“I highly recommend Via,” says TROY’s Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie, study abroad coordinator at Troy University, wasn’t dissatisfied with the way her previous software system worked.
“I never really had an issue with it,” she says. “I had several people tell me it wasn’t user friendly. I’m not tech savvy, but I was well trained on the system.”
Even so, she switched to Via last January. Why?
“They really jacked up my price,” Sarah says. “There was negotiation back and forth and I just got tired of it. When they found out I was going with Via, they said they’d match Via’s price. At that point, I was over it.”
Not only was Via more affordable—it was also “more aesthetically pleasing. It’s not so dry.” Sarah also likes Via’s responsiveness—before, during and after TROY implemented Via last January.
“With my previous provider, after the training was over, it was like I got dropped,” she says. “I could submit tickets, but it was always just, ‘Here’s the answer.’ It wasn’t as hands-on or as personable as Via.”
Via’s “Not Going to Disappear”
Sarah admits she was anxious about switching software providers, but the Via support team eased her mind.
“They said, ‘We’re always here for you. We’re going to be here for you. We’re not going to disappear,’” Sarah says. “After I was trained on the other software system, I never heard from the person who trained me again. With Via, when I submit a ticket, they say, ‘Here’s what you need to do. This is why that happened. If you have any questions, let us know. We’re here.’ It’s better customer service overall.”
As it turned out, Sarah didn’t need a lot of support to transition to Via.
“I think having already used software for this same type of purpose made it really easy to learn Via,” she says. “From the beginning, I told the Via team that we needed to move quickly; that I needed to get to know the system quickly. It’s so user friendly and intuitive that it wasn’t hard to move faster.”
Sarah says, “I love, love, love” Via Global 101, 201 and 301, the Via trainings that take a deep dive into Via’s study abroad software. Since the video trainings are recorded, she can return to them whenever she needs.
“They reinforce what I’ve learned and help me with things I’ve forgotten or maybe wasn’t doing exactly correctly. They also show me how I can do things more quickly. They’re a good refresher.”
Alabama’s “International University” Committed to Global Experiences
Sarah came to TROY in 2010. She worked first as a secretary for the language department before being named study abroad coordinator in 2017.
“Our Spanish professors took study abroad trips all the time so I got some experience with study abroad through that,” she says. When the study abroad coordinator position opened, that experience helped her land the job.
Sarah went on one of the faculty-led trips to Costa Rica, which lessened the sting of not studying abroad in college. Sarah had planned to visit Spain while attending Auburn University in the mid-1980s but decided against it after terrorists attacked Rome and Vienna airports in 1985.
“It really was one of my biggest regrets,” says Sarah, who grew up in Georgia and majored in international business and Spanish at Auburn.
In her role as study abroad coordinator, Sarah promotes the importance of global experiences to TROY students.
“I think we all sort of live in a bubble,” she says. “Getting out of our world and seeing something else opens your eyes. It gives students cultural awareness. They learn things about the world that they bring home and apply to their world.”
TROY has such a large international student body that it calls itself “Alabama’s International University,” Sarah says. The university’s chancellor, Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., is committed to internationalization efforts and has a goal of all TROY students studying abroad.
“This is a big initiative for him,” Sarah says. “It helps me immensely to have that coming from the top down.”
To encourage students to study abroad, TROY provides a $1,250 travel stipend that is available to all TROY students one time per academic year. Funding is provided through Troy University automobile license plate sales.
“Many of our students are not wealthy so that money definitely helps them,” Sarah says. “It shows them that TROY is serious about them having global experiences.”
Like Sarah McKenzie at Troy 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.