Why CIS Abroad for Faculty Led?

As more and more faculty leaders head overseas with student groups, the need for assistance on the ground increases. Faculty members have historically been responsible for not only teaching the course, but also overseeing program reservations, payments, on-site crises, logistical changes, risk management, and everything else that comes with these programs. As an education abroad organization, we recognize that putting all of these responsibilities on one person or one office directly affects the quality of the program.

Since 2004, we have closely collaborated with study abroad offices and faculty leaders to deliver the highest program quality possible. How do we do this, and what makes us so successful?

True customization: Every course is different, and in turn every program will be different. By customizing each aspect of the program, we provide faculty with an opportunity to create an itinerary that best meets the learning objectives of your course and directly aligns with your academic needs and expectations.

On-Site Staff: Every program we operate includes a 24/7 staff member to manage not only the logistics of the program, but also those minor incidents and major emergencies that can arise during the time abroad. This full-time staff support allows the faculty leader(s) to focus on meeting the academic objectives of the course. Without this 24/7 support staff focused exclusively on the program, faculty are left to manage everything entirely on their own.

Sample Programs

Social Work: NGOs of Southeast Asia

16 days in Thailand and Cambodia

This two-week program traveled to two cities in each of these countries to visit and learn about the management of a variety of non-profit organizations. The course was targeted towards non-profit management students, and provided an opportunity for the group to speak directly with those in the field, as well as visit some of SE Asia’s top sites like Angkor Wat!

Math: Mathematicians of the Renaissance

3 weeks in Northern Italy

Based primarily in Florence, this program took advantage of Italy’s rich art history. With visits to places including Vinci, Pisa and Rome, this course explored Italy and the Renaissance through the lens of mathematician-artists, like Da Vinci, who made lasting contributions to both science and art.

Conflict Resolution

9 days in Northern Ireland

Students spent their spring break in Northern Ireland learning about the country’s turbulent political past and what action is being taken today to keep peace. The program exposed students to a variety of opinions and sides of the conflict which encouraged them to be open minded throughout the program.

International Business

10 days in Barcelona

This program allowed students the opportunity to learn about international business practices through visits to both locally- and internationally-owned businesses, including a brewery, the port, and a vineyard. Cultural activities included a cooking class, city tours, and a flamenco show.

Higher Education

1 week in South Africa

Students gained a deeper understanding of higher education in South Africa and how it deals with certain issues from a comparative perspective. Students met with administrators, government officials, and local students to compare and contrast Higher Education systems between the US and South Africa.

LGBTQ: LGBTQ Views of Europe

1 month in various European cities

Using literary works and art, in combination with social history of civil rights movements, this course explored cultural trends in LGBT communities and their acceptance in Western Europe.

What's Included

On-site Staff and Guides

We value the need to have staff on the ground available to you 24/7. Our trained on-site program coordinators and site directors are there to assist you with logistical changes, cultural curriculum, student incidents and on-site emergencies. In some locations your itinerary may also require a licensed guide, which we can provide in addition to your onsite program coordinator.

Round-trip and Domestic Airfare

In need of a group flight or assistance with your travel reservations?  We are proud to offer these services for your next program. And, you don’t have to decide when you first reach out – flight are a longer process and we can work with you even after we’ve sent you a proposal to arrange group flights.

Ground Transportation

From touchdown in country to take off, you don’t have to worry about getting from point A to point B. Whether by vetted and approved private coach, or by local and public transportation, we will get you there safe and sound.

Pre-Departure and On-Site Orientation Materials

Where are we staying? What is the local currency? Who will be picking us up at the airport? These are just a few of the questions often asked prior to departure. Through our online pre-departure orientation materials we’ll be sure that no question is left unanswered. Additionally, in each destination abroad, our onsite staff will lead the group through an on-site health and safety orientation.


We budget for the accommodations best suited to your group needs and learning outcomes. Your own housing recommendations are also welcome and we’ll do our best to accommodate your top choices, taking one worry off your mind.

Excursions and Academic Visits

This is where customization is key! Our program coordinators are prepared to collaborate with you to design your ideal program. Tourist sites are certainly a draw for students, and you don’t want to exclude them from your itinerary, but leave it to us to help identify excursions and visits that directly align and further enhance your academic content in addition to the main attractions!

Classroom/Facility Space

We recognize that getting out of the traditional classroom is one of the draws in offering a study abroad program, however, at times pre-arranging meeting space is essential to meet university required contact hours. Inform your program coordinator of any specific classroom needs and let them do the rest.

Health Insurance

Health insurance is essential for all study abroad participants. Through our partnership with CISI we are proud to offer the industry’s best. If your campus already provides comparable coverage, let us know and we can leave this out of your program cost. Looking for travel or trip insurance? Contact us to learn more about additional coverage.

Promotional Support

You may be a one-person office or a faculty leader with no time to create your own materials. We get it, and we’re here to help! We are happy to help by creating program flyers tailored just for your program. Additionally, our University Relations representative for your institution is available to help with on-campus promotion, either at the study abroad fair or during another visit.


Food is more than a basic need. When visiting a new country food is an incredible foyer into a culture, and meal times provide a delicious way to interact with the local population during your program! On all of our programs we include pre-arranged group welcome and farewell meals. As for the rest of the time you’re abroad, your program coordinator will work with you to determine whether or not you’d like to build in additional group meals.


