International Education Advising

Whether you are an international student looking for information and support, a prospective study abroad student, or a Spider with questions about other possibilities for traveling abroad, our advisors are here to help you understand the array of available international opportunities, activities and programs. You can meet with an advisor any time during your Richmond experience, but we always encourage students to reach out as early as possible!

While all of our staff can help point you in the right direction, we have a dedicated group who are focused on helping International Students and another focused on Study Abroad.

Students can easily schedule an appointment with an advisor by clicking here. Staff are available in person for meetings as well as through Zoom or by phone.

Study abroad advising meetings typically last about 30 minutes. Students with questions for these advisors may also email them directly.


Learning About New Cultures

Our advising team can help you navigate some key topics and decisions relating to global engageemeent, but we also encourage you to do some self-guided exploration around cultural competency. One key aspect of study abroad – both away from Richmond and here on campus for our international students – is discovering and learning from a culture different from one’s own. You’ll finish your experience with a better understanding of yourself, your home culture, as well as new foods, art, sports or models of business, science, or government. This different cultural world view can impact everything from your academic perspective to your career outlook. Read on to learn more about new cultures and how to learn and grow from them:

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  • What is culture?

    “The distinctive ideas, customs, social behaviour, products, or way of life of a particular nation, society, people, or period.” - Oxford English Dictionary

    It’s easy to see some aspects of a new culture. On a short vacation to a new country, you can quickly see how people speak to each other, what they eat, and the music they like. But it takes more intentionality to see the deeper attributes of a group of people, such as how they see time, who gets respect (and why), or how they balance personal freedom against group well-being. A researcher named Edward T. Hall compared culture to an iceberg, in that the majority of it exists out-of-view, below the surface.

  • Navigating difference
  • Expect challenges

    Anything that is rewarding is also challenging, and learning to live outside your home culture is no exception. Most people living abroad adjust in stages:

    Excited! Everything around you is new and interesting. An open-air market is exotic, the vendors are lively, the food smells fragrant & tastes amazing.

    Disillusioned. Later, the difference may temporarily overload you (“culture shock”). Even things that seemed positive at first bother you now. The same market can look run-down and chaotic, the vendors may now seem obnoxious, and the food loses its appeal. You may feel judgmental, homesick or confused.

    Balanced. But with time, you realize that there is good and bad in the place you are exploring, and at home, but they are arranged differently. The open-air market is very different from your hometown supermarket, but you see the advantages of both. Street vendors are different from cashiers, but they all get the job done. The food is not what you eat at home, and you’re glad you’ve tried so many new dishes.

  • The prize!

    Living mindfully abroad is the best way to develop intercultural competence, a set of skills that will help you understand new cultures that you encounter later in life. This can help you have smoother interactions while traveling, better manage a work group made up of people of different backgrounds, or allow you to serve a key role in business or politics that cross borders. Learning to live as a global citizen (and using your new-found Intercultural competence) is an important part of your UR liberal arts education and your life beyond UR!