Skip to main content

Faculty & Staff Testimonials

Our goal is to have international students to have a friendly, helping hand to help with adjustments and to experience the real Michigan while they’re here, not just Allendale’s cozy GVSU bubble. For our Faculty and Staff members, we’d love for them to learn about other parts of the world from our amazing students while sharing their expertise on GVSU’s ways, Michigan’s peculiarities, sights, and weather!


"Sigrid was amazing. We had such an nice time getting to know each other last year. We met quite often on campus for lunch or tea- we discovered that we both LOVE tea.  I was able to meet her mom and her boyfriend and we had them to our house for Thanksgiving. It was fun to share American traditions with her and to learn about her traditions in Norway." 

Ingrid Johnson, mentor since 2015

Sigrid & Ingrid, 2017


Sara in Japan w/JCNU student

"Fit the Mitt has been a great opportunity for me to connect and learn more not only about our international students but about Grand Rapids. The program gives me the opportunity to see and experience my home from our students’ point of view. Whether taking the student to dinner at a new local restaurant or fielding their questions about local activities, the interaction always causes me to reflect on my home town and encourages me to experience it more. I have been very lucky to stay in touch with several of the students I have met through Fit the Mitt. It is great to learn about the world through their conversations and answers. The program has created relationships that not only make my connection to the world more tangible but also have opened my eyes to my own city."

Sara Simon, mentor since 2014


"Although Sonya was only here for one semester, she was a great mentee.  Our first meeting is where our photo is from.  We talked for almost two hours after the opening mentor/mentee reception and discovered our mutual like for EXO, a Kpop group that sings in Korean and Mandarin.  I also invited her to the intercultural reception where she learned to do the Wobble and discovered Alternative Breaks.  She went on a couple of service trips with the group, and I think this really enhanced her experience at Grand Valley.  We didn’t meet much, but stayed in contact through text messages."

Raven McClinon, mentor since 2014

Raven and Sonya


Aga and Katelyn

“Fit the Mitt is a fantastic way to connect with an international student and learn more about their culture while introducing them to ours. My mentee, Aga, and I connected several times over coffee or lunch, and she and her friends came to our home for dinner one evening. Now my husband and I have a friend to visit in Poland! The process was simple, the time commitment was flexible and overall it was a very rewarding experience.”

Katelyn Semelbauer, mentor since 2016


"I stay in touch with my mentee Tanisha from 2 years ago. We probably get together once or twice per semester and email/text too. It’s been fun to see her growth and development. She’s here for her full degree, so she’ll be here for 2 more years. While we aren’t still formally matched, our communication has remained. I actually conducted Tanisha’s orientation to GVSU via Skype before she arrived, so we’ve had a long standing connection. I enjoy learning about her experiences as an international student here at GVSU. It has helped me to be a better advisor to other students—both international and domestic."

Kelly McDonell, mentor since 2015


"This past year, I had a great student from England and we enjoyed many lunch meetings together to talk about classes, social interests and next steps!"

Sue Korzinek, Mentor since 2013

Sue Korzinek


Jayne Dissette

"Fit the Mitt is the best program for GVSU people as well as Internationals! What great opportunity to meet new people. Im really hoping to visit Oman and India in the next few years to catch up with Afaf (my first mentee)!"

Jayne Dissette, mentor since 2013, winner of the hospitality Pineapple Award