We take care of the gratuities for you! That’s right, there’s no awkward moment of passing around a hat to collect cash from your students to tip the guide, driver, or wait staff. Even better, there’s no pressure on you to add to the pot to ensure an appropriate tip. Our onsite staff will manage that for you!

Special Requests

See something that’s missing? Ask us to add it in!


Due to the ongoing effects of COVID, our programming, operations, and health and safety planning have become more complex and time consuming. For the foreseeable future we are offering faculty-led program services in destinations in which CIS Abroad is currently operating programs (think: our semester study, intern, and service-learning locations) in addition to a several destinations in Africa. We’re working diligently and with much intention to ensure all of our program destinations are fully prepared for anyone we host onsite in any of our active locations. Read more about our intentional Return to Travel Plan.

  • Australia
  • Costa Rica
  • England
  • Ghana
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Kenya
  • Scotland
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Tanzania
  • Thailand
  • Zambia

Faculty Feedback

I can not thank you enough for making this trip absolutely perfect!

Barbara Cuevas, Undergraduate Director of Exercise Science - University of South Carolina

Next Steps

Request a proposal

Once you are ready to build your program, fill out a proposal questionnaire. Answer the questions to the best of your ability, and let us know if there’s an area you could use more help with.

We'll Get Back to You!

We aim to turn around your proposal within a 4 to 6 week timeframe. If we have any questions along the way we’ll reach out, if not, sit back and anxiously anticipate what we design.


Fantastic! Many of our faculty leaders and institutions already have their own great contacts they wish to work with, or have worked with for years. Our goals include ensuring that all logistics are streamlined, payments are made on time, risk is mitigated, and emergencies are handled properly. It’s great when we can collaborate with you and your contacts, whether it be a favorite local guide or a colleague who we can reach out to about arranging a business visit for your group. Know that we respect your contacts as your contacts, and we are not interested in making them ours – we just want to ensure all goes smoothly and it is important that we are all on the same page should changes need to be made during the program.

Perfect, we’re happy to look into housing your group there! Staying in a familiar location can help ensure peace of mind leading up to your departure. We will also be transparent with you if we feel it might not be adequate for your group (dynamics are quite different than when traveling solo or with smaller numbers) and we’ll suggest alternatives comparable to your preference. Please note that sometimes earlier deposits are necessary to guarantee specific lodging.

Yes, they can! The best time for friends and family to visit is before or after the program. If they want to join you during the program, please speak with your program coordinator about working out a guest fee and if there are any limitations to their participation.

We recommend starting between 12-18 months prior to departure. Time flies, and you want to be sure your program is laid out well enough to begin promoting the experience to students. At the 12 month mark you’ll want to start showcasing the opportunity to students, with the hopes of securing the group around the 5-6 month mark. Be sure to check with your study abroad office, as their timelines may differ and might in fact call for much earlier preparation.

Great question! We customize the itinerary to meet your objectives, and thus every program price is unique. What factors are considered in estimating the cost? The length of the program, the time of year you are traveling, the type of housing you use, the number of excursions included, the number of meals included, the type of transportation planned, and the list goes on. The great thing about this is that we can continue to tweak the itinerary so that even the price is customized to your needs. Please let us know if faculty fees should not be built into student costs, or if particular line items such as classroom space and academic visits are to be covered by another budget stream (collaborate with your study abroad office). We’ll be happy to pull out certain portions to reduce the out-of-pocket costs for students, outside of what their tuition and university fees will cover.

Don’t see your destination listed? We still may be able to help you! One of the things our partners love most about us is our flexibility and “can do” attitude. We love a challenge, we have the experience venturing into new countries and the staff to assess the risks involved. So, when filling out your program questionnaire, go ahead, list your preferred destination and we’ll be in touch!

This varies by program depending on the variety and number of arrangements your program entails, as well as the host country business culture. In some places, we may not be able to confirm the exact details of a business visit until a week or two before departure. We know that this can be stressful, but let us worry about it for you! We’ll do our best to keep you informed along the way. Although we will provide a “final” itinerary at least 2 weeks prior to departure, as with all travel, the group should always be prepared for last minute changes, adjustments, etc. Which is again why it’s so helpful to have CIS Abroad staff on the ground to sort out the details!

As a full service organization, we prefer just that – providing it all. There are programs in which we might not manage ALL of the logistics due to the institution’s connections with local exchange partners, for example, but unfortunately we don’t do just airfare, or just housing.

Yes, and as many of our testimonials will attest, most faculty can’t imagine their program without them! We fully recognize a faculty leader may have lived in a particular destination and know it inside and out, but our staff are there to ensure someone is ready in the event of a logistical change, student crisis or larger scale threat. “Ok, but we are sending two people from our institution.” Excellent! We will still have our staff person on the ground. Our on-site program coordinators are trained in student support, international crisis management, and are there so that your faculty leader(s) can focus on teaching the course, while we worry about the rest. Also consider, and it’s happened before, what if something happens to you?

All students who successfully participate on a faculty-led program managed by our team will officially be considered CIS Abroad Alumni, at which point they will have access to our Go Again Grants and other opportunities to continue their education abroad!