As members of the 21st century, we experience, daily, the impact of globalization. From communication to health, to the arts and sciences, to government and business, there is a growing need to incorporate an international perspective. Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of World Studies has developed the World Passport program to invigorate students and to get them excited about the unique, cross-disciplinary and international opportunities at VCU.
What is the World Studies Passport?
The World Studies Passport is a record of a student’s interaction with the world. The School of World Studies’ commitment to learning through engagement requires each SWS major to complete four color-coded categories presented in the World Passport. Each category is assigned a point system. Each color represents a number of points. For all SWS majors, a total of 100 points (earned within all four categories) must be completed before graduation. After completing the set amount for each category, the student may earn the remaining points by attending a combination of events from the green, blue or red sections.
World Passport Major Areas
The World Passport is a record of a student's interaction with the world. The passports are color-coded for activities to be completed by students from VCU with a degree from the School of World Studies, before graduation. It is divided into four major areas:
- Experiential Learning
- Professional Preparation
- Crossing Boundaries
- Community Engagement
All four categories are required for graduation. If you have any questions on how to meet this requirement, please contact the SWS Advising Office.
Students pursuing one of the majors within the School of World Studies must complete an experiential learning requirement in order to graduate.
- Objective - Provide students with hands-on experience to better prepare them for employment opportunities and careers and/or graduate school.
- Activities – Approved internship, major-specific service-learning course, or study-abroad program participation.
- Points - Complete one event for a total of 20 points. Students may earn up to 60 points in this category if they complete all three types of experiential learning activities.
- Objective - Prepare students for careers, graduate school, and lifetime learning.
- Activities - Presenting conference papers (such as at the World Studies Student Research Conference or Wilder School Student Research Conference), attending workshops (such as Resume Writing or Interviewing through the Career Center), participating in book clubs, seminars, serving as cultural ambassadors (participating and/or organizing multicultural activities where elements of your own ethnic background can be shared with students of other ethnic backgrounds), taking one of the Senior Seminars (499 or 495 courses), or extended involvement helping to plan, coordinate, or volunteer at (minimum 3 hours) a World Studies event.
- Points - Complete two events for a total of 20 points (10 points each). You may attend additional events to complete the 80 points total requirement. No maximum.
- Objective - Expose students to multicultural and international interactions and ideas—interactions that cross standard U.S. cultural boundaries such as class, ethnic background, language, gender, age, religion, and political affiliation.
- Activities - Attending the cultural café, discussion groups, the French Film Festival, or any World Studies sponsored event; becoming a conversation partner with international students; extended involvement helping to plan, coordinate, or volunteer at a VCU or community event.
- Points – Complete four events for a total of 20 points (5 pts. each). Points are assigned per official event (regardless of length or time commitment) or per semester for the conversation partner (with a minimum of 3 contact hours). You may attend additional events to complete the total passport requirement. No maximum.
- Objective - Acquire valuable experiences, skills and insights through involvement with local community, beyond the confines of the VCU community.
- Activities - taking part in English Language Program excursions, cultural awareness programs, theater, sports, music programs,museums, service in the community (almost any official community event that requires interaction with the non-VCU public will qualify for Community Engagement).
- Points – Complete eight events for a total of 20 points (2.5 pts each). Points are assigned per official event (regardless of length or time commitment). You may attend additional events to complete the total passport requirement. No maximum.
Validation of Attendance/Involvement: To receive points for attendance or involvement in a qualifying activity, you need to show proof that you actually attended the event. There are several ways to do this. Most World Studies Events will have a sign-up sheet for attendance – simply sign your name. You may also have a professor or organizer of the event sign a brochure, flyer, or program to certify your attendance. Attendance must involve a good faith effort to participate in a reasonable portion of the event or activity. For presentations of research, a copy of the program with your name listed as one of the presenters will suffice. For more extended involvement (coordinating or volunteering), a brief letter stating the extent of your involvement from one of the event sponsors or head coordinators will be valid.
Evaluation of the passport is on a pass/fail basis. Should a student lose the passport, he or she will be required to recreate attendance at events in essay form, or complete the requirement anew.
The qualifying activities listed under each area are the activities for which students may earn points. Activities that are not listed, but may be relevant to the passport, can potentially be counted with official approval. In order for activities to be considered for qualification, students must complete a Password Request Form and submit it to the advising office. Each activity or event may be used to earn points in only one Area at a time.