“Travel shouldn’t have to be stressful” is the guiding principle behind the latest changes coming to Study Abroad.
Beginning Aug. 1, the Augusta University Office of Study Abroad will phase out the traditional, paper-heavy application and trip management process. Those functions will instead be handled through specialized Study Abroad software provided by Terra Dotta—one of the world’s leading higher education software producers.
Maria Darley, director of Study Abroad, said the new software will make Study Abroad a completely different experience.
“There’s a lot of paperwork in study abroad,” Darley said. “Making and collecting passport copies, filling out waivers, listing emergency contacts—all of this will now be done online.”
In addition to removing the need for paperwork, the new software will also streamline the entire travel experience.
“Students will be able to log on and see any information they might need about where they’re going, where they’re staying and what their outstanding balances and payments are,” Darley said.
The same service extends to faculty, as well. Gone are the days of contacting Study Abroad for updated student lists every few weeks to send trip updates. Using the new software, faculty will now be able to see who is signed up to take their trips in real time. The software also provides easier ways to communicate with the entire trip group—something Darley said was especially helpful for students living or taking classes on different campuses.
In addition to making life easier for students and faculty, Darley said another aspect of the software made it a must-buy for the institution.
“It’s really helpful with emergency management, which I think is the biggest benefit of this system,” she said. “At any point, I can log into the system and see where my students are anywhere in the world.”
The system will also update program itineraries with the latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates, making it easier for Study Abroad staff to see if students or faculty abroad are in or near a dangerous situation—a necessary function in a world that’s always on.
Really, the only thing the new software won’t do is pack your bags for you. That’s probably still a few years away. In the meantime, Darley said she’s confident the new software, and the continued growth of the program, will make travel at Augusta University a little less stressful.
Contact Maria Darley at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.