Padnos International Center boasts eventful 2017-18 year

Tylee Bush

Grand Valley State University’s Padnos International Center (PIC) puts on hundreds of events, offers numerous free services and helps hundreds of Lakers obtain unique global experiences every year. GVSU is proud to have an active study-abroad office, and this year, the university was ranked number nine in the nation for study-abroad participation among master’s-level institutions by the Institute of International Education. 

The PIC’s influence can been felt throughout the Laker community, and most students can attest to the quality of the services and opportunities provided by the PIC staff. 

In the 2017-18 academic year, the PIC awarded nearly $250,000 in study-abroad scholarships to GVSU students, including for the Mark A. Murray Scholarship and Barbara H. Padnos Scholarship, which covered study-abroad fees for eight students in the GVSU community.

The PIC also hosted funding workshops this year to help students overcome the financial obstacles of studying abroad, and the staff there also shows students how to sign up for study-abroad programs that cost less than a semester at GVSU.

Other events hosted by the PIC this year included the Passport Fair, where over 100 students were able to obtain a passport with ease; Sexy Accent Night, which exposed more than 200 students to cultural diversity in a fun way; and Greek Life Abroad, which allowed students involved in Greek life to learn about the opportunities available for them overseas.

In addition, alumni events were held for global Lakers, including a local event and, for the first time, a happy hour event in Chicago. Nearly 200 alumni, students and faculty also attended the fifth annual Global Laker Celebration this year, which raised funds for study-abroad scholarships.

The PIC also makes an effort to bring diversity to GVSU’s campus. Palauan president and GVSU alumnus Tommy Remengesau visited GVSU this fall, and the PIC hosted more than 400 international students on campus this year, with over 80 different countries represented. 

A new student organization was established this year, as well, to further enhance diversity on campus and allow these international students to get plugged into the community. The new support group, called Bringing Together the World, connects domestic and international students in the GVSU community to increase unity, harmony and cultural awareness.

The PIC is always expanding its outreach and adding to its already-long list of offerings. On top of the nearly 100 study-abroad programs offered through the PIC, two new programs were launched this year that bring students to Namibia and Costa Rica. The PIC is also already planning and preparing to host another round of international students in the fall of 2018.

As proof of just how many students have had memorable opportunities abroad, this year’s PIC PICS Study Abroad Photo Contest received over 500 photo submissions. The PIC is proud to offer GVSU students the chance to make the most of their collegiate experience. The department’s doors are always open with no appointment necessary to help students learn about their opportunities and make study abroad a feasible option.