Global Engagement Solutions for Higher Education

How Belmont University Found
A Better Way to Manage Study Abroad
500 applications in a
Approval times took nearly a
500 applications in a
Approval times

cut in 1/2

as many students applied for semester programs

When a bomb went off at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, in 2017, Belmont University had three study abroad programs traveling in the area that week. But there was no quick and easy way to find out if Belmont students were at or near the concert. The information about the travelers’ whereabouts was stuck in a collection of Excel spreadsheets.

Belmont needed a better way to manage study abroad—and they got it with Terra Dotta.

Before Terra Dotta
The university in Nashville sends 700 students abroad and offers 45 faculty-led programs each year. To manage its outbound programs, it created online forms via JotForm. But the study abroad team found it increasingly difficult to manage applications and risk with those rudimentary documents.
  • Staffers spent hours checking different Excel files to verify GPAs, prerequisites, eligibility, application status and payment status.
  • As faculty-led, exchange and provider study abroad programs grew in popularity, the forms no longer fit Belmont’s requirements.
The Result
  • Critical details were easily overlooked because of the different files involved.
  • The system required an unwieldy amount of manpower to manage 45 programs, including communications with participating students.
  • The application process was difficult. Students often asked for help, unsure whether they had followed all of the necessary steps.
  • Communicating across campus departments or with administrators and tracking down students abroad wasn’t easy.
Study abroad reports were not very informative. Deans knew students were going abroad but it took a lot of work to report how many students in their college were going, where they were going or what majors were participating.

—Thandi Dinani, Ph.D.,
Director of Belmont’s Office of Global Education

With Terra Dotta
Terra Dotta’s study abroad solution automates the entire study abroad process — from student applications to managing data and updating websites. With it, Belmont’s program made big strides.


  • An intuitive online application process makes it easy for students to log in, access the study abroad programs, find out if they have any uncompleted outstanding documents  and track their application’s status.
  • Real-time visibility for faculty members lets them see their program’s recruitment status, which has encouraged them to recruit more students for their own trips.
  • Risk management tools allow the study abroad team to quickly find out where students and faculty are located at any moment.
  • Cross campus communications means the study abroad office can, in five minutes, pull up reports that once took weeks to compile.
“I can’t even tell you how many Excel files I had to check to confirm if we had students in certain countries when terrorist incidents occurred. I still cringe when I remember those days.”

—Thandi Dinani, Ph.D.,
Director of Belmont’s Office of Global Education

Terra Dotta really has changed how we operate. It literally feels like we have an extra person in the office, and my staff is much happier as they communicate with each other and students. Their conversations revolve around other topics than simply figuring out a student’s application status and materials collected.

—Thandi Dinani, Ph.D.,
Director of Belmont’s Office of Global Education

See for yourself.

For more information about how Terra Dotta can help you manage your outbound study abroad students, contact us.

Schedule a Demo