We try to answer the most common questions here, but please contact us for answers to any additional questions you may have.
Do you have ESL classes? No, we do not offer ESL classes. Our international students must have a strong working knowledge of the English language. We require a minimum score of 80 on the TOEFL iBT.
Tell me about Lynchburg, the city where VES is located. The 160-acre VES campus is located in central Virginia in a residential section of Lynchburg. Students enjoy relaxing on our beautiful campus, but they also take advantage of nearby restaurants, coffee shops, movie theaters and a shopping mall. We are located just 20 minutes from the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains, and hiking trips are a favorite activity. Our campus is approximately three hours from Washington, D.C., and two hours from Richmond, Va. We have daily Amtrak train service between Lynchburg and Washington D.C. We also have a regional airport with flights to Charlotte, N.C., and then nonstop flights to cities around the world. The climate in Virginia is much warmer than that of the Northeast. In the winter, we may have some snow and ice. Our spring and fall are delightful with warm weather and long seasons of mild temperatures. Learn more by visiting discoverLynchburg.
What can I expect from dorm life? Students live in dormitories that range in size from 14-40 students. Two to three faculty, some with their families, reside in each dorm. They work hard to know the students and interact in a casual, family-like atmosphere. Each dorm has a lounge that serves as a hub for relaxation and fun. New international students are typically paired with an American roommate. In subsequent years, students are able to submit requests for roommates.
What is there to do on weekends? Students at VES are very busy during the week. On the weekends, there is ample time to rest, relax, sleep in or participate in one of the many excursions within Lynchburg (shopping, movies, ice skating, restaurants) or beyond (day trips to Richmond, Charlottesville, hiking, biking or photography trips in the Blue Ridge Mountains). On campus, student organized activities include table tennis tournaments, dances and karaoke. Learn more about Student Life at VES.
When are the dorms closed? School dormitories remain open except for the major school holidays including: Thanksgiving Break (one week in November); Christmas Break (18 days in December/early January); Spring Break (ten days in March ). All students must leave campus during these times. We offer faculty-led trips within the United States and abroad to students over each of these breaks (list of Travel & Enrichment trips).
Does VES issue I-20 forms? Once you have been accepted for admission and have returned a signed contract and enrollment deposit, we will issue an I-20 that can be used for visa applications. Please allow enough time for your visa interview prior to the start of school.
I am a long way from home. Do you have any special support for me? Yes! Our support starts with our intensive five-day International Orientation program. We have two faculty members dedicated to our international students and your well being. In addition to your advisor, the international coordinators meet regularly with all international students and monitor your engagement within the VES community and beyond. They help to coordinate travel over school holidays, seek opportunities to celebrate your cultural heritage within our school and make sure all of our international students are acclimating well to life at VES. Each new international student is paired with a local family in the Lynchburg community. These families are either former or current VES parents. The host families play a supportive role in having the student over for occasional meals and time with their families. This program gives the international students a great opportunity to spend time in an American home during their stay in the U.S. Please note, however, that these host families are NOT responsible for providing housing for international students during school holidays.
Will you help me get used to life in the United States? We require all new international students to come to campus for our International Orientation program a few days prior to the start of school in August. This is a time when you will learn your way around campus, become familiar with U.S. customs and learn about school rules without the distraction of attending classes. For the past two years, our new international students traveled off campus for a few days to get to know one another and visit a few sites of historical importance in Virginia and Washington, D.C. They returned to school confident and ready to start the school year!
How do I make tuition payments to VES? International families are encouraged to pay using our partner site: flywire by peerTransfer. You can access the site here: https://www.peertransfer.com/school/ves.