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We are a GoAbroad.com 2017 Finalist for the Innovation in Marketing & Digital Media Award!

We are very excited to announce that this course was selected as a finalist for the GoAbroad.com Innovation Awards in Marketing & Digital Media.  Hooray!  Check out the full list of finalists here (we’re in good company).

About The Course

In fall 2016, VCU launched its first ever freshmen success module targeted at first-year students who express an interest in studying abroad.  The course was designed to help sustain student interest in study abroad at its peak: in the first year.  Taught by Education Abroad professionals, the semester-long 1-credit course successfully enrolled over 40 first-year students in the pilot semester, is currently being taught in spring 2017, and will be offered again in fall 2017.

Although successful pre-departure courses are offered at other institutions to prepare students for an upcoming study abroad experience, those courses are typically taught to students who are already registered for an education abroad experience.  In contrast, VCU’s freshmen module introduced in fall 2016, UNIV 291-Maximizing Your Study Abroad, is a 1-credit topics substitution for the university’s UNIV 101-Introduction to the University courses which aim to introduce new students to the expectations of a university education.  UNIV 291-Maximizing Your Study Abroad is designed to expose first-year students to the concept of study abroad and to walk them through the logistics involved in study abroad program selection, application, and preparation.  The course introduces students to global education experiences available at VCU including the global education living-learning program, VCU Globe, as well as opportunities to engage with the university’s rich international student population.

The course prepares students for cross-cultural engagement and includes an assessment of intercultural development using the IDI.  Students learn how to successfully navigate the logistics of study abroad including program and funding opportunities. Students gain skills to prepare them to live and study in a country and culture other than their own. Students who successfully complete the course receive $500 towards the cost of a study abroad experience.

About The Blog

Students are required to write weekly blog entries as a part of the course.  After reading the assigned weekly texts which include videos, articles, and online resources, students are prompted to reflect on what they read.  The weekly exercise is an opportunity for students to flex their ever important writing muscles which prepares them for the writing they will continue to do throughout their academic and professional careers.