EnCompass: Study Abroad Access for All Spiders

Established in 2019, EnCompass is the University of Richmond’s award-winning flagship program to provide access to international experience for those least likely to study abroad: first generation students, African-American and Latinx students, student-athletes, STEM majors, and male students. Faculty members lead this formative and fully funded travel to places they know well and can share deeply. Participants receive a compass and learn how to use it as they expand their ability to navigate the world.

EnCompass Programs

"I realized that there is a gap between what I learn in the classroom and what I learn being with the people who are actually on the ground experiencing these challenges in their daily lives." Eljoy, 2019


Though 65 percent of recent Spider graduates have studied abroad, students who are at risk of graduating from UR without an international experience express concern about finances, academic scheduling, and the unfamiliarity of international travel. EnCompass helps to eliminate these barriers. Each program teams faculty and at least one student who has studied abroad with students making their first, of what we hope will be multiple, international journeys. We recruit students in their first or second year so that their time abroad can have an impact on their studies and lives during their undergraduate years.

OUTCOMES: After the first EnCompass trips in 2019-20 and despite the pandemic’s limits on travel, nearly 20% of EnCompass alumni who had never traveled before had at least one additional international experience before their graduation.

"I learned many lessons while abroad and will take them back home, but the biggest of these is the civic engagement of the citizens of South Africa." Robby, 2019

EnCompass At A Glance...


Completed Trips


Student Participants


Faculty Leaders


Unique Countries

"The most memorable experience for me was visiting the Holocaust galleries in the Imperial War Museum. I’ve never felt so much emotion at an exhibition. It showed me the difference between learning about an atrocity in a class setting versus actually seeing and hearing first-hand accounts paired with artifacts and photos." Kianti, 2022