The University of Virginia’s signature bus service, UVaExpress, is running for its sixth year on Aug. 19 and 20, bringing international Wahoos from Dulles International and Charlottesville airports to Grounds.
At least 180 people from 30 countries, including China, Panama and Spain, are taking advantage of the free, one-way bus transportation and hospitality program, which is offered to all first-year, transfer students and family members arriving from foreign countries. Travelers will be greeted at airports by U.Va. staff and volunteers, then bused to Charlottesville, arriving at a hospitality center at Wilsdorf Hall where food will be provided.
Staff also will be on hand to help students obtain their university identification. Monday and Tuesday, shopping shuttles will take students to area malls to buy necessities, and staff and students will help coordinate the activation of phones at the U.Va. Bookstore and help with establishing bank accounts.
There is a new feature this year: “Group Meetups,” in which international students gather for meals. “We are doing this to provide additional organized opportunities for the new students to gather together in relaxed settings during their first week at U.Va,” said Dan Housier, assistant director for alumni and parent engagement.
UVaExpress was launched in 2007 at the behest of Gordon Kirtland, an alumnus of the College of Arts & Sciences and the Darden School of Business and the former president of the UVaClub of Singapore. Kirtland has said the program is one way the University can help international students transition to life at U.Va.
UVaExpress and the welcome dinner are administered by the University’s Office of Engagement.