Learning Abroad Center

Affiliate Orientation

Affiliate Orientation Overview

Thank you for participating in the Learning Abroad Center's affiliate orientation!

The affiliate orientation generally takes place from noon-4:30pm on the first Friday of December for students going abroad in the spring and the last Friday of April for students going abroad in the summer, fall, or academic year. Occasionally the LAC may request a program specific orientation if there are significant enrollments for a particular program. The LAC understands that traveling to the UofM requires a significant amount of staff time and resources. We invite you to base your decision to attend orientation on your resources and enrollments. 

The orientation is usually structured as follows: 


You are invited to join Learning Abroad Center staff and your fellow affiliate colleagues for an optional, informal lunch. There is no formal program, only good conversation and delicious food. 

Large group session (1 hour)

All students participating in an upcoming affiliate program are invited to the large group session, facilitated by Learning Abroad Center staff. This session is optional for affiliates to attend. Staff will cover provide an overview of the affiliate orientation, administrative points, academics, finances (scholarships and financial aid process), culture learning, and the optional Global Identity course.  

Affiliate breakout session (1 hour)

Affiliates lead this session. All UofM students participating in an upcoming program through your organization are invited. A Learning Abroad Center staff member from your program team will attend to address any UofM-specific questions that arise. Suggested guidelines can be found below.  

Country breakout session (1 hour)

Affiliates are also invited to help Learning Abroad Center staff facilitate a country session. Exact country sessions are determined by student enrollment and past participant availability. Suggested topics can be found below. 

Affiliate breakout session

  • Introductions: Introduce yourself and provide background to where you work and your international experience, including the programs you've visited through your organization. If time allows and you have a manageable group, ask all participants to introduce themselves including: Name, Major/college,  Their study abroad program
  • General description of pre-departure email/paperwork (What information should students have received by now? What should they have turned in to your organization up to this point?)
  • Explanation of how your organization works with the University of Minnesota (in general, and specifically in cases of change of status or emergency situations)
  • Cover topics that are relevant to each student, no matter what their intended study abroad location (i.e. on-site services that are common to all programs–orientation, airport pick-up, cultural activities)
  • General description of on-site staff & their role (e.g. emergency contact, “home base”, academic issues)
  • General overview of emergency procedures (How should students communicate with your organization on-site in the event of an emergency?)
  • Set students’ expectations

Country breakout session topics

  • Academic Structure (academic culture, grading, credit, homework)
  • Health and Safety (tips for staying healthy and safe, precautions)
  • Cultural norms (general observations, compare/contrast with U.S., how U.S. students are perceived in-country, dos/don’ts)
  • Getting around in-country (common forms of transportation, how to book tickets)
  • Interesting places for students to visit on weekends or during break periods
  • Communication (internet, cell phones, etc)
  • Money and Budgeting (how much things cost, cash vs. credit card, getting access to cash)
  • Packing (tips, weather, local dress)