Incoming exchange students pose in front of the VCU sign at Shafer Court.

Global Outreach

English, Business and Art Program

Program Description

The VCU-SIVA Certificate Program is a 6-month program where students will receive intensive English language instruction at VCU's CEA-accredited English Language Program, in addition to six credit hours each at the highly- ranked VCU School of the Arts and School of Business. Classes will focus on Art Management, Art Product Marketing, and Small Business Enterprise. The majority of these classes will be conducted at the VCU Da Vinci Center, which is a collaborative effort between VCU School of Business and School of Art, which will emphasize business and creative entrepreneurship.

The comprehensive classroom content is supplemented by a rich cultural program, including various educational day trips (Washington, D.C., Virginia Beach, Williamsburg, and the Shenandoah Mountains) and participation in GEO initiatives, such as the Conversation Partner and Friendship Family programs. The program is structured to enable active engagement of students both within the VCU community as well as the Richmond community as a whole, allowing them a true immersion experience.

Program Dates

The VCU-SIVA 2017 program dates are to be determined.

Class Descriptions

ELP students

Written Communication
Students will produce basic academic essays using appropriate register and following the steps of writing. Students will organize and develop ideas around an academic topic. They will apply the editing strategies they have developed. Students will practice paraphrasing, summarizing and citing academic sources to avoid plagiarism. Assignments will include both drafted and in-class essays. Students will continue to use reading skills and strategies that promote comprehension and vocabulary development.

Oral Communication
This course is designed to further develop students’ listening and speaking skills and practice note taking and academic vocabulary. Students will continue to identify main ideas and details within academic lectures, take notes, summarize and use critical thinking skills. Activities will include reviewing academic vocabulary, listening to and taking notes from various sources. Students will apply information from lectures for academic purposes. Students will use outside source to further enhance their communication skills.

Business ESL
This course is designed to strengthen student oral and written communication skills in international business and workplace settings. Students are given the opportunity to participate in authentic dialogues, role plays, and class discussions. Students will learn to use content-specific vocabulary for business situations, to understand the cultural elements and protocols in the global marketplace, and to familiarize themselves with writing business documents (e.g. emails, memos, letters, summaries, CV, and, reports).

American Society and Culture
This course is designed to cover a wide variety of topics related to contemporary American society, culture, and art. All lectures will be presented by VCU faculty and include such topics as, race relations in America, gender and sexuality (LGBTQ) in America, religion in contemporary America, the cultural diversity of Americans, crime and the American criminal justice system, and contemporary art in Richmond and America, etc.

Introduction to Entrepreneurship
This course provides an introduction to the general phenomena of small business and entrepreneurship. The course then advances to an overview of how to start, own, work for or work with a small business. Topics addressed will include accounting, tracking business performance, and using financial data to improve decision making.

Art Business Plan Project
This course focuses on all facets of business plan development, including assessing the competitive environment, developing venture concepts and growth strategies, creating marketing approaches, building a cohesive management team, launching operations, and developing financial projections. Students create and present a business plan that addresses their individual organizational needs.

Idea Accelerator
This course exposes students to the processes and methodologies used to transform ideas and opportunities into sustainable business models. Students evaluate business case studies, engage industry professionals and investigate the commercial potential of their creative ideas.

Creative Disruption
This course provides a low-risk educational environment for students to develop their own ventures, including a product/service business model, legal considerations, financial and marketing plans and media presence (web, mobile, social). Students work with a network of mentors from the university and industry.


Educational Excursions

Washington DC Capitol Building

Washington D.C.
Visit the National Mall, including the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Memorial, the White House, Capitol Hill, the National Gallery of Art, the National Air and Space Museum, and other historical sites and museums.

Williamsburg and Jamestown
Visit Colonial Williamsburg and Jamesburg. At sites of the original 1607 settlement, students will learn about America’s earliest industries, see ongoing archaeological discoveries of the fort and view thousands of historical artifacts. They will also explore a world-class living history museum that re-creates life in the Jamestown colony.


Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Visit the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and view local gallery exhibitions.

Virginia Beach
Spend time enjoying the beautiful beach view, active boardwalk, and fun water activities.

Hiking and Apple Picking
Enjoy the breathtaking view from hiking trails in Shenandoah National Park and pick your own apples from a local orchard.



Conversation Partner
Get paired with American students and meet regularly to practice English, share cultures and have fun.

Friendship Family
Connect with local American families and be invited to visit their home, have family meals and enjoy family time outside of the university campus.

International Café
Get together with other international students at VCU to learn about each other’s culture, food, games and friendship.



VCU Globe building

Students will live in a new and exciting living and learning community with international and domestic students. These on-campus apartments are fully furnished, and include 24-hour security, free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, and the opportunity to interact with students with a wide range of cultural backgrounds.

There are several cafeterias, including one buffet-style cafeteria, as well as many restaurants and convenience stores on campus. Most of them accept RamBucks. Nearby, students can access the gym, library, and sports activities and museums for free. Grocery stores, bookstores and a variety of other business on and near campus bring convenience to student life at VCU.


Student Services

The newly renovated Cabell Library provides VCU’s students, faculty, and staff with space to study, collaborate, discover, create, and conduct research. Students can take advantage of traditional library services (borrow books, use computers, etc.) as well as make use of innovative resources such as a 3-D printing lab, various classes and workshops, and designated spaces for both quiet study, and engaged collaboration.

Gym & Outing Rental Center
Students will have access to two gym facilities − the Cary Street Gym, just a few blocks away on the Academic Campus and the Larrick Student Center, about a mile away on the downtown VCU Health System Campus. The Cary Street Gym offers numerous features, including an indoor heated pool, hot tub, rock climbing wall, basketball courts (as well as volleyball, table tennis, racquetball, and badminton courts), indoor running track, group exercise classes, and an 18,000 square foot fitness center full of cardio and free weight equipment.

Tutoring Center

ELP Tutoring Center
The Tutoring Center helps English Language Program students with anything related to learning English. All students are welcome, and services are free.

Writing Center
The Writing Center is a peer-based learning support service whose primary focus is to help students become the strongest writers possible. English Language Resources (ELR) provides extending writing consultation time with a focus on tools to help English language learners become stronger, more confident writers.

VCU Counseling Center

University Counseling Services
Studying in a foreign country is exciting but can also be a stressful experience. VCU Counseling Services provides a variety of services related to emotional and mental well-being, and teaches learning skills to facilitate VCU students’ academic and personal goals.



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