• With more than 50 years of experience creating immersive study abroad programming, BCA Study Abroad uses this knowledge to help you plan high-quality programming that is customized for your students.
  • BCA works with you to organize a customized program that takes full advantage of our local expertise at one of our more than fifteen program locations in more than a dozen countries throughout the world.
  • Faithful to BCA’s mission, we work with you to facilitate opportunities for growth in intercultural understanding and global awareness on even the shortest customized programs.
  • We tailor each program to fit your needs and can provide as little or as much support as you need in areas ranging from accommodation, transportation, meals and other logistics to providing local expertise as you plan the curriculum for the program, identifying guest lecturers and arranging site visits.
  • You can rely on BCA to provide health and safety guidance, including information on English-speaking doctors and health facilities, for students and faculty leaders. In addition, our programs include health insurance and an emergency plan to cover serious health issues, natural disasters, war and civil strife.
  • On-site support was spectacular. BCA is very supportive of the students and faculty and dealt with minor issues quickly and efficiently.

    Lori Stiritz Senior Lecturer and Audiologist, Texas State University


There are various program models for custom programs and BCA Study Abroad will work with you to plan and implement an enriching and safe program for your students based on the model that suits your needs. Some popular program models include:

  • Credit-bearing program taking place over several weeks or months
  • Short-program that is embedded into a course that is taught primarily on your home campus
  • Service-learning courses
  • Non-credit bearing experiential program focused on student engagement and growth
  • Programming for student athletes and teams

BCA will help to facilitate any of these program models and can help plan programs during any time of year including during January-term, spring break, summer or even longer customized experiences. For sample itineraries, contact us at CustomPrograms@BCAStudyAbroad.org


The custom programs team is made up of a dedicated group of staff that are here to help you plan and implement all aspects of your custom program. Contact us today to start the planning and proposal process!


Seth Weil

Assistant Director of Campus Relations & Custom Programs


Ian Sutton

Custom Program Regional Manager
UK, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand


Kris Riggs

Custom Program Regional Manager
Spain, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium


BCA Study Abroad is pleased to have the opportunity to help your institution design and implement a customized short-term study abroad program. With study abroad sites and personnel throughout the world, we can offer a variety of services to develop an academically challenging, safe and unique experience for your students.

We are able to provide the following services to all faculty and program participants based on your needs:

  • Pre-departure information
  • Airport transportation to and from the program site
  • On-site group leader
  • On-site orientation
  • Accommodations
  • Meals
  • Excursions and activities
  • Lectures by local or visiting faculty
  • Comprehensive academic program design and services
  • BCA health, safety and emergency management procedures
  • Emergency evacuation and travel assistance service
  • Marketing and recruitment support
  • Application review


BCA Study Abroad recommends that you begin planning early for your custom program. Typically, we like to begin working with faculty and their study abroad office at least one year in advance of the program. This allows us the time to work through all the program details together and for BCA to have ample time to identify unique, local elements for your program such as guest lecturers in topics related to your course, visits to organizations or businesses, etc. However, we may still be able to help with programs that are happening in less than a year, so please do contact us to see if we can help.

The steps outlined in the tabs below provide some basic guidance on how the program planning process works.

Contact BCA About Your Custom Program

Approximately one-year (or longer) before you are hoping to run your custom program, contact us either by email to customprograms@bcastudyabroad.org or by completing our custom program form on the website. In many cases this will happen after you have had an initial conversation with the Study Abroad Office at your institution and have an understanding of the customized program, or faculty-led, program process there. In your correspondence to BCA, provide some basic information about your program such as:

  • Program Location
  • Program Dates
  • Program Discipline/Topic
  • Your Contact Information

BCA Review and Further Discussion

BCA will review your initial request and respond quickly. In our initial review, we will consider if we are able to help facilitate your request based on the program location, availability of on-site staff, and other bookings. For programs that we are able to support, we will be in touch to request more information and set up a time to speak with you. By having a phone call discussion with you early in the planning process, we are able to better understand your needs and gather the information that we need to submit a detailed proposal for your program.

In the event that we do not feel that we are able to offer our services for the program, either due to issues of availability or concerns over providing high-quality resources that meet our standards, we will communicate that information quickly in order to give you an opportunity to explore other options.

Signed Contract

Once the proposal has been fully negotiated, it should be forwarded to the appropriate person from your institution for signature. Each institution has their own procedures regarding this step. We encourage you to be in touch with your Study Abroad Office to determine the policies and procedures early in your planning.

Pre-Departure Support

BCA holds a pre-departure webinar session with the faculty leader(s) and a member of your Study Abroad Office staff (if possible). During this session we discuss general health and safety topics, the final program itinerary, and answer any questions that you may have. In most cases, this session will include members of the BCA Central Office staff and the BCA resident director or representative that will be the on-site contact for the group.

We are also able to participate in, or host, a pre-departure orientation webinar for student participants. This allows us to review important health and safety information with students prior to departure, as well as to answer some common questions about climate, culture, travel tips, and packing advice. A pre-departure guide, specific to the study abroad location and program, is also created for each program and sent to the faculty leader (s). These can be distributed to students as a helpful pre-departure resource.

On-Site Orientation & Support

Each BCA program will begin with an on-site orientation focused on local culture, health and safety, and practical suggestions about things such as money, communication with home, etc. These orientations are led by the BCA resident director or a BCA representative who will then be available to the group for the duration of the program. The level of on-site support varies per program and is negotiated during the proposal phase. In some cases, a BCA representative will travel with your group for the duration of the program and will be present for most, if not all, group activities. In other programs, the BCA representative will meet the group upon arrival, lead the orientation session, and then remain available to contact 24/7 in case of emergencies.

Post-Program Follow-Up

In an effort to improve upon our services, BCA will ask faculty leaders to complete a post-program evaluation. This evaluation will be brief and will help us to work with you, and other groups, in the future.


Program cost varies widely based on factors such as the program location, length, number of students and faculty, amount of travel, and program inclusions. As part of the initial discussion with you regarding the program, we will discuss any budgetary concerns or constraints that you have. BCA’s goal with every program is to provide high-quality programs at a price that is reasonable for students. While we go to great lengths to keep the program cost fair, we are careful not to sacrifice quality of our standards.

When you receive your program proposal from BCA, it will indicate the per student fee that will be charged and the items that are and are not included in that fee.

Accommodation and Meals

The types of housing available for students and faculty vary widely based on the program location, but in all cases it makes up a substantial part of the program fee. Housing options may include homestays, hotels, hostels, students residences and apartments.

Some programs will also include meals, which will add expense to the program fee, but may ultimately make it easier, and less expensive, for students. By including meals in the program fee, students do not need to budget for those separately.


Each program will have a different amount of in-country transportation based on the itinerary. For those with more travel, the transportation costs can become a significant expense. Typically, BCA does not include international flights in the program fee, but this could be arranged if need be.

Excursions & Entry Fees

Some programs include excursions and/or cultural visits as part of the student experience. These fees will be factored into the per student fee.

Faculty Expenses

The expenses for the faculty member, or members, accommodation, transportation, entry fees, etc. are included in the per student fee.

Health Insurance and Emergency Evacuation Services

Although this makes up a small part of the overall budget, it is a critical piece of a quality program. BCA requires students and faculty to have international health insurance for the duration of the program.

BCA Administrative Cost

This includes costs related to customized service support and program planning,  pre-departure support and guidance, the on-site BCA representative, etc.


BCA will invoice the institution for the total cost of the program according to the terms laid out in each contract. It will be the responsibility of the institution to bill and collect the program fee from each student.

Items Not Typically Included in the Program Fee

  • International flights
  • Compensation for faculty (salary, stipend, etc.)
  • Home school tuition/transcripts
  • Passport or Visa fees
  • Immunizations
  • Personal expenses for students or faculty


Below are frequently asked questions about customized programs. Please contact our Associate Director of Short-Term Programs & Outreach, Kate Gerdes, at kgerdes@BCAStudyAbroad.org if you need additional information.

BCA Study Abroad is able to support programs at any of our program locations abroad. We may also be able to support traveling, or multi-site programs, in countries where we have semester or summer programming. We are regularly adding new programs, so check out our programs page for an up-to-date list of our current offerings.

While having a knowledge of the language of the host country is always helpful, it certainly is not required. The BCA on-site representative is available to help orient you and your group and in some cases will be traveling with you to visits and excursions. In all cases, they are available 24 hours a day in case of an emergency and can help navigate any language issues that may come up during that time.

In most cases the answer is no. However, without these language skills certain programmatic elements, such as site visits, service learning and even certain lectures, may not be possible.

If you are interested in leading a customized program, you can review our Steps for Planning a Program for some basic guidance. You should also be in touch with your Study Abroad Office to learn about internal policies and procedures for custom programs.

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