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Contact the Education Abroad team

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The Education Abroad team supports the university’s internationalization and experiential learning efforts through promoting and facilitating study abroad, international exchange, and other global learning programs and opportunities for all students with a commitment to safety, accessibility, and sustainability.

“Education abroad” programs include credit bearing and non-credit bearing global learning programs and experiences such as study abroad, study away, international exchange, internships abroad, service-learning abroad, research abroad, virtual global learning, and more. VCU Education Abroad supports domestic, international, in-person, virtual, credit-bearing, and non-credit bearing global learning experiences.

The Education Abroad team:
  • Collaborates with academic units including faculty, advisors, and administrators to identify and/or develop affordable, academically appropriate global learning opportunities for all students;
  • Increases awareness of study abroad and global learning opportunities with the ultimate goal of increasing the number and diversity of participants;
  • Facilitates VCU faculty-led programs and programs offered through international partner institutions and organizations including short-term and semester- or year-long global learning experiences;
  • Advocates for student financial access to global learning experiences by offering affordable programs and collaborating with campus and external partners for students to identify and receive funding support such as scholarships, grants, fellowships and financial aid;
  • Informs, advises and supports students and their families before, during, and after participation in study abroad and global learning experiences;
  • Supports student academic, professional, and personal growth and development including intercultural development through intentional co-curricular programming and alignment with VCU REAL;
  • Prepares students and faculty for a safe, healthy, and successful experience abroad through pre-departure orientation/training and resource development/distribution;
  • Strives to provide equitable opportunities to all VCU students to engage globally and to increase access to global learning opportunities for all students including students from diverse and underrepresented populations;
  • Manages global learning participant application processes and databases to provide a central clearinghouse of VCU students’ global engagement for reporting and emergency purposes;
  • Continually endeavors to provide our students with quality programs and experiences with articulated global learning outcomes and assessment mechanisms that help us better understand the impact on students’ knowledge, skills and dispositions for continuous targeted support.


The Education Abroad team vision is for every student to have a safe, affordable, high quality, global learning experience as a part of their academic degree program at VCU to cultivate successful, responsible, empathetic, and globally-aware graduates. The Education Abroad team strives to provide excellent services to students, faculty, staff, and external partners and to position study abroad and global learning as high impact practices that foster student success. Over the next five years (2021-2026), the Education Abroad team will contribute to GEO’s strategic goals including to provide greater access to global learning opportunities for students by increasing collaboration with academic units and external partners and to leverage data, area expertise, and assessment tools to foster and promote student success.

Specifically, we plan to:
  • Foster additional learning opportunities and increase student access to resources throughout their education and training.
  • Create models for how to engage with GEO and imbed global learning and engagement in the culture of VCU.
  • Develop global learning outcomes and assessment mechanisms in alignment with REAL to serve as a universal thread throughout all global learning opportunities.

Operational Standards

The Education Abroad team is part of Global Learning in the Global Education Office' within VCU Academic Affairs and is guided by VCU ethical standards in the Code of Conduct, VCU’s core values of diversity, inclusion and equity, and by best practices and ethical standards set by international education professional associations including NAFSA’s Statement of Ethical Principles, and The Forum on Education Abroad’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Good Practice for Education Abroad. VCU was a proud recipient of IIE’s Seal of Excellence in 2019 in recognition of meeting our institutional commitment to the Generation Study Abroad initiative. We are proud members of Diversity Abroad and are committed to providing greater access to global learning experiences. 

Connect With Us

Make an advising appointment: Please review the advising areas for each staff member and to make an appointment,
use the unique scheduling links found within their bios below.

Location: Grace Street Center, 912 W. Grace St., 4th Floor, Richmond VA 23220
Mailing address: 912 W. Grace St., Box 843043, Richmond VA 23284-3043
Hours: Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Phone: 804-827-7882

Emergency: 804-828-1234
(VCU Police can be called collect from anywhere in the world and will redirect to an Education Abroad staff member if you are facing an emergency situation abroad)

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Stephanie Tignor, Director of Global Learning


I work in a hybrid capacity and am on VCU's campus on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Stephanie Tignor

Stephanie Tignor has worked in the Global Education Office for almost two decades in a variety of progressively responsible positions. As the director of Global Learning, Stephanie oversees the university's study abroad and exchange programs, the university's campus, virtual, and community-based global learning programs, and VCU's programming for international students. She is an alumna of VCU, at which she earned both her bachelor's and master's degrees. She first discovered her passion for international education as a music major while on a semester study abroad program in Edinburgh, Scotland. As a graduate student in English, she studied abroad in Peru and spent time volunteering in Ecuador as a teacher of English as a foreign language. She has personally led service and study abroad programs to Mexico, Malaysia, and France, as well as inbound programs for students from VCU's Chinese partner institutions. She has presented and published on various topics in international education, particularly on strategies for increasing access to global learning for all students, especially including those from historically underrepresented populations. Stephanie is a member of the GoAbroad Innovation Awards Academy.   


