The following 14 institutions participate in the VIH Program: Acradia University, Carlow University, Chatham University, Duquesne University, Lincoln University, Robert Morris University, Temple University, Thiel College, University of Pittsburgh at Oakland, University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, Washington and Jefferson College, and Waynesburg University. Three first-time women travelers from each institution are admitted into the VIH Program and receive a scholarship of at least $5,000 to put toward the cost of international experience of their choosing.
The VIH Program has four principal components: a spring pre-departure retreat, the summer international experience, a fall re-entry retreat, and the Community Engagement Experience (CEE). During the spring semester prior to and the fall semester following their international experiences, the scholars meet in Pittsburgh, PA. These retreats provide the awardees with a foundation of skills necessary to maximize cultural learnings while abroad and to engage their leadership skills in their own communities upon their return.
VIH scholars are supported by both their Campus Coordinator as well as a past VIH awardee who serves as their mentor as they further develop their leadership skills and complete the components of the VIH Program. Ultimately, the goal of the VIH Program is to “Prepare women leaders for tomorrow’s global challenges.” This unique model develops leadership and intercultural competency skills instilling passion for life-long learning and civic engagement. More importantly, it is shaping an annual cohort of women whose decisions and actions as future leaders will have far-reading impacts locally and potentially globally. Read some thoughts and advice from former Viras about the program here.
November 1 - VIH Program Application Deadline - All applications are due by November 1.
December - Intensive Advising - VIH scholars work with their respective Campus Coordinator to choose an International Experience that aligns with their academic, professional, and personal goals.
Spring - The Spring PreDeparture Retreat focuses on developing intercultural competencies and global perspectives. The VIH Scholars are provided with a framework, the Cultural Matrix, and they are taught how to utilize the framework as a means to analyze differences across cultures. Scholars also connect with their VIH mentors and begin to work through mentoring modules.
May-August - International Experience - All VIH Scholars partake in an accredited summer international experience that is at least 28 days.
September 1 - Experience Reports - All Experience Reports are due September 1.
Fall - The Fall Re-Entry Retreat serves as an opportunity to debrief the international experiences, explores the intersection of gender and leadership, and positions the VIH Scholars to affect change locally through their CEEs.
November - January - CEE - The Community Engagement Experience (CEE) centers on the concept 'Think Globally; Act Locally.' VIH Scholars are charged with forming a team and using their new-found skills, knowledge, and passions to impact their local communities in a positive, innovative way.
January 30 - CEE and Graduation Requirements Completed - All VIH Scholars finish their CEEs and graduation requirements by January 30.