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International Academy sparks knowledge sharing and collaboration on travel preparation

International Academy course on Canvas

International Academy sparks knowledge sharing and collaboration on travel preparation

In February 2019, OIA launched the “International Academy” on Canvas. The “International Academy” is the first university-wide international pre-departure training course to prepare students to travel safely and securely. The course is designed to be a uniform resource for the academic units that send nearly 1,300 undergraduate students to travel internationally every year to pursue a range of academic experiences including research, study tours, internships, language study, and public service opportunities.

OIA replicated the same approach to the launch of the Stanford On & Off-Campus Learning Opportunities (SOLO) platform and conducted extensive research and discovery to identify the needs of the programs and departments that desired more extensive university-wide resources. In doing so, it canvassed the university to learn how each unit prepares its travelers to prepare for the increasing complexity of global travel, including concerns for health, safety, and security.

(Read about how the SOLO pre-travel step function has streamlined the process of tracking progress towards required pre-travel steps for many programs.)

This project advanced OIA’s goal of enhancing traveler safety and security on a much larger scale by establishing a critical baseline of preparation across the university. It also has provided a platform for collective knowledge and resource sharing to help travelers across programs. The extensive stakeholder engagement involved in developing the course connections has also contributed to ongoing collaborations among travel sponsoring units and subject matter experts.

The course is now being used by the Freeman Spogli Institute, Haas Center for Public Service, Handa Center for Human Rights, Stanford Global Studies, King Center on Global Development, and Undergraduate Advising and Research.  In addition, campus offices like the Vaden Health Center, Office of Risk Management, Office of Alcohol Policy and Education, and OIA are actively engaged in developing new and relevant content for the course. In just the first two months after launch, over 400 students successfully completed the course.

Campus units can enroll and manage their own students, and the course’s modular design allows staff to adapt and add to the course content. The Bing Overseas Studies Program, Graduate School of Business, and Athletics Department are in the process of adapting their own versions of the course to suit the unique needs of their travelers. This will add an estimated 1,000 additional students to overall enrollment.

For more information on OIA’s “International Academy,” and how to enroll student travelers, contact the Director of OIA, Brendan Walsh (