Sarah Carrier, Associate Director of Global Learning

Sarah Young

Schedule an advising appointment with Sarah!

I work in a hybrid capacity and am on VCU's campus on Mondays, Tuesdays & Fridays.

Sarah Carrier joined the Global Education Office in 2008 after graduating from Allegheny College with a degree in International Studies and Spanish. Sarah studied abroad with American University’s Washington Semester Program and has traveled through Western Europe, Asia, and Central and South America. She is also a graduate of the VCU School of Education’s Counselor Education program where she focused on the importance of cultural exchange and the career development of college students. Sarah joins the Education Abroad staff in assisting returnees with their career development and professional goals, as well as working with incoming exchange students.

Advising areas
  • VCU Partnerships & Exchanges:
    • Curtin University
    • Fudan University
    • University of the West of England
    • University of Surrey
    • University of Westminster
    • Bauhaus University
    • University of Guadalajara
    • University of Lima
    • VCUarts Qatar
    • Pusan National University
    • K Arts
    • Kyung Hee University
    • Chung Ang University
    • La Salle Ramon Llull
    • University of Cordoba
    • Rabdan Academy

Amy Leap, Assistant Director of Global Learning


Amy MillerSchedule an advising appointment with Amy! 

I work in a hybrid capacity and am on VCU's campus on Mondays, Tuesdays & Wednesdays.

Amy Leap joined the Global Education Office in 2019. She graduated from the University of Mary Washington with a B.A. in Geography and Spanish. Amy studied abroad in Bilbao, Spain and Buenos Aires, Argentina, interned and researched in the cloud forest of Guatemala and has traveled to many other countries in Latin America and Europe. She also graduated from SIT Graduate Institute with a M.A. in Intercultural Service, Leadership and Management. There she worked with SIT Study Abroad in Morocco offering student affairs support and researching intercultural competency development. Amy is here to advise students towards making their study abroad dreams a reality and to support existing and new program initiatives.

Advising areas:

Alex Heyden, Global Learning Specialist

Alex Levy

Schedule an advising appointment with Alexandra! 

Alexandra (Alex) Heyden (she/her) joined VCU’s Education Abroad team as a Global Learning Specialist in the summer of 2022. Born and raised in Wyckoff, New Jersey, she earned her BA in History from Washington College (WAC), a small, liberal arts college on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. During this time, she was introduced to international education through her own semester abroad in 2013, studying History and Classics at Royal Holloway University of London (RHUL). After graduating, Alex went on to work in a variety of roles at Washington College’s Global Education Office from 2015 to 2020, including Study Abroad Coordinator and the Assistant Director of GEO. She then spent the first two years of the pandemic working as an administrator in Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) at a STEM-focused public charter school in Southeast Nashville, TN. Working with a hugely diverse student population throughout the initial stages of Covid-19 was equally challenging and rewarding, however, she is thrilled to be returning to higher education and the international education sector! Since studying abroad in 2013, Alex has traveled or worked throughout the U.K., France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, and Portugal.

Advising Areas:

Julia Wells, Global Learning Specialist

Julia WellsEmail: 

Schedule an advising appointment with Julia!

Julia Wells joined the VCU Global Education Office in July 2022. She has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Latin American Studies from Indiana University and a master’s degree in International Education from George Washington University. Julia has studied abroad in Bolivia, Spain, and via Semester at Sea (a multi-country program emphasizing global comparative studies). She has worked in various higher education roles for more than 15 years, including admissions and international student and scholar services. Julia is thrilled to support VCU students and faculty plan and realize their rewarding global opportunities.

Advising Areas:

Peer Advising

Dixie D
Hi everyone, my name is Dixie Delcid and I am a senior at VCU. I am a fashion merchandising major. I studied at SRISA in Florence, Italy during Fall 2022. I never thought I was able to study abroad in college but I am so glad I was able to. It is by far, one of the best decisions I made and I’ve been able to learn so much from it. I was also able to travel around Europe and different areas in Italy. I received VCU’s airfare voucher so I can help find resources to make studying abroad affordable. If you want to schedule a peer advising appointment with Dixie, use this Calendly link. 

Chloe Johnson
Hello, my name is Chloe Johnson I am a senior at VCU. I am a photography major and a fashion merchandising minor. I studied abroad with SAI in Florence during my spring semester of 2023. I’ve always wanted to travel since I was little and VCU’s abroad program gave me the opportunity to do so. I got to travel throughout Italy and Europe. I went through an external program so if you have any questions about the SAI application process or other external programs schedule an appointment with me through my Calendly link here.