Stage 6: Delivering Your International Field School

While facilitating the program in the field, the Field School Director will provide support and advice to students, manage adherence to SFU policies, and be in regular communication with ISS. Throughout the time in the field, Field School Directors are asked to stay within the budget and keep track of all payments.

Stage 6

Role of the Field School Director in the Field

In the field, you are responsible for all aspects of the program, including organizing and managing program excursions and field trips, as well as the academic experience. The Field School Director is the representative of SFU to the partner institution and elsewhere in the host country. For more information, see the International Field School Roles and Responsibilities Chart.

In Country Orientation

  • At each location of the International Field School, the Field School Director is expected to provide an orientation (including logistical aspects such as using local phones, taking transit, etc.) and review the emergency contacts and emergency response plan as related to the specific location. 

Field Trips and Group Meals

  • The Field School Director organizes field trips and activities appropriate to the International Field School, which have been planned and included within the program budget.

  • The Field School Director organizes group meals, according to the program budget. We recommend holding an “end of program” group meal.
  • Field School group meals are included in the program fee. If a student chooses not to participate, refunds are not provided.
  • Check in with your International Field School group to see if there are dietary restrictions to consider. It is best practice to select a restaurant with a variety of options, if possible.


  • As the Field School Director, you (and other SFU Faculty if applicable) are responsible for the academic component of the International Field School. If guest lecturers or faculty at the partner institution will be teaching, it is your responsibility to coordinate this.


  • As the Field School Director, you are expected to make yourself available to students for reasonable needs and advice related to academic, health, personal, emotional, financial, travel and logistical issues as well as cultural adjustment. However, when needed, students can also access support systems outlined below under “In-Field Support for Students”.
  • You may also wish to reach out to International SOS for support (e.g. finding a clinic that is open late, making support inquiries on a student’s behalf, calling to get safety updates on a location where students travelled for the weekend), as well as emotional support.
  • My SSP provides direct support to staff/faculty and other leaders who work with students. Their Student Support Advisors provide consultation on a variety of student matters, including but not limited to: assisting students in distress, navigating communication difficulties due to language barriers or cultural norms, discussing culturally sensitive health topics (e.g. sexual health), supporting withdrawn or isolated students, and fostering intercultural competencies. Inside North America call 1-844-451-9700 for Advice. Outside North America call 001.416.380.6578. These phone calls can be made 24/7.
  • The Sexual Violence Support & Prevention Office has developed some guidance on Supporting Survivors

Setting Boundaries

  • While there is a social context to International Field School programs, it is important that the Field School Director and any other program staff, faculty or volunteers maintain strictly professional relationships with the students.

  • Although you must be reachable 24/7 in cases of emergencies, setting clear expectations surrounding times that are considered International Field School program time versus free time can help provide you, as the Field School Director, with time and space for yourself.

  • To avoid any suggestion of conflict of interest, Field School Directors (and Field School Director Assistants or other group leaders) must not enter into an intimate personal relationship or into a financial relationship with any of the participants they are evaluating. See SFU’s Conflict of Interest Policy (GP 37) for more information.

Administering Student Conduct Policies

  • As explained under “Student Conduct”, you are required to manage adherence to the student conduct policies and address student conduct issues as they arise. These include the Field School Code of Conduct students sign surrounding the International Field School, the Field School Student Acknowledgment, as well as SFU’s policies.

Budget: Payments in the Field

While in the field, please keep track of all your payments, and try not to go over budget. It is your responsibility to manage the budget on-site, making alterations in program planning as needed to keep the program’s total costs within budget. If unforeseen new or revised costs arise, let your Field School Coordinator know as soon as possible. If hiring people providing services (tour guide, etc.), use the Short Form Service Agreement (SFSA). Contractors must also provide an invoice.

Expense Worksheet: We recommend that Field School Directors track their expenses using the template you will receive from the ISS Manager, Administration. This is what we will use for the expense claim upon your return.

Expenses claimed should only be those that have already been included in the budget (with exceptions made for extenuating circumstances and emergencies, so long as ISS is aware of the situation).

Field School Directors will not be reimbursed for expenditures not permitted under University regulations.


  • It is very important that you keep all your receipts.
  • Please retain all receipts and entrance tickets from all students/staff for all program activities; these will be required in order to file your expense claim at the end of the program. ISS requires actual receipts of payments (not invoices or booking confirmations) and boarding passes. Credit card statements do not serve as receipts, the sole purpose of credit card statements is to confirm the exchange rate. ISS recommends organizing your receipts by category (accommodations, transportation, meals etc.). If no receipt is given then write up a receipt with the receipt booklet (provided by ISS) and have the person who received the payment sign the receipt from the booklet.
  • Receipts of meals covered by per diems are not required.

