Virtual reality is a technology of potential. So much potential, in fact, that in many ways it seems to be only potential. We’ve all seen pictures of rapt viewers in Oculus headsets or Google cardboard, but widespread distribution is still a distant prospect. In many cases, it’s not clear why a teacher would use virtual reality in the classroom even if it seems like a fun addition.

So today, we talked to a person using VR with a great deal of thought. Global Nomads is a nonprofit that facilitates virtual exchanges between students in the US and other countries, and it’s about to launch a new VR initiative where students can digitally relocate. Grace Lau, the nonprofit’s director of virtual reality,believes, as many do, in the power of VR to create empathy.