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Virginia Tech Rising Sophomore Abroad Program (RSAP)

Virginia Tech Rising Sophomore Abroad Program (RSAP)

The Virginia Tech Rising Sophomore Abroad Program combines a Spring course with a two-week international module abroad in May immediately following the end of the Spring Semester. By giving students a taste of an international experience and increasing their comfort level with global travel, the program promotes additional, more extended international academic experiences such as internships, study abroad programs, or faculty-led programs. The program also allows students the opportunity to make initial contact with a company or university in another country to further their student experience or career prospects.

Eligibility

Students in the College of Engineering may apply. Most students will not have a GPA when they apply for RSAP, but should have a GPA of 2.5 or higher at the end of their first semester.

Visit our program page to connect with the Virginia Tech Global Education Office. 
Got questions about RSAP or ENGE 1644? Email rsap@vt.edu or make an appointment.

Course Info: Global STEM Practice (ENGE 1644)

Students at the German Technology Museum.

Accepted students will be registered for this course in the spring semester. The class is designed to introduce students to global engineering and science, emphasizes the importance of cultural competency for engineers and scientists, and focuses on how differences in cultural, social and economic contexts influence engineering and science in practice. ENGE 1644 fulfills the Pathways 3 requirement.

The RSAP application opens August 15, 2022, and is due no later than October 1, 2022. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis throughout the application window. 

The application includes general student information, several short essay responses and a non-refundable application fee of $50.

Visit the My Study Abroad Program Page

2023 Track Information

Dates: May 14-May 27, 2023 (Australia & New Zealand departs May 12)

Track Locations

Click on the buttons below for itineraries and total estimated costs.

Important Notes
Each track needs a minimum of 20 student participants in order to run in 2023. Students who apply for and are accepted into tracks that ultimately fail to reach 20 participants will be rerouted to other destinations.

To respond dynamically to the ever-changing health and safety situation brought about by the global pandemic, international travel itineraries are subject to change to align with health and safety guidance,  immigration and border entry restrictions, etc. In the event that a track destination is no longer a suitable option, RSAP will make every effort to reroute students to a different destination. 

Students hold up the Virginia Tech flag in front of a building in Oxford.

Students participating in RSAP will be charged one program fee through their student account. The program fee includes airfare, accommodations, in-country transportation, excursions, corporate visits, most meals, and international health and security insurance.

Upon acceptance into the program, a $500 non-refundable deposit is required. Commitment decisions must be made within two weeks of acceptance. The full program fee is due by January 10.

The program fee does not include: GEO Application Fee, Faculty-led Study Abroad Participation fee, some meals, passport/visa fees, souvenirs, and personal spending while on the program.

Visit individual program pages for total estimated costs.

Financial Responsibility Policy

Should a program cancellation become necessary for health and safety reasons prior to student departure, every effort will be made to refund recoverable costs to participants. Students who commit to RSAP are HIGHLY ENCOURAGED to purchase Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) Insurance. When purchasing CFAR insurance, please ensure that cancellation due to the COVID-19 Pandemic is covered in the policy terms. 

Once a student has committed to RSAP, the student will be responsible for program costs based on the following schedule.

Timeline of Student Withdrawal or Program Cancellation Financial Responsibility
After commitment until January 9 $500 (non-refundable deposit)
January 10 to January 31 50% of the program fee
February 1 to February 28 80% of the program fee
After March 1 100% of the program fee

COVID Disclaimer

To respond dynamically to the ever-changing health and safety situation brought about by the global pandemic, international travel itineraries are subject to change to align with health and safety guidance, immigration and border entry restrictions, etc. In the event that a track destination is no longer a suitable option, RSAP will make every effort to reroute students to a different destination.

Students in front of a Ducati bulletin board in Italy.

Scholarship Opportunities

Global Education Scholarships
Deadline: September 6 and December 6
Applicants do not need to have been accepted to RSAP to apply for Global Education Scholarships. Students who apply to the December 6 cycle will need to commit to participate in RSAP before they receive scholarship notifications.

SEC Global Access Scholarship
Deadline: November 30
Eligible appplicants are 1) Full-time undergraduate student majoring within the College of Engineering 2) Student enrolled in Spring 2023 semester 3) Overall GPA of 2.75 or above 4) International program takes place during winter 2022-2023 or Spring/Spring-embedded 2023

RSAP Scholarships
Deadline: October 1
All students applying to RSAP are eligible for this scholarship. To apply, complete the short application in scholarship central.

First Time Traveler Award 2022-2023
The Office of Global Engineering, Engagement, and Research (GEER) is offering a one-time incentive for students in the College of Engineering who are issuing a passport for the first time. The award will be in the form of reimbursement of new first-time passport application and passport processing fee. Awards will be made to eligible applicants on a first-come, first-served basis while our funds allow.

Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship
Deadline: October 6
The Gilman Scholarship is designed for students who receive Federal Pell Grants. Students should carefully read the Gilman Scholarship’s eligibility requirements before completing an application.

Other local or national scholarships
Students are encouraged to research scholarships awarded by entities in their hometown or to identity groups they pertain to.

To apply, students must be an engineering student at Virginia Tech. Transfer engineering students may also apply. Students must attain a minimum 2.5 GPA after their first semester.

No, enrollment is open only to engineering students.

No, enrollment is open to all engineering students who have availability in their spring semester and will be able to travel during the travel period.

At this time, vaccination for COVID-19 will only be required to countries where vaccination is a national entry requirement. As of August 30, 2022, the only track that requires a COVID-19 vaccination is Japan & South Korea. Students should be advised that countries may change their entry requirements prior to travel for RSAP and should entry requirements change, it may affect students’ ability to travel to their chosen destination. Similarly, students should be aware that even if there is no country-level requirement, companies may have policies that require proof of vaccination to access their facilities, preventing students from attending some visits if that is the case. Based on prior COVID policies, we believe that the United Kingdom & Ireland, Italy & Germany and Argentina & Chile tracks are the least likely to have a change in entry requirements that requires a COVID-19 vaccination and, therefore, may be good options for students who have not been vaccinated for COVID-19.

All students MUST have a valid passport to go on the study abroad programs. The passport should be valid 6 months beyond the end of the program. For example, if a program ends on May 29, 2023, the student's passport should be valid until at least November 29, 2023. If you don't have a valid passport, you are HIGHLY encouraged to begin the process of getting one early as it normally takes a minimum of two months to receive it. Currently wait times may be even longer due to Pandemic delays. You can obtain a passport right here on Virginia Tech’s campus. Please visit the Passport Acceptance Facility’s webpage for more information.

All United States passport holders participating in RSAP in Europe do not need a visa unless they plan on traveling after the program concludes. Students holding passports from a country other than the United States should check the visa requirements for all program destinations.

Students who hold passports from countries other than the United States should consider the visa requirements for entering the countries in their track of choice. If a visa is required, it may be necessary to make an embassy visit. Most embassies are processing a backlog of visa applications, so it is important to consider whether this may cause an issue with the RSAP travel timeline.

The program cost includes a non-refundable commitment fee due after admission to the program ($500), international air fare, accommodations, in-country excursions, in-country transportation, international health and security insurance, and some meals.

Scholarships are available for RSAP. Please visit Financing RSAP for more details.

The application deadline is October 1, 2022. However, applications are accepted on a rolling basis, so, students are encouraged to complete their application early in the application window to have the best chance to be accepted.

To maximize the learning opportunities during the international module, students will have a full schedule and will not be able to travel on their own during the program dates. Students may choose to stay in-country after the program concludes to travel on their own or with family and friends. Students planning to travel after the program dates must communicate their travel plans with RSAP.

As RSAP participants, students are enrolled in a Friday recitation course that includes the other students with whom they will be traveling during the international module.

Should a program cancellation become necessary for health and safety reasons prior to student departure, every effort will be made to refund recoverable costs to participants. Students who commit to RSAP are HIGHLY ENCOURAGED to purchase Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) Insurance. When purchasing CFAR insurance, please ensure that cancellation due to the COVID-19 Pandemic is covered in the policy terms. 

Once a student has committed to RSAP, the student will be responsible for program costs based on the following schedule:

Timeline of Student Withdrawal or Program Cancellation Financial Responsibility
After commitment until January 9 $500 (non-refundable deposit)
January 10 to January 31 50% of the program fee 
February 1 to February 28 80% of the program fee 
After March 1 100% of the program fee

Should a program cancellation become necessary for health and safety reasons prior to student departure, every effort will be made to refund recoverable costs to participants. Students who commit to RSAP are HIGHLY ENCOURAGED to purchase Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) Insurance. RSAP is unable to recommend a specific policy or insurance company, but we encourage students to start with an internet search and compare policies based on their personal preferences and risk tolerance.

When purchasing CFAR insurance, please ensure that cancellation due to the COVID-19 Pandemic is covered in the policy terms. Other items to consider are the percentage of costs that will be reimbursed through the policy and the timeframe in which the policy needs to be purchased in relation to the planning/paying for RSAP.

Covid-19 contingency funds may be refunded after completion of the program if a track does not need to make use of the funds.

The program starts and ends in Washington, D.C. at the airport. Students are responsible for their own transportation to and from the D.C. area. Students wishing to start or end their travel in a different location should choose to purchase their own airline tickets in lieu of the group ticket option.

A group ticket option (arranged for the student by RSAP) is available for all tracks. Students who prefer to start or end their travel at a different location or choose to extend their travel at the end of the program are able to purchase their own airfare and be reimbursed at the cost of the group ticket. Students who purchase their own airfare are required to schedule the group international flight from the U.S. to the destination country in order to arrive with the group at the destination.

If you are a first year or new transfer student, we understand that you will not have a GPA until the end of your first semester. Your GPA will not be considered as a part of your application for RSAP. Please leave it blank or put N/A. RSAP participants are expected to have a GPA of 2.5 or higher by the end of their first semester.

No, all RSAP tracks have a variety of engineering visits scheduled. In order to find the track that is the best fit for your interestes, take a look at the itineraries on the track details page and look at the different visits that are scheduled. One thing to note: Itineraries may change slightly prior to travel, but the spirit of the itinerary will be maintained.

“Engineers are meant to be for the people,” Hossain said, “and we can’t grow if we stay stagnant. There's a whole world of people there, and if we stay in our little box, we’ll never get to hear their stories.”

Ameera Hossain, RSAP '22

Jenny Li and Ameera Hossain pose with a statue.

Follow the journey on Instagram