Padnos International Center reached out with ice cream


COURTESY / Padnos International Center

Ysabela Golden, Laker Life Editor

Our university has a cultivated reputation for making study abroad opportunities as easy to arrange and enjoy as possible. But planning out your trip to another country over ice cream is a new level of study abroad advising, even for the Padnos International Center.

“The ice cream social is a totally new event that we’re trying out,” said Outreach Coordinator Alissa Lane. “It’s really a way to let people know about the resources we have at the Padnos Center — if you have an interest in studying abroad but don’t know where to start, this is your first step. It’s also a way to get people familiar with our space, since we’re kind of out here on the corner of campus. With our name, people tend to think we’re in the Padnos building, but here we are in Lake Ontario.”

The Study Abroad Open House, which will be held in the Padnos International Center office at 130 Lake Ontario Hall, is also a great place to meet international students and those interested or experienced in studying abroad.

“The point is that it’s very casual,” Lane said. “You can talk and eat with other students, browse program information and meet our study abroad advising team. They’re students who are either international — we have a really diverse group of international students here on campus, nearly 400 students representing almost 80 different countries — or studied abroad themselves. Their whole job is to help students plan their individual study abroad experience.”

Between Grand Valley State University official partnerships and outside programs spanning Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, there’s a wide variety of study abroad experiences available to students. 

“We have two new programs this year,” Lane said. “One is to Austria and the Czech Republic for music, and the other to Israel is about history and the social context of the Bible. Some other ones that people can overlook are our programs to Chile and Romania — we have partnership programs with both of those locations. They’re some of our most inexpensive places to go, but those partnerships have a lot to offer, so it’s a very cost effective option.”

Lane also noted that the study abroad experience at GVSU is unique and far-reaching.

“One of the great things about studying abroad at GVSU is where you go is really flexible,” Lane said. “There are endless options to choose from, but while that’s great, it can be overwhelming if you’re at home trying to do all that research alone on your computer. If you come here, you can learn about programs and scholarships that you might have never heard of otherwise.”

Students curious about the experiences available or interested in making a plan should drop by the Padnos International Center from 3-5 p.m. on Sept. 13.

“If it’s something students are interested in at all, if it’s something students have a drive to do, they should come and visit us,” Lane said. “We’ll find a way to make it possible.”