Success Story: UChicago Study Abroad

December 13, 2021

Via Blogs

Via TRM Saves UChicago Study Abroad Office “Significant Time”

The University of Chicago Study Abroad Office was discussing the need to sunset its aging systems when Via TRM happened to come calling.

Elana Kranz, deputy director of Study Abroad at the University of Chicago.

“It was fortuitous timing as it came right as we were looking into new solutions,” says Elana Kranz, deputy director of Study Abroad at the University of Chicago.

At the time, the study abroad office was using a combination of an in-house database and a web-based application system. “Both were nearing the end of use,” Kranz says. “We wanted to combine all our application and data management into one web-based, user-friendly system that we could access from anywhere.”

Via offered the software solution the office was searching for, but before the University signed on, a lengthy and detailed discovery process followed. The study abroad office eventually went with Via Global, Via’s flagship traveler relationship management software.

Kranz says the UChicago study abroad office was impressed, not only with Via’s software solutions, but with the Via team’s openness, responsiveness and personalized support.

“They listened to every single question we had and worked very closely with us throughout the entire process to help us find software solutions that met our needs,” Kranz says. “Most importantly, once we became their client, they continued to be just as helpful, responsive and personalized as before.”

Via Helps Solve Challenges

The UChicago study abroad office retired its previous systems and began partnering with Via in 2019. Since then, Via has helped the office solve many challenges, Kranz says. Not only did Via help the office achieve its goal of consolidating systems for collecting study abroad applications and tracking global travelers, but the office was also able to consolidate both its summer grant applications and study abroad applications into one straightforward system. That helped the office to track travelers across years, which their previous application system could not do, Kranz says.

View of Hong Kong from Kowloon Peak (Photo credit: Nadiah Wong).

“If you can believe it, before the pandemic we were still collecting many of our pre-departure forms in person—on actual paper! Via helped us move the entire pre-departure document collection process online. That’s made it so much easier for our students and staff, which was especially crucial during the pandemic.”

When the study abroad office first started working with Via, it wasn’t yet ready to switch to a fully online process. But Via changed that, Kranz says. “Via had all the tools necessary for us to do so. Now we have transitioned all our forms to be signed and submitted online.”

Via Offers Easy-to-Use Tools & Easy-to-Work-With Team

What differentiates Via from other TRM software, Kranz says, is that Via is “aesthetically pleasing and easy to use. This was crucial as everyone in our office uses the application and traveler management application, so we wanted to be sure the user interface was intuitive.”

Customer service also sets Via apart, she says.

“We really love working with the Via team,” she says. “They are responsive, knowledgeable, solutions-focused, and friendly.”

Students have even expressed how nice Via’s user interface is—and administrators find it easier to electronically track and share information, Kranz notes.

“Via has saved our staff significant time in application and form processing,” she says.

Personalized Customer Support

Kranz says her favorite part of Via is twofold: How easy the software is to use and how easy it is to work with Via.

UChicago students at Mutianyu Great Wall (Photo credit: Ben Ross).

“The people on the Via team are amazing listeners,” she says. “They are patient, kind, thoughtful, consistent, responsive, and fun! They help us with any question, large or small, and through our conversations, they have helped us to streamline our processes even more. They genuinely care about making study abroad and study abroad administration easier and smoother for everyone involved.

“I would recommend partnering with Via for study abroad offices that want a modern and intuitive system with personalized customer support.”

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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