Thursday, July 10, 2014

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U.Va’s International Studies Office Honored for Dedication to Students

A student group has honored the University of Virginia’s International Studies Office for its dedication and service.

The office received the Department of the Month Award for March from Pi Beta Phi sorority. Office director Dudley Doane said the recognition “could not come at a better time.”

“This is the point in the academic year when activity in each of our three operations – Education Abroad, the International Students and Scholars Program and the Lorna Sundberg International Center – peaks,” he said.

Each summer, more than 900 students pursue study-abroad opportunities around the globe – from Lyon, France to Limpopo, South Africa and Shanghai. Doane said none of these trips would be possible without the hard work and dedication of the International Studies Office staff.

The office coordinates U.Va.’s Education Abroad program. It works with U.Va. faculty who lead the trips, Student Financial Services and representatives from overseas programs. The office’s advisers also work with U.Va. students individually to help them choose the right study-abroad opportunity.

Second-year Sarah Axmann, vice president of communications for Pi Beta Phi, said she has benefited personally from what she called efficient and friendly service in the International Studies Office.

“I remember walking up the stairs to turn in some forms and thinking, ‘This is going to be dreadful and take forever!’” But, to her surprise, “I was out of there painlessly in a matter of minutes.”

Axmann said she and many other Pi Beta Phi chapter members have studied abroad and have received excellent advice from the office’s advisers.

The International Studies Office also manages the International Students and Scholars Program at the University. Doane said the office’s international student advisers are currently processing around 600 international visas for students, both graduate and undergraduate, who have accepted admission for fall 2013.

The office also works with exchange students by offering counseling and practical training during the summer.

The office’s third operation, the Lorna Sundberg International Center, offers programs and group events for community members, students, and University students and staff.

The Department of the Month award is given to “the department that we think is going above and beyond their job description,”Axmann said.

Doane expressed his gratitude. “Student recognition of the services provided by the ISO is particularly valued as they constitute our largest constituency,” he said.

— By Anna Elliot, Global Affairs Student Writer

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