The course will:
- encourage students to reach an international performing level more quickly by having high visibility performance goals;
- expose students to a diverse population of learners with whom they must communicate, many of them in another language;
- provide opportunities for interaction with students and faculty from elementary, secondary, and university programs in Colombia;
- introduce students to the cultures, challenges, needs, and vibrancy of a foreign country through experiences in Colombia
Students will be selected by the program director after an interview. Program is intended for rising sophomores and junior music majors who have had performance experience in established chamber music ensembles at VCU. Participant selection is at the discretion of the program director who may select students on the basis of applicable instrumentation.
An academic letter of reference is not required. This program is only open to VCU students.
Accommodations in Colombia
Housing will be provided in host-family homes. The host foundation, Foundacion Tocando Puertas, will assist in securing appropriate housing for students for the duration of their stay. The host foundation will arrange transportation and excursions where necessary, specifically when all participants need to travel together, and an inexpensive cab service is available throughout the city of Cartagena for other individual or small group travel.
The program will be led by Dr. Ross Walter, associate professor of trombone, euphonium and tuba. Dr. Walter came to VCU from Baton Rouge, La., where he served as trombonist with the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra. He received Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees from Louisiana State University and a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Idaho. At LSU, he was honored by the School of Music faculty with the Most Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award.
Walter maintains a large studio of trombone, euphonium, and tuba majors at VCU. He lectures a graduate seminar in music technology and teaches undergraduate courses in brass methods, computers in music and brass pedagogy. He also coordinates and coaches the extensive brass chamber music program. Walter is an active freelance teacher and performer in the Richmond area. He presently performs with the Palmetto Posaunen, a professional trombone choir in South Carolina and a professional trombone quartet in Richmond, VA.
Walter regularly arranges performances, master classes, and clinics in elementary, middle and high schools and provides clinics and performances at regional, national and international conferences. Recent clinics and performances include the American Trombone Workshop (2016), the International Trombone Association Conference (2013), the International Tuba and Euphonium Conference in Linz, Austria (2012) and Budapest, Hungary (2004), the Midwest Clinic (2003 and 2004), the Southern Division Music Educators Conference (January 2003 and 2005), the MENC National Conference in Nashville (April 2002) and the Washington, D.C. Army Band Tuba-Euphonium Conference (January 2002).This will be Dr. Walter’s seventh time leading a group to Cartagena, Colombia.
A valid passport is required to leave the US. If a student does not already have a passport, they are advised to begin the application process as soon as they are accepted into the program. The processing time for new passport applicants can be as long as 8 weeks. For students who already have passports, they will need to verify that the passport’s validity dates extend 6 months past their return date. For more information about passports and the application/renewal process, please consult the State Department's website
Payment of fees
In order to complete the application, students are required to submit a $250 registration fee and deposit. This $250 registration fee and deposit is refundable in two cases: if the program is cancelled, or if a student is rejected by the faculty member based on their qualifications to participate in the program. Reasons for rejection could include, but are not limited to, GPA, lack of a pre-requisite, unacceptable or inappropriate statement of interest, etc. and are at the discretion of the faculty program director. However, if a student pays the fee and is not given final acceptance to the program based on failing to complete application requirements, as determined by the Education Abroad office or faculty director, the $250 is non-refundable.
Students will receive two separate charges to their student accounts for this program: one charge will reflect the balance of the program fee (minus the $250 deposit and application fee) and the other charge is for VCU tuition costs (based on the number and type of credits being taken by the student). These bills will be charged through VCU Student Accounting and should appear by May 2017.
Please note: While these charges may post to the student’s account simultaneously or separately, it is the student’s responsibility to make sure the account balance is paid before the billing due date.
Withdrawal procedures and financial commitment policy
All withdrawals must be made formally in writing and submitted to the Director of Education Abroad. Otherwise, the program fee will not be refunded. After committing to the program, students deciding to withdraw will be held accountable for a portion of or the entire program fee based on the following schedule:
- Formal withdrawal submitted later than 30 days before the first day of the program abroad: 100% of the program fee will be charged
- Formal withdrawal submitted within 30-60 days before the first day of the program abroad: 75% of the program fee will be charged
- Formal withdrawal submitted within 60-90 days before the first day of the program abroad: 50% of the program fee will be charged
In the event an unexpected emergency occurs within 30 days before the first day of the program abroad, students must provide a physician’s certification that his/her condition prohibits participation. In this case, refunds will be limited to only those funds VCU is able to recover or that have not already been spent on behalf of the student.
See above for refund policy on $250 registration fee and deposit.
Students should schedule an appointment with their physician or at a travel clinic (such as VCU Student Health) at least 4 to 8 weeks before the program to inquire about recommended and/or required vaccines/immunizations. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all routine and travel immunizations are up-to-date.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on recommended and required immunizations for travelers. To view the health risks and requirements for the country to which you will be traveling, please visit the CDC's website
Health Alert: Zika Virus
The CDC has issued a travel alert for countries where the Zika virus is prevalent. Check the CDC’s travel notices
regularly as new countries are being added to this list. Check VCU Student Health
to stay updated as well.
VCU Student Health offers in-depth pre-travel consultation with a health care provider as well as most of the vaccines recommended for safe travel. Prescriptions for recommended medicines are also available. Please visit their website
for full details.
Every effort is made to provide updated and accurate information at the time of publication. The sponsors reserve the right to make necessary changes to the programs and costs. The university reserves the right to revise or alter all fees, regulations pertaining to student fees, and fee collection procedures at any time.