The academic programs of the schools of arts and sciences, business, and leadership studies provide opportunities for the study of international subjects within academic fields long associated with such issues as political science, anthropology, and languages and literatures. Importantly, in response to changes in the world and in higher education, the University has committed itself to the internationalization of the curriculum as a whole. There is a large and growing number of courses in all departments that include international components. Interdisciplinary majors such as environmental studies, German studies, American studies, and international studies also examine international and global issues and regional politics that may cross national borders. Students interested in international issues can combine a major in a traditional academic discipline with an interdisciplinary program, for example, international studies and biology. The curricula of the Jepson School of Leadership Studies and the Robins School of Business also offer a significant number of courses that are international in scope and focus, including the concentration in international business in the Robins School of Business.
The University of Richmond places strong emphasis on the integration of international education into the academic and co curricular experience of all students. To that end, the Office of International Education (OIE) organizes activities and events such as lectures, concerts, discussion groups, study abroad fair, and an annual international film series. The OIE also organizes a biannual faculty seminar abroad program designed to enhance the international experience and expertise of its faculty to further internationalize the curriculum. An International Resource Center with travel, work, and volunteer information is located in the OIE.
The University of Richmond provides a wide range of on-campus activities and events in support of international education. Courses, lectures, and seminars are offered by resident and visiting international scholars, writers, and artists. Exhibits, concerts, and the annual International Film Series bring to campus arts from around the world. Students are able to participate in a variety of international organizations such as the Asian Students Association, Multicultural Student Union, International Club, Model United Nations, Phi Beta Delta, Amnesty International, and Americans for Informed Democracy. Familiarization with other countries and cultures is enhanced on campus through contacts with a significant and growing number of international students, including exchange students from Richmond's partner institutions who are fully integrated into the life of the University.
The University of Richmond has relationships with over 70 distinguished universities and study abroad programs around the world. These study abroad opportunities enhance Richmond's curriculum by offering students a wide variety of courses and experiences. Students who meet the stated eligibility criteria as stated on the UR study abroad Web page can be considered for study abroad for a semester, year, or summer. With faculty approval, students may earn major, minor, and elective credits toward graduation. Each year a few short faculty led programs abroad related to specific courses are offered during semester break periods.
At the University of Richmond, we believe that study abroad is most effective when students are integrated into the local educational system and culture. Therefore, most Richmond semester programs involve direct enrollment in universities abroad (international.richmond.edu/contact/partners.html) with on-site support provided by the host university's international office. Professional staff offer guidance, advising, and support throughout the entire study abroad process. The office organizes extensive orientation programs to help prepare students prior to departure. Upon return from study abroad, the OIE organizes a re-entry event to help reintegrate students into the University community and to identify opportunities for continuing international education on campus and in the community.
Direct experience of cultures is the best way to learn to communicate across barriers of language, customs, politics, and geography. An encounter with different values and educational systems, when supported by good will and serious study, broadens students' understanding of the complexities of our rapidly changing world. Students who study abroad find their experiences both in and out of the classroom to be stimulating and rewarding. They return with a better understanding not only of other cultures, but also of their own.
While study abroad has long been recognized as a significant component of a liberal arts education, today students majoring in the sciences, leadership studies, or business are actively participating in study abroad in growing numbers. Study abroad is possible and encouraged for all students, regardless of their major and financial situation. Students who meet required procedures and standards may transfer up to 5.5 units per semester from study abroad and graduate with their class in four years. It is a common misconception that proficiency in a foreign language is necessary for study abroad. It is, in fact, quite feasible to study in English in non-English-speaking countries where English is widely used and courses in English are offered. It is also possible to combine intensive study of a foreign language with other courses taught in English.
Early planning (international.richmond.edu/semester/apply/index.html) is crucial to any successful study abroad experience. The selection of an appropriate program must take into account the student's academic background and personal interests. Students are encouraged to begin exploring the opportunities for foreign study as early as the first year and to plan their University of Richmond courses accordingly. When deciding when and for how long to study abroad, a variety of options can be considered. Richmond students have opportunities to study abroad for a year, a semester, or a summer, in the second, third, or even the fourth year. Combining summer study after the first year with semester or year study abroad during the third year is among the best choices.
There are a number of study abroad options. During the academic year there are opportunities to study through the University's exchange and affiliate programs worldwide (international.richmond.edu/about/partners.html). During the summer, the University of Richmond School of Professional and Continuing Studies (spcs.richmond.edu/summer/study-abroad/) sponsors a number of summer study abroad programs directed by Richmond faculty. Internships are available in Australia, England, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, and South Africa. The University invests considerable resources to create study abroad programs consistent with the standards and educational objectives of this university and the needs of its students. Richmond students will be expected to enroll in Richmond programs, unless there is a compelling reason why a Richmond program does not meet a student's academic needs. Decisions regarding petitions for non-Richmond semesters abroad are made by a subcommittee of the International Education Committee, in collaboration with the OIE and the departments from which the student is seeking academic credit. See OIE web page for information on deadlines by which such petitions must be submitted. Transfer credits for semester study abroad will be awarded only for preapproved programs.
After an appropriate study abroad program has been selected, each student should meet the established admission criteria as listed on the OIE study abroad Web page. Students are expected to meet deadlines and follow procedures as stated on the study abroad web site. Students are required to indicate a second choice in the study abroad application in case placement in the first choice is not possible due to eligibility concerns or if the program is full.
Maintenance of status as a current student can be assured only if the program is approved and the student maintains a full-time course load abroad. Credit transfer for study abroad can be assured only if the program and courses have been approved and an equivalent grade of C or better is earned. Credit for repeat courses or in disciplines not taught at Richmond will not be granted. Please see the Academic Procedures section (undergraduatecatalog.richmond.edu/academic/index.html) for additional administrative information.
For specific information on financial aid (financialaid.richmond.edu/undergrad/study-abroad/index.html) for study abroad, consult the Office of Financial Aid. Almost all financial aid is transferable to University of Richmond academic semester and year programs. See studyabroad.richmond.edu/for more information.