Faculty and Staff Leading or Sending Students Abroad

Co-op students hiking through the Andes in Peru while visiting the world's highest wind turbine.
Co-op students hiking through the Andes in Peru while visiting the world's highest wind turbine. Photo: Nicholas Graham

If you are UVic faculty or staff responsible for organizing or supervising student trips abroad please follow the steps outlined below. These guidelines are based on UVic's off-campus activity risk management policy and are intended to support the safety of students, faculty and staff. It is understood that the faculty, department or supervisor may have additional pre-departure requirements for their students.

Programs under this section include, but are not limited to: exchange programs, co-op programs, practicums, outbound study abroad programs, field schools, fieldwork, sending students to conferences, research study trips and other educational events where the supervisor is not present. 

If you have any questions, please contact 

Step 1: Review Government of Canada travel advisories

The Government of Canada provides travel advice and advisories for Canadians travelling abroad. Please monitor this information regularly and subscribe to their social media channels and Travel Smart App.

UVic restricts student travel to countries with an official travel advisory stating "avoid non-essential travel" and "avoid all travel." If your proposed destination is under such an official travel advisory, you are required to complete and submit UVic's Special Authorization to Travel form to be reviewed for approval. The approval process may take up to six months, as such it is important that you plan accordingly.

Step 2: Pre-departure orientation for students

Make sure students follow pre-departure steps. These include:

  • Registration with International SOS
  • Signing of a country-specific UVic waiver*
  • Enrollment in UVic's travel registry
  • Completion of pre-departure course

*Contact  to obtain a UVic waiver. Please provide information regarding the international program, course(s), travel dates, and country/ies visited.

Follow these steps if they apply to your program:

Organizing Field Schools

An international field school has to be approved by UVic’s Education Abroad Committee and AVP Academic Planning. It can take up to one year to obtain this approval and develop administrative materials to successfully and safely run a field school.
The Office of Global Engagement offers support to Field School Leaders in the development and operations of a field school, including up-to-date waivers and consent forms.


Organizing Fieldwork

It is recommended that fieldwork leaders review and complete the Field Safety Plan, regardless of whether the fieldwork is occurring in a remote location or not.

The field safety plan template is intended to support leaders to identify and control hazards, and document the emergency response procedures for all field participants. The level of detail and planning noted in the document should be commensurate to the risks associated with the field activities or location.  For instance, the risk profiles of an undergraduate field study at a local park is significantly less than a research project in the back country of Northern BC or another remote location.

If your fieldwork involves scientific diving or the use of a UVic-owned boat, please contact  to ensure regulatory requirements are being met.

Travelling with students

Follow the pre-departure steps for faculty and staff travelling abroad.

Things to consider when planning trips with students abroad:

  • Is it a one-time or an ongoing program? How does it fit your department’s needs and address student interest?
  • What are the details: dates, length, destination(s); course numbers and descriptions, number of and type of credit, evaluation method, and course pre-requisites; minimum/maximum number of participants, contact(s) at overseas academic sites and facilities, accommodation.
  • What are possible health/safety issues? 
  • Draft a budget outline.
  • How will this program positively or negatively affect the enrollment for your department’s other study abroad programs; etc.?
  • Will this include current UVic students, non-UVic students, undergraduates and/or graduates, students in a specific year, students in other departments, etc.?

Even if you are not running a field school the resources provided by Global Engagement for FS directors may be useful for you.