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REAL Update

[Editor's note: This month's takeover belongs to the VCU Global Education Office, with a look at International Education Week, which runs from Nov. 18-25.

If you or someone in your unit would like to takeover our newsletter and tell us what's going on in your world, please just fill out our online form!]


VCU Global Education Office, International Education Week

Jill Blondin, Ph.D.,  Executive Director,
Global Education Office


The Global Education Office (GEO) is devoted to supporting international initiatives for students, faculty, and staff at VCU, and is a vital partner for REAL. International Education Week, November 18-22, provides the chance for the campus community to think critically about how we can further incorporate global learning into the curriculum and co-curriculum.

There are many questions to be asked about global learning that contribute to internationalizing the curriculum: how does an instructor draw on the cross-cultural setting of a course to maximize learning?  How does the international component of a course shape and define the learning? How do we understand and incorporate diverse perspectives?

Studying abroad is an effective and obvious way for students to gain a global mindset, and the benefits are well documented: it is a high-impact way for students to develop flexibility, resilience, empathy, language proficiency, and intercultural agility. However, studying abroad is not the only path to developing these valuable skills. In fact, other international experiential learning opportunities, including internships, clinical shadowing, research, field work, as well as “glocal” service learning and volunteering, go beyond the curriculum to build intercultural agility and prepare students for the dynamic 21st-century work environment. 

When these experiential learning opportunities are designed intentionally and in concert with campus and community partners, such as the VCU Globe living-learning program, students benefit enormously and are equipped for the future.  Ultimately making it REAL in global learning means responding to the needs of students in an international context. 

What REAL means to students

Relevant, Experiential and Applied Learning give students opportunities to pursue their passions, domestically or abroad, in ways that help them grow as global citizens and set themselves apart in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Many students are successfully taking advantage of such opportunities. Like international student and painting and printmaking major, Nora Neagoe, who held a 17-piece art exhibition called Shadows of Red last spring. Through her art, Neagoe, a Romanian native who came to the U.S. just five years ago, hopes to help others gain a better understanding of her homeland.

Likewise, biology major, Paul Dumitrescu, hopes to inspire children on a glocal level. As part of his VCU Globe curriculum, he volunteers at Falling Creek Middle School teaching students about the principles of science, exposing them to science-based college work and inspiring them to consider careers in STEM fields.

There are thousands of students successfully implementing the core principles of REAL – especially in a global environment. We love telling their stories and being part of their journey.


Congratulations to the National Scholarship Office which recently put forth 34 Fulbright applications on behalf of VCU. Under the guidance of Jeff Wing and Meredith Sission, these students are one step closer to realizing their dreams of participating in a Fulbright experience that enables them to study, research and teach abroad.

Shoutout to the English Language Program for celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. For three decades, the program has provided English instruction, resources and support to students from over 100 countries as they’ve pursued their academic, personal or career goals.

Shoutout to VCU Alumni for recently recognizing Ricardo Capilla as one of its 2019 Alumni Stars. A School of Business alum (B.S.’99/B; M.B.A.'00/B), Capilla now serves as CEO of Airbus Mexico. He credits studying in France as a VCU student with opening his eyes to the world of international business and equipping him with the confidence to move easily among several countries throughout his 18-year career. At VCU, Capilla was a three-time All-CAA soccer player and named CAA Soccer Player of the Year in 1998.

Upcoming events

Study Abroad Coffee Bar
November 13, 11a.m. - 2p.m., Rodney’s

Come enjoy coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and breakfast snacks! Meet reps from key VCU resource offices, learn about study abroad programs, and speak with study abroad staff, faculty leaders, and returnee students. 10 students will receive a $500 study abroad award!


VCU Globe Open House (and Priority Application Deadline)
November 18, 2p.m. - 4p.m., West Grace Street Student Housing – North

VCU Globe will host an open house in West Grace Street Student Housing – North, 830 W. Grace St. Interested students can learn about the program, tour an apartment and meet others involved in Globe.

GEO Lunch and Learn: Working with VCU's English Language Learners
November 19, Noon to 1p.m., Smith Building - Room 224
November 20, Noon to 1p.m., Grace Street Center, 912 W. Grace St. - Room 3127

Each Fall, almost one-fifth of VCU's entering undergraduates come from a home where English is not the first language. This session introduces faculty and advisers to the needs of English language learners (ELLs); shares how faculty and advisers can help them; and discusses the campus resources that are available.

Global Café
December 6, 12:30p.m. - 2p.m., West Grace Street Student Housing – North
Come to GEO’s monthly Global Café. Get to know students from around the world and learn about VCU's rich cultural diversity. Each café has a different theme and refreshments are always served. All are welcome at this event.

Free for all

Learn more about International Education Week
Expand perspectives, foster dialogue, and build recognition and support of international education with NAFSA programs and resources during International Education Week – now celebrating its 20th anniversary!

There’s more where this came from!
If you want to keep up with all things global at VCU, sign up to receive the Global Education Office’s monthly newsletter.

Your first step in studying abroad just got easier
This fall, the GEO launched Rams Abroad 101, a new online tool designed to help students take the first step in their study abroad journey. Students can participate in Rams Abroad 101 anytime of day from anywhere in the world. Self-paced modules allow students to work around their own schedules to learn about choosing a location, funding, earning credit and much more. Rams Abroad 101 replaces the office's First Advising Sessions which were previously held in person. Start your journey today! Visit


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