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Benefits and Responsibilities

Teaching abroad is an exciting opportunity that comes with many benefits but also certain responsibilities. Here we review what is expected of Smeal faculty who teach abroad.


Teaching abroad is an exciting opportunity that comes with many benefits as well as certain responsibilities. These are some of the expectations for Smeal faculty who teach abroad.


Teaching in a stimulating international setting can be like a mini-sabbatical. Students want to attend the program as an additional feature of their academic program and the resources outside the classroom bring new perspectives to the discussions. There is ample time to explore the immediate area and weekends may be used for traveling further.


Compensation can vary slightly depending on the type of summer program and how many credits faculty will teach. Embedded programs do not provide extra compensation. Faculty often bring one or more family members along at their own expense after approval of a Travel Petition; teaching abroad is seldom done to increase income. Instructors retired from PSU are not eligible to be paid. Faculty should consult their department regarding ability to receive additional compensation as well as fit with regular job responsibilities.

Airline Ticket

Compensation for teaching includes the airline ticket for instructors. Family members must provide their own transportation. So that all can fly together, instructors are very involved in reserving their flights. Faculty may choose to extend their stay abroad beyond program dates and will need to work with Anthony Travel to provide a comparison flight. Any fare difference or upgrades must be paid for out-of-pocket.


Housing varies somewhat by site. Local partners secure housing. Generally, instructors live in a one-bedroom, air-conditioned apartment within walking distance of their classrooms. A larger apartment may be requested but is subject to availability and instructors are responsible for the extra costs associated with their requests. If there are two instructors, they usually share the same apartment and trade-off half-way through. Because these are city locations with high rents, apartments are often smaller than what we are accustomed to in the States. 

Health Insurance

Instructors international health insurance is covered by a blanket PSU policy. They may want to buy short-term international health insurance for their family members. Prepare yourself by reading the PSU Health and Safety information.



Student Recruitment

Without sufficient enrollment, our programs cannot run. There are a minimum number of students needed for each program to run and we need that faculty be active in the recruitment of students to their course. SOIP will hold a number of informational meetings for students to promote all of our programs. In addition, faculty should plan to pitch their course personally as well. We invite you to attend some of our promotional events and can give ideas for other ways to promote your course.

Create An Engaging Curriculum

Faculty are responsible for developing course content within their field of expertise. The course must incorporate the city, country or region where it is being taught. Our local partners will help arrange field trips and guest lectures, with guidance from the instructor regarding what industries/themes/etc would tie in well with their course. Maximum 4 visits/guest lectures per course or 2 per instructor if co-taught.
Syllabus tips

Meet the Profs Night / Pre-Departure Orientation

Instructors must plan to attend a scheduled information session in January where students are invited to meet the faculty teaching abroad. Each program will break up into its own room and faculty will have a chance to present their course and talk to students interested in the program.

A mandatory Pre-Departure Orientation will be scheduled for all instructors and students after Spring Break. At this time instructors may outline their expectations and any necessary texts or other course materials students should bring with them. SOIP will also review important logistical information with the students and set behavioral expectations for the program, as well as offer some travel tips. Our experience is that setting appropriate expectations prior to the program helps reduce the chance of problems abroad.

PSU Global Programs Requirements

Emergency Preparedness Workshop - This is a Penn State requirement for all Faculty-led study abroad programs. Faculty must attend an emergency preparedness workshop prior to start of education abroad program, at least once every two years.
Travel Petition - A petition must be submitted to Global Programs to request that any spouses/children/friends accompany faculty on study abroad programs. This petition is subject to approval.
Export Compliance Form - Faculty will need to complete an export compliance form regarding their course material. Instructions to be provided by Global Programs.

Arrive and Depart on Program Dates

Faculty are expected to arrive with students on the program start date and participate in the Orientation Program that students must attend, especially the first year teaching in a new location. This adjustment period is for the benefit of the Instructor, as well as the students. Then, everyone will know what rules apply to student behavior and will have time to learn their way around. Faculty cannot depart a program before the ending date, even if their lectures/exams have been completed.

Student Contact

Appreciation for the increased contact with students that is inevitable in a field-based setting  and commitment to collaborate and communicate with Global Programs especially in regard to the safety and well-being of students. Agreement to serve as 24/7 contact person in the event of an emergency or urgent situation that may arise abroad.