Group Meals

  • Receipts of group meals must be itemized, indicating what was consumed.
  • Include the number of students and total number of people included in all group meals.
  • Alcohol cannot be purchased with field school funds. You will not be reimbursed where alcohol was purchased/consumed. If the receipt is not in English, please write “no alcohol” on the receipt and initial this.
  • Field School Directors cannot claim a per diem for a group meal as your meal will already be covered.

Online Purchases

  • For any online purchases, please ensure that the receipt is sent to you right away, and then print and keep track of your online receipts. If you prefer, you may forward your online receipts to and copy your Field School Coordinator.

Exchange Rate

  • The following options can be used to determine exchange rate for reimbursement purposes:

· SFU average exchange rate in the system

· Bank of Canada exchange rate

· Receipt of purchase of foreign cash

· ATM receipt of foreign cash withdrawal

· Bank statement showing foreign cash withdrawal

· Credit card statement

Student Withdrawals

  • If students withdraw from the International Field School, you will need to keep the Program Refund Policy in mind when in the field. See the Field School Program Refund Policy Template (login required). Contact your Field School Coordinator for more guidance.


  • In the field, you are responsible for all aspects of the program, including organizing and managing program excursions and field trips.
  • You are required to liaise with in-country faculty at the partner institution to obtain marks for all courses, if applicable.

Risk Management

  • As the Field School Director, you must remain with the group at all times during classes and field trips. You must be accessible to students by phone and email, and stay in the same geographical location as the International Field School throughout the duration of the program, including during non-field school time (e.g. weekends). While students may choose to travel outside the program location on weekends (at their own risk and cost), you must remain in the program location to be accessible to the rest of the group and in case of emergency.

  • You are required to carry the medical kit with you on all International Field School activities (e.g. Field trips, etc.) and use its contents as per your training. Keep a record of medical supplies used, as you will be required to provide a list to ISS upon return. This log book is for liability purposes as well as to allow ISS to know what materials need to be replenished. It is your responsibility to limit access to the contents of the medical kit. ISS recommends that students also pack their own medical kits (you can see the recommended items to pack in the Canvas Field School 101 Program under Module 3.4 “What to Pack”).

  • In the case of injury or illness, Field School Directors are expected to support students in obtaining health care, informing International SOS, and then notifying ISS.

  • International SOS (available 24/7) can be contacted for emergency assistance and expert travel, medical and security advice. This is your first point of contact with SFU in all emergency situations.

  • Please complete an SFU Field School Medical Report Form (login required) for each medical incident that may occur within the field. Please send this form to ISS within 48 hours of completion.

  • In the case of a serious illness or injury such as those requiring hospital/emergency response, contact International SOS immediately, and notify ISS.

  • Encourage students to maintain contact with their families throughout the program, especially when they arrive, after the formal close of the program, and when they are engaging in independent travel.

  • When handling student information (electronic or hard copy), remember to follow the Information Management and Privacy Planning regulations outlined in Stage 5.

Communicating with ISS

  • Please contact ISS regularly and when necessary, but specifically :

· Within 48 hours of the students’ arrival to let your Field School Coordinator at ISS know that all students have safely arrived.

· As soon as possible (after first immediately contacting International SOS) in the event of any serious problems with a participant, a participant’s health, program finances, local or regional political unrest, the relationship with the partner institution or its faculty, or if the Field School Director becomes incapacitated for any reason. Outside of office hours, contact International SOS, as they can relay messages back to SFU.

· At the mid-point of the program after receiving a summary of the mid-program evaluations from your Field School Coordinator.

· Within 48 hours of any issue (medical, behaviour, incident) that requires you to complete a report form (login required).

· Upon the formal close of the program to let ISS know that all students have safely departed.

  • The Field School Director is required to be reachable in case of emergencies at the number provided to ISS 24/7 while in the field.

Student Conduct

  • As a representative of SFU on this program, it is your responsibility to ensure that your behaviour and the behaviour of the students on the program is in line with SFU policies. Field School Directors have delegated authority in the field for enforcing the student conduct policy and are responsible for managing students’ adherence to SFU policies. While all SFU policies apply to students while in the field, policies that may be particularly relevant to students’ conduct within International Field Schools include:

· SFU’s Student Conduct Policy

· SFU’s Student Academic Integrity Policy

· SFU’s Sexual Violence and Misconduct Prevention, Education and Support Policy

As the Field School Director, you are also responsible for enforcing the SFU Field School Code of Conduct as well as the Field School Student Acknowledgment, found on the Field School Application website. It is therefore important that you familiarize yourself with these documents. The procedures in the event of contraventions of policy or program rules are outlined in the SFU Field School Code of Conduct.

  • In the event any student's behaviour is unacceptable or in contravention of program rules, complete the SFU Field School Behaviour Contract (login required) (and return to ISS with 48 hours).
  • As outlined in the SFU Field School Code of Conduct and Field School Student Acknowledgment, the Field School Director has the authority to remove a student from an International Field School if they do not adhere to the behavioural expectations of the program. The Field School Director is responsible for all determinations relating to student conduct and has the authority, with reasonable grounds and without recourse to parties at SFU in Canada, to remove a student from the International Field School.

  • If a student is removed from the International Field School they must leave the group immediately and are personally responsible for organizing return travel to Canada and all associated costs. If a student is removed from the International Field School, they have a right of appeal, and such right must be exercised within three calendar months of their date of departure from the program.

SFU Field School Code of Conduct and Incident, Medical and Behavioural Report Forms

SFU Field School Code of Conduct

SFU Field School Code of Conduct Sample (login required)

Your Field School Coordinator has sent you a sample version of the Field School Student Code of Conduct to adapt to your International Field School. All participants should have signed this prior to departure or at the beginning of the program.

Report Forms

In the event of an incident, medical issue, or behavioural issue please complete the appropriate below form and return to ISS within 48 hours. All three of these report forms can be found on the International Field School Reporting webpage (login required).

Incidents: SFU Field School Incident Report Form

In the event an incident takes place, complete the SFU Field School Incident Report Form (and return to ISS within 48 hours).

Medical Issues: SFU Field School Medical Report Form

In the event of a medical incident, complete the SFU Medical Report Form (and return to ISS within 48 hours). Please also remember to contact  International SOS immediately.

Behavioural Issues: SFU Field School Behaviour Contract

In the event any student's behaviour is unacceptable or in contravention of program rules, complete the SFU Field School Behaviour Contract (and return to ISS with 48 hours).

Problem Solving in the Field

When working to solve problems in the field, it is helpful to refer to the Field School Code of Conduct that all participants have signed, referencing how the individual’s behavior is impacting the group. See the Problem Solving in the Field resource for tips on resolving situations that may arise during an International Field School.

In-Field Support for Students

  • While you are expected to be available to students as described above, there are also resources that students can access while in the field.
  • International SOS (ISOS) provides emotional support services which can be accessed by calling +1-215-942-8478 and providing them SFU's membership number: 27acas593560.
  • My Student Support Program (My SSP) is a free service available to all SFU students. Students will continue to have access to this service while abroad, but we encourage the use of ISOS. With My SSP, all graduate and undergraduate students will have access to immediate or ongoing, confidential support - accessible from anywhere in the world by phone or through the downloadable app. Worldwide, immediate options are available 24/7 in English, French, Korean, Chinese, Arabic and Spanish. More information on accessing support through My SSP can be found here.

Student Withdrawals

  • If a student wants to withdraw from the program while in the field, notify ISS immediately. Once in the field, refunds will not normally be provided unless the student withdraws with just cause and ISS is able to receive refunds from organizations providing services for the program and other service providers. Details of this are outlined in the Student Acknowledgment and Program Fee Refund Policy.

  • Please refer the student to ISS, as all negotiations for and decisions on refunds must take place with ISS. 

Mid-Field Evaluations

  • The Field School Program Assistant will send mid-field evaluations to students half way through the program. These are about the logistics, safety and overall program delivery to date. The results are intended to inform your delivery of the rest of the program. These surveys are intended to be anonymous, so the Field School Coordinator will email you a summary of the students’ comments. These evaluations do not cover the academic component of the program.

  • Please acknowledge receipt of the summary of the surveys by emailing your Field School Coordinator.
  • Please remind participants to complete these evaluations.


  •     Contact ISS within 48 hours of arrival and upon completion of the program
  •     Organize and facilitate academic component, activities and field trips within the program
  • √    Enforce SFU Field School Code of Conduct and Field School Student Acknowledgment
  •     Administer adherence to SFU policies
  •     Encourage students to complete mid-field evaluations