International travel can be a core component of a Bass Connections team’s research experience. Team leaders who plan to bring students on an international field experience should consider the academic and research rationale for this trip, as well as the associated risks.
To ensure that Bass Connections projects with embedded travel run smoothly, safely and in accordance with Duke University policies, we ask that team leaders consult the following guidance. This process is not meant to be onerous. Please contact your Bass Connections theme administrator with questions at any time.
At least two months prior to your trip, please contact your theme administrator to discuss your travel plans and the following documents, which you will be required to submit at least four weeks prior to departure:
- Trip itinerary
- Emergency communications plan
- Bass Connections Participation Agreement (this agreement must be signed by all students)
Create a pre-departure and on-site orientation plan: Create a plan for orienting students, both before departure and while you’re in the field. Students should understand (and be able to articulate) your team’s research goals and procedures, the trip itinerary, behavioral expectations, guidelines for collaborating with research partners, safety measures, and health precautions (including required immunizations), as well as the customs and cultural expectations particular to your travel location.
- Provide students with a customized pre-departure checklist (see a sample checklist below).
Assess risk: Assess and communicate to students the health and security profile of the region. Be prepared to manage unexpected situations and emergencies if they arise. Considerations include:
- Physical health risks (e.g., prevalent diseases and their modes of transmission, food and water safety)
- Mental health risks (e.g., stress, culture shock)
- Climate and environmental challenges (e.g., air pollution and common allergens, heat/flooding/storms)
- Personal and group security (e.g., crime)
- Local laws and cultural norms
Consult the following resources to learn about location-specific risks:
- Duke ISOS: ISOS provides location-specific health, travel and security information; any Duke employee can also contact ISOS directly with questions.
- World Health Organization: Consult the international travel and health guidelines and review the general travel risks and precautions.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Review information about immunizations and health risks.
- U.S. Department of State: Consult the country-specific information and learn about travel advisories and exit and entry requirements for your destination.
- Duke Global Administrative and Travel Support: Consult the restricted regions list, register your trip in the travel registry, learn more about emergency response, and find additional travel FAQs and resources.
Create an emergency plan: Set up a communication plan that can be initiated in case of a crisis.
- Gather and share cell phone numbers and emergency contact information for all faculty and student participants, as well as program support staff back at Duke.
- Identify and distribute phone numbers for local emergency services.
- Designate primary and secondary meeting places in case of an emergency.
- Always carry ISOS cards and a means of communication.
Create a detailed itinerary for your trip, including:
- Pre-departure orientation and planning meetings
- When and where you are traveling
- Who will be travelling with the group and when (including when faculty, staff, and/or PhD student supervisors will/will not be with the group)
- Research goals and key activities the group will be undertaking
- Information about accommodations, transportation, and meals (including how students will get to/from the airport and how they will travel to site locations while in-country)
- A list of external partners/collaborators the team will work with in the field
- Project-sponsored activities and excursions
- Large periods of “free time” and any restrictions on student activity during this period
- Risks associated with travel and team activities
Review and update the Bass Connections Participation Agreement: All travelling students (and, for undergraduates, a guardian) are required to sign this agreement, which outlines policies for student participation. Your theme administrator will provide you with the template. You should review this document and update four sections, including:
- Project Description (pg. 1, section 1)
- Pre-departure Requirements (pg. 3, section 3.D)
- Project Fees and Expenses (pg. 5, section 6)
- Additional Risks (as needed; pg. 8, section 1)
Consider how you will manage your team’s finances in the field: Work with your theme and financial managers, well in advance, to determine the best way to cover student travel expenses and other trip expenses. Assess access to cash in the field and ensure that students understand how/when they will be able to access banking resources, as well as what expenses are covered by the program. (Please do not ask students to incur up-front or out-of-pocket costs for travel expenses that will be covered by you team.)
Register your trip with Duke Travel Registry: All students are required to register international travel with the Duke Travel Registry. Faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to do the same so that Duke can provide assistance in case of an emergency.
Print and pack your International SOS (ISOS) card: ISOS provides all Duke faculty, students and staff with international medical, security and travel assistance. You should familiarize yourself with their services, consider downloading the free assistance app, and keep their contact card with you at all times.
Assess internet connectivity and data management: Consider technical and logistical details such as internet connectivity and data management and security. For information on connectivity or protecting/transporting research materials, consult the Global IT Checklist from OIT and check in with Duke’s Office of Export Controls.
Sample Pre-departure Checklist for Students
- Locate your passport and get a travel visa, if applicable
- Visit the Student Health International Travel Clinic to get any required vaccinations
- Participate in all pre-departure meetings and trainings required by your team leader
- Review, sign, and return your Bass Connections Participation Agreement (to be provided to you by your team leader/Bass Connections theme contact)
- Register your travel with the Duke Travel Registry
- Print and pack your International SOS (ISOS) card and consider downloading the free assistance app