Leader in Education Abroad Finds True Partner in Via TRM

Generation Z students don’t know a world without technology. Born after 1996, these digital natives came of age with smartphones and other technological advances. To best engage with these digitally savvy, visually oriented students, Michigan State University knew it had to replace its outdated study abroad software. Another reason: The majority of students interested in the MSU study abroad program never meet in-person with anyone in the Office of Education Abroad.

Christine Trinidad, Assistant Director, Education Abroad Support Services at Michigan State University

As MSU’s assistant director of Education Abroad Support Services, Christine Trinidad led the charge to find visually appealing and intuitive study abroad software that would take students through the whole process, from inquiry through application and way beyond. She found that and so much more with Via TRM.

All Roads Lead to Via TRM

When Trinidad began researching software options for the Michigan State University office of study abroad in 2017, she didn’t know about Via TRM. “It was just happenstance that I came across Via,” she says. “The more I dealt with Via, the more I saw the potential of the company and the software.”

Trinidad, who has more than a decade of higher ed and international education experience, came to MSU in 2016 from St. Edward’s University in Austin where she was an education abroad advisor.

“What I found at MSU was that this generation of students is extremely visually centered,” she says. “I came from that culture in Austin where students were also very visually centric. There were certain looks and styles that I knew students responded to. Knowing that, when I saw Via visually and what it offered, I knew it would be easy for students to navigate on their own.”

MSU Study Abroad Program Ranks Among the Best

Michigan State University student abroad at the Taj Mahal in India showing off his MSU t-shirt.

At Michigan State University, students can take advantage of more than 275 education abroad programs, one of the many reasons MSU ranks No. 1 for study abroad among public universities (11th overall) in U.S. News & World Report’s Best College Rankings. MSU has consistently ranked among the top U.S. institutions for education abroad for more than 20 years.

“Study abroad is part of the culture here. We have buy-in at every level of the university and we have study abroad partners all over,” she says.

Of MSU undergraduates enrolled in 2021, 78.4% are in-state students. Getting out of their comfort zone is one reason Trinidad believes MSU students should study abroad—and education abroad programs provide students with a “safety net.”

Via is “12th Man” on MSU’s Team

Trinidad says she was initially intrigued that Via wasn’t just an application software system for study abroad programs. “They approached it holistically,” she says. “What Via did was combine the best worlds of a study abroad interest system with an application system with the idea that study abroad is much greater than the application, which was very much a ’90s model.” She also liked that Via was created by international educators for international educators.

Michigan State University student at the Colosseum in Italy holding the MSU flag.

Not only was Trinidad impressed by Via, but so were a large majority of the Education Abroad staff. After seeing demos by Via TRM, the majority of Education Abroad staff and the entire MSU Education Abroad Review committee voted for Via. The prevailing thought was that Via represented the future and the direction that the Michigan State University office of study abroad wanted to move towards.

In 2018, MSU officially signed with Via, achieving its goal of a comprehensive, visually appealing, and intuitive software system. The university also landed a true partner.

“Via as a whole has been extremely agile and responsive with us. They hear what we say. They ask us questions. I definitely see Via as the 12th man on our team.”

About Via TRM

Via TRM believes global experiences will change our world. That’s why we created traveler relationship management and travel risk management software, which helps universities and study abroad program providers to empower global experiences. If you’re looking for a true education abroad partner, turn to Via TRM.


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