Via’s Ease Helps Director Be More Efficient, Feel More Confident
By her own admission, Inés Maxit isn’t tech savvy so the study abroad coordinator for Stephen F. Austin State University in East Texas says it was a big step when her office moved from paper to a software system.
“It was difficult for me to be really efficient generating reports,” she recalls. “It was very complicated to me. And then I wasn’t sure if all the information I was getting in the reports was correct so we were still relying on spreadsheets.”
But at a CIS Abroad conference, Inés learned about a SaaS platform that appeared to be user-friendly: Via TRM.
“That was enough for us to feel attracted to Via,” she says. Inés took a Via demo at the conference and then told her director about it when she was back in the office.
“With my director, it was an easy thing. I showed her Via and she felt the attraction immediately,” Inés says. “Even though she wasn’t using our other software system, she felt my pain. The appeal for her with Via was that it was modern, that it would be easy for the students to feel a connection with that. Our other software system didn’t have that modern appeal.”
As Inés learned more about Via, she realized her initial impression was accurate. “It was a very easy platform that I would feel comfortable using,” she says. “Even with my computer shortcomings, I wasn’t scared to use Via.”
SFASU allowed Inés to move forward with partnering with Via—a decision that has helped make her workday easier.
Via Helps Improve Efficiency
“I can navigate the Via platform with confidence and that is extremely important,” Inés says. “I’m more efficient now.”
Even though she’s down a student worker, Inés can handle her workload thanks to Via.
Most of the study abroad programs at SFASU are faculty-led ones. Faculty, she says, are also pleased with SFASU’s move to Via.
“If a professor calls me and asks about the status of a payment, I don’t panic,” Inés says. “I can say, ‘Just give me one second’ and I run the report and they have the information. Before, I had to say, ‘Let me look at my records and get back to you.’”
SFASU’s IT office did initially balk at changing systems, but in comparing the pros and cons of other software systems, it determined Via was the best option for SFASU, Inés says. Via’s affordability was also a big plus, she adds.
“The other provider we were considering was much more expensive than Via,” she recalls. “It had other things but we didn’t need those.”
SFASU Switches to Via During the Pandemic
SFASU transitioned to Via in 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The timing was perfect, Inés says.
“We weren’t rushing with anything,” she says. “We could just focus on the training and take our time without worrying about any transition with students or faculty.”
Once SFASU students began traveling abroad in 2022, Inés only had to do a quick brush-up on Via and she was ready to go.
She likes many things about Via, she says, particularly how Via keeps her communication with students all in one place.
“I also like the reports—that is a phenomenal tool and it’s so easy to do. It’s fantastic,” she says. “It’s so easy to get all the information that we need and to create the tables. Again, it gives me confidence. I feel like I have control of the programs, that I have everything there. That is a nice feeling and it’s important too. I’m also more efficient.”
She also likes that Via helps SFASU engage sooner with potential travelers.
“Thanks to Via, I know about students that are at least curious about study abroad,” she says. “Before Via, I didn’t know that. I had to wait until they applied.”
When Inés learned that STEM students were interested in studying abroad but there weren’t any programs available, she was able to present a report to academic chairs in STEM areas and suggest they create faculty-led study abroad programs.
Inés is passionate about the value of global experiences.
“It opens your mind, your horizons,” she says. “It makes you more competitive in a global society. But to me the most important part, especially now that our society is so global, is that you develop empathy. Having an international experience is important and I believe it can make the world a better place.”
Like Inés Maxit at Stephen F. Austin State University, Via 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 want a true education abroad partner, turn to Via.