Students

What is Virtual Exchange (VE)?

U-M students in Islamic Mysticism talk with their peers at St. Petersburg State University in Russia.
Michigan students in class with students at St. Petersburg State University during “Islamic Mysticism: Sufism in Time and Space”, Fall 2017.

Virtual Exchange connects your course with a partner course in another country. Most VE courses connect live with the partner students during the regular meeting times for the class.

Many VE courses include the opportunity to work in small groups with the partner students on shared assignments or projects. Whatever the discipline, you’ll experience the subject matter of your course from different perspectives and grow your intercultural skills.

Discover Virtual Exchange courses here: https://virtualexchange.umich.edu/courses/

What do U-M students say about their Virtual Exchange experiences?
“It’s like studying abroad, but right on campus two times a week.”
U-M student, Global Understanding, Fall 2008

“We all felt more invested in the project after making that human connection that is so often lost amongst objects and labels.”
“Informed by the voices of the Hopi community, each plant in our archive has transformed from ‘just another bean’ into something much more–a child of the Hopi community.”
U-M students, Museum Anthropology, Fall 2014
http://crlt.umich.edu/re-connecting-hopi-seeds-creating-virtual-dialogues-source-community

“Sometime in the future, I can imagine myself sitting in a boardroom in New York and talking to business partners in Mumbai, using the exact same skills I learned..”
U-M student, Global Understanding, Winter 2010

Why take a Virtual Exchange course?

  • to gain valuable experience engaging in collaborative work in international teams (prospective employers love seeing this on resumés)
  • because you’re curious about study abroad, but perhaps can’t do it or haven’t decided whether you’d like to
  • to establish connections and relationships with people in other countries
  • to develop a sophisticated understanding of other cultures through conversation with international peers
  • to improve your intercultural communication and second language skills
  • to deepen your perspective on the course material and on your own cultural values and biases

What should you expect in a Virtual Exchange course?

The exact structures of VE courses varies from course to course. Typical elements include:

  • live discussions over video with the partner classroom during class sessions
  • use of English for communication in non-language courses
  • interactions with partner students in pairs or small groups to complete certain assignments
  • opportunities to share and connect freely with the partner students
  • scheduled interactions with the partner students lasting 4-12 weeks

Graduate Students! If you are interested in teaching a course or a section that includes a Virtual Exchange, please drop us a message at virtual.exchange@umich.edu. We are very happy to discuss the options with you.

Advising & Support

If you have any questions or concerns please send an email to

virtual.exchange@umich.edu