The Post-Hurricane Maria Pre-Departure Course

What is a pre-departure for study abroad course?  How can it best be administered?  What are the specific changes and modifications that need to be considered after and during a natural disaster coupled with a humanitarian disaster?  This presentation will explore how one pre-departure course attempts to prepare students for the realities of a study abroad program in San Juan, Puerto Rico, after the destruction and politicization of Hurricane Maria.  Topics addressed in this presentation will include purpose, the situation of key terminology within the context of Puerto Rico and disaster, logistics, and daily realities outside of the normal “working” conditions.  Suggestions for the integration of a pre-departure course will be made that target faculty workload and the intersection of academics, study abroad, scholarship, global citizenship promotion, and language acquisition.  Finally, a full model syllabus will be presented that reflects the aforementioned targeted areas.


  • Intercultural Studies