VCU Actively Striving to Broaden its Impact in Bolstering International Education

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With the upcoming Study Abroad Day on February 26, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) is highlighting the importance of providing diverse opportunities and reaching diverse audiences in global education. From international programs to on-campus initiatives, VCU is committed to enhancing access to transformative experiential learning.

Stephanie Tignor, Director of Global Learning at the Global Education Office, emphasized VCU’s commitment to diversity, noting the university’s diverse student body and its efforts to support under represented students in education abroad.

VCU offers the Black + Abroad program, co-sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, which focuses on providing first hand perspectives on overseas study. This year’s event, scheduled for February 27, includes a panel discussion exploring the complexities of global citizenship and international travel for Black students. Additionally, VCU provides $500 vouchers to encourage participation in study abroad opportunities.

Stephanie Tignor emphasized the importance of representation in encouraging Black students to pursue study abroad experiences. The program includes discussions where Black international students share their experiences studying in the U.S., recognizing that these experiences may vary based on cultural backgrounds.

“The global learning department is actively working to facilitate connections between VCU domestic students and VCU international students for mutual enrichment,” she explained, highlighting these connections as integral to campus-based global education.

Another instance is evident in the Gladding Residence Center, where the Global Village, a program sponsored by the Global Education Office, serves as a platform for cultural exchange and community building. Throughout the semester, events such as lectures and workshops feature international students, such as a sushi-making night on Feb. 19 at West Grace North, which included visiting students from Shimane University in Japan.

“These types of campus-based learning opportunities bring students together to expand their perspectives and cultivate community,” Tignor remarked. “The interpersonal interactions offer a chance to explore different cultures and foster mutual understanding. This may spark students’ curiosity and encourage further cross-cultural engagement, such as participating in study abroad programs, which provide opportunities for students to learn about themselves, other cultures, and global issues, positioning them to contribute as part of the global solution.”

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