About

Volunteers with International Students and Scholars, and Staff Program (VISAS)


“Volunteering with VISAS has been soul-broadening.”

—  G.F., student


What is VISAS?

Volunteers with International Students, Staff, and Scholars (VISAS) was created 23 years ago by the Center for American English Language and Culture (CAELC). Our free program serves international members of the UVA community, as well as their family members and welcomes English speakers to get involved. Through VISAS programs, volunteers and international participants practice English together, meet new people, build meaningful relationships, and learn about other cultures. We offer a variety of programs, schedules, and levels of commitment – from 5 times a semester to an hour per week. You can choose a position that works with your needs, interests, and schedule. We invite English learners and English speakers to come join us now! 

Why is VISAS important?

If you’ve ever been abroad, you may know what it’s like trying to adjust to a new language and culture. Many international members of our community report that they have trouble meeting American students, practicing their English, and asking questions about U.S. culture. Some of these international students have the additional challenge of teaching in a U.S. classroom where language and cross-cultural communication skills are critical. The Teaching Resource Center and Center for American English Language and Culture developed the VISAS program to help prospective international TAs improve their language, intercultural communication and teaching skills. In addition, we also assist other international scholars and members of the UVa community with their language needs. We are lucky at UVa to have such a diverse representation of students, scholars, and staff from around the world. Many American students seek opportunities to travel in order to get to know another culture, but right here on Grounds is a hidden opportunity to build a personal connection to another culture. VISAS volunteers recognize the benefit of bringing together individuals of different cultural and linguistic backgrounds for their own personal growth and learning.

Check out this video created by our VISAS interns!