“It was an experience I will forever cherish and honestly I wish it went longer,” junior Lizzy Hurt said about her Study Abroad experience at Cape Coast in Ghana.
Exploring a new country, a dynamic culture and an adventurous diet while studying and living in a place you never could have imagined before is exactly the opportunity students have at Grand Valley State University. GVSU sends over 700 students abroad each year. The Padnos International Center is holding a Study Abroad Application Party in efforts to show students how study abroad is possible, to eliminate their nerves about the process and to celebrate this once in a lifetime experience.
“We realized for a lot of students who this might be their first time leaving the country or they have never studied abroad before… it might be a little intimidating to fill out an application at home with no one there around to help if they have any questions,” Study Abroad Outreach Coordinator Alissa Lane said. “The Study Abroad Application Party serves as a way to offer support to students who are applying for study abroad programs.”
The Study Abroad Application Party will be held Friday, Jan. 31, from 1-4 p.m. in Lake Ontario Hall room 130. There will be free snacks and donuts offered during the party in proper celebration of traveling and studying in another country.
“I think so many people want to travel and see the world at some point in their lives,” Lane said. “Study abroad is a pretty unique opportunity to live and learn in another country, which is pretty rare after graduation”
The Study Abroad Application Party will offer students, with the shared experience of applying for study abroad, the unique chance to meet one another and delve into their travel destinations. It gives students a way to connect and share similar excitements.
“It really has created some interesting conversations because you get people in the room who are traveling to all different countries around the world,” Lane said. “Maybe you’re going to Spain and you’re sitting next to someone who is going to Japan.”
Study Abroad is a way to gain an education in a foreign country, receive a wider perspective of different cultures and explore new horizons. The learning is more than just the typical classroom setting. Studying abroad can redefine your outlook and approach to the world around you in your future career.
“I learned so much about another education system and that was just in the five months I was in Ghana,” Hurt said.
GVSU offers over $400,000 in scholarships to send students abroad each year. GVSU stresses the importance of not giving up on an opportunity that will expand students knowledge in their field and to represent the laker community across the globe.
“I think one of the biggest things that prevents people from looking into studying abroad is the cost,” Lane said. “It is such a shame because we do have a good amount of scholarship money to help and there is also some really affordable programs.”
The application deadline for spring, summer, fall and the academic year study abroad programs will be Saturday, Feb. 1, but there will be some exceptions to this. If students happen to miss the application party, they still have a chance to arrange a study abroad experience.
Students are encouraged to come and speak with an advisor during walk-in advising located in Lake Ontario Hall room 130. Walk-in advising is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays.
“They shouldn’t feel like the application party is the only chance to talk to an advisor,” Lane said.
Anyone is welcome to come to the Study Abroad Application Party whether it is a student looking into study abroad or students who know where they are going and are looking for some help with their application.
“We want students to be able to see the world and take advantage of this opportunity,” Lane said.