Recommend that your students attend a First Advising Session (FAS). These basic “study abroad 101” sessions are offered Monday through Friday at 12:30 p.m. in the Global Education Office, 912 W. Grace St., and run 30 minutes to an hour. (Note: Seating is limited and offered on a first come, first served basis so please advise your students to arrive early!)
Discuss program options with students and help students address initial questions, such as when to go abroad, how long to stay abroad (summer, semester, academic year, etc.), and overall program choice, keeping in mind the academic needs of the student.
Discuss possible course equivalencies with the student and complete thecourse approval form. The student should bring a list of possible courses that he or she wants to take abroad along with their course descriptions and/or syllabi. With the course descriptions, you should be able to assign a VCU equivalent. If a student wants to fulfill credits for his or her minor or second major, he or she should visit an advisor in the department in which the minor or major is located. Keep in mind that all foreign language courses must be approved by the School of World Studies.
Make sure students complete the necessary paperwork to register their program with the Education Abroad office. Please remind your students to visit the Education Abroad office and submit the proper application and complete required procedures.
Offer advice on study abroad scholarships that your department sponsors. If you know of any scholarships that your department sponsors, please advise your students accordingly. In the meantime, encourage them to visit the funding options section on our website.
Communicate with your students while they are abroad. Students often arrive at their destination and find out that one or more of their pre-approved classes will not be offered; therefore, it is helpful to approve more classes than the students will actually take and it is important that you communicate with them to provide guidance as to which courses they should take while abroad.
Remind your students to have official transcripts sent to the Education Abroad office once they have finished studying abroad. The transcript must be sent directly to the Education Abroad office (not to Records and Registration or the Transfer Center) so that students are able to receive credit for their study abroad courses.
Recommend that students secure additional official transcripts for their records while abroad. When students apply to graduate or professional schools, they are often required to provide originals of these transcripts, so students should request multiple copies of their study abroad transcripts while abroad since it is often difficult to obtain foreign transcripts in the US.
Stress the importance of retaining all course materials (such as syllabi) for later use should there be a question of how the course will transfer back to VCU. In addition, students may decide to take other courses once they arrive in their host country. When the student returns to VCU, you will need the course syllabus to assign the appropriate VCU equivalent.
Encourage students to attend the VCU Education Abroad pre-departure orientation. All accepted students must attend a pre-departure orientation that will familiarize them with ways to travel safely. Topics covered include financial aid, money, support services, academics, health and safety, communication, and more. These are invaluable sessions that give students insight to living and studying overseas.