, that number stood at 4,038. Those increases have been driven in significant part by the development of new programs within our academic units—on topics from sustainability to corporate responsibility to public health systems. During the previous academic year, we approved 56 new programs in 30 countries, including Cambodia, Cuba, and Swaziland. Some were hosted in our Global Gateway offices, which can help connect study abroad instructors with local speakers and other contacts.

Many thanks to the faculty members and administrators who develop, promote, teach, and support these activities. (And if you are interested in beginning such activities, you might want to consider applying for an Overseas Study Program Development Grant.)

For anyone who is planning to engage IU students in study- or travel-abroad activities in the future, I am setting out below important information regarding the approval process, which is designed to maintain the integrity of IU’s study abroad programs. The most important thing to bear in mind is that all activities involving IU students studying or traveling abroad with institutional assistance must be approved by the Office of Overseas Study.

This means that all Indiana University individuals involved with directly arranging activities that take place outside of the United States for IU graduate, undergraduate, or pre-college students must submit a proposal to the university-wide Overseas Study Advisory Council (OSAC).

Examples of such activities include 1) exchange programs; 2) courses with an overseas component designed by an IU faculty member, school, or campus; 3) opportunities abroad for which IU directly facilitates local arrangements, including internships, research, conference attendance, and independent study; 4) non-credit-bearing activities abroad arranged by an IU office, department, or organization that involve clubs, choruses, or teams engaging in volunteer work, sports activities, music ensembles, theater outings, etc.

Please note that there is an abbreviated proposal process for student activities involving conference attendance, field research, sport activities, or music performances organized or designed by IU faculty and staff. Moreover, if students are traveling alone, based on a faculty or staff recommendation or encouragement but without their direct involvement, no proposal is needed, even if the students have IU funding to support their travel.

The Council’s approval procedure provides consistency in the process of granting credit (where relevant) and ensures that overseas activities adhere to IU’s high academic standards. It also helps to safeguard the health and safety of all IU participants. The process also serves to introduce best practices to all program organizers, including how to minimize risk.

The Overseas Study Advisory Council, chaired by the Associate Vice President for Overseas Study, Kathleen Sideli, must approve all proposals before any recruiting, advertising, or scheduling for the proposed program begins. Please refer to the Overseas Study web site to review the Guidelines:


Proposals are reviewed as they are received. Applicants are advised to do advance planning in order to allow sufficient time to complete all necessary arrangements both at IU and abroad.

Many thanks for your attention to these procedures, and, again, for your work in expanding these opportunities for our students.

Sincerely yours,

Hannah L. Buxbaum
Vice President for International Affairs
Indiana University

Inquiries and proposals should be directed to:

Office of Overseas Study
Leo R. Dowling International Center
111 South Jordan Avenue | Bloomington, Indiana 47405
phone: (812) 855-9304 | email: overseas@iu.edu

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Office of the Vice President for International Affairs
Indiana University

Bryan Hall, room 104
107 S. Indiana Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405-7000
United States