At Grand Valley State University, opportunities to study abroad are seemingly endless. From two-week trips to yearlong stays and faculty-led programs to non-GVSU programs, there is a study abroad trip perfect for each and every Laker.
On Friday, Nov. 2, the Padnos International Center is hosting its sixth annual Global Laker Celebration, an event that celebrates the study abroad opportunities at GVSU, as well as helps fund future trips. The celebration will take place from 7 to 10 p.m. on the third floor of the B.O.B. in downtown Grand Rapids.
“This is the sixth annual Global Laker Celebration and this event is basically a way to connect students and alumni who either studied abroad or were international students during their time here at GVSU, and anyone else who wants to support international education here at Grand Valley,” said Padnos International Center Outreach Coordinator Alissa Lane. “So, in one sense it’s a big reunion and party, and there’s a lot of dancing. Another piece of the event is that it’s a way to give back and help other Lakers study abroad.”
Tickets for the event are $25 for GVSU students and $35 for non-GVSU students. All proceeds will help fund a study abroad scholarship. This year, money is being raised for several GVSU scholarships, which will help Lakers all across the board.
One of the scholarships being funded is the Murray Study Abroad Scholarship, which was intended to help students who otherwise can’t afford a study abroad program. This scholarship is for students who wish to go on a long term experience, which is defined as eight weeks or longer. The Padnos International Center is also hoping to raise money for a new scholarship called the Global Programs Fund, which is specifically for students who want to attend a short-term faculty led program. Both of these scholarships involve financial need.
Furthermore, the event will help fund an international student scholarship called the Empowering Haiti Through Education Fund. This award helps support rising stars in Haitian high schools and helps these students with the financial aid that allows them to study in the United States.
The event, while a large fundraiser, is mostly a celebration of the amazing study aboard opportunities that we have here at GVSU.
“Starting next year, the Padnos International Center will be giving away half a million dollars in study abroad scholarships every year,” Lane said. “I think so many students don’t look into it because they think it’s not affordable, but if you come and talk to a study abroad advisor and figure out what different scholarships, funding and affordable programs are out there, we can definitely help students make it work.”
With so many financial aid opportunities, Lane urges students to visit the Padnos International Center and meet with a study aboard adviser.
“I think that study abroad is such an incredible experience, especially at this time in your life,” Lane said. “I mean, I think it’s so important that students gain a global perspective when they’re in college. I think it’s something that will benefit them in their future careers and in their personal lives as well; just to see how things are done in the other side of the world, and also to break down stereotypes and misconceptions that people might have about people from other parts of the world.”