Education Abroad
Faculty and Staff

Immersion Trip Requirements

  • This document provides an overview of the requirements for the development of and participation in short-term, travel programs developed by student clubs and organizations. This document covers all service projects and student organization sponsored travel, both domestic and international. For the purpose of this document, “short-term immersion trips” have the following characteristics:

    • 30-days or less in duration
    • No academic credit granted for participating
    • Developed and implemented by student clubs/organizations 

    These requirements have been developed to:

    • Facilitate the University’s assistance to you and the immersion trip participants
    • Help reduce the level of risk and liability for you, your organization, and the university
    • Ensure ethical and effective planning and implementation for the trip
    • Maximize educational value for participants. 

    All trips—new and continuing—must be approved through this process.

    Pre-Trip Requirements

    Trip Approval Process

    Because planning an immersion trip is a complex and time-consuming process,Clubs/organizations planning an immersion trip must have the trip approved atleast six months prior to the desired date of departure. Failure to do so will result in the trip not being approved. A document—the Immersion Trip Request Form—has been developed to help you in the planning process.

    Following this document will help you address critical planning elements such as budget and fundraising, participant selection, pre-trip orientation, trip itinerary, contact information, etc.
    Once you have obtained all of the appropriate information, you will need to submit the document to the Director of Student Activities. The Director of Student Activities will consult with Education Abroad and other entities as necessary on the proposal. Initial review of immersion trip proposals will be conducted with Education Abroad (international); domestic service trips will be conducted with the Center for Service and Community Engagement (CSCE). In all likelihood, the Director of Student Activities will want to meet with you to discuss your trip. Once the review process is complete, the Director will either approve,ask for greater clarification, or deny your proposal.

    Participation—Who Can go on the Trip?

    At least one faculty/staff member travel with the group as an on-site advisor for the experience. Because immersion trips are educational in nature and sponsored by the university, having non-SU participants may distract the group from that goal and exposes the university to undue risk. Therefore, trip participation will be restricted to currently enrolled SU students, current SU faculty and/or staff,or community members registered as SU volunteers.

    Waivers and Other Paperwork—when does it need to be turned in?

    Once participants have been selected, each will be required to submit a variety of paperwork at least one-month prior to departure to Student Activities. This paperwork includes:

    • SU Travel Waiver
    • SU Volunteer registration (obtained through Human Resources)
    • Medical travel statement form (obtained from Education Abroad)
    • Health Disclosure form (obtained from Education Abroad)
    • Documented purchase of an ISIC card or verification of purchase of SU travel abroad insurance (for international travel)
    • Documented proof of health insurance 
    • Individuals failing to submit this paperwork in a timely manner will not be allowed to travel with the group.

    Participant Orientation

    A participant orientation is mandatory. At minimum, this orientation should include:

    • Overview/purpose of trip
    • Review of itinerary
    • Pre-trip education
    • Review of health and safety on the trip and review of individual health and dietary needs. 
    • Pre-trip education should provide participants with a basic understanding of the culture, politics, economics and other issues connected with the immersion trip experience. Trip planners are encouraged to contact appropriate faculty and staff resources in developing pre-trip educational curricula ( Such a curriculum will help better prepare immersion trip participants to enter into and work effectively in different communities. 

    Leader Training

    In order to ensure that university policies are followed—especially in the event of an emergency—immersion trip leaders must be trained in emergency protocols prior to departure. More information on developing leader training can be obtained from the Director of Student Activities.

    On Trip Requirements

    Code of Conduct

    It is important for immersion trip participants to realize that such activities are a privilege. The opportunity to represent the University,the city, the state, and/or nation is a responsibility that should be taken seriously.

    Because immersion trips are University sponsored activities, all participants are expected to abide by the SU Code of Conduct while traveling. This is true whether a group is traveling domestically or internationally. Any violation of the Code of Conduct will be reported to the Dean of Students by the group’s advisors.

    Post-Trip Requirements

    Groups sponsoring immersion trip sare strongly encouraged to facilitate reflection sessions during and after the trip. Such opportunities enhance learning by allowing participants to develop the vocabulary necessary to make meaning of their experiences. This meaning-making process can be very profound and should not be taken lightly.

    In addition to post-trip reflection,groups sponsoring immersion trips must present their experiences to the university community within a reasonable time after returning to Seattle. Examples of such presentations include Soup with Substance (Campus Ministry), What Matters to Me (StudentDevelopment), etc. Failure to do so may result in withholding funds, prohibition of developing and/or implementing further immersion trips.

    Note on International Trips
    Seattle University recognizes that well-planned,intentionally-designed international travel can provide exceptional learning opportunities. Communicating across cultures, languages, faith traditions and world views can produce some of the most powerful personal growth in participants. However, international travel presents many challenges (safety, health,logistical, communication and cultural) that inherently increase individual and institutional risk. Therefore, the University requires student groups to consult with Student Activities and Education Abroad in designing immersion trip experiences.

    An SU faculty or staff member is expected to assist in developing the trip and to be included in the group travel unless explicit permission is granted by the University. Finally, the International Student Travel Policy prohibits travel to countries where the US Department of State has issued a Travel Warning (or other conditions listed in the policy) no matter how worthy the cause.