So you want to lead a group of students abroad . . .
Congratulations! You are considering leading an international program for CMC or 5-C students. Whether this trip will be for a few days, a few weeks, or a few months, there are many things to consider as you finalize your decision.
Job Description for an International Program Leader: Unlike a professor or administrator on campus, an international trip leader is part teacher and part parent; part tour guide and part nurse and part coach and part cheerleader. A good leader is a dean, a finance officer, a banker, an interpreter, and a role model. In practical terms, this means you will be on call 24/7. You will be spending long hours with the students and thus have less time for yourself. You may have to work with students on a variety of personal or health-related problems at any given hour. Their problems may be intensified by culture shock that, in turn, may make them feel even more vulnerable and dependent on you for emotional support. Some students may experience a new sense of freedom leading them to do things they would not normally do at home, including alcohol abuse, sneaking out at night, or allowing themselves to be in dangerous situations. It is imperative to lay out your expectations for student behavior before the program begins. The best international leaders are flexible, adaptable, and have a sense of humor, especially when things go wrong.