Via allows administrator more time for students, less time ‘shuffling paper’

When it came to application and post-acceptance processes, Joe Meringolo says he had “a bit of a learning curve” when he took on the role as Assistant Director, Study Abroad at Salve Regina University (SRU) in November 2021. 

“Many of the forms and the documentation that goes into Via I hadn’t worked on in previous roles,” Joe says. “In my first few months at SRU, I had great mentorship from Aïda Neary who helped me understand the study abroad lifecycle and how Via worked from the college administrator perspective.”

Joe Meringolo - Salve Regina

Joe Meringolo, Assistant Director of Study Abroad at Salve Regina

Joe came to the Newport, RI, university from the provider side of study abroad. For nearly three years, he was director of program development at EdOdyssey, a boutique study abroad and educational travel provider based in Boston, MA.

Salve Regina student in Fisherman Bastille, Hungary

Salve Regina student in Fisherman Bastille, Hungary

Via’s ease of use helped Joe adapt to his new role and responsibilities. And having Via has streamlined Salve’s applications and pre-departure processes, he says. 

“Via provides an organizational lift of managing different documents and papers and housing them together under one digital roof. That allows Salve Regina’s Center for Global Education and Fellowships to focus more on actually advising and preparing students to go abroad.”

A desire to work more with students in a college campus setting is what prompted Joe to move from the provider side to the institutional side.

On the provider side, Joe worked more on the front end of the study abroad lifecycle and behind the scenes, interacting more with teachers, team members and administrators than students. At Salve, he has gained even more skills. 

“It’s beautiful in the sense that I get to really be a part of them going through this initial advising process and see them after the experience,” he says. “I always tell students, whether or not they decide to study abroad, I want them to see it as an option that will enrich them personally, academically and professionally. My goal is to show them their options and to make sure they see that studying abroad is possible.”

Via Creates ‘Runway’ to Global Experiences

When he logs into Via, Joe says it’s like there is a “runway being created and updated for my students to be able to get prepared for their study abroad experiences.”

When he needs support, he has it in the Via team, he says, calling them “tremendous teachers.”

“If there is a moment when I’ve had an issue or felt frustrated, the Via support team has provided me resources or helped me through the process,” he says. “Via does a great job of building resources that administrators can find and then use at different points. They’re very aware of administrator and user needs. They really consider administrator feedback to find ways to solve issues.”

Joe Meringolo with staff from Universidad de Acala Instituto Franklin

Joe Meringolo with staff from Universidad de Acala Instituto Franklin

Joe calls Via “a one-stop shop for all application materials.” Because of the time savings Via provides on the admin side, Salve is increasing study abroad participation.

“Via allows me more time for student outreach, academic advising and helping guide students through the process instead of trying to shuffle and organize different forms,” he says. 

Study Abroad ‘Life Changing,’ Joe says

Joe Meringolo at Machu Picchu

Joe Meringolo with Machu Picchu in the background

Joe was also inspired to work on the higher ed side of study abroad by his Uncle Torre, who worked in primarily university development work for over twenty years. Torre led major advancement efforts and the charge to build out study abroad programs at Joe’s alma mater, St. Mary’s College of Maryland. 

“He was actually at St. Mary’s College as an administrator when I was a student,” Joe says of his uncle, “so his work really gave me the context and the framework for the importance of being able to provide an impactful experience for students.”

 

Studying abroad in Italy for a semester and England for a faculty-led program with Dr. Jennifer Cognard-Black as an undergraduate student “changed my life,” Joe says. 

It was during that trip that “a light bulb went off.” Joe, who had been contemplating law school, decided to move to Spain to teach English for a year. That one year turned into four years, during which he earned his master’s degree in  Teaching and Learning Spanish as a Foreign Language at the University of Alcalá. 

He also lived briefly in Peru as a teacher.

With Via’s help, Joe is opening doors to such life-changing global experiences for Salve Regina students. 

“Via allows us—the  university administrators—to create a clearer path for the study abroad experience,” he says. “We’re able to optimize the system so students can start the process earlier. They don’t have to be on campus with paper to do all these things. Students have more time, which gives them more runway to look at options.” 

“When they create that Via account, I know, ‘Hey, that student’s thinking about studying abroad. How can I engage them? How can our office connect with them so they have the information and the tools they need?’ It helps that, with Via, everything is accessible in one place for the student.” 

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Like Joe Meringolo at Salve Regina 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.

 

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