Travel Handbook

For many programs, the cost of travel between Bloomington and the destination is included in the program fee, and you're expected to make the entire trip with your group. Most Media School trips depart from the Indianapolis International Airport, and they occassionally depart from Chicago.

If your program requires you to make your own travel arrangements, you'll receive detailed information on schedules, deadlines, logistics and meeting the group.

Be prepared to comply with multiple document checks, baggage searches and inquiries. Be patient — these steps are being taken for your protection.

See our packing guidelines for advice on minimizing luggage-related problems at the airport.


While faculty-led programs typically travel to and from Bloomington as a group, some programs may allow you to make your own travel arrangements to or from the Indianapolis airport if you choose. This is called a deviation.

Deviations must be requested at least 10 days in advance of your departure. The student services program coordinator will send you a link to the request form before your trip.

The Media School selects housing according to many factors, and its goal is to provide you with comfortable accommodations that are conveniently located to your faculty-planned activities.

You will share a room with another student of the same gender, and you will each have your own bed. In most cases, room assignments are made randomly or by the trip leader. If your program allows you to request a roommate, The Media School's student services program coordinator will let you know how and when to do so. If you have a concern about your rooming situation, please speak with your trip leader and/or the student services program coordinator as early as possible.

We cannot accommodate all preferences. We encourage you to be open and adaptable to housing situations that are unusual by American standards.

Whenever possible, breakfast will be included in your trip fee and provided at your hotel.

If you cause damage to your room for which The Media School is charged, that fee will be passed along to you and charged directly to your bursar account. Remember that you are not the only guests at your place of lodging, that your actions reflect upon The Media School and IU, and that we reserve the right to impose disciplinary sanctions if your behavior is deemed inappropriate, disruptive or threatening to the health or safety of program participants or others.

Overnight guests are never allowed during Media School trips. Hosting overnight guests is a violation of Media School policy and can result in your dismissal from the program, which requires your immediate return to Bloomington at your own expense. Visiting family and friends may not stay with you.

You are strictly prohibited from sharing your hotel location with anyone you meet during your trip who is not in your group.

The itinerary for your trip has been carefully curated to provide you with a unique and instructive experience. For this reason, you are expected to participate in all of the activities on your trip itinerary. These will vary from trip to trip. If any component of the field experience poses a physical challenge to you, please let your trip leader and/or The Media School's student services program coordinator know as soon as possible so we can provide alternatives and/or accommodations.

Most or all activities will be included in the trip fee. There will be some time for free exploration, but this will vary by trip. Please be aware that all excursions are subject to change as situations arise that are beyond our control. You are prohibited from bringing guests on Media School-sponsored excursions, unless given express permission by your trip leader.

Always be on time for group activities. Your days are usually tightly packed, and one delay can cascade to cause problems throughout the rest of the day or beyond. Do not be the reason your group gets slowed down, and don’t get left behind.

All students who travel on Media School-sponsored trips are required to blog for The Media School's travel site, Field Notes. Your posts show current and prospective students what the experience will be like if they choose to enroll in a field experience course.

A member of The Media School communications team will visit your class before departure to describe your responsibilities in more detail and explain how and when to submit your blog assignments.

We recommend you view your trip as an opportunity to unplug from your usual connections. Try not to worry so much about staying in touch with friends and family at home that you fail to be fully present during your travel experience.

Unless you have an international plan on your cell phone, you will not be able to make phone calls or connect to the internet without a Wi-Fi connection. Your hotel will usually have free Wi-Fi.

Many foreign countries use public transportation as part of their daily commute. We advise picking up a map — usually available at metro and bus stations — at the beginning of your trip and keeping it in your bag.

Marking the location of your hotel or apartment can help you find home if you are lost, as can writing down your hotel address and keeping it with you in your wallet or backpack.

Some public transportation systems use refillable cards, while others are cash-based. Your trip leader will provide information to you about your options for public transportation, and whether the program is providing you with the necessary cards or tickets.

Your destination will likely use a different currency than the one you are used to in the U.S. You should be familiar with the current exchange rate, and it helps if you can do math in your head. Most foreign countries include the local taxes in the published price, and tipping is an unknown concept in many countries. Research your destination country to find out what is appropriate for your trip.

The amount of cash you will need for your trip depends on several factors: the exchange rate and cost of the country you are visiting, the length of your program, whether your program is providing most or only some meals, and how many souvenirs you want to buy. Researching the city or country of travel will help you budget. Before you travel, we'll provide you with an estimated range of how much you might spend based on the overall trip budget, the cost of living in that particular country and data provided by past student travelers.

Always call your bank or credit card company before you leave to provide an itinerary. This will alert the company that your withdrawals or transactions are not suspicious, and can keep the company from unnecessarily (and inconveniently) shutting off your card while you are abroad.

You can purchase foreign currency before beginning your trip at many banks in the U.S. You can also take cash out at an ATM in the country. If you do not purchase foreign currency in the U.S., you should stop at an ATM upon arrival so that you have local cash for transportation, a bottle of water or other essential purchases.

Contact your credit card provider or bank to see if you can withdraw money from a foreign ATM. Sometimes this comes with a fee.

In case of an emergency, it is wise to have more than one way to access funds.


Contact Eliza Erxleben, director of